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Topic: Life expectancy of RV Air Conditioners

Posted By: Gr8life on 04/25/15 10:57am

I am thinking of spending summers in South Texas where the AC will be running almost constantly for three or four months. I wonder how long one will last? Mine is an almost brand new Coleman 13,500 unit.


Posted By: The Texan on 04/25/15 11:33am

They are nothing more than a cheap window unit, dressed in RV clothes and sold for 3 or 4x the normal price. I have found that 6 to 8 years of use in south Texas, SW AZ is about tops.


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Posted By: JackandJulie on 04/25/15 11:34am

I think kinda a pig in a poke!! Ours I think like yours lasted 2 years (really didn't use but 1 year)and started leaking oil..cant fix em I guess so they replaced with my extended warranty..but one in bedroom 3 1/2 years old and still going fine.. ps im in midland right now.. probably not much help but think they work till they want to quit!!


Posted By: lj2654 on 04/25/15 11:44am

that's a tough one...you never really know. My front Dometic a/c is the original one and is a 2001 and still works great....capacitors replaced a couple of times and a new thermostat once. Rear one is 5 years old now.


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Posted By: Dutch_12078 on 04/25/15 11:50am

The original Duo-Therm A/C's on the 20 year old Class A we sold last year were still working fine. I did replace the start/run capacitors on both with hard start caps a few years ago. The only other maintenance has been normal cleaning. The analog thermostats were replaced with digitals a couple of years ago, but that wasn't due to any failing on the part of the A/C's.


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Posted By: gbopp on 04/25/15 11:51am

Both original A/C units on our 96 Southwind are working properly.

But, I'm in the northeast so they don't get used as often as units farther south.


Posted By: Ron3rd on 04/25/15 11:52am

Our 13.5 Duo Therm AC was still working fine after 10 years when we sold our old trailer to friends.


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Posted By: chiefneon on 04/25/15 12:20pm

Howdy!

Toss of a coin. I have one in a 1988 Air Stream that still going strong. My last 5er the main AC was still working 11 years after we purchased it and the bedroom AC had been replaced twice with 7 years of that fulltiming.

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Chiefneon


Posted By: turbojimmy on 04/25/15 01:04pm

Both my 1984 Duo-Therms still work great. I don't know what the previous owner might have done, but they appear to be original.


1984 Allegro M-31 (Dead Metal)




Posted By: j-d on 04/25/15 01:26pm

As noted here they'll run a dozen years. Maybe 2 or 3 dozen years. Keeping filters and coils clean is important. And yes, you may need to replace capacitors

Biggest factor I think of here is POWER. If voltage is around 120 and there are no spikes, outages and brownouts, you can expect those dozens of years.


If God's Your Co-Pilot Move Over, jd
2003 Jayco Escapade 31A on 2002 Ford E450 V10 4R100 218" WB


Posted By: Gr8life on 04/25/15 01:35pm

I know that they will run many years in normal RV use, my concern is how long one will last in what amounts to darn near 100% duty cycle for months at a time.


Posted By: Dog Folks on 04/25/15 03:14pm

Gr8life wrote:

I know that they will run many years in normal RV use, my concern is how long one will last in what amounts to darn near 100% duty cycle for months at a time.


Again it will vary.

In 1998 we purchased a 1966 Avion that was used for full time living.

It had run in South Florida all those years. We revamped the entire trailer, used it as a weekend camper until 2004. When we sold it the A/C was still going strong.


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Posted By: Golden_HVAC on 04/25/15 03:34pm

Mine was built in 96 and still running great.

They can last a long time. Every once in a while you need to take a garden hose to it, and wash the outside coils. Once a year in most areas, twice if it is dusty in your area.

Keep the inside coil clean - rinse out the indoor filter soon, and when about 1/2 way through summer. While you have the inside cover off, if you have not checked the inside bolts that hold the top unit to the inside frame, tighten them with a 1/2" or 9/16" socket. Just 'snug' not tight. It is compressing a gasket, and needs to be snug about every 3-4 years. Just slightly over finger tight. . .

Good luck!

Fred.


Posted By: swamprat 01 on 04/25/15 06:10pm

I have one on my 1990 pop up that is original, main thing is cleaning the coils and the filters, plus correct voltage.


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Posted By: mpierce on 04/25/15 09:11pm

On our 1964 Airstream, lasted 45 years!

Now, on our 1990 Bluebird, just replaced one of three. 25 years, and 2 of 3 still going.


Posted By: The Texan on 04/25/15 09:21pm

My question to all who answered the OP's question and swear the AC will last a lifetime is ...... Have you read where and how he plans to use his AC??? Read the original question, then post an answer based on his criteria.

* This post was edited 04/25/15 11:12pm by an administrator/moderator *


Posted By: sdianel -acct closed on 04/25/15 10:04pm

One of our Dometic died after 11 years, the other is still going (knock on wood) and we live in Florida where we run the AC all year and we travel to LA and OK in the summer heat!


Posted By: TechWriter on 04/25/15 10:14pm

mpierce wrote:

On our 1964 Airstream, lasted 45 years!

I'm happy for you and I'm sure someone will come up with a 50-year-old AC, but I'm going with a 10-year limit as a rule of thumb.

B4 starting to full time, I replaced both 10-year-old ACs on my Newmar even though just one of them was sounding funky because ACs never fail in Winter.


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Posted By: Teacher's Pet on 04/26/15 04:44am

Our Phaeton's two Duo-therm heat pumps are working on 10 years of full time use for heating and cooling. The front unit has been replaced twice, with additional control boards and service. The rear heat pump has had one capacitor replaced and we've cleaned the compressor coils 2-3 times. We keep the front at about 75° during the day, 71° at night, the rear unit at 80° days, 73° at night.


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Posted By: j-d on 04/26/15 05:26am

An RV A/C unit is your basic "window A/C" used for years before "central air." Just rearranged for rooftop operation. Window units last a long time and so do RV units. As long as the campsite provides steady good voltage and amperage, and you keep the coils clean, you'll be OK...Really!

One caution - If your South Texas site is on a beach, salt spray will rust/corrode everything. Your coach, your toad, your lawn chairs, your A/C, you name it.

* This post was edited 04/26/15 05:37am by j-d *


Posted By: mikensallyt on 04/26/15 05:35am

I've got these flimsy sponge like filters and know they don't really block out the dirt. I'm thinking there has to be a better filter. Any suggestions? tks


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Posted By: Dog Folks on 04/26/15 05:38am

The Texan wrote:

My question to all who answered the OP's question and swear the AC will last a lifetime is ...... Have you read where and how he plans to use his AC??? Read the original question, then post an answer based on his criteria.


My question is: Did you read my post above?

I DID answer his question that about an A/C that is in nearly continuous use.


Posted By: mpierce on 04/26/15 06:28am

The Texan wrote:

My question to all who answered the OP's question and swear the AC will last a lifetime is ...... Have you read where and how he plans to use his AC??? Read the original question, then post an answer based on his criteria.


The Bluebird spent those years in TX, FL and GA, so it spent its life in the south. I do not know what percent of its time being used was in the summer, but I bet it got a lot of AC use in south TX and GA, and FL! I just got it a year ago. The one that failed, it was the board that failed, the AC itself worked by hot wiring it, and controlling with a switch! The board was obsolete, so replaced the whole thing. The other two OEM AC's are going good, knock on wood!

I do not know the history on the Airstream, as to how much the AC was used.


Posted By: Gr8life on 04/26/15 08:39am

j-d wrote:

An RV A/C unit is your basic "window A/C" used for years before "central air." Just rearranged for rooftop operation. Window units last a long time and so do RV units. As long as the campsite provides steady good voltage and amperage, and you keep the coils clean, you'll be OK...Really!

One caution - If your South Texas site is on a beach, salt spray will rust/corrode everything. Your coach, your toad, your lawn chairs, your A/C, you name it.


Thanks. I wondered if they would have similar service lives to window units.


Posted By: dougrainer on 04/26/15 09:47am

AC units are NOT that complicated, whether they be Window/RV/Home units. The BIG difference between an RV and the others is, the RV unit rarely gets maintenance(filters cleaned the evap/condenser cleaned. They are subjected to varying 120 voltages (especially LOW voltages) and that causes excessive wear and tear on compressors and the capacitors. Then when they break, they are called junk. Running 24/7 in a hot climate probably equals 3 to 4 time the normal use in an RV, so you would expect them to wear out/fail quicker. I would expect that the OP's AC unit should last 5 to 8 years in the conditions he will put it in. Doug


Posted By: TNSnowbirds on 04/30/15 06:47pm

I have a 2014 Bighorn with Dometic a/cs and spend the winter in Florida and the A/Cs run almost constantly. The 15K living room unit has been replaced 2 times. The original lasted about 1 year and the replacement lasted about 4 months. The 13.5K bedroom unit is still doing Okay. So I guess your longevity will depend on the manufacture. The Dometics are from China....


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Posted By: DaHose on 04/30/15 09:48pm

My 1983 Jamboree has the original Coleman AC unit. That's 32 years and still going after a capacitor replacement.

Jose


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