How to put freon in rv rooftop air conditioner

RVs are the ultimate choice for those who love to go on vacations. With an RV, you can basically have your home with you even if you are away from home. Of course, your trips will never be comfortable without your RV’s AC.  This is why learning how to put Freon in an RV rooftop air conditioner will help you enjoy the full benefits of the unit during your travels.

Steps for putting freon in your RV rooftop AC

The AC works by passing air over the evaporator coil that is cooled using a refrigerant. Freon is the most common and popular refrigerant. This brand name is actually under the ownership of DuPont and is universal although incorrectly used ass a generic term.

Lower refrigerant levels will lead to reduced efficiency of the machine. Rooftop units don’t often come with user-serviceable ports since most of the time, the systems are already sealed right at the factory. In order to put in Freon, an expert must weld a charging port to the system.

Below are the steps you need to follow for putting in Freon in the rooftop AC of your RV. 

  1. Lift and release the outer shroud of the rooftop AC. A series of fasteners surrounding the lower rim holds this shroud in place. Use a socket, wrench, or screwdriver depending on the specific fasteners that the manufacturer used. Be sure that you don’t get into contact with the fragile equipment inside as you lift the case away.
  2. Check the machinery to determine if a refrigerant port is present. If ever there is one, you can find this on the side of the machine containing the bigger of the two copper tubes running from the compressor to the interior of the RV and its evaporator coil. It is referred to as the system’s suction side.
  3. Consult the machine’s data tag or manufacturer’s literature to know the specific type of required refrigerant. Older vehicles often use R22 that has now become difficult and expensive to source. The newer vehicle models use some other types. Be sure to get a recharge kit of the suitable refrigerant.
  4. Use the thermostat for measuring the ambient temperature in the RV’s interior. Look for the AC’s chart that is often fixed within the shroud. This chart indicates a series of temperatures that are noted together with a series of the ideal refrigerant pressures, with one for every specific temperature.
  5. Connect the manifold gauge hose visibly labeled to be for the port’s suction side, often the left-hand hose. Screw the female hose end to attach it in clockwise direction to the port’s male threads. 
  6. Switch on the AC to activate it through going for the thermostat’s coldest setting.
  7. Check the gauge clearly indicated to be for the suction side to verify the need for a recharge or top-up. Read the pressure of the refrigerant within the AC and compare it to the ambient temperature figure in the chart that matches the reading from the RV’s interior. If the pressure of the refrigerant is lower than optimum for the measured temperature inside the RV, a recharge or top up of the system is necessary.
  8. Attach the recommended refrigerant’s container to the hose visibly labeled to be for this specific purpose that is often the central hose. The gauges can be purged through a brief opening and closing of the valve visibly labeled for that purpose, typically the right hand valve.

This clearly labeled charge valve should be opened to let the Freon get inside the AC for a minute.  Be sure to close the valve then wait for another minute before you recheck the gauge. You can do this process again as needed until you reach the refrigerant pressure level indicated as optimum for the measured temperature inside the RV.

Do RV air conditioners need freon?

Every air conditioning unit uses a different type of coolant to reduce the air temperature. It is important to check the owner’s manual to know the exact specifications of the coolant being used by your RV’s AC unit before you buy Freon. 

However, there are instances when RV ACs are meant to be a single-use system. It means that most of the time, these don’t come with ports as well as other attachments required for recharging them with coolant.

When recharging your RV in many instances, there is a need to install valves. The RV air conditioner is often hermetically sealed. It means that the seal must be broken to recharge it. This can be a bit expensive and the unit may need to be replaced if the technician has no idea about how to do it.

Different types of freon for RV air conditioners

Most RVs have sealed air conditioning units. It indicates that the coolant within is meant to last for as long as the aircon lifespan. It is not the case all the time since things can happen and some leaks may form.

If you need to replace or add Freon in the AC unit of your RV, Freon R22 should be used. Thankfully, it is a common Freon although there are stringent regulations when it comes to handling it. You will need one of the three licenses to handle and buy R22 coolant.

Two other Freon types used in RVs include R-410A and R-134a. How often to top up aircon gas?

Other pointers to remember when putting freon in an RV rooftop air conditioner

You have to be extra careful when you put Freon in the air conditioning unit of your RV. This is not the kind of job for people who don’t really have the patience as well as those who are not that careful with the work they do. Being extra careful is necessary since there are lots of fragile parts and equipment found inside.

If you are not confident with your mechanical skills, it is not advisable that you try to do this task on your own. Be sure to take your RV to a professional mechanic with the knowledge and experience in doing a good job.

If you need help troubleshooting your RV air conditioners, our previous why rv air conditioner won’t turn on guide may help.

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