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How to Clean and Replace Your RV Air Conditioner Filter

How to Clean and Replace Your RV Air Conditioner Filter

Before you head out on a cross-country trip, make sure to do the proper maintenance on your RV. No one wants to get on the road to find an empty propane tank, low tire pressure, or a tear in the roof. One thing you can easily overlook cleaning (or replacing) your RV air conditioner filter.

This simple task ensures healthy air quality inside your RV. Let’s see just how easy it is.

Where Is the RV Air Conditioner Filter? 

Like in a traditional sticks-and-bricks house, the RV air conditioner filter is located behind the air vent. Most of the time this vent is located in the RV AC shroud in the ceiling of the RV. If you open the vent, you’ll see the dirty filter, just like if you opened the vent at home.

RV air conditioner Vent
Most of the time you will find the filter behind the grate in the AC housing on the ceiling

How to Clean Your RV Air Conditioner Filter

You don’t always have to replace the air conditioner filter when it gets dirty. Sometimes it just requires some cleaning. However, before you do anything, make sure you don’t have a disposable filter. If you do, don’t clean it. Just throw it away and insert another one. If you do have a reusable air conditioner filter, then you can start to clean it.

Make sure the air conditioner is turned off, then remove the dirty filter. Some RV owners like to rinse gently with water to clean the filter. Others place the filter in a bucket of water. Whichever method you prefer, just be gentle so you don’t rip the fabric. If you tear it, you’ll need to replace it.

You can also gently vacuum the RV air conditioner filter. Usually, owners can get by with this if the filter isn’t very dirty. Just make sure not to press down on the filter as this will cause damage. Also, make sure you clean it outside as you don’t want the dust particles swirling around in your living space.

Woman using a hand vacuum on vent.
Use a vacuum to gently remove dust particles from your air conditioner vent.

While you clean it, check around the vent opening for dust and other dirt particles. Go ahead and clean around the coils with your fingers, wiping away any grime. 

You might also want to clean the vent cover itself because dust particles will gather there. The filter won’t collect the dust particles on the vent, and they’ll get blown all over your RV if you don’t wipe it down.

Some RV owners will also spray a disinfectant on the filter before returning it to the vent. You can fill a spray bottle with equal parts white vinegar and water and use it in a shady area where the filter can dry for a few hours. Don’t place it in direct sunlight. Once the filter dries, you can return it to the vent.

You’ll want to check your RV air conditioner filter about once a month. You might not have to clean it or replace it every time, but it’s a good idea to put it on your monthly maintenance list. And if you maintain this regimen, you might get by just vacuuming the RV air conditioner filter more often than washing it.

Pro Tip: Nobody likes a sweaty, stinky camper. Keep cool on the go with The Complete Guide To RV Air Conditioners.

RV owner replacing filter in air conditioner
Check your RV air conditioner filter once a month to determine if it needs to be cleaned or replaced.

How to Know When It’s Time to Upgrade

If the filter is still dirty after you rinse it or soak it, or if it has tears, it’s time to replace it. A torn filter won’t trap the particles to keep the air clean. An air conditioner filter protects the air quality, so if it’s not doing its job well, you’ll want to upgrade for the sake of your health.

You might also start to notice a stale smell in your RV. This indicates possible mold growth that you’ll want to take care of quickly. If the air doesn’t cool as quickly, your filter might need replacing.

It’s important to have at least a basic filter in an air conditioner because otherwise the dust will get caught on the evaporator fins inside. This will make the AC perform much worse and will be much harder to clean than a filter.

Air conditioner unit in an RV.
If your air conditioner is not cooling quickly or has a stale smell, replace your filter.

Replacing Your RV Air Conditioner Filter

When you’ve decided to replace your RV air conditioner filter, make sure to check the owner’s manual for the correct size. Different RVs have different filters, and sometimes the manufacturer will even recommend a specific brand. 

Also, make sure you know if you need a disposable or reusable one so you can choose the appropriate replacement.

Best RV Air Conditioner Filter Replacements

Just like in stick-and-brick houses, you can get many kinds and brands of RV air conditioner filters. Here are three of the best.

Hand holding a dirty air conditioner filter.
There are many great RV air conditioner filter options that will work for different types of AC units.

1. MERV 6 RV Air Conditioner Filters

With a MERV 6 rating, these filters are eight times more efficient than regular foam ones. MERV stands for Minimal Efficiency Reporting Value, which serves as a “grade” for your air filter. This means this specific filter will trap large particles like allergens, dirt, lint, pet dander, etc., more effectively, thus improving the overall air quality in your RV. 

However, if someone in your family has asthma or severe allergies, you may want to look for one that has an even higher MERV rating, just like you would in a traditional sticks-and-bricks house.

Since this particular filter comes in a two-pack, you’ll always have a replacement handy. So when you go through your monthly maintenance list, you won’t have to run out to the store or wait for an Amazon delivery if you realize it’s time to switch it out. This saves you time and gets the job done rather than dragging it out over a couple of days. These filters are compatible with Dometic units 3313107.103 and 3105012.003.

Sale
[2-Pack] Mission Automotive MERV 6 Rated RV AC...
  • Exact Fit For Your Dometic AC -- Skip the frustration of generic...
  • Fresh Air For Your RV -- During your trip, dirt, pet dander, and...
  • Captures Pesky Particles -- Our RV air filter has a MERV 6...
RV Air Conditioner Disposable Air Filter - No More Mold Spores, Pollen, or Dust - Review

2. RVAir Dometic RV Filter Replacement

Many seasoned RVers know the Dometic name since the company has produced RV appliances and supplies for decades. Their RV air conditioners last about five years. This filter costs a little more. 

They also have a MERV 6 rating and come in a two-pack. They’re compatible with the same Dometic units as listed above. Overall, they are very similar to the previous example. You can’t go wrong with either option.

They’re straightforward to install and maintain. And with a MERV rating of 6 (as opposed to a MERV rating of 13), these RV air conditioner filters won’t restrict airflow. They’ll still get the job done with their unwoven polyester fibers by eliminating allergens, mold spores, and pet dander but won’t cause the air conditioner to work overtime to push air through the space.

How to Clean Your RV AC Filter AC-105G & Replace the RV Air Dometic RV Air Conditioner Filter

3. Coleman Compatible Replacement RV Air Filter

Coleman is another name recognized in the camping world for decades. It’s a respected company and one that produces quality materials. Their RV air conditioner units generally last about five years, also, so you’ll need to replace the filters several times during the lifespan of each unit. 

This specific foam filter is compatible with the Coleman 67983751 unit. It only comes in a one-pack, which is cheaper than the 2-pack options, but it also means you might want to order two so you have a replacement handy when the time comes.

Coleman Compatible 67983751 Replacement RV AC Foam...
  • Replacement foam RV AC filter
  • Compatible with Coleman 67983751
  • Dimensions measure 16-1/8" x 16-1/8" x 1/4"
Removing, cleaning, and reinstalling the filter on a Coleman-Mach

Pro Tip: An RV air conditioner cover can help protect the exterior of your AC unit, so we put together a list of the 5 Best RV Air Conditioner Covers (and Why You Should Use One).

How Often Should You Clean or Replace Your RV AC Filter?

As mentioned before, you’ll want to check your RV air conditioner filter about once a month. If you vacuum it regularly, you might not have to clean it with water or a disinfectant as often. If you only use your RV a couple of times a year, you can probably get by with cleaning the filter each time you travel. 

Usually, RV air conditioner filters last about 90 days of continuous use. So if you live in your RV and use the AC every day, you’ll need to replace the filter more often than someone who only travels a few times a year.

Commonly Missed RV and Vehicle Maintenance Items | Preventing Catastrophic Failure and Breakdowns

Keeping Your AC System Functioning

It’s important to maintain the air quality in your RV by regularly checking, cleaning, and replacing your RV air conditioner filter. But it’s also just as crucial to the life of your HVAC system. 

A dirty air conditioner filter will harm the overall system because it uses more energy to draw in air to cool your space.

Is regular maintenance of your RV air conditioner filter on your monthly to-do list? Drop a comment below!

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Michael Clark

Thursday 7th of April 2022

To begin, switch off the air conditioner in your camper. Cleaning the air filter while the air conditioner is running is not recommended since dirt and particles will deposit on the evaporator coils and other internal elements, causing the system to malfunction later. To be safe, you should unplug the AC power supply.

Samantha Nichols

Saturday 25th of December 2021

There are 5 steps to clean the AC filter for your RV. Step 1: remove the AC filter. Step 2: vacuum the AC filter. Step 3: soak and brush the filter. Step 4: rinse and sanitize. Step 5: dry and put it back. Hoping that this way can help you.

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