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Can You Install a Window AC Unit in Your RV?

Can You Install a Window AC Unit in Your RV?

Summer can be brutal in an RV. With less insulation and big windows, they heat up like cars in the sun. Many RVs these days do come standard with an air conditioning unit, but some don’t, and those converting or building an RV need a solution. Even if you do have an air conditioner, it may have a hard time keeping your RV cool. Adding additional roof-mounted air conditioning units can be very costly and many times, they still don’t work well. What other options do you have? Today, we’ll look at RV window AC units, installation tips, and whether they might be the better option to keep you cool this summer. 

Can You Install a Window AC Unit in Your RV? 

In short, Yes, you can install a window AC unit in an RV. Most times, they are not designed for it, so it will be a custom solution, but it might make sense. You might choose to do this instead of installing a roof-mounted RV air conditioning unit. It’s often more budget-friendly and prevents you from adding height to your RV.

Many times window AC units are even more efficient and operate better than a RV-specific roof unit. We will be sharing a bit more about these units and some of the best models.

window AC unit
We typically associate window AC units with houses or apartments, but you can install them in your RV too.

If you’ve never used an RV air conditioner before, read this first to learn how they work: The Complete Guide To RV Air Conditioners

What Are the Benefits of Using an RV Window AC Unit? 

RV window AC units are beneficial because of their lower install costs, removability, and functionality. Many times these small units perform better and are more efficient than rooftop RV AC units. The cost of an RV window AC unit can be as little as $200, whereas rooftop models can be $700-$3,500 plus installation costs. 

You can remove a window unit in winter so that you can get your natural light back from the window. In contrast, you can’t remove rooftop units based on the season.

RV window AC units are also great for targeting areas. If you have a room that has a hard time cooling down, you can install your AC in that room. This will ensure you’re putting the cold air exactly where you want it. 

Some manufacturers are even using window AC units in their RV’s from the factory. One example is Kingstar truck campers who we visited recently. They build a special enclosed box for the window unit and use a rooftop fridge vent to allow airflow.

camper with window AC unit
This camper comes with a window AC unit installed in that highest black box. The benefits are the same as above, cost-effective, easily replaceable, plenty of cooling for a small space, and doesn’t add height to the roof.

Window air conditioners are also frequently chosen by those who are building or converting a vehicle to an RV. Skoolies and custom campers frequently choose to install window AC units due to their affordable cost. You don’t need a window either, just a hole in the wall. Rear wall that is.

Skoolie RV with Window Air conditioner in wall
This is the back of a skoolie RV that has been converted to a toy hauler. The window AC unit is installed in the back wall.
Popup camper with window air conditioner installed in storage
Look Close, Yup that’s a window AC unit installed in the storage compartment of this popup camper!

PRO Tip: Its also possible to install mini split air conditioners on RV’s as well. They are more costly and challenging to install, but they are some of the most powerful and efficient.

Best Air Conditioners for an RV Window AC Installation

So maybe you want a window AC unit for your RV. What options do you have? These days we have some unique window units that work particularly well in RV’s.

1. Midea Inverter Air Conditioner Unit

About: The Midea Inverter Air Conditioner is both quiet and energy-efficient and a unique U design.This 8000 to 12,000 BTU window unit has plenty of cooling capacity for most RVs and weighs about 59 pounds. Additionally, this air conditioner is Wi-Fi enabled, meaning you can control it remotely. 

The design of this unit is unique and may not fit many RV’s, but it might be just right for a few. The U-shaped design allows a window to close between the unit. This means (depending on your RV’s window situation) your window can still open, allowing fresh air in, even with the window unit installed. This U-shaped design works best with RV windows that slide up and down to open rather than side to side.

Dimensions (LxWxH): 21.9″ x 19.17″ x 13.26″

Midea 12,000 BTU U-Shaped Smart Inverter Window...
  • ULTRA QUIET - The Midea U Smart Inverter AC unit is 9 times...
  • MORE THAN 35% ENERGY SAVINGS - With the advanced DC Inverter...
  • FLEXIBLE WINDOW OPENING - Midea U-shaped design allows your...

2. Ukoke Window Mini Split

About: The Ukoke air conditioner is a unique solution that can help to install in windows that are nonstandard. Its a two-piece unit that’s connected together by hoses and wires. We used a unit similar to this that is no longer available in our RV and it worked great. Because of the flexible hose, this unit might fit a window type that other units will not.

Ukoke USPC06C Caravan Window Air Conditioner,...
  • Ukoke Caravan Window Air Conditioner is compatible with Amazon...
  • Use with Mobile App – Get the Ukoke App to operate your Ukoke...
  • Caravan air conditioners are also suitable for use in a regular...

3. GE 6,000 BTU Serenity AC Unit

About: One thing that drives most people crazy about RV ac units is noise. Because of the small space, we believe an efficient super quiet GE Serenity AC is the best choice.

This unit is very efficient operating at just over 500 watts and includes a remote with many modes including a sleep mode to make it super quiet. Weighing in at 56 lbs this unit is a bit heavier and will need sturdy support.

Dimensions (LxWxH): 21.25 x 21.25 x 12.44 inches

GE Electronic Air Conditioner for Window | 6,000...
  • COOLS SMALL ROOMS - Delivers 6,000 BTU cooling capacity for small...
  • ULTRA QUIET - This AC provides ultra quiet operation at only 43...
  • MAXIMUM COMFORT COOL� Energy efficient cooling with three...

4. Frigidaire Compact AC Unit

About: This budget-friendly window AC unit is great for cooling small spaces. The Frigidaire Compact AC unit comes in at 5,000 BTU. Two fan speeds help you to maintain a comfortable temperature in a room up to 150 square feet.

There’s a washable filter included. It uses minimal energy as it starts up, which is important for RV power usage. The Frigidaire Compact AC unit weighs only 38.6 pounds, making it a lightweight option.

Dimensions (LxWxH): 15.25″ x 16″ x 12″

Frigidaire FFRA051WAE Window-Mounted Room Air...
  • Effortless Temperature Control: Our air conditioners maintain the...
  • Easy-to-Clean Washable Filter: Capture dust from the air and keep...
  • SpaceWise Adjustable Design Optional Side Panels: With the...

Things to Keep in Mind

Before you officially decide which RV window AC installation to go with, you should keep a few things in mind. Let’s look at some important aspects to consider. 

Where Can You Install A Window AC in an RV

Before purchasing your RV window AC unit, you’ll need to decide where you want it to go. You don’t want to purchase a unit only to discover it won’t fit where you were expecting it to. You’ll also need to decide if you need to build a frame to support the unit. 

If you plan on traveling with the unit in place don’t stick it out the side as you may make your RV too wide. Many people choose to install them on the back wall if they are permanent.

How To Install a Window AC Unit In a Travel Trailer

How Much Power It Draws

Even if you’re new to RVing, you likely know that RVs can’t handle infinite power loads. When selecting a window AC unit, consider how much power it will take to run it. Will you trip the breaker each time you try to run it? The amount of amps you have to spare varies greatly depending on whether your RV electrical system is 30 amps or 50 amps.  

Looking for an energy-efficient air conditioner that can run off your RV batteries? Consider a 12V unit: Is There Such a Thing as a 12V RV Air Conditioner?

The Size

Keep in mind that your RV, even if large, offers limited space. You won’t need a massive window unit meant to cool a 600 square foot room. On the other hand, if you get too small of a unit, it won’t provide the results you’re looking for. Research the unit you’re looking at to find how much space it can cool.

Motorhome with window AC unit
Consider installing support brackets to prevent your air conditioner from falling due to its weight. This unit has been installed in an RV that does not move much to add a bit more chill to the air.

Stabilizing It

Make sure your new RV window AC unit doesn’t fall out of your window, or worse yet, damage your RV. You may want to consider building in a frame for extra support or installing brackets to help with the extra weight. 

Cooling Capacity

An additional thing to consider is the air conditioner’s cooling capacity. Remember, the higher the BTU a unit has, the more cooling capacity you’ll get from it. A 5,000 BTU unit will cool a room of about 150 square feet. 

Find Relief From the Heat

While many of us use our RVs to get into nature, sometimes, we need to escape nature and find some relief from the heat. Installing an RV window AC unit can help keep your RV comfortable.

Boondocking in the desert
We love boondocking in the desert, but on hot days, it wouldn’t be possible without air conditioning.

Have you considered adding a window unit to your RV? Let us know in the comments.

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Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
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Art Estoque

Sunday 26th of September 2021

I'm looking to add an RV window to be able to fit a Frigidaire 5000BTU Window AC What size RV Window has an opening closest to the size of a 5000 BTU Frigidaire window AC (12"x16" (+- 1")?