Summer is almost here, and while the sun is great, who really wants to sweat it out? You know you’re going to depend on your caravan air con blasting out cold air, so its worthwhile giving it a little TLC before crunch time.
There’s 3 parts to your air con that require maintenance:
1 – Air Con Filters
Most air conditioners have user serviceable filters accessible from the internal air box / plenum (the bit on the ceiling you can see/touch from inside the van). Refer to your owners manual to remove the filters. Most models don’t require any tools to do this.
Clean or replace? Some filters can be cleaned, but if they’re older, the filter material tends to disintegrate and you’ll need to purchase new filters. We stock a range for all the common models of air conditioners.
While the filters are out, its worthwhile brushing any dust off the filter areas too.
Keeping your filters cleaned/replaced is the easiest way to ensure the performance and longevity of your a/c.
Do NOT poke things into the air box, or remove the air box from the ceiling. You can easily damage the thermostat, electronics or fan inside. You also risk breaking the roof seal between the compressor unit and the plenum. There’s also live 240V power which you do not want to touch.
2 – Air Box / Plenum
Servicing the air box requires a professional technician (like us :). Providing the unit is still operational, this involves mainly cleaning the internal areas of the system to remove dust and inspecting for any signs of moisture or damage. We also check for signs of water ingress through the air con roof seal.
3 – Air Con Roof Unit / Compressor
Again, servicing this unit requires a professional technician. Because this unit is quite open to the elements, they often accumulate a lot of dust, debris, leaves, sticks, and even in one case we’ve done – animals. Cleaning the unit up allows for efficient ongoing operation, and less likely to experience failure.
How often to service?
- Do your filters annually at least.
- Get us to service the rest of the air con based on your travel. If you have been travelling in really dusty conditions, or camped under trees long-term / often – get this done annually. Otherwise, consider it every 3-5 years.
Bought 2nd Hand
If you’ve purchased your van 2nd hand, and the air con does not look whistle-clean – its worth having it serviced with us.
Should I get it re-gassed?
Re-gassing an air con is not generally required as part of a service. It’s only required if the air con is not performing well – e.g. cooling, but not getting cold enough.
The refrigerant gas that makes an air con work is in a sealed system. If the gas has leaked out, it’s an indication that there is a break in the system somewhere. So, the bigger problem is that there is a cracked pipe or similar causing the fault.
Repair or Replace
If you do find that your air con is not cooling properly, it can normally be fixed fairly easily. Common issues are faulty thermostats, capacitors, fans and PCBs. As with most appliances, caravan air conditioners do have a lifespan. In our experience, if your air con is 7 years or older, and is faulty to the point where it is not cooling, it is worth considering replacing the entire unit. Often a repair bill for older air cons will be around $500+ after diagnosis, parts and repair – with no warranty on the rest of the unit. Newer air cons are always quieter, smaller, more efficient, and are warranted Australia wide – so its worth considering.