Rooftop air conditioner maintenance
RV Air Conditioner Maintenance Must Do’sRV Air Conditioner Maintenance is critical
Keep Your RV Air Conditioner In Top Shape
Unlike camping decades ago, almost all RVs have at least one air conditioner. Often they have two, or even three. Besides cleaning awnings, resealing roofs, and checking RV batteries and water heaters, it’s very easy to forget that your RV air conditioner needs maintenance on a regular basis too.
Yes, an RV air conditioner is mostly self-sufficient, but annually you should give them a good look to make sure all is well. Depending on where and when you travel, you’ll want—and need—your air conditioners operating at peak efficiency. After all, a winter spent boondocking in Quartzsite wouldn’t be a fun experience.
Outside Maintenance on Your RV Air Conditioner
Get yourself a ladder, and being careful where you step on the roof, give your RV air conditioner an up close and personal inspection. Make sure that the plastic cover over the A/C is in good condition, and doesn’t have any cracks or splits in the plastic.
Not only does this cover provide a streamlined and semi-attractive appearance to the appliance, it serves another very important purpose. It helps keep rainwater and snow from getting into the workings of the air conditioner, which would greatly shorten its functioning lifespan.
Wind, Rain, and Debris Take Their Toll
The outer plastic cover might get damaged over time due to the harmful chemical interactions of the sun’s U/V rays, or physical trauma from being struck by low hanging branches at your favorite boondocking campsite.
Over a period of years, the effect of ultraviolet rays from the sun will actually weaken the plastic shroud to the point it may completely fall apart into pieces.
New shrouds for your RV air conditioner can be purchased online, and you might consider obtaining a high-quality replacement so that you only have to buy it once.
Look for Leaks and Water Intrusion
While you are on the roof, check that the air conditioner is securely mounted. There is a foam rubber gasket between the A/C and the roof. If the mounting is loose, rainwater may find its way into your RV, often with disastrous consequences.
When water enters your camper, it will likely follow roof rafters and wall framing and come out somewhere you would least expect. Often you’ll think the leak started in another location, and would never figure to check the integrity of the gaskets around your RV’s air conditioner.
If the water damage becomes severe enough, you could be faced with having to repair your RV’s wood flooring.
Cooling Fins Should Be Straight
Check the condition of the cooling fins too. Bent-over vanes will restrict air flow through the unit and greatly reduce the air conditioner’s cooling ability. If you have bent fins, you can use a comb or dull knife to straighten them out. Do be gentle because if you puncture the condenser tubes you have just turned your air conditioner into a boat anchor!
RV Air Conditioners are Single Use
Did you know that when your air conditioner ages to the point it isn’t cooling, it becomes scrap metal? RV air conditioners are not designed to be recharged, and all but the simplest repairs are not economical. About the only part you can replace is the starting capacitor for the compressor motor.
What causes the capacitor to fail?
Trying to run the A/C on an electrical circuit rated for less than 30 amps.
Using a 15-amp reducer plug is like putting a choke hold on your RV’s air conditioner. You will get a low voltage condition—called a brownout. When the A/C can’t get its required amperage, it heats up and will eventually destroy itself.
Some large motorhomes and trailers will have two air conditioners powered through one 30-amp power cord. This type of setup will cycle one A/C on, and when it comes off, the cooling cycle will switch the compressor on for the other A/C. This way, instead of requiring an even heavier power cord rated for 50 amps, the RV’s A/C system can function well with just a 30-amp power supply.
Part of your annual inspection should include running both A/C’s and verifying that proper load sharing occurs. You don’t want to make it out west, with temps approaching 100° Fahrenheit, only to realize one of your A/Cs isn’t working properly.
Once you have inspected the outside of your air conditioning system, it’s time to go inside.
Inspect Your Air Conditioner From Inside TooIndoor A/C
Under the plastic shroud on the ceiling of your RV, you’ll find one or two foam filter elements. These can be washed with warm soapy water and reused.
While you have the shroud off you should vacuum the area, trying to clean as far into any ductwork as possible. Though there are a couple different brands and models of RV air conditioners, maintenance, and annual care is pretty much the same for all of them.
None of them will last long trying to run them without adequate amperage to their power supply. If you are using a portable generator, you need to have one that is rated for a minimum of 3,000 watts.
All brands of air conditioners are mounted to the roof in similar ways, and like with most things “cleanliness is next to Godliness.”
Remember, most RV air conditioners aren’t rechargeable. When they fail, they are pretty much junk. The best you can do is maintain them properly and hope they have a nice, long life.
Give Your A/C Power a Boost With SoftStartRV
The power requirements of today’s modern camping family are much higher than they were a decade or two ago. New appliances, multiple flat-screen televisions, and a dozen USB devices that need charging can tax the power system of your RV.
This additional power draw can make it tough to start the A/C, which has a large initial power requirement to get going, but once running is very manageable.
You can solve this issue and make it easy for your air conditioners to power on by installing a SoftStartRV A/C soft starter on every A/C unit. Whether you have one A/C unit running on a portable generator, two units trying to run on 30-amps, or three air conditioners running on 50-amps, a soft starter will help you.
An A/C soft starter device like those made by SoftStartRV reduces the startup demand required by your air conditioner by as much as 70%. This means you can start two A/C units on just 30-amps.
For big rigs with three RV air conditioners, you can easily start all three A/C units on 50-amp power, when using your generator while boondocking, or on a long, hot drive. You can find SoftStartRV soft starters at https://www. softstartusa.com/rvlife.
Track Your Maintenance
Keep track of all your RV air conditioner maintenance with an online tool such as RV LIFE Maintenance. Not only can you keep all your maintenance records and documents in one place, you’ll receive timely reminders via email when maintenance is due, and potentially avoid a costly repair due to lack of maintenance.
Whether you have a small camper or large class A motorhome, RV LIFE Maintenance can keep track of it all. Keeping accurate maintenance records also increases your resale value, should you ever decide to do so.
See also: We Answer Your Questions About A/C Soft Starters
Rooftop Maintenance: Seasonal Must Do's
by Colleen Julian
Unlike many types of HVAC equipment that are tucked away in an indoor mechanical room, package units are typically located on building rooftops or at ground level on concrete slabs. Because of their exposure to the elements, these units have to endure harsh conditions.
Develop a routine maintenance schedule before initial operation. Maintenance should only be performed by qualified service personnel. Base the schedule on hours of operation, conditions under which the units run, and include a service log. Service logs provide invaluable information regarding unit history, troubleshooting and tracking scheduled maintenance.
This article focuses on seasonal maintenance requirements for the major components of gas heat/electric cooling rooftops. Service technicians should follow the recommendations of the OEM.
Service tools.To perform seasonal maintenance on rooftop units, a variety of tools are required. Some of these include a ladder with various sized extensions to provide access to the building rooftop; an accurate manifold pressure gauge and thermometer to allow the measurement and verification of proper refrigerant charge; and a belt tension gauge and straight edge to measure belt tension and pulley alignment. See the chart on the following page for additional tools required.
Service safety. Before servicing any rooftop unit, be sure to shut off all electrical power to the unit and tag the disconnect to avoid shock hazard or injury from rotating parts.
Overall unit. Because the units are located outdoors, the unit exterior should be inspected at the beginning of each cooling and heating season. Remove any foreign debris such as leaves, paper, etc. Make sure all access panels are securely fastened. If the unit doesn’t contain hinged doors, inspect the panels for missing screws and replace where needed.
Heating and Cooling Season Maintenance Tips
At the beginning of each heating and cooling season we suggest the following maintenance:
Evaporator coil. Inspected this coil to ensure proper cooling capacity levels. Clean it on an as-needed basis using a commercial coil cleaner or dishwasher detergent in a pressurized spray canister. Wash both sides of the coil and flush with clean water. For best results, backflush toward the return-air section to remove foreign material. Be careful not to overflow the evaporator drain condensate pan.
Condenser coil. Inspected the condenser coil monthly and clean it annually as required by location and outdoor air conditions. This cleaning ensures proper condensing temperature, eliminates both low capacity level and poor efficiency. Wash one-row coils with a commercial cleaner. For coils with multiple rows, use a water hose or other suitable equipment to flush down between multiple sections to remove dirt and debris.
Filters. Filters should be cleaned or replaced at the start of each cooling and heating season, or more often if operating conditions require. To determine the frequency, visually inspect or measure the airside pressure drop. Clean filters prevent dirt buildup on coils and help with the indoor air quality of the occupied building space. Follow the manufacturer recommendation for filter size and type.
Outdoor air inlet screens. Annually clean inlet screens with steam or hot water and mild detergent. Inspect monthly to determine if more frequent cleaning is required.
Compressors. Charge the compressor(s) with the correct amount of oil at the factory. With semi-hermetic compressors, refer to the manufacturer instructions for checking proper oil level.
Fan motor bearings. Depending on the type of unit, the fan motor bearings may be of the permanently lubricated type. If the bearings are not permanently lubricated, lubricate every six months with suitable bearing grease or oil. See the manufacturer recommendation on oil manufacturer and type to use.
Condenser fan. Check the condenser fan height annually to prevent re-circulation of condenser air and maintain the capacity and efficiency of the unit.
Evaporator fan. Inspect the evaporator fan to ensure it’s centered in its housing. Annually lube the evaporator fan motor, if needed.
Blower belt. Inspect the blower belt for wear, proper tension, and pulley alignment at the beginning of each cooling and heating season, or as conditions require. Replace worn belts. Don’t run them to the point of breakage. Annual inspections will indicate how often to replace belts.
Thermostatic expansion valve (TXV). If the unit contains thermostatic expansion valves, check each circuit to ensure the bulb is secure and insulated and in the correct position per the manufacturer recommendation. Most TXVs are factory set, non-adjustable, and require no service.
Economizer. If the unit contains an economizer, perform an annual cycle run-through to ensure the actuator, dampers and temperature sensors are operating correctly. Also check the ventilation settings.
Refrigerant charge. Check the refrigerant charge annually to make sure it is at yhe proper level. Before checking charge, run the unit for 15 minutes in the cooling mode to stabilize system pressure. The correct amount of refrigerant charge is listed on the unit nameplate. Use the manufacturer’s cooling charging chart to determine if additional refrigerant is required.
When evaluating the charge, adjustment to the specified factory charge must always be minimal. If a substantial adjustment is indicated, an abnormal condition exists somewhere in the cooling system, such as a refrigerant leak or insufficient airflow across either the coil or both coils.
Heating Season Maintenance Tips
At the beginning of each heating season we also suggest the following maintenance on your rooftop unit:
Flue gas passageways. Annually inspect the flue collector box and heat exchanger. Clean all surfaces on an as-needed basis using a wire brush.
Combustion air-blower. For proper airflow and efficiency, clean the combustion air-blower. Inspect the blower wheel every fall and periodically during the heating season. For the first heating season, inspect the blower wheel bi-monthly to determine the proper cleaning frequency. The blower wheel can be inspected by shining a flashlight into the draft hood opening.
Temperature limit switch. Test the temperature limit switch and verify the operation of the limit by temporarily blocking the return air until the limit trips.
Main Burners. Inspect the main burners for deterioration or blockage due to corrosion or other causes. The main burner flames should be observed and adjusted if necessary.
Cooling Season Maintenance Tips
At the beginning of the cooling season also pay careful attention to the:
Condensate drain. Check and clean at the pan at the start of the cooling season. Keep it dry and protected in the winter to prevent freeze-up.
Proper and routine scheduled maintenance ensures longevity and peak performance of a building’s rooftop units. Cleaning, inspecting, and adjusting major components at the beginning of each season are the means to do this. By planning your maintenance schedule and following manufacturer’s recommendations, you can rest assured that you’re taking proper care of your customer’s rooftop investment. n
Colleen Julian is the Upstate New York- area service sales manager for Carrier Corp., based in Syracuse, NY. She can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]
Installing an outdoor air conditioner unit on the roof (roof) of a house
Installing an outdoor air conditioner unit on the roof of a building is not a particularly difficult task. It is important at the preparatory stage to accurately calculate all installation parameters and make the correct selection of equipment based on the data obtained. This may require a specialist visit to the site. It is also important not to miscalculate with the choice of the contractor. For more than 8 years, our company has been qualitatively installing outdoor units of all types of air conditioning systems and on any surfaces at the lowest prices in Moscow.
Installing the outdoor unit on the roof of a building: route restrictions
When installing the outdoor unit on the roof, there are a few things to consider in advance. First, you need to decide on the specific installation location of the block. In this case, it is important not to forget about the maximum allowable length of the interblock route. For uninterrupted operation of household split-system installations, it can reach a maximum of 20-25 meters, and taking into account the height difference, it is better to reduce this distance to 10-15 meters.
Installing the outdoor unit on the roof: drainage solutions
Secondly, when installing the outdoor unit on the roof, you need to take care of how and where the condensate will drain. When installing the air conditioner in two stages, at the first stage of installation, the best solution would be to lay the drain hose separately from the entire freon line and bring it to the sewer or to the street. When installing in one stage to drain condensate, they mainly resort to installing a drainage pump. In this case, it is very important to choose the right drainage equipment based on the installation parameters, take into account the performance, the maximum length of the route and elevation changes. You can entrust this task to our specialists.
Installation of the outdoor unit on a flat roof: recommendations
When installing on a flat roof, it is recommended to place the outdoor unit on a high place. You can install the unit on a concrete roof railing or purchase a special stand. This is necessary in order to protect the electrical components of the remote unit from snow. When installing on the roof, it is recommended to lay the route indoors or along the front wall of the building. If the wall decoration is a ventilated facade, then the route must be hidden under it. It is also very important to take care of sealing all the holes made during the installation process so that there are no unpleasant surprises.
Recommended parameters when installing the outdoor unit on the roof
Installing the outdoor unit on a pitched roof
Installing the outdoor unit on a pitched roof, as well as on a flat roof, has all the same recommendations and limitations. The only difficulty is the slope of the roof itself. When installing the outdoor unit on the roof, it is necessary to choose a place for reliable fastening of the support / stand for the equipment itself. If necessary, strengthen it and lay vibration isolation. This is especially true when installed on a roof made of metal. Also, if necessary, install snow/sun screens for the installed equipment.
Installation of outdoor units of industrial air conditioners on the roof of a building
When mounting outdoor units of industrial air conditioners on the roof, it is not uncommon to use the services of a manipulator or aerial platform. This is due to the fact that industrial units with a productive capacity of more than 10 kW have impressive dimensions and weight. To install industrial air conditioners, it is also necessary to use special reinforced stands with vibration mounts. They are necessary in order to absorb the vibration that occurs during the operation of the equipment.
Pros and cons of installing the outdoor unit on the roof
In summary, the roof is a good choice for installing the outdoor unit. There are several advantages to this arrangement of equipment.
- Easy installation with free access to the roof.
- Does not spoil the appearance of the facade.
- Suitable for residents of the upper floors of apartment buildings.
But there are also enough disadvantages with this method of mounting the outdoor unit:
- Restrictions on the choice of climate system. Not every model of air conditioner is suitable for such an installation.
- It is often necessary to use additional equipment and related services, which affects the final cost of installation.
Do not forget that any climate control system requires mandatory service and maintenance . To do this, you must have free access to the installed equipment at any time. Therefore, before installation, be sure to consider all the nuances of installation, weigh all the pros and cons and make the right decision. After all, the total cost of service depends on it. You can get acquainted with the cost of services for installing an outdoor unit on the roof, as well as find out the price of all related services and additional work, in the price list below.
|NAME (COST OF INSTALLATION OF THE OUTDOOR UNIT ON THE ROOF)||UNITS||PRICE IN MOSCOW|
ROOF OUTDOOR UNIT MOUNTING • PRICE 1.5 - 2.0 - 2.5 kW (05, 07, 09 BTU)
|Installation of outdoor unit for wall-mounted air conditioner up to 2.5 kW||pcs.||from 2,000.00|
|Installation of ducted outdoor unit up to 2.5 kW||pcs.||from 3,000.00|
|Installation of cassette outdoor unit up to 2.5 kW||pcs.||from 3,000.00|
|Mounting floor/ceiling outdoor unit up to 2. 5 kW||pcs.||from 3,000.00|
ROOF OUTDOOR UNIT INSTALLATION • PRICE 3.5 kW (12 BTU)
|Mounting the outdoor unit of a wall-mounted air conditioner up to 3.5 kW||pcs.||from 2,000.00|
|Mounting the outdoor unit of the ducted air conditioner up to 3.5 kW||pcs.||from 3,000.00|
|Cassette air conditioner outdoor unit up to 3.5 kW||pcs.||from 3,000.00|
|Installation of floor-to-ceiling outdoor unit up to 3.5 kW||pcs.||from 3,000.00|
ROOF OUTDOOR UNIT INSTALLATION • PRICE 5.0 kW (18 BTU)
|Wall-mounted outdoor unit installation up to 5.0 kW||pcs.||from 2 500.00|
|Installing a ducted outdoor unit up to 5.0 kW||pcs.||from 3 500.00|
|Outdoor cassette installation up to 5. 0 kW||pcs.||from 3 500.00|
|Floor/ceiling outdoor unit installation up to 5.0 kW||pcs.||from 3 500.00|
|Installation of an outdoor unit for a multi-split system up to 5.0 kW||pcs.||from 4,000.00|
ROOF OUTDOOR UNIT INSTALLATION • PRICE 7.0 - 8.0 kW (24, 30 BTU)
|Wall-mounted outdoor unit installation up to 8.0 kW||pcs.||from 3,000.00|
|Installing the outdoor unit of the ducted air conditioner up to 8.0 kW||pcs.||from 3 500.00|
|Outdoor cassette installation up to 8.0 kW||pcs.||from 3,500.00|
|Floor/ceiling outdoor unit installation up to 8.0 kW||pcs.||from 3,500.00|
|Installation of an outdoor unit for a multi-split system up to 8.0 kW||pcs.||from 4,500.00|
ROOF OUTDOOR UNIT INSTALLATION • PRICE 10 kW (36 BTU)
|Installation of outdoor unit for wall-mounted air conditioner up to 10 kW||pcs.||from 4,000.00|
|Installation of ducted outdoor unit up to 10 kW||pcs.||from 4 500.00|
|Outdoor cassette installation up to 10 kW||pcs.||from 4,500.00|
|Mounting floor/ceiling outdoor unit up to 10 kW||pcs.||from 4,500.00|
|Mounting the outdoor unit of column air conditioner up to 10 kW||pcs.||from 4,500.00|
|Mounting the outdoor unit of a multi-split system up to 10 kW||pcs.||from 6,000.00|
ROOF REMOTE UNIT INSTALLATION • PRICE 12.0 - 14.0 - 16.0 kW (48 BTU)
|Installing a remote unit for ducted air conditioning up to 16 kW||pcs.||from 6 500.00|
|Outdoor cassette installation up to 16 kW||pcs.||from 6,500.00|
|Floor/ceiling outdoor unit installation up to 16 kW||pcs.||from 6,500.00|
|Installing a columned outdoor unit up to 16 kW||pcs.||from 6,500.00|
|Installation of an outdoor unit for a multi-split system up to 16 kW||pcs.||from 7,000.00|
ADDITIONAL INSTALLATION OF THE OUTDOOR UNIT ON THE ROOF
|Hole in load-bearing wall Ø 45/50mm||pcs.||from 500.00|
|Soldering copper pipes of the outdoor unit of the air conditioner (price for 2 pipes)||pcs.||2 800.00|
|Laying the supply wire to the outdoor unit (from the electrical panel)||M.p.||200.00|
|Dismantling and installation of double-glazed facade windows||pcs.||1,500.00|
|Chasing walls for freon communications 70x40 (concrete)||M.p.||1,500.00|
|Chasing walls for freon communications 70x40 (brick)||M.p.||1,300.00|
|Wall chasing for freon communications 70x40 (foam block-aerated concrete)||M.p.||900.00|
|Wall chasing for drainage communications 25x25 (concrete)||M.p.||600.00|
|Wall chasing for drainage communications 25x25 (brick)||M.p.||500.00|
|Wall chasing for drainage communications 25x25 (aerated concrete)||M.p.||400.00|
|Installation of outdoor unit with industrial climber||pcs.||from 7,000.00|
|Dismantling and assembly of the ventilated building facade||pcs.||from 2 500.00|
|Non-standard outdoor unit roof mount (stud/traverse)||pcs.||1,500.00|
|Aerial work platform with basket (6 hour shift)||pcs.||from 10,000.00|
|Manipulator (6 hour shift)||pcs.||from 10,000.00|
|Installation of the outdoor unit on the facade from the stairs up to 7.0 kW||pcs.||1,500.00|
|False departure of the brigade||pcs.||1,000.00|
Accessories FOR INSTALLATION OF OUTDOOR UNIT
|Installation of winter kit for outdoor unit (drainage heater)||pcs.||950.00|
|Installation of winter kit (compressor crankcase heater)||pcs.||1,000.00|
|Installation of a winter kit (condensing pressure regulator RDK)||pcs.||1,050.00|
|Drain heater withinstallation||pcs.||1,950. 00|
|Compressor crankcase heater with installation||pcs.||2,200.00|
|Condensing pressure regulator RDK with installation||pcs.||2,350.00|
|Vandal proof grille installation (1000/600/500) for outdoor unit||pcs.||1,800.00|
|Anti-vandal grill installation (1200/1000/700)||pcs.||2 300.00|
|Mounting anti-vandal grille (1600/1300/900)||pcs.||2 800.00|
|Protective grill for outdoor unit with installation (1000/600/500)||pcs.||4 500.00|
|Anti-vandal protection grille for outdoor unit with installation (1200/1000/700)||pcs.||5 500.00|
|Anti-vandal protection grille for outdoor unit with mounting (1600/1300/900)||pcs.||7 700.00|
|Installing the outdoor unit protection cover (800/550)||pcs.||1,500.00|
|Installing the protective cover for the outdoor unit of the air conditioner (900/550)||pcs.||1,700.00|
|Mounting the protective cover for the outdoor unit (1000/625)||pcs.||1900.00|
|Canopy for outdoor unit (800/550) with installation||pcs.||3,000.00|
|A/C hood (900/550) withinstallation||pcs.||3,300.00|
|Canopy for remote unit (1000/625) withinstallation||pcs.||3,800.00|
|Stand for outdoor unit up to 5.0 kW||pcs.||from 2,500.00|
Additional equipment for the outdoor unit of the air conditioner
Availability of the outdoor unit of the air conditioner
Call the master
Maintenance of air conditioners in Moscow
Mon-Fri from 10:00 to 18:00
When making an application for maintenance, dismantling or repair, the manager will definitely ask you if an external (outdoor) air conditioner unit is available. Let's figure out which location of the "outside" is considered accessible, and when you need an aerial platform or a climber to get to it.
Under the window
Under the window is the most common installation location for the outdoor unit. If the sash above the block opens, the master can freely perform any work, that is, the block is available. If the sash above the block does not open, but opens, for example, the neighboring one, tell the manager about it. You may have to remove the double-glazed window - an additional fee is taken for this.
Such an arrangement of the “outer” is considered standard, in which its top is at the level of the window sill (window sill). If the block hangs much lower, the technician will not reach the filler fitting or fixing nuts.
Less than 3m from the ground
Less than 3m from the ground - This outdoor unit can be reached from a ladder. The two lower blocks in the photo are available. To install or dismantle such a block, a small hole is drilled above them in the wall and the anchor is twisted. A roller with a rope thrown over it is hooked to it. We consider three meters to be a safe height for the master, and although there are longer ladders, we do not use them. Let's say you can't reach the top air conditioner in the photo from the stairs. Partial access to it is from the window on the side of which it hangs, and this is another typical case.
To the side of the window.
With this location of the outdoor unit, it is not available for installation, dismantling or repair, but it is available for maintenance. Indeed: standing in a window opening, the master will not be able to work with the air conditioner using both hands - at least one of them will have to hold on so as not to fall. However, it is quite possible to put a hose with a nozzle out the window and rinse the air conditioner.
It is also possible to charge the air conditioner, but only when it hangs to the right of the window, when viewed from the inside (that is, to the left, when viewed from the street). The filling fitting and the valves that shut off the freon are located in the place where the tubes fit. In other words, the air conditioner should hang to the window with the right side. It is possible to fill the top air conditioner from the previous example from the window, but both air conditioners in the next photo are not.
Near the balcony.
Here the situation is similar to the previous one, with the difference that it is more convenient for the master to sit on the balcony than on the windowsill. Nevertheless, it will be possible to fill the air conditioner, eliminate the freon leak, “ring out” the compressor only if the air conditioner is hanging to the right of the balcony (we are standing on the balcony, looking at the street).
On the roof.
Outdoor units mounted on or directly above a flat roof - available. If, however, it is necessary to make your way to the installation site of the air conditioner along an inclined slope of the roof, you cannot do without special training.