How many batteries to run RV AC?

It is a common notion that air conditioners use a lot of power to run for hours but what if you are traveling in an RV and want to use an air conditioner? In this scenario, your only option would be to install a battery or batteries. As a result, the question of how many batteries to run RV AC will arise. 

While traveling in an RV, you are basically staying outside which means you are not in control of the temperature. Using an RV can be extremely uncomfortable especially if you are traveling in a hot region. Since an air conditioner is one of the most energy-consuming appliances it can be a bit difficult to use it in an RV without any kind of preparation. 

By using better quality batteries with greater efficiency you will be easily able to run an air conditioner in your RV and in this article, our aim would be to find out how many batteries we will require in order to successfully run an RV AC. 

Is it possible to run RV AC using batteries?

Is it possible to run RV AC using batteries?

Before we discuss how many batteries to run an RV AC we should delve into the fact or possibility of running an RV AC with the help of batteries. Although it is definitely possible to run an AC with the help of batteries you will also require an inverter that will transform the DC current to the AC current to perfectly run the air conditioner inside the AC. 

Generally, RVs use a 12V air conditioner which is extremely efficient for small and compact vehicles like RVs and doesn’t require much energy to function. You should also remember that while the AC compressor starts functioning it consumes a significant amount of energy also known as surge current which is why you should also consider installing a soft start kit. With the help of a soft start kit you will be able to increase the efficiency of the compressor and your battery will be less affected by the surge current situation. 

Number of batteries required to run RV AC

If you are searching for an answer to the question: how many batteries to run RV AC? To be honest there is no exact number because there are multiple factors involved. The number of batteries you will need depends on the climate condition of your camping location, how much electricity your AC requires, etc. 

To run a significantly high power-consuming appliance like an air conditioner in an RV you will need to install or use Lithium-ion batteries because of their endurance properties, lightweight, and efficiency. They are far better than lead-acid batteries in every single aspect. 

To find out how many batteries you need you will have to check the amperage draw of your air conditioner and the total number of hours it will function in a day. For example, if your RV AC consumes 150 amps every hour and you use the air conditioner for 5 hours a day then your total energy consumption every day will be 750 amps-hour. 

This indicates that you will be required to keep at least 750 amps of energy in your battery apart from the additional battery power you will need to utilize other appliances in your RV. Suppose you need a 300 amp-hour battery bank so that you can comfortably run all appliances in your RV (except for the air conditioner). Now if you are to add the energy consumption of the AC your battery bank capacity should be at least 1050 amp-hour. 

It is important to determine how many amp-hours your AC unit will consume, and then install a battery bank sufficient to run it and everything else you require.

Use a lithium battery with solar panels to operate your RV AC

The run time of your RV AC will depend on the size of both the size of AC unit and the battery bank size. For example, if you have a 15,000 BTU RV AC unit which is the most common AC unit in an RV using a 100 Ah lithium-ion battery you will be able to operate it for half an hour. Since half an hour is a very small time, you can increase the size of the battery to 1000 Ah (10 batteries of 100 AH) and operate the AC for 10 hours. 

In case you don’t have the space for an inverter in your RV you can certainly opt for the 12V air conditioners. These ACs are extremely efficient and they can also run on DC current. Moreover, their run time is better than the traditional RV roof mount air conditioners. 

You should also remember while camping you will not have any practical energy source and if you want to continue using your air conditioner then you should also use solar panels to recharge your batteries. This way you can use the air conditioner and other appliances when the sun is unavailable and recharge your batteries when the sunlight is accessible. 

How to maximize the functioning of your RV AC

Since you are using an air conditioner while traveling and camping you would definitely want to receive the maximum amount of benefits from the same. Let us check out how you can maximize the functioning of your RV AC:

  • Regularly cleaning your RV filters will remove the debris from your AC. This way the air conditioner won’t have to work rigorously in order to bring down the temperature of the RV. 
  • While camping you should park your RV in a shade this way you will be able to keep your RV at a relatively low temperature. With lesser temperatures, you won’t need to use the air conditioner for a long time.
  • Before going out to travel or camp you need to insulate your RV windows so that the heat doesn’t get trapped inside your RV and increase its temperature.

Final words

If you want to use heavy appliances such as an air conditioner in the RV then you will have to supply it with an incredible amount of energy. While you are camping or traveling it is always not possible to get hold of sufficient electricity to power your RV air conditioner which is why you should use solar panels.

With the help of solar panels you will be able to store enough energy in your lithium battery and with the help of an inverter you will be able to power up the air conditioner along with other appliances available in your RV. Using solar panels you will be able to find solutions to your energy-related problems and successfully run AC for a long period of time. 

Frequently asked questions

How many batteries do I need to run an AC RV?

The total number of batteries required to successfully run an air conditioner will depend on the type of battery you have installed in your RV. For example, if you are to use 100 AH flooded deep cycle batteries then you may have to install 8 to 10 batteries so that the AC within your RV can run for at least 8 hours. On the other hand, if you use 100 AH lithium batteries then a total of 8 batteries will be sufficient for running the AC for a significant period. 

How long will the camper AC run on battery?

A lithium battery of 100 AH capacity can power up an RV AC for at least 30 minutes but if you are camping in hot weather then running the AC for 30 minutes won’t be sufficient for you. For your convenience, you should install at least eight batteries of 100 AH capacity. This amount of storage will enable you to run the AC for at least 4 hours. 

How long will a 200Ah battery run an air conditioner?

With a 200 AH battery installed in your RV, you can power up the air conditioner for a maximum of one hour. However, you also need to note that during the running period of AC, the battery needs to be fully charged and you also have to make sure that you are not using any other appliances in your RV.

How long will a 12V battery run an AC?

If you are currently using a small yet highly energy-efficient RV air conditioner which generally has a 5,000 to 6,000 BTUs cooling ability then you will be able to run the AC for 4 to 12 hours. While you are using a 12V battery you need to note that small RV AC can use around 40 to 80 amps of electricity. 

Can I run my RV AC with solar power?

Yes, you can run your RV air conditioner using solar power and for that, you need to install solar panels as well as an inverter in your RV. With the help of the solar panels, you will be able to generate electricity while camping, and the inverter will help in running all the appliances within the RV including the AC. 

In this article, we have discussed how you can successfully use air conditioners while camping in your RV, what you need to keep in mind while installing the batteries for the RV, how to calculate the number of batteries you will require to operate the AC and other appliances available in the RV. 

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