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Cleaning of dirty air conditioner
Cleaning of dirty air conditioner

Mark My Words: Helping the basement air conditioner

Q. Do you know anyway to improve the efficiency of my basement residential air conditioning unit in my Winnebago motorhome? I love the motorhome, but I definitely need more cooling. Can a rooftop unit be installed in the place of the Fantastic Vent system in the coach? I could use this to supplement the main unit on a hot day. — Chuck

A. Before you look into adding an air conditioner, take a good look at the basement unit to make sure there are no easy-to-fix issues. Make sure the intake air filter is clean and the cooling coils are free of any dirt or fuzz buildup.

Also check the condenser coils. Dirt can really reduce the efficiency of the heat transfer. Check your manual for help in identifying the various components of your basement system and for cleaning procedures.

Also, check both the supply and return air ducting wherever possible. It is not uncommon to find places where the ductwork has come loose and created air leaks. It doesn’t take much of a leak to make a big difference in cooling capability.

Finally, with the unit operating, test the air temp at both the intake and at the outlet. You should see at least a 20 degree temperature drop through the system.

If everything looks good and you still need more cooling, then it is definitely possible to add a roof air to any standard roof vent. The biggest issue is getting power to it. In most cases, it will be a project for a good RV service facility.

About Mark Nemeth

In 1997, Mark quit his aerospace engineering job and became a full-time RVer. For almost five years he traveled the country while maintaining his website, Mark’s Fulltime RV Adventure ( posting monthly travel logs. Mark now travels part-time and works as the RV Safety Education Director for Escapees RV Club providing technical training at Escapees Boot Camp seminars, as well as assisting in many other areas of the club. He is also technical advisor for Escapees magazine. Learn more about Escapees RV Club at

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