This Is Why Your RV Air Conditioner Is So Loud – [Do This First]


The noise coming from your RV’s AC unit can ruin a relaxing moment; when the clicking of a compressor or the rattle of a loose nut gets your attention, you might be begging for a way to reduce the racket.

There are plenty of reasons for the noise and some fixes that could restore your RV’s peace. 

Why is my RV air conditioner so loud? RV air conditioners are inherently loud machines. The vibrations caused by the appliance can transfer sound into your RV. Dirt and grime can also build up to block airflow. Regular maintenance will alleviate most of these issues. 

If your AC is on the fritz, replacing the whole unit might be your preferred option. Depending on your appliance, there may be some easy maintenance fixes that could help reduce the noise.

To fix these issues, you need to understand where the noise is coming from.

What Causes the Noise in an RV Air Conditioner?

When troubleshooting your noise issues, there are a few places that can cause common problems. 

During regular maintenance of your AC unit, you should cover all the major areas that could cause excessive noise. If it does not solve the issues, it may be time to replace some components or the entire unit itself. 

Here are some common problem areas:

1. Fan Motor

Once you pull off your unit’s housing, this will be attached to the main fan. This device is working a lot and can break from time to time.

Fan motor issues are more common in older units. If this is the cause of the noise, consider replacing the motor.

2. Loose or Overtightened Fittings

That rattling you hear may just be a fitting that has shaken loose. Inspect your unit and tighten or loosen when needed. A common area is the mounting bolts of the unit.

These sometimes can overtighten. This causes the AC to shake, causing the sound to travel throughout the cabin. These bolts should be secure but not too tight.

3. Worn Rubber Cushions

You might be surprised to find out your AC is already trying to reduce some of the noise it is making. This is done by the addition of rubber cushions to absorb the vibrations of the unit’s components.

These can wear down over time and even harden in older units. If you notice that these are worn out, replace them immediately.

Worn rubber cushions no longer do a good job of protecting the AC components. This will cause more problems down the road.

4. Working Conditions

ACs are built to cool, but you may be overworking your unit if you’re in an incredibly hot area.

Over time this can cause excessive wear and tear. Be mindful of what you are putting your AC through. If you are frequenting hot climates, consider purchasing an AC unit with enough BTUs to keep up.

Always consult your AC unit’s owner’s manual before opening up the housing.

It may be necessary to replace components. You can do this, but make sure you have some basic electrical and maintenance knowledge. 

How Do You Reduce AC Noise?

Regular check-ups of your unit are the best way to reduce noise. Keeping track of when you check the AC system will help prevent issues from appearing down the road as well. 

Pay attention to:

  • Ducts
  • Fans
  • Filters
  • Vents 
  • Condenser Coils
  • Evaporator Coils

Make sure these areas are clean from dust and obstructions. You might need to consult your AC’s owners manual to find access to some of these areas.

A condenser coil brush will be helpful when working with some of the AC’s more delicate parts.

It may also be a good idea to oil up the fan motor. This device is continually working when your unit is on. Proper lubrication can limit metal on metal wear and prevent the fan from breaking. Quality oil is necessary to prevent degradation.

Understanding how your unit works can lead to easy troubleshooting when problems arise in the future.

But If noise issues are bothering you now, it is best to address the easiest options before moving on to the more complicated fixes. 

Explore the fittings of your unit first. Loose nuts and bolts can be easily identified and remedied. This fix will require the smallest amount of effort and knowledge and is often the culprit.

Pay close attention to the bolts on the mounting brackets of the AC’s central unit. 

Once you have addressed the most straightforward problems, you should move on to the more involved solutions. 

Check to see if everything is in the right place. Locate the rubber cushions and see if they are making contact with the fan motor and the condenser coils.

Without contact at these points, the unit will constantly rumble. Check to see if they might need to be replaced if the issues continue. 

Replacing your fan motor or rubber cushions can be a complicated process that requires replacement parts and know-how.

This can be a DIY project, but it demands a practical knowledge of electrical appliance maintenance. When in doubt, consult a professional. 

If you have explored these options and called for help with no solution, it may be time for a new unit. As units age, they tend to pick up some permanent noise problems.

It is often unavoidable. Replacing the AC entirely can be a surefire way to reduce the noise in your RV. 

To not be stuck with the same issue, you may want to purchase an AC that runs quietly. 

Are There AC Units That Are Quieter?

If you are looking for a new AC, you might want the quietest unit, but there are a few other options to weigh when purchasing a new appliance. 

Deciding whether or not you prefer quiet overpower is one of them. To find a quieter option, you may be stuck with a unit that underperforms at cooling.

Do your due diligence and research AC options that work best for your RV needs.

There are lots of options to consider other than noise: 

  • Ducted or Non-Ducted Units
  • BTU and Cooling Capacity
  • Power Usage
  • Dimensions (Weight, Height, Shape)

Think about these things when you are shopping around. Read reviews of products that interest you to find out what the best AC unit is.

If you are looking for a recommendation, our research has shown the Dometic Brisk II is the best choice for overall performance and value.

Another thing to consider is the location of your unit. There are several options for AC placement:

  • Rooftop
  • Underbench, hidden from view.
  • Window

Finding the perfect spot for your AC could help remedy your noise issues. 

If you are not in the market for a new unit and your AC is running well, just loudly, you still have options.

What R-value Is Best For Soundproofing?

R-value is a measurement of the amount of resistance material, or building will have against heat or sound. The higher the R-value, the better the sound-insulating properties are.

What R-Value is best for soundproofing? According to soundproof Experts, the highest R-Value ratings in the industry is between 3.6-4.0 cubic inches. This R-value can be achieved with Cellulose Insulation.

The best materials for RV soundproofing with the highest R values are:

Butyl rubber is an odorless, synthetic rubber with enhanced elastomeric properties.

  • Viscoelastic acrylic polymer is a liquid material highly effective in reducing vibrations.
R-value Chart Soundproof

Can You Soundproof an Air Conditioner?

Depending on your AC system, you have several options for soundproofing. 

AC silencers utilize a sound reduction kit consisting of sound dampening material to muffle the unit’s noise.

Whether you are using a ducted or non-ducted system will dictate what kind of kit you will need.

Ducted units have the advantage of using kits that pad the ducts with soundproofing material. Some of them are even designed to work to improve airflow.

These kits can be easily installed and reduce your noise by up to 10 decibels. 

How Loud Should The AC Be?

The unique problem of RV based air conditioners is the severe limits an RV has in terms of space. When engineering RV rooftop air conditioning units, the primary focus has been keeping the unit from taking up space.

How loud should the CA be? The average decibel range for an RV air conditioner is around 55 decibels.

To put this decibel range into perspective, the ratings are as follows:

  • 50 dB  Quiet conversations at home
  • 60 dB  Conversation at a restaurant
  • 70 dB  Running a vacuum cleaner
  • 80 dB  Running a garbage disposal

Because the AC units have to fit into such a small space and the narrow width of a camper roof, they are stripped down to their fundamentals.

House air conditioners have plenty of space for insulating layers of protection and designs to minimize noise that is unfortunately not possible in an RV.

There are some improvements in the decibel range of RV aircon in recent years, but they will have to work hard to match the quietness of the 25-decibel indoor home air conditioners

Which AC Makes Less Noise?

Which AC makes less noise? The Coleman Mach 10-NDQ has received some really good reviews, even outperforming the Dometic Penguin in an online decibel testing, testing 55 decibels on low and 61 decibels on full.

Dometic has just released their FreshJet 3000 for large RV with new technology to reduce noise.

The speed-controlled dual-cylinder inverter compressor with an optimized fan makes the unit the quietest offering yet.

Conventional compressors switch off when target temperatures are reached and on again when the temperature moves off-target. This starting up causes vibration and high start-up currents, which make a unit noisy.

The new inverter compressor does not turn off but enters sleep mode until it is needed again, so vibration is minimized. When in sleep mode, the FreshJet is whisper quiet. 

How Long Should An RV Air Conditioner Last?

The longevity of an RV air conditioner is determined by several factors, the quality of the model, the frequency of use, and the owner’s level of maintenance.

How long should an RV air conditioner last? As a rule of thumb, expect about 3-5 years with a good brand in frequent use and possibly quite a bit longer with diligent maintenance.

There are ways to extend the lifespan of your AC:

  • Perform weather protection. Protect your air conditioner’s housing with weatherproof material to keep it from being damaged by rain, dirt, and UV rays.
  • Regularly check for leaks. Keep an eye on your seals and gaskets so that they don’t become worn or crack and expose your AC to water damage.
  • Keep your cooling fins in good condition. Bent fins reduce the airflow and shorten the life of your AC.
  • Keep your filters clean. Dirty filters make your AC work harder than they should and could decrease its lifespan.

What Is The Best Sound Deadener?

Road and engine noise can sometimes become too much and put a damper on enjoying your RV adventures.

The engine compartment can be incredibly loud as the coach’s insulation is not sufficient to absorb the levels of noise generated.

A solution to your problems is to insulate your RV from noise by using sound-deadening mats to cover your engine, walls, ceiling windows, and doors.

Some of the best sound deadeners for RVs are:

  • Noico sound deadening mat (80mm). The Noico mats are thick and heavy, with 0.7lbs per square foot. Thickness and density are the two most significant factors in noise absorption, and the Noisco is excellent for reducing vibration and noise from the road and engine.
  • FatMat self-adhesive sound deadener (80mm) FatMat has an excellent reputation for durability and high sound reduction.
  • Kilmat Butyl Sound Deadener Mat – (80 mm) The Kilmat is another excellent option for soundproofing your RV, and it retails at less than the Noico and Fatmat. Kilmat weighs in a little less than the Noico at 0,5 lbs.
  • Dynamat Xtreme (44mm), although the Dynamat is thinner and lighter than the above options, it has an excellent reputation for being one of the best sound insulation for RVs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few common questions people often have about AC:

Sources: – How to Quiet an RV

Mike Gilmour

Hi, I'm Mike, co-founder, and editor of RV and Playa. My passion is traveling (with my RV) and enjoying the day at the beach (Playa)! Well, I originally created this blog as a way to share what I've learned by experimenting with the RV lifestyle, and I want to help others develop in life through new skills and opportunities.

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