Why Are RV AC Units So Loud?
Some RV AC units can get really loud when they are starting up and running. While newer units make mostly a fairly acceptable humming sound, RVs with several units, un-serviced or older units can get fairly noisy. The noise can sound similar to an airplane take-off, to a knocking, loud humming or whistling noise.
The AC noise itself is not damaging, if it sounds like a normally operational unit. Many RV owners tolerate noisier RV AC’s due to expensive repairs or replacement when it might not be functionally needed yet.
However, this can become quite irritating to sit in an RV that’s loud where one has to yell at others or turn the TV to full volume. Light sleepers also struggle with the loud AC kicking in during the middle of the night on hot summer nights.
Non-ducted units tend to run on the quieter side, with a max of 55 decibel, when the other units run at 65 decibel or higher. However, these units cost anywhere from $700-$1,400 for the unit alone (not including install cost).
There are several possible reasons for an RV AC unit to be noisy:
- Vibration of the unit during use that translates into the RV roof, walls and interior
- You have an older unit
- Open vents/air flow whistle
- The fan motor needs to be replaced
- Loose or overtightened components
- Worn-out rubber cushioning (vibration dampener)
- Overworked AC unit(s)
- Improper mounting of the AC unit
- Any obstruction in the AC unit (debris etc.)
What Is An RV AC Silencer?
There are tools on the market that can help reduce the RV AC noise. One of them is an RV AC silencer. There are several different ones to choose from, and the install is fairly easy, with a project completion time within 10-15 minutes.
An RV AC silencer reduces the noise by muffling the noise via different materials, such as egg crate foam or electrostatic filter. Much like a gun silencer or a car muffler, it streamlines the flow of sound and air, dampening any noise by up to 50% while keeping the unit’s performance the same, or even improving it.
Some additional benefits of using an AC RV silencer is that the AC unit might run more efficiently, saving the overuse of AC components (and thus, early overuse repairs or replacement). It helps keep the AC filters clean longer, as well. Because of all this, it will also lower the electric bill.
You can purchase an RV AC silencer at most RV supply stores (such as Camping World), as well as online. Many RV dealers also carry these in their service department area.
The average cost of an RV AC silencer depends on the type of silencer model, and can range from $65-$250.
RV AC Silencer Reviews
Most of the reviews from the leading brands on the market are very positive.
For example, the Dometic or GE RV AC Silencer DA100 has a 4.9/5.0 rating, with reviews like these:
“I can not say enough good things. I had a 2.5 db sound drop (measured with Iphone) but I can now listen to tv or talk on the phone without changing volume when ac starts. Quality made product- and better air filter is a plus.” (Dave G.)
“Our air conditioners were so loud before! Now we can enjoy our time when the air is on! So much better!” (Joanne)
“I’ve been using it for a couple days now. So far, I’m really happy with the A/C Silencer for my Dometic RV unit. Easy install, I did it myself. Not only is the unit much quieter, but the cool air push through the ducts is more prominent.
It seems to cool the camper faster, but that’s probably because I’m not constantly turning it off due to the noise.” (Patricia B.)
Another brand is the Coleman-Mach RV AC Silencer CA200 that has a 4.9/5.0 rating. Below are some of the customer reviews:
“Easy to install and works as advertised. Now I don’t have to blast the TV for it to be heard over the air conditioner in my Class C motorhome.” (Mark Lawler)
“I was skeptical, but this thing rocks. Every time my air conditioner would come on, and my tv was on, I would have to crank the volume. Now I really don’t have to touch it, maybe at most I bump it just a little. That is huge! I am 100% behind this simple to install product.” (Scott H)
“Ordered the Coleman rv Air Conditioner Silencers. Installed ourselves. Easy process. I was HOPING for a little more “silencing” but the difference was very noticeable. And it seemed as the days passed I actually started not even noticing when the units were on so I guess they did silence more than I thought. Would recommend and I would definitely buy again.” (Vicky H)
How To Install RV AC Silencers
Aron Jemison from 3 Tails RV put together a good video on unboxing, installing and a review of a Coleman RV AC silencing unit that he received from Wacko Products (online distributor of several RV AC silencers):
This particular Coleman AC RV noise reduction kit includes:
- A 20×20 finishing trim kit
- The silencer cover
- Dampening silencer
- Parts kit (screws, bolts, filter, aluminum HVAC tape, extra foam)
- Bottom/base plate of the silencer unit
To install the silencer:
- Use a screwdriver to remove the existing vent/AC cover
- Remove the old base plate
- Install the extra foam on both sides of the opening
- Install the extension kit and the black bottom of the silencer
- Screw in the shorter set of screws about halfway on the bottom area of the silencer unit
- Apply the aluminum tape to the perimeter of the open area in the base plate
- Insert the filter into the cavity and tighten down the screws
- Place the silencer cover onto the baseplate assembly and secure it with screws.
This particular install reduced the noise level by 10 decibels.
Other Ways To Quiet Down Your RV AC
There are other ways to address the RV AC noise issues:
- Regular maintenance and repair of key components, such as:
- Oil the fan motor
- Inspect and repair or replace the condenser coils
- Clean and/or replace filters
- Clean out greasy ducts
- Maintain or replace evaporator coils
- Vents (make sure they are all open).
- Use your unit less (use stand-alone fans or ACs instead)
- Complete replacement/upgrade of the AC unit.
What is the quietest RV air conditioner?
There is a list of top 5 quietest RV AC units that was developed after extensive testing and user feedback:
- Coleman-Mach 10 NDQ (Non-Ducted)
- Dometic Blizzard NXT Heat Pump Air Conditioner
- Portable Air Conditioner Whynter ARC-12S
- Low-Profile Coleman-Mach 8 Plus Air Conditioner
- De’Longhi Pinguino Deluxe Portable Air Conditioner
Is it okay to run the RV AC all the time?
Running an RV AC continuously is very hard on the unit, as well as really expensive when it comes to electric bills. Continuous use of the RV AC wears down the components much faster, leading to expensive repairs or replacements.
A better strategy is to pre-cool the unit, distribute the air flow with fans or portable ACs, as well as to insulate the doors, windows and slide-out slots.
Can you run the RV AC without the shroud?
Yes, you can run the RV AC without the shroud, but it will not perform very well and cause inefficiencies, as the shroud is part of the HVAC assembly.