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Does an RV Need to Be Level for AC?

does an rv need to be level for ac

For most modern RVs, there shouldn’t be a real need to level it off for the AC. Well, not if you are hanging about for short periods of time. It isn’t ideal, but your RV’s air conditioner isn’t just going to stop working because you are a few degrees off level.

An RV should always be as level as possible. If your RV is not level for long periods of time, it is going to be putting an immense amount of pressure on the air conditioner. This can cause the air conditioner to become damaged over time.

Even if the air conditioner doesn’t get damaged, the rest of the items inside of your RV will get damaged, in particular your refrigerator. Basically, make sure that the RV is as level as possible at all times. 

What Happens if Your RV Is Not Level?

Let’s start by talking about how this will impact your AC.

Your AC is a series of fans, tubes, and refrigerants. The system needs to be level to ensure that everything continues to pump through the system effectively.

If the air conditioner unit is not level, then the fans have to work harder to force air through the system. Fans working harder means that they will wear out a whole lot quicker.

Not only this but since things cannot flow through the system as effectively when there is a slight tilt to it, the system will start to get clogged up. This means that your air conditioner may just stop working as effectively. Many people find that a tilted AC means that oil gets trapped in the system. This is a major cleaning job. Hopefully, the AC doesn’t break before you get around to it.

.Air conditioner units are also designed to be level. A small tilt in them can cause them to vibrate a little bit. Even the smallest amount of vibration can put a lot of wear and tear on the components. This means more expensive maintenance on your RV’s air conditioner system.

This is only what happens to the air conditioner, though. A tilted RV will cause stress on all of the parts in your RV, causing them to wear down quicker. No item will have more stress placed upon it than a refrigerator, though.

If a refrigerator is tilted even a couple of degrees for more than a few hours, it will stop working. This is an expensive repair job and, in many cases, you may have to completely replace the refrigerator. 

Basically, your RV should never be tilted. Even the smallest of tilts will be awful for everything inside of the vehicle. You can get away with a slight tilt when you are driving the RV around.

That can’t be helped. However, when you are parked up, you are going to want to try your hardest to ensure that the RV is level at all times. Thankfully, this shouldn’t really be that difficult to do. 

How to Level an RV for an AC to Work

In an ideal world, you will pull up on the flattest surface possible. A road, if you can. It may not be perfectly level, but your job will become a whole lot easier when it comes to leveling everything out.

In order to level out the RV, you will need to have the following to hand:

  • Spirit level
  • Blocks for the wheels. Buy actual blocks rather than using pieces of wood here.
  • Wheel chocks, if you have a non-motorized RV
  • Wooden blocks

If you’re using an older air conditioner, or yours just isn’t up to your standards, then we recommend this RV rooftop air conditioner by Dometic. It’s lighter than most models currently on the market, and is designed to provide the most airflow possible with it’s up to date technology and design. Installation is also fairly simple. Bolt it on and plug it in.

Parking the RV

As you are parking the RV, try to ensure that you are parking it as level as you possibly can. Once you have parked your RV pretty often, you will start to get a feel for when it looks close to level.

As we said before, close to level isn’t going to be enough, though. While your AC will probably work if your vehicle is a couple of degrees off, why would you want to put that extra pressure on it? As we said, it isn’t just the air conditioner that you need to be looking out for anyway. It is everything else inside the RV.

Check How Level the RV Is From Left to Right

If you have a modern RV, then it is likely that it will have a level built into it. You can check this to make sure that you are level. The bubble of the level should be in the center. If it isn’t, then check which direction it leans in. If it leans more to the left, then the left side needs to be raised. If it leans more to the right, then the right side will need to be raised.

If your vehicle doesn’t have an in-built level, then you will need your own level. Any decently-sized builder’s level should be fine here. Don’t buy one of the small ones. It will not measure accurately.

To take a measurement, you will need to go into your RV and place it lengthways across the floor i.e. it needs to be heading from the left to the right. Try and get the level as close to the center of the RV as possible.

Once you have taken the measurement with your level, the same principle as before applies. You will either need to raise the RV on the left or the right.

Level Out the RV With Your Blocks

The reason why we are suggesting that you buy proper RV blocks is that it makes the leveling process a lot easier. We know that there are some people that will use wooden blocks, but the size of these tends to be a little bit inconsistent, whereas RV leveling blocks have been made especially for this process. 

Once you know where to put the blocks, the process should be pretty easy. The more one side needs to be raised, the more leveling blocks you will need to put under it.

The wheels that do not have blocks attached to them should have wheel chocks at the front and back to hold them into place.

Measure the Vehicle Back to Front if You Have a Non-Motorized RV

Once the vehicle is leveled left to right, you can now repeat the process from the front of the vehicle to the back. This means turning your level around. 

You will need wooden blocks for this. Lift the RV up onto the wooden blocks in order to level it out. Thankfully, you shouldn’t have to put much effort into this. The vehicle level should be pretty consistent from site to site, with maybe only one bit of extra wood attached or removed. This means that the number of wooden blocks that you are carrying around with you should be fairly predictable.

Final Thoughts

While your RV’s air conditioner unit is likely going to work even if your vehicle isn’t completely level, we do recommend that you take the time to level out your RV whenever you pull into a new campsite.

This way you can make sure that everything inside of the RV is fully protected.

It also means that you will not be causing any extra wear and tear on your air conditioning unit. 

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