Running an RV air conditioner on a generator

Running an RV air conditioner on a generator, you need to find the right size and type of generator, a “soft start” kit, and follow other tips.

Having an air conditioner built into your RV can make your trips more comfortable and give you better temperature control.

You can even run this air conditioner on a generator if it has the right capacity and you have a “soft start” kit installed on the compressor. There are also some other tricks you can use to make this process easier.

Why does your RV need an air conditioner?

Realistically, not every RV needs to have an air conditioning system built into it, but this feature has become quite common.

If your RV happens to have an air conditioner in it, you will know that this feature can bring a lot of comfort to your next camping trip.

Some RV air conditioners even include a “Sleep” mode, which allows you to stay cool and comfortable all throughout the night, while ensuring that you are not wasting energy by having the air conditioner on full blast when it is not necessary.

Running an RV air conditioner on a generator

Since there can be so many benefits associated with having an air conditioner in your RV, it is good to know that you will be able to power this air conditioner with a generator.

This ensures that you can run the air conditioner and cool the RV regardless of how far from the nearest charging point you are.

The process of running your RV air conditioner on a generator is not complicated. You just need to ensure that the generator is sized appropriately for the air conditioner.

Most RV air conditioners can run on a 2000 to 4000 watt generator, but you should always check the wattage of your specific air conditioning unit to ensure that it fits into these average parameters.

As long as the generator can provide the maximum quantity of power that your air conditioner needs to operate, it is completely safe to power your air conditioner this way.

However, air conditioners often require a higher initial power draw to get their compressors and fan motors running when they are first switched on.

This is why many RV owners install a “soft start” kit for their air conditioners. This reduces the load on the generator and ensures that it is able to power your air conditioner.

Even with the “soft start” kit, it is imperative that you find a generator that has the right wattage to match your air conditioner and that is an inverter type, if possible.

There are also a few other tricks that make powering your RV air conditioner with a generator much simpler once you have the generator and the “soft start” kit.

“Soft start” kits for RV air conditioners

A “soft start” kit for an RV air conditioner is a small device that is installed directly onto the compressor of the air conditioner and it lowers the initial power draw of the compressor when the air conditioner is turned on.

This means that your RV air conditioner will use fewer watts to start than usual and you will be able to use a less powerful generator.

Some of the best “soft start” devices include:

“Soft start” device Price Customer ratings Where to buy
SoftStartRV Air Conditioning Soft Start Kit $349.00 4.7 out of 5 stars Running an RV air conditioner on a generator
Buy it on Amazon
SpartanStart Soft Starter for RV Air Conditioner $289.00 3.8 out of 5 stars Running an RV air conditioner on a generator
Buy it on Amazon

The best inverter generators for RV air conditioners

Once you have the “soft start” kit installed, you can find a generator that has the capacity to power your RV air conditioner.

In general, inverter type generators work best even though they are more expensive, because they are quiet, and they provide a consistent flow of power to the air conditioner.

Some of the best inverter type generators for RV air conditioners include the following:

Inverter generator model Wattage Price Customer rating Available on Amazon
Generac 7127 iQ3500 3500 starting watts and 3000 running watts $1199.00 4.6 out of 5 stars Running an RV air conditioner on a generator
Buy it
Westinghouse iGen4500 4500 starting watts and 3700 running watts $1399.00 4.5 out of 5 stars Running an RV air conditioner on a generator
Buy it
Honda 664240 EU2200i 2200 peak watts $1399.00 4.8 out of 5 stars Generator to run Jayco air conditioner
Buy it

Tricks to run your RV air conditioner from a generator

Although you can safely run your RV air conditioner from the generator as long as the generator has the appropriate capacity, it can help to follow these steps to make the process go seamlessly:

  • Unplug any unnecessary power draws like phones, laptops, and televisions from the RV
  • Switch your refrigerator to propane instead of generator power
  • Switch off the converter on your RV

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