Is My RV Air Conditioner 13,500 or 15,000 BTUs?

Where is the RV Air Conditioner?

Most RVs, travel trailers, and 5th-wheels come with an air conditioner pre-installed on the roof. It’s the big box looking thing normally located in the center.

If you have a large RV or 5th-wheel there can even be two or three AC units on the roof.

Related Product: Use the Camco RV Vent Insulator (click to view on Amazon) to keep cold air inside your camper.

There are two main kinds of systems, ducted and non-ducted. Ducted is for larger trailers and RVs and non-ducted is normally found in small travel trailers, vans, and converted buses.

If you are looking to buy a new RV AC or upgrade the one you have it’s going to be important to know if it’s a 13,500 BTU or a 15,000 BTU unit.

Here are a few ways you can tell what kind of RV AC you have.

See Also: Best RV AC Units Reviewed (13,500 & 15,000 BTU)

 

How Many BTUs Is My RV Air Conditioner?

A lot of RV AC units that come standard with an RV or travel trailer is 13,500 btu.

Unfortunately, it can be hard to tell what the AC model is when you look at the air conditioner from the outside.

Spec Sheet

The easiest way is to check your spec sheet to see what model they installed from the factory.

Unit Model Number

If you don’t have the spec sheet or you want to be 100% certain you know the BTUs and model of your RVs AC unit you can remove the AC cover, also known as the shroud, and look for the model number somewhere on the unit.

See Also: The Best Camping Gas Generators That Will Run Your RV AC

Note there may be a few different model numbers on the unit since the various parts will sometimes also have serial numbers on them.

It might take a little searching to find the AC unit’s actual model name and number.

Check Your RV’s Amperage

Another way to tell is by whether or not you have a 30 or a 50 amp RV.

If you have a 30 amp trailer your RV AC is most likely a 13,500 BTU and if you have a 50 amp trailer with one RV air conditioning unit then it will probably be a 15,000 BTU.

ducts and ceiling assembly on a 13500 btu rv air conditioner
A ducted RV AC unit will have small ducts throughout the inside of the camper and a vented ceiling assembly.

Is It Ducted Or Non-Ducted?

The last way you can check is by whether or not your RV air conditioning system is ducted or non-ducted.

If it has ducts there will be circular vents spread out on the ceiling of your RV. A non-ducted RV AC only shoots air out of the main vent installed directly under the AC unit.

Non-ducted systems almost always use a 13,500 BTU RV AC or smaller.

It’s a 50/50 on whether or not a ducted system will use the 13,500 or 15,000 BTU RV air conditioner. I have a ducted RV AC system in my travel trailer and the AC is only 13,500.

See Also: How To Easily Replace An RV AC With A Fan, Vent, or Skylight

Conclusion 

In the end, it depends mostly on what was ordered from the factory.

Most of the time a 13,500 BTU RV AC unit will be installed unless a 15,000 was specifically asked for.

And as I said before the only sure way to tell, unless you take the shroud off the AC on the roof and find the serial number, is to look at the spec sheet that came with the RV or travel trailer.

Related: Can You Replace A 13,500 BTU RV AC With A 15,000 BTU RV AC?

Have any questions about RV air conditioners? Leave a comment below.

by Jenni
Jenni grew up in a small town in Idaho. With a family that loves camping, she has been towing trailers since a very young age.

6 thoughts on “Is My RV Air Conditioner 13,500 or 15,000 BTUs?”

  1. The methods you mention don’t really tell you anything. What was ordered from the factory may not be what was installed (either intentionally or unintentionally). Looking at the spec sheet for the RV only tells you what the manufacturer is telling you they installed. What if they are wrong or lied? The only guaranteed way is to climb up on the roof, pull the cover off the AC unit and look at the part numbers on the AC components that are under the cover.

    Reply
    • Hi Ray,

      A 15,000 BTU RV AC will draw around 13 amps when starting. It will work on a 30 amp RV but you will have to make sure no other high power appliances like the electric water heater and microwave are one when you first start it.

      Reply
  2. What size are the AC replacement filters? I’m looking to purchase them and I don’t know the size for the 13,500 BTU unit that is showed in the photos on this article. Are there different sizes? or is it one size fits all?

    Reply
  3. I have a 2021 Forest River Alpha wolf 32 foot 2 slides. In weather over 100 degrees what should the inside trailer temp difference be? I set it at 76 degrees, and during the day the temperature just climbs and the temp difference is 8 degrees. ex 102 outside, inside trailer 95. Its shuts on and off at night the way it supposed to and maintains the 76 degrees but does not turn off at all during the day. I took it in and was told everything works fine. I just want to know if anyone else has this issue.

    Reply
    • Hi Lisa,

      An RV AC should be able to cool around 15 to 20 degrees below the outside temperature, but I think the trailer might be too big for just one RV AC unit to handle.

      In extra hot temperatures, the AC is already working overtime, and since RVs are poorly insulated, much of the cold air is probably escaping quickly. Especially through the gaps around the two slide outs.

      Forest River should have put two AC units on your RV. But since they didn’t you are going to have to do some things to try and cool down.

      If it’s true that nothing is wrong with the AC unit you should check all of the ducts to make sure they aren’t being blocked by anything.

      Also, check the filters that are inside the panel that’s directly underneath the AC unit. Dirty filters can obstruct the airflow going into the RV AC which keeps it from cooling like it should.

      I think the single unit is probably struggling to cool the entire RV, but it might be able to at least get the main room a little colder if you block off the ducts in the bedroom and bathroom and keep the doors closed and maybe even put something in the door gaps to keep cold air from escaping.

      Adding reflective insulation to the windows to keep hot air out and cold air in is also a good idea. You could even try and better insulate the gaps around the slide outs.

      Hopefully some of these suggestions help, RV manufacturers need to start adding better insulation or more AC units to help out campers who are enduring hot summer temperatures.

      Reply

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