Ultimate RV Generator Guide: Everything you need to know!

RV Owners

Heading out to a campground or RV park for the weekend is great fun. But if you’re ready for a bigger challenge, you may want to plan for a longer trip! You may even want to consider boondocking – camping in the wilderness without any hookups. Fortunately, RVs are totally set up for this.

Since there aren’t any electric hookups out in nature, many motorhomes come equipped with onboard RV generators. However, very few trailers do. If your RV doesn’t have a generator built in, you will need to invest in one before you try your hand at dry camping.

Of course, this means doing some research and shopping around to find the best generator for your RV camping needs. In this article, we’ll show you how to begin shopping for an RV generator.

RV Generator FAQs?

First, let’s discuss the things you’ll want to consider when shopping for a new RV generator by answering some frequently asked questions about RV generators.

How does an RV generator work?

An RV generator uses fuel to create enough power to run major appliances like your air conditioner and microwave. It also charges your RV’s battery systems.

What are the different types of RV Generators?

A generator can run on three different types of fuel:

  1. Diesel
  2. Gasoline
  3. Propane

Some generators can use two separate types of fuel, which is helpful if you run out of one type and need a backup.

When shopping for a generator, you will want to decide which fuel type is most convenient for you and narrow your options from there.

Conventional vs Inverter Generator?

You’ll need to decide whether to purchase a louder, heavier, conventional style of generator, or something lighter and quieter, but more expensive. Conventional generators are also prone to power surges. Generally speaking, we highly recommend the inverter style of camper generator, even if it does mean spending a few extra bucks.

All of the options listed in this article are inverter generators.

What power output do I need for my RV Generator?

Most RV generators put out between 2000 and 4000 watts of electricity. You’ll want to know what you’re looking for before going shopping for one.

  • Do you have a smaller trailer and limited power needs? A 2000-watt unit should be plenty for you.
  • If you wish to run the air conditioner or microwave, you’ll need something offering 3000 watts—and in some cases, even more.

Consider what you want your generator to run, and check those appliances to see what kind of output you need. Keep in mind that a unit with higher output won’t damage a smaller or less power-hungry rig. When in doubt, go for the higher output!

What size generator do I need for my RV?

The answer to what size generator you need for your RV is more complicated than you might think. While more powerful generators are likely to be a bit larger than their less powerful counterparts, size is not a reliable way to measure the output of a particular unit. The question shouldn’t be, “What size generator do I need to run my camper?” Instead, it should be, “How much output do I need, and what is the smallest and lightest generator I can find that offers that?”

Fortunately, portable generators for RV trailers are getting smaller and lighter each year. It shouldn’t be too hard to find something that doesn’t push you over your cargo-carrying capacity.

What is the quietest generator for my RV?

Because you might find yourself using your generator near other campers (and because you might want to sleep while the generator is running sometimes), it’s important to find something relatively quiet. This is totally doable and just requires a bit of research. We will discuss the quietest options below.

How long does an RV generator last?

Like any other engine, your RV generator has a limited lifespan and is more likely to encounter mechanical failures and breakdowns as it ages. It’s important to check the running hours when you’re considering purchasing a used RV generator unit. Just like the odometer in a car, the hours on your generator can help you get a sense of how much life to expect out of the unit.

Can I drive my RV with the generator on and running?

Yes! Many RVers run their generator while driving in order to use the coach air conditioning to cool the inside of the motorhome. This is especially important if they’re traveling with pets or passengers. Just ensure that your RV generator is installed correctly so as to avoid any safety hazards on the road. Portable generators are NOT safe to use while driving. 

What should I consider before purchasing a generator?

Here are a few questions to ask before adding to your cart:

  • Does it have its own enclosure?
  • Does it have parallel jacks?
  • How much fuel will I need for it? A smaller tank on a generator means it won’t run as long before needing a refill.
  • What safety features does it have? Does it come with accessories like mufflers, adapters, or cords?

Not all of those questions and features are going to apply to everyone. Think about what’s important to you, and make sure those are the things you look for first.

How important is fuel efficiency?

Last but not least, you will want to find a fuel-efficient generator for your RV or trailer. The more efficient your unit, the longer it will run off a tank of gas, making trips into town fewer and giving you more time to have fun.

RVs parked in a storage lot

RV Diesel Generator

Diesel RV generators can be useful when you’re already driving a diesel-powered rig, but that’s not the only reason to consider these!

Some of the pros of diesel generators include:

  • A cleaner burn 
  • More power, less engine – compared to gas engines of the same size, diesels have more power for their size. 
  • Like any other diesel power machine (including engines), diesel generators are well known for their durability and their low maintenance. 

These perks do all come with a cost, however. Diesel is going to cost more than gas, and you’ll want to factor that increase in when making your decision.  

Which Diesel Generators Are Highly Recommended?

As we discussed, you’re going to want to consider things like how much power you need to run your appliances and how much room you’ll need for your generator – but these models get great reviews:

  • The Cummins Onan 6HDKAH-1044 120v Diesel RV Generator
  • The Kipor Power Systems KDE5000TA Powered Portable Generator
  • The ProSeries Portable Diesel Generator

RV Propane Generator

Liquid propane generators for RVs produce about 10% less power than gas or diesel, but propane has a longer shelf life. It’s also one of the more popular fuels for RV generators. An RV propane generator needs to be powered using either a large, permanent propane tank or a smaller, portable one. Propane tanks are easy to procure and get refilled when needed. Propane produces about 91,500 BTUs per gallon and has a long shelf life. It definitely lasts longer than gasoline. Propane is stored in a canister or tank and doesn’t degrade even if you only use it once a year. 

Choosing a propane RV generator

An RV class generator is the best option, as it has three times the horsepower of ordinary generators. RV propane generators are also built for years of continuous use, rather than as a backup option. You’ll want to read reviews and talk to people for recommendations on propane generators for your RV. Find out whether the RV propane generator you’re interested in makes noise when it runs, how heavy it is since you’ll need to transport it, and how big it is. Find out how it starts – does it have a pull-start, a key, or a remote-start generator? Does it require extra accessories? 

Maintaining your propane RV generator

You will need to maintain your RV propane generator to be sure it runs well. Run the generator every two weeks, or at least once a month for a few hours. Check the fuel and make sure all parts are clean and in good condition. 

Your propane generator for RV is an important part of your rig! Having a quality generator in good condition means you can run all of your appliances when you want without worrying about shore power.

Gasoline-Powered RV Generator

Filling your RV generator fuel tank with regular unleaded gasoline is the easiest solution. Gasoline is readily available and comes at a lower cost than diesel. Additionally, some gas-powered generators can pull fuel directly from a motorhome gas tank. The downside to gas as generator fuel is you’ll burn through it quite quickly.

Best RV Generators 

There are a number of excellent RV generator options out there, and there is absolutely no way we could talk about every good option on the market. That said, we did manage to pick a few of the best ones:

  1. Honda EU3000i
  2. Honda EU2200i
  3. Yamaha EF2000iSv2
  4. Generac GP3000i
  5. WEN 56203i
  6. Predator 3500

Each of these was chosen because it’s an all-around good quality unit. That said, each one does have a single standout feature that we feel deserves to be highlighted. We’re sharing below what we love most about each of these RV generators.

Best Portable Generator for RV?

If you’re looking for the best camper generator that is small, lightweight, and easy to move around, the options below are for you. Both are some of the smallest options out there, making them perfect for RV living.

2000 Watts: Yamaha EF2000iSv2

Many would say this is the best portable generator for an RV, hands down. It has a surge wattage of 2000 watts with 1600 running watts. It’s a gas generator that holds about 1.1 gallons of fuel and lasts about 10.5 hours at 25% load. The best part? This super small unit weighs just under 56 lbs.

3000 Watts: Generac GP3000i

If you need something more powerful than the Yamaha but still want something easy to move around, this is it.

The generator weighs in at a mere 59.5 lbs. On top of that, it offers 3000 starting watts and 2300 running watts. This unit is gas-powered and the fuel tank holds about 1.06 gallons. A full tank will last around 5.8 hours when running at 25% load.

a woman outside an RV watching the sunrise

Best Quiet RV Generator?

Both units above are pretty darn quiet. However, if you’re looking for the quietest RV generator, you’ll want a WEN. Besides being extremely well-made and highly rated, the two WEN units below are some of the quietest generators you’ll find.

2000 Watts: WEN 56203i

A high-end RV generator, this unit is super lightweight at only 39 lbs. It’s also crazy quiet, coming in at only 51 dB at 25% load. This unit is a gas-powered generator and holds about 1 gallon of fuel. A single tank of gas will last about 10.8 hours at 25% load. The surge wattage of this Wen is 2000, with the running wattage measuring about 1700.

3000 Watts: WEN 56380i

Just like its little sister, this is a high-end option, meaning you can expect excellent quality. It is quiet, operating at 57 dB depending on the load. This unit weighs in at just 110.8 lbs, offers 3800 starting watts, and gives the user 3400 running watts. It’s a gas-powered generator, holds 2.2 gallons of fuel, and can run for about 8.5 hours at 25% load.

Other Quiet Generators to Consider:

  • The Yamaha EF2400iSHC Gas-powered Portable Inverter has a noise level at 25% load of 53 db. It’s expensive, but has a long run-time and comes with a three-year warranty
  • The Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel Ready Portable Inverter Generator with Electric Start is heavier and has a slightly louder noise level – 59 db. It’s less expensive than the Yamaha, but still on the higher end

Generator Safety

Now that you have your generator, it’s time to go over some basic safety information. First, make sure your rig is equipped with a carbon monoxide detector. As generators burn fuel, they emit carbon monoxide, which is highly poisonous but odorless. You don’t want that blowing back into your rig, so make sure your carbon monoxide detector is working. For the same reason, don’t run your generator in closed garages or anywhere there’s not good ventilation.

When using a portable generator, make sure to keep an eye on the weather and conditions. Don’t let your generator get wet or run it in rain or snow. On the other hand, if you’re dry camping in the desert or a dry forest, be careful of where you place it, as heat or sparks could start a wildfire.

You’ll also want to safely store your generator when traveling so it won’t tip over. Generators need to be stored upright, so make sure you have a secure location where it won’t slide around or fall over while you’re driving.

And finally, while it’s not a safety issue, be thoughtful about where you use your generator. Dry camping in the middle of nowhere won’t be a problem, but running a generator all night in a busy campground will leave you with angry neighbors. Many campgrounds won’t even allow generators to be run at night, so check with the campground for any restrictions before starting it up.

How to Operate an RV Generator

Ok, after all that, we’re finally ready to operate your generator. The first thing to do is to open up your trusty user manual and read exactly how to use your specific generator model! RV generators are all a little different, but we’re going to give you a general guide on how to use them. For all specifics on operating and troubleshooting your generator, turn to that user manual!

How to Operate an Onboard Generator

Using an onboard generator is typically pretty easy. Most RVs will have a “Start/Stop” switch on the control panel that will allow you to turn it on and off. Depending on the rig and generator, you might have a “Prime” button that will prime the generator before it turns on, or you might have to hold the “Stop” switch to prime the generator. Check your user manual to see how exactly to prime and start your particular generator and how long it needs to be primed. Once it’s primed, hold the start button for a few seconds until you hear the generator kick on.

How to Operate a Portable Generator

Portable generators take a few more steps to operate, which is why it’s incredibly important to read the user’s manual to know exactly how to operate it.

First, you’ll need to unload the generator and place it at least 5-10 feet away from your rig. You’ll also want to make sure the exhaust output is facing away from your rig to avoid fumes getting inside. Depending on where you’re camping and how loud the generator is, you might want to put it farther away from your trailer so it won’t be so loud. Check the oil and fuel supply levels to make sure you have enough for how long you’ll be running it. With everything in the trailer off, plug your shore power cable into the power supply port on the side of your rig.

Next up it’s time to prime the generator. Check your owner’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to prime and start your particular generator model. Once it’s primed and started, give it a minute or two to warm up. Once the generator is warmed up and running, plug the other end of the rig’s power cable into the generator. Depending on the type of generator, you might have to use a dogbone adapter to connect the cable. And there you go, your rig now has 120-volt power!

RV camping in desert near Phoenix

Onan Generator RV – Troubleshooting, Parts, and Repair

If you have a Cummins Onan RV Generator, you are one lucky camper. These generators are some of the best on the market, and having a good generator makes camping comfortable and fun no matter where you roam.

That said, as with any other appliance, Cummins RV generators can develop issues over time. Luckily, most Onan RV generator issues can be resolved, and some of these problems are simple enough that the average handyman can fix them.

Below are some tips and tricks for diagnosing and repairing your Cummins RV generator. Why not dive right in and get that nifty gadget up and running once again?

Onan RV Generator Troubleshooting

The first step in fixing Onan RV generators is troubleshooting. Begin by checking the fuel level. These generators pull fuel from the motorhome tank through a tube. Often, this tube is not quite long enough to pull fuel through once the tank is below ¼ tank.

If filling your tank doesn’t help, be sure to check your generator’s oil level. Onan generators for RVs have a “low oil” shutoff that could be causing problems.

Other things to try include replacing the spark plugs and filters, running carb cleaner through the system, replacing the voltage regulator slip rings, and checking the circuit breaker on the back of the unit. Checking inside the housing for rodents and bugs is always a good idea, and you may also want to check that the ground wire is still firmly connected on both ends.

Finally, many newer models of Onan diesel RV generators also have fault codes that appear on the display of the unit. If this is the case with your model, you can find the meaning of the code your display is showing by heading to this website or checking your Onan RV generator manual.

Onan RV Generator Repair

If none of the above solutions work and you aren’t great at DIY projects, it might be time to seek out a repair person. Luckily, most small engine repair shops can work on these units. Therefore, while many people prefer to visit Cummins-specific repair shops, others claim to have more budget-friendly repairs made at such places as lawn mower repair shops. If you’re tight on cash, it’s definitely worth it to check out all of your options.

Prefer to do the work yourself? YouTube is an excellent resource for learning how to make more complex repairs. Try this video to get started, and see where your search takes you.

Onan RV Generator Parts

Of course, if you’re going to fix the Onan generator in your RV on your own, you’ll need to find the right parts to do so. We’ve found that PPL Motorhomes is a great place to go for these. That said, purchasing used Onan RV generator parts from eBay is a great way to save some money, making it the ideal solution for those on a budget.

Onan RV Generator for Sale

Sometimes a generator simply cannot be repaired, or can’t be fixed for a reasonable price. In these cases, purchasing a replacement generator is the best course of action. Unfortunately, replacement generators are super expensive. Therefore, we recommend that those needing a more affordable solution look for used Onan RV generators for sale.

Like the parts mentioned above, used Onan RV generators can be found on eBay. They can also be picked up from junkyards where RVs have been discarded. Other places to look include Craigslist and your local Facebook Marketplace, both of which occasionally have Onan RV generators for sale.

Yamaha RV Generator: What You Need to Know

Yamaha RV generators all come with a warranty, which is definitely useful if you’re having a problem with yours! The Yamaha website is a great resource when you’re first considering purchasing a generator. You can put in the appliances you plan to run with your generator, and their online tool will calculate how much power you need, and which models of generator you should consider buying. 

Yamaha RV generator parts

The Yamaha website also has a list of dealers where you can find more on their products and parts. They also have a parts catalog online that you can browse to find what you need. 

You can try looking online for any Yamaha RV generator parts you need as well. If you choose to purchase parts online, be sure to find out the return policy in case you need to send anything back. Also, don’t forget to calculate any shipping charges in your order so you know exactly what you’re paying. 

If you buy parts online, make sure you choose a reputable website. If you haven’t heard of the site before, do a little searching online to see what other people say about them before buying anything. 

Portable RV generator maintenance

To ensure your Yamaha portable generator runs for a good long time, be sure and maintain it well. Don’t leave fuel sitting unused in the generator for too long – it gets gummy and can damage the device. Make sure to run your generator every few weeks, or at least once a month with half a load for 2-3 hours. Also, follow any care and maintenance guidelines in your owner’s manual carefully. If you properly maintain your generator, your generator should last a nice long time. 

Portable Yamaha RV generators can come in handy in all sorts of circumstances. If you do some research on their website, look at their products, and talking to a customer service rep or looking in forums, you’ll come away with a generator that should help you feel comfortable while traveling. 

a trailer with food and drinks set up at a picnic table in front

How to Quiet Down Your Generator

Of course, the biggest issue with generators is that they’re loud. In fact, depending on what kind of generator we’re talking about, they can be extremely loud, making them nearly impossible to use if you have any neighbors at all.

If you happen to own one of these super loud generators, you may be feeling a bit disappointed that you can’t put it to good use without disturbing everyone near you. Fortunately, there are ways around this problem. With a bit of effort—and sometimes a dash of creativity—you can quiet RV generator noise so everyone around you can have peace even as you run your A/C, microwave, or phone charger.

Wondering how to quiet down a generator? There are a few different options out there.

Making Generators Quieter: 3 Methods

So what are these methods for how to quiet your generator? There are three that we know of, and of those, two stand out as the ideal ways of quieting a generator.

The three methods are:

  1. Muffler
  2. Plywood
  3. Baffle Box

Each has its pros and cons, so you can choose the method that works best for you, your budget, and your travel style.

The Muffler Method

The first option for quieting a generator is the muffler method. An RV generator muffler works in the same way it would work on a vehicle. It captures the loud sound and, as the name suggests, muffles it. It does this by bouncing the sound around in a very precise manner, canceling out noise along the way and releasing a much quieter noise out the back end.

Unfortunately, an RV generator muffler silencer is incredibly expensive. Additionally, in order for a generator muffler to be effective, it must be installed correctly.

Sure, you can get a bit of muffling power from a muffler rigged onto the generator exhaust pipe. However, in order to get the full effect, the muffler must be welded into place. Many people don’t have the tools or skills needed to do this job properly.

We also must mention that while a muffler works well on the type of generator installed inside of an RV, it isn’t always the best option for freestanding generators. This is because much of the noise of the appliances actually escapes out the sides of the generator, which aren’t covered as they would be on an in-RV generator.

In the end, while a muffler might offer relief from the noise of a generator, it is an expensive and complicated solution that doesn’t work as well as many would like. For this reason, we recommend looking into other options for how to quiet generator noise—unless you’re dealing with a generator that is installed in your RV.

The Plywood Method

The next method we listed is the plywood method. It can only be used on standalone generators, not those installed in the RV. However, if this is the type of generator you have, it is our favorite option to quiet generator noise. It works well, is incredibly inexpensive—you may even have what you need on hand already!—and absolutely anyone can put it together on their own.

To use this method, simply collect 4 pieces of plywood. The pieces need to be at least a bit bigger than the sides of the generator. Lean one piece of plywood onto each side of the generator, creating a sort of lean-to house around the appliance. This lean-to helps contain the noise and can easily drop sound levels by 10 decibels or more.

Want even more sound-reducing power? You can enhance this plywood method by using OSB or even sheetrock in place of the plywood. Another option is to paint your plywood—or OSB or Sheetrock—with a layer of tar to further absorb the sound.

It should also be noted that in order to ensure your generator doesn’t overheat and become damaged or cause a fire, you should build your structure with plenty of ventilation. Fortunately, this is easy enough to accomplish by placing the end of each sheet of wood a few feet away from the generator and then leaning it in, leaving a nice gap between the wood and the appliance.

Baffle Box

The plywood method above is fantastic in that anyone can do it, and it’s super portable. That said, it isn’t exactly pretty to look at, and those who use their generators often might find that their lean-to tends to fall over or slip out of place. The answer? A generator baffle box.

A baffle box is simply a box that your generator can be placed inside in order to contain the noise it creates. It works just like the plywood method but looks a bit nicer, stands a bit stronger, and is less cumbersome to set up each time you wish to use it.

Most people choose to build their own baffle boxes out of plywood. It works well, is relatively inexpensive, and leaves a lot of room for customization, but it does require a little bit of elbow grease. Still, most people find that the finished product is quite nice, making it worth the effort.

To make your own baffle box, just build a wooden box for your generator to fit inside. Make sure to add holes for ventilation, including a spot where the exhaust escapes. To make your baffle box even more soundproof, consider painting tar on the inside of the box or making an inner box and an outer box and putting insulation between the two to further muffle the sound.

Some people will create a hole for refueling, removing the need to remove the box each time the generator needs to be topped off. Others will add a handle to make the box easier to carry.

a Class C camper on a dirt road in front of snow capped mountains

Other Options

Besides the three noise-reducing methods listed above, there are a few other things you can do to ensure you aren’t bothering the neighbors or driving your own family crazy when running your generator. Try using these tips in addition to or instead of the methods mentioned above to find the perfect solution for your situation.

Move Away from RVs

The great thing about a portable generator is that it’s…well, portable. Try moving the generator as far from your RV and the other rigs around you to see if that makes things quiet enough to get some rest. Extension cords help make this possible, as does a lot of open space, making boondocking in the wilderness the perfect opportunity to give this a try.

Place on Solid Ground

Considering how loud generators already are, you definitely don’t need the sound created by a wobbly generator added to that. For this reason, you’ll want to make sure you place your generator on stable, solid ground where wobbling and vibrations won’t be an issue.

Shop for a Different Generator

Our last tip is the most expensive option. Nevertheless, it does solve the problem with the least fuss. If you own a big, noisy generator, your best bet might just be to go out and purchase a different one, looking for a less noisy generator when you do.

Buying a Different Generator: What to Look For

Let’s say you do decide to start shopping for a new, quieter generator. Do you know what you should be looking for?


Generally speaking, you will be looking for an inverter generator with its own enclosure. These are much quieter than the larger, less-enclosed type that tends to be used on worksites and in emergency situations. Additionally, they are lighter, making them easier to travel with.

Sound Rating vs Power Output

Usually, the more power you get from a unit, the noisier it’s going to be. Fortunately, RVers don’t tend to need a ton of power. In fact, unless you want to run the air conditioner or microwave, a 2,000-watt generator should be sufficient for your RVing needs. A good, enclosed 2,000-watt inverter generator should only put out around 65dB, making it a relatively quiet option.

That said, those who wish to run things such as the A/C will need more power than a 2,000-watt unit can provide. At that point, a 3,500-watt generator will be needed. As long as you go for an enclosed unit, you should be able to find a fairly quiet 3,500-watt generator that is about as loud as a 2,000-watt unit.

Of course, your new, super quiet generator can also be surrounded by plywood or put in a baffle box to help silence it further.

Our Favorite Super Quiet Portable Generators

Prefer not to do the shopping yourself? No worries! We have some excellent recommendations that we know you’ll be happy with. Try one of the generators below for a quiet experience that’ll keep you comfortable even in the middle of nowhere.

Honda EU2200i

This incredibly well-made and reliable piece of equipment is the favorite option of an enormous number of RVers. It’s lightweight for starters, and for those who only require 2,000 watts or so, it gets the job done quite nicely. Best of all, this generator produces a mere 57dB of sound, making it one of the quietest generators on the market.

Harbor Freight Predator 3500

The Harbor Freight “Predator” generators are also a fantastic option. They have a 2,000-watt unit that we love almost as much as the Honda generator mentioned above. However, the 3,500-watt unit is probably our favorite 3,500-watt generator on the market. It’s also reliable and easy to use, and like the Honda unit above, it puts out only 57dB of sound—an incredible feat, considering the power it’s putting out.

As you can see, there are a number of ways to get the power you need in your RV wherever you are, and without making a huge racket. Try one of these tips or employ a variety of them to create a surprisingly peaceful generator experience that most people would think impossible.

Tips for Keeping RV Summer Essentials in Good Working Order

The warm, sunny months of summer mark some of the most popular for travelers of all stripes, including, of course, RVers.

Of course, that summer weather that makes traveling so alluring during June, July, and August also means extra considerations when it comes to your vacation, particularly if you’re camping. ina motorhome or travel trailer. After all, chances are you upgraded from tent camping to the #RVlife specifically because of creature comforts like air conditioning… you definitely want to make sure those features are in proper, working order before you hit the road!

Along with keeping your camper cool, collected, and in proper working order, taking on some pre-summer-trip maintenance can help ensure you enjoy every single second of your trip. I mean, who wants to take time away from their vacation to worry about fixing some sort of technical issue… or, worse yet, shelling out for a visit to the RV mechanic?

While keeping up with a regular preventative maintenance schedule is important at every time of the year, certain RV features are particularly important during your summertime travels: specifically, your air conditioning unit, fresh water tank, and generator.

So, ready to get outside and enjoy summer while staying calm, cool, and well-hydrated? Read on to learn everything you need to know to tackle basic summer RV maintenance issues!

RV Air Conditioner

Let’s start with the most important stuff: staying cool. Because when you’re RVing in the dead of summer, there’s simply no substitute for a killer AC system, which means it’s time to ensure yours is in proper working order.

When was the last time you took a trip up onto your rig’s roof to check out your RV AC unit? If it’s been a while, it might be time to grab the ladder and hoist yourself up to have a look.

The specific steps you’ll need to take to keep up with your rig’s HVAC maintenance will depend on what type of unit you have.

But in general, you’ll want to ensure you’ve got nice, clean, new filters where they’re necessary, and getting up top to ensure the plastic casing looks nice and solid is a good idea, too.

This is also a good time to run your hands around the seams surrounding the AC unit on the inside of your rig to ensure the seal is still water-tight and you haven’t sprung any leaks. Water damage is one of the leading causes of serious RV maintenance and repair issues, so getting ahead of it is key to ensuring your RV enjoys a long, healthy life full of adventures.

If you’re running into issues with your RV AC unit and are looking for troubleshooting help, check out this RVshare blog with tips and tricks for DIY AC maintenance. And if it’s time to replace the unit entirely, don’t despair! We’ve also written the Ultimate Guide to RV HVAC.

a family next to their RV

RV Generator

Even if your RV’s HVAC system is in perfect running order, it won’t do you any good if you don’t have a camping generator to run it — unless, of course, you’re staying at a campground with shore power.

That said, half of the fun of summer camping is about getting off-grid to go boondocking. And even if you are planning on staying solely at developed campgrounds, it’s always nice to have a backup.

As you may know, generators aren’t cheap to repair or replace, so keeping the one on your rig in proper working order should be a high priority. The good news is that a little can go a long way when it comes to performing regular maintenance to extend your generator’s life.

One of the most important things for your generator might sound familiar because your doctor likely says the same thing: regular exercise! Although it may seem like refusing to run your generator would save up its life for later use, the opposite is true. Generators perform better when they’re run on a regular basis.

You’ll also want to ensure your generator’s oil levels are appropriate and change the oil as necessary, just like you would with a car. Also, check the air inlet system for any debris or gunk buildup, which could keep the unit from properly cooling.

RV Fresh Water Tank

So, what’s the only thing that’s even more important than keeping cool in the summertime?

That’s right: keeping hydrated. Although it’s a good idea to bring along extra potable drinking water on your adventure, it’s also a good idea to make sure your RV’s water tank is in good working order.

Before you set out for your trip, turn on the water pump and run the taps to ensure the pump is working. If it’s not, it may be an electrical issue; see our RV water pump troubleshooting post for more information.

This is also a good time to ensure your tanks are nice and clean, so you’ll feel good about using the water that comes out of your kitchen and bathroom sinks. Filling and flushing the tanks with a diluted bleach solution can disinfect them and kick out any nasties that have been lingering before you head out for your adventure.

Finally, if you’ll be using your rig to take showers (or wash dishes), you’ll also want to ensure your RV water heater is doing its thing. Along with just double-checking that it’s working, you can use this opportunity to flush out the tank entirely, which can clear it of calcified deposits and sediment that naturally builds up over the course of time.

Happy camping!

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