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Key Takeaways

  • RV AC soft starters are great for maintaining power draw without crashing the system.
  • Using a soft start for your RV’s air conditioner can help conserve power making your RV more energy efficient.
  • A soft start unit costs between $200 and $400 without installation.
  • Most installations are intuitive and can be DIY projects.

Putting more strain on an RV AC than the system is designed for can cause damage. However, a soft start can prevent this problem if you know how to use it.

A soft start for your RV Air conditioner is an upgrade that allows the AC to ramp up slowly over time and gently draw the motor in power, instead of the overload that occurs when it’s turned all the way up from a cold, stopped state.

A seasoned RV enthusiast knows that understanding power draw is integral in maintaining, operating, and preventing damage in your motorhome, travel trailer, or fifth wheel. If you're driving an RV, energy-efficiency should be your top priority. Let’s take a look at how a soft start can prevent a rough start to your next weekend getaway.



What Are the Biggest Power Draws on Your RV

Keeping things running can be a struggle when dealing with limited space and power sources. That being said, it's important to know what the most energy-consuming components in your RV are so you can plan accordingly.

Everything from air conditioning to lights, microwaves and TVs can drain the battery quickly if you're using them constantly.

Air conditioning is a great tool for RVers, allowing them to stay comfortable regardless of the outside temperature. However, your RV ac units can have a big result on the power draw of your RV.

It's important to understand that an AC unit will require as much power if not more power than just an RV generator alone can provide, meaning additional measures need to be taken in order to keep your air conditioning running smoothly.

One solution is to opt for an inverter generator that is designed specifically to run higher wattage units such as air conditioners. There are also options available such as towable generators or changes in electrical systems that can help make sure that you don't lose access to your cooling when you need it most - like a soft start for your AC compressor.

What is a Soft Start for RV AC

Putting more strain on an RV AC than the system is designed for can cause it to trip the circuit breaker, rendering cool air unavailable. RV air conditioners are infamous for their outsized power draws.

The Benefits to a Soft Start for Your RV AC

An RV AC soft start is an upgrade that prevents a surge and allows the air conditioning units to gently draw the motor into power. When you crank the AC up to cold from a stopped state, the startup power demand can cause an overload.

In addition, a soft starter wired into your AC compressor eliminates any loud noises and helps reduce strain on parts by avoiding sudden influx of power. This helps to extend the life of your air conditioner motor.

Essentially, when you press the power button, it will move from off to low by slightly increasing the current provided to its motor each second. As more electricity is put into motion, more cooling is achieved at a steady rate as opposed to an instant rush of power which could cause damage.

By using this feature you can ensure that your energy consumption and usage are at their optimal level, preventing overloading of your RV's electrical circuits. It's an easy but effective way to retain comfort and luxury during your travels.

How Does a Soft Start Work

To prevent power overload and ensure a longer life and better performance from your air conditioner, a soft starter for RV AC can be installed to prevent the initial power spike.

Soft starters electronically reduce the power input to the air conditioner when it first turns on, which keeps from tripping the circuit breaker, then provides normal power once the unit has started up.

An AC soft start is a small box that is attached to your air conditioner’s compressor that may or may not involve splicing wires. However, brands like Soft Start RV a no cut, no splice easy installation model if you are uncomfortable with DIY wiring projects.

  1. Check Specifications: To begin, it's essential to check the specifications as most compact AC units require an external air breaker with a current rating of at least twice that of the AC unit.
  2. Turn Off Power: Ensure that the main power into your RV air conditioner’s compressor is off.
  3. Mount the Unit: With all of the necessary materials gathered, you'll next need to mount the unit onto an external wall and connect its wiring following manufacturer instructions.
  4. Turn Power On: Finally linked up, your RV AC is ready for a soft start! Most soft starts will have an indicator light to let you know that power is now running through it instead of directly to the AC compressor.

Installing it yourself is not difficult, but it can be dangerous if done incorrectly, so it is always wise to double check with a technician who knows your specific model before installation.

How Much Does a Soft Start Cost

Purchasing a soft start for an RV Ac system can be a cost effective way to extend the life of your motor and reduce energy costs so although not cheap (they don’t call it an upgrade for nothing!) You can consider it an investment. If done correctly, the addition of a soft start can pay off over time by ensuring your motor is protected while keeping your electrical bills lower than ever before.

Prices can vary for an RV AC soft start depending on the type of motor you have, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $400.

What Are the Best RV AC Soft Start Kits

When shopping around for a soft start for your RV AC, there are a few key factors to keep in mind.

Seek out one with corrosion resistant components, like all-weather plastics and pre-treated steel coils, so it can handle the elements year-round. An adjustable fan speed feature can help you customize the output of cold and hot air while running more efficiently.

Additionally, find a model that has an easy install and can be set up by the user, or if necessary get a model with an available installation service team that knows exactly how to guarantee you comfortable conditions no matter where you stop. Think about what features will best suit your needs before investing in one of these products to get the most out of it in the long run.

These are a few top options for RV AC soft starters:

  • SoftStartRV Air Conditioning Soft Start Kit: SoftStartRV allows your multiple appliances to work, even with low power. Using a 2200 Watt generator is enough to bring to life a 15000 BTU RV A/C system which can be conveniently mounted on the roof.  SoftStartRV can provide supplemental power up to 36,000 BTUs.
  • Hyper Sure Start: This unit has seamless switching between generator, inverter or campsite power. It also reduces startup noise for a quieter ambience.
  • Microair Easy Start: This unit eliminates the need for a second or larger generator and in the long run will make your RV more efficient and save money. With one 2200 watt generator you’ll be able to  run your air conditioner unit at 13,000 to 15,000 BTU. In addition, a 30 amp connection will enable you to power two air conditioners at once. This unit is also great for limited power situations which rely on inverters and solar power.