How to Clean a Tent Air Conditioner

If you’re camping in the summer with an air conditioned tent, then it’s important to know how to clean your air conditioner. This is usually very straightforward, and most manufacturers will include guidelines in the manual that came with your AC unit, so make sure you check those out before following our tips.

Why Cleaning Your Tent Air Conditioner is Important

If you want to stay cool while camping, then it’s important to make sure your air conditioner is running as efficiently as possible. If your unit is clogged with lots of dust, debris, and moisture, it won’t be able to put out as much cool air as it should be able to.

How to Clean Your Tent Air Conditioner

To clean your tent air conditioner, you should first turn it off, then:

Clean the Drain

Your tent AC unit will likely have a drip pan or a hole where the hose attaches. As the unit cools the air, it produces water (cold air can’t hold as much moisture as warm air), so this needs to be drained.

After each camping trip, or even periodically during the trip if you’re camping for several nights, you’ll want to empty the drip pan, check that no moisture has collected in the unit, and clean any hose or tubing – a small bottle brush is a good way to do this.

Maintain the Filter

Your tent air conditioner unit likely has a filter that stops dust and dirt from getting inside. This filter needs to be rinsed with clean water periodically (some manufacturers recommend using soap, too). 

You’ll probably need to clean it once a month, so if you’re only going to be using it for a few weeks during the summer, that means you’ll just need to clean it at the end of each season.

Wipe Down the Exterior

It’s also a good idea to keep the outside of your air conditioner unit clean. If you’ve been camping in muddy conditions, it could be getting grubby. Give it a wipe down with a soft, damp cloth to remove any dirt and grime.

Storing Your Air Conditioner

When your air conditioner isn’t in use, remove any hoses and tubes, make sure everything is clean, and then store it in a dry location. You might well want to cover it with a sheet or put it inside a box to prevent it from becoming dusty before you get it out again next summer.

If your camping air conditioner doesn’t seem to be blowing out as much cool air as usual, or if your tent is taking longer to cool down or not getting down to the temperature you had expected, then this can be a sign it needs cleaning. Don’t put this off – it’s a simple task that will help you get more out of your air conditioner.

If you prefer to avoid cleaning an AC unit, then you might find that a portable camping fan is a better option for you. This can help keep you cool as simply and easily as possible.


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