Roof vs Closet vs Window A/C - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-16-2012, 09:29 PM   #1
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Roof vs Closet vs Window A/C

Hi! I'm just now starting my "Egg Search" ... trying to weigh a number of different options. One question I have is in the area of air conditioning. I live in South Carolina and would anticipate needing A/C. As I've been perusing For Sale ads, I see the A/C types mentioned above. I'm trying to determine costs/benefits of each. Ideally, I would like not to have a roof mount....because I have a better likelihood of getting a roof a/c-less unit into my garage and because I would assume you would get less aerodynamic drag. But....the window A/C blocks views and I would assume could present an entry for leakage. I've heard closet units don't cool very well. What kinds of experiences out there?
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Old 01-16-2012, 09:52 PM   #2
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Hi, Tom. We had a Casita, once upon a time, with the AC in the back window. I thought it would be annoying not to be able to look out that "window," but it wasn't.

Now we have a Casita with a closet mount AC. It cools just fine: the total cubic space is so small, the closet AC does fine. A friend of mine once fashioned a baffle that moved the cold air around and past the refrigerator; he said it improved performance, but we never tried it. (Point being, there are ways to improve the closet mount, if it's not working to suit you.)
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Old 01-16-2012, 11:34 PM   #3
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Cool Air Conditioner Types

Roof Air: Pro
  • High mount is most efficient for cooling
  • Available electric "Heat Strip" option, making it a built-in heater as well
  • No window blockage or loss of storage space
  • Uses standard roof vent opening
Roof Air: Con
  • $$Expensive$$
  • Makes trailer taller overall
  • Reduces interior head room

Window Air: Pro
  • Significantly cheaper than Roof Mount
  • Relatively easy to install in an existing window
  • Still high enough for relatively unobstructed airflow
  • Does not increase overall height of trailer
Window Air: Con
  • Blocks window use for view / ventilation
  • Can be a challenge to seal against leaking
  • Can be awkward/unsightly if mounted in a side window
  • May require extra support framing for cantilever from trailer body

Closet Mount: Pro
  • Same cost saving as Window Mount
  • Does not block a window
  • Does not increase overall trailer height
  • More stable/secure than window mount
Closet Mount: Con
  • Can be a complicated installation
  • Might have efficiency issues with indirect airflow
  • Loss of storage space

I may not have thought of every advantage or disadvantage of any of the above installations; and invite additions to my lists.
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Old 01-16-2012, 11:53 PM   #4
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A/C location

One other thing which may or may not be important:
Unless it is mounted at or near the axle, the A/C unit itself can have a pretty big impact on front/rear weight distribution, esp with smaller trailers


Any side-mounted unit (window or closet) will either take up a lot of interior space or else will present a huge amount of wind resistance when traveling, not to mention being a hazard to other people, etc. If it is retractable so it does not stick out when traveling, it will most likely be a source of leaks.
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Old 01-17-2012, 05:41 AM   #5
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We have a closet AC. The most importabt function is to remove humidity which it does very well.

We sometimes run a small fan to mix the air rapidly. It's certainly a low cost solution, vents efficiently thru the floor, takes little space and draws little power - 5 amps - totally inside the trailer.
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Old 01-17-2012, 06:51 AM   #6
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One more pro/con to add to your list, and the main reason we have a closet mount in our Casita: without a roof mounted AC, you/we can have a Fantastic Fan directly above the bed.
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Old 01-17-2012, 06:55 AM   #7
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As a follow up, I do not deny that a roof mounted AC unit has an advantage, cold air sinks.

To me the roof mounted AC unit looks too large for the trailers. It simply is out of proportion for the size of the trailer. If it were designed for a Scamp or Casita I suspect it would be smaller in size and capacity.

When you have a problem with your closet AC unit, the cost of repacement is about $150.
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Old 01-17-2012, 06:49 PM   #8
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Thanks, everyone, for the helpful responses! I have another question, I'll post it in it's own thread.
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Old 01-17-2012, 08:19 PM   #9
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Thanks for that post i was wondering as well. Well put and very helpful. Thank you again.
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Old 01-18-2012, 12:04 AM   #10
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I opted for the window mount, required no major modifications, was cheap and easy to install with a little ingenuity.

Here is my install:
Window AC installation on a CT-13
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Old 01-20-2012, 12:04 PM   #11
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Naturally I'll put my 2 pennies in... If you buy a used a fiberglass trailer without a roof mounted AC, you probably do not have the option to put one on the roof. Additional bracing is required when the trailer is constructed to support a roof mounted AC, otherwise, after going over a hard bump when traveling, you'll likely end up with a floor mounted AC and a brand new open air skylight.
I put in a 5000 BTU window AC in my closet that chills things nicely here in hot humid South Carolina. The secret is to seal the back of the AC from its front. Don't let the outside air mingle with the inside air and you'll stay frosty all summer.

Check out the Youtube video at the bottom of the post.

Happy Campin', ConwayBob
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Old 01-27-2012, 01:25 PM   #12
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i just bought a new scamp with rooftop. i figured it wasn't going to fit in my garage anyway. so no loss there. scamp stoped using the closet mount because it was just having too many problems. but that could have been the model they were using.
i used to have a motorhome. a 1972 model, in 1990 the rooftop was still running fine.
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Old 06-09-2014, 07:24 PM   #13
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Does anybody have more photos of the final AC installed & explanations on how to install a closet and a window mount AC on a Casita, thanks.....
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