ASK THE EXPERTS..AC location preference. - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-22-2010, 07:28 AM   #1
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ASK THE EXPERTS..AC location preference.

Considering the pros and cons of the AC being in the wall vs on the roof.

Because we haven't camped in a TT for many moons, we understand that what is desirable now may not be the same as to what was popular in days of yore.

As all our TT of the past had the AC roof top, that is all we knew and it seemed that was the only way it should be. But as we are starting from scratch today, your ideas are very valuable.

Realizing that us people have a tendency to defend what we have, what do you have, and would you prefer to have something different? If so why? If not, why? In your opinion and desires, what are the Pros and Cons of the AC locations?

Thanks,
Kip
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Old 11-22-2010, 08:34 AM   #2
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There's been quite a bit of discussion about this here over the years... There are good reasons to want the AC on top in a Casita (more closet space being a big draw and the fact that the wall mounted AC basically blows right at the refrigerator - although in such a small cabin we never found it a problem to just turn the louvers all the way to the side and encourage the air to blow around the fridge and at the bed... this in a Liberty Deluxe, which doesn't have the extra bulkhead separating the back bed/dinette from the side dinette of the Spirit and Freedom models -- YMMV -- and, you may need to look at a floorplan to see what I mean.)

Advantages to the wall mount are it's a window unit, relatively inexpensive to replace if/when that becomes necessary... Also, as I and others have said, lower profile for the trailer as a whole, and (the most important consideration for me) you get to keep the vent (with Fantastic Fan) right over the bed. At least 50% of our camping is off the grid and that fan over the bed is important at night!
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Old 11-22-2010, 11:15 AM   #3
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Kip,

At the risk of reiterating some of Mary's points, IMHO:

Cold air sinks. So, the most efficient spot is in the roof. Also, roof mounted AC units only require a 14" square hole. They take up almost zero interior space.

The down side of roof mounted is expense and size. The smallest roof mounted units are in the 8,000 to 9,000 BTU range. That is a lot of cooing for a small trailer. (However, there have been days in Phoenix when I really liked the ice cubes being thrown by our 13,500 BTU roof mount).

Window/wall mounts are cheaper and you can get a smaller unit. However, you will have to figure a way to mount it in a window (See the great posts by Frederick Simson on his AC project) or cut a big hole in your trailer. There have peen some posts where people have mounted wall units inside the trailer with ducting for intake and exhaust air and condensation discharge. While they didn't have to cut large holes they did have to give up lots of interior space, a really valuable commodity in little Eggs.

There are very few places in the lower 48 where one can stay comfortably without AC during the summer. I hope the day never comes but if we have to replace our AC I'll probably bite the bullet and go roof mounted.

BTW, In our Fiber Stream (16') there is room on/in the roof for the AC and a vent (Fantastic) over the bed. We don't have the vent yet but I may be putting one in next month. So, it may be possible to have the best of both worlds.

Hope this helped.
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Old 11-22-2010, 11:22 AM   #4
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Pre-fire Scamps had to be built to allow the weight of a roof mounted A/C.... if that's a concern of yours. I believe all Scamps are now built that way which allows a post-build A/C to be added at a later date.

Whatever brand you buy, if you buy used... make certain the roof was built for the weight. Otherwise you're liable to find the A/C on the floor (and a huge skylight) if you drive rough roads.

One thing nice about a window unit, you only take it when you need it. Otherwise you can leave the weight at home, which is nice in cooler weather.
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Old 11-22-2010, 11:26 AM   #5
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Donna beat me to the punch!

One practical concern I'll throw out is that the trailer has to be designed (or redesigned) to support roof mount units. They're pretty heavy and can lead to oilcanning and breaking gel-coat if not delaminating fiberglass, otherwise. The window units are much smaller, but come with all the concerns Tom mentioned as well as changing the weight distribution of the trailer; if all your appliances are on the same side or you add weight at one end it can affect tongue weight or handling.
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Old 11-22-2010, 12:52 PM   #6
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We have a 1998 Scamp SD. Scamp put the AC under the seat of the side dinette. Ours quit working, so I replaced it with a Wally World cheapo. With a few modifications it works pretty well. When using the AC the trailer has to be level.
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Old 11-24-2010, 01:10 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom U View Post
Window/wall mounts are cheaper and you can get a smaller unit. However, you will have to figure a way to mount it in a window (See the great posts by Frederick Simson on his AC project) or cut a big hole in your trailer.
My easily removable window air-conditioner Topic
Why I installed mine the way I did:
  1. I'm CHEAP! My window unit was $95. An RV roof-mount would be $700.
  2. I wanted to continue to put the trailer inside a building that has a 9' tall roll-up door. Roof air would make the trailer taller than 9 feet.
  3. My Fiber Stream only has 1 roof vent and I didn't want to loose my Fantastic-Fan.
  4. Installing within an existing window frame presented fewer engineering challenges. I only had to select a unit that cantilevers as much inside as it does outside. It also gets the unit up off the floor, putting the cooled air where it is needed most.
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Old 11-24-2010, 07:00 AM   #8
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Good grief, stuff I had not even thought about.

Seems the manufacturers leave us with either a roof unit that adds a foot or more to the height and more wind resistance, or a unit placed low that is just not as efficient and would likely cycle more, as it's conditioned air tends to stay in the area.

Frederick's window installation certainly has merrit for a unit that came with no AC at all.

Saw a class B motor home that had a nook manufactured (Molded) into the rear of the fiberglass top, for the AC. Nothing sat above the roofline and yet it was as high as possible, when viewed from inside the motorhome. Sat above the rear window. Air moved from the rear toward the front, high inside, and seemed it would cool the whole thing without robbing any storage space. Wonder why "Egg" mfg haven't done that!

Kip
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Old 11-24-2010, 07:09 AM   #9
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I have a UHaul 13CT and there isn't a lot of space to spare. The PO took out the original furnace and left a vacant hole for me to look at. I put a portable room heat pump (heat and air capabilities) in that spot. The exhaust/air input on the heat pump conects to the original exhaust port of the camper. The unit is out of sight, out of mind when not in use. The only real down side is that I must leave open the closet door to enjoy air or heat. I may put in a front vent so that i won't even have to do that. It can easily be taken out and used in the house if need be.
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Old 11-24-2010, 11:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kip in Ga. View Post
Seems the manufacturers leave us with either a roof unit that adds a foot or more to the height and more wind resistance, or a unit placed low that is just not as efficient...

Saw a class B motor home that had a nook manufactured (Molded) into the rear of the fiberglass top, for the AC. Wonder why "Egg" mfg haven't done that!
That would be a Roadtrek. They sell ALL their units with A/C as standard equipment. "Egg" manufacturers list them as options. Some people want them on the trailer, others don't in order to keep the price lower.

Escape used to offer A/C in the cabinet above the refrigerator to keep it off the roof, but many their customers complained about that! They were told that it was expected to put A/C on the roof, so that's what they do now.
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Old 11-25-2010, 07:05 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frederick L. Simson View Post
That would be a Roadtrek. They sell ALL their units with A/C as standard equipment. "Egg" manufacturers list them as options. Some people want them on the trailer, others don't in order to keep the price lower.

Escape used to offer A/C in the cabinet above the refrigerator to keep it off the roof, but many their customers complained about that! They were told that it was expected to put A/C on the roof, so that's what they do now.
Yes, that was a Roadtrek. Kind of pricy! A dealer not far from us has several and is discounting them many thousands of $$.

Thanks,
Kip
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Old 11-25-2010, 10:10 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Kip in Ga. View Post
Good grief, stuff I had not even thought about.

Seems the manufacturers leave us with either a roof unit that adds a foot or more to the height and more wind resistance, or a unit placed low that is just not as efficient and would likely cycle more, as it's conditioned air tends to stay in the area.


Kip
Placing the AC unit either low or at window level would make almost no difference in efficiency or ability to cool. Having the cool air enter a room at a high level is often considered in a house or office building, especially when there are large rooms and high ceilings. In a small camper the "room size" is so small relative to the rated capacity that the AC fan would create plenty of air circulation. Every small window unit I have seen has adjustable louvers that can be used to direct the air up/down/right/left. Even when the AC turns off, the inside of a camper is not that high to create large temperature differences top to bottom.

Andy
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Old 11-25-2010, 11:42 AM   #13
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Where you plan on camping and how often you are going to actually need ac would be a big part of my decision process and the height of where I store the trailer would also be a big part of the decision. I have a window unit that I have only used once since adding a fantastic fan - but I mainly camp on the coast. Adding more height to my trailer would impact me seriously in two ways. I would not be able to store the trailer in the carport and the cost of going on our local ferry system which I use often would jump greatly.
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Old 11-26-2010, 09:20 AM   #14
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Probably making a mountain out of a mole hill.

Just want to get it as right as possible when we make the purchase.
That is why all ya'lls input is so valuable and appreciated.

So has anyone gone one way and now wishes they had gone the other?

OR If you were buying today, would the placement of the AC sway your decision?

Thanks,
Kip
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