New Furnace ... and Air Conditioner ... - Fiberglass RV

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Old 02-16-2006, 02:31 PM   #1
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Trailer: TM14 Surfside
Posts: 29
HI all,

I have a Surfside TM-14 that I brought down from Victoria BC ... to .. sigh ... Alabama. Now that I'm here, I figured I'd put in some air conditioning. I've read a lot of forum sites on the issue, but does anyone have a preference on make and model?

Also, I thought I may as well replace the furnace too ... I still ahve the original from 1977 and don't want my daughter to get burned on it ... it gets very hot. I would like a smaller box than the one that is in there ... propane ... any suggestions?

Thanks much,


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Old 02-22-2006, 07:31 AM   #2
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Trailer: 84 16 ft Scamp
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Tim - Somehow your question got entirely passed over. I may not be the best one to take a crack at it, since I'm in the northwest and you the southest. I'm also the one who is about to install a propane fireplace which is just the opposite of what you want to do.

I have seen air conditioners in RV catalogs that also have an electric heating element for times when a little heat is needed. These are not apparently heat pumps that reverse the refrigeration cycle for heating, but they just have a small electric element, maybe 1500 watts added to a standard roof-top AC unit. The nice thing about this is it utilizes the distribution fan of the AC for heating as well as cooling and doesn't take up any valuable space. There would be little added complexity.

If you wanted something that didn't require being "plugged in" about the only suggestion I might have is a small RV furnace that uses propane. One brand that comes to mind is "Suburban". That may not be any advantage to what you already have.

Another option is a marine cooktop - cabin heater combination. These are real beauties made in one of the Scandinavian countries. Problem is the price. My semi-functional memory cells recall several grand. I regularly see older cars having wheels installed that exceed the value of the rest of the car! So it could be justified on a similar basis.

Another option comes to mind is a catalytic heater. On another posting recently there was an incident with something flammable inadvertently draped over an operating heater. You need to read the actual post to get the story straight. But I was impressed.

Stick around. Someone who is a lot more into this than I will soon chime in. In the meantime, my feeble attempt will send this subject back up to front-and-center on the forum.

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Old 02-22-2006, 07:48 AM   #3
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Trailer: 1989 Casita Spirit Deluxe
Posts: 2,055
Since you have researched it and know the issues, I assume that a roof mounted A/C is out, right? Unless you are planning on reinforcing the roof, it will probably be too heavy. Also, I have yet to find a unit that runs off 12V (that is affordable AND effective).

One of the (many) nice things about our trailers is that a regular window unit will really give you a big bang for your buck. The thing that I looked for when replacing mine, was weight. In looking for a small unit, I found that they can weigh from about 40 to 75 pounds. Also, vent placement. I used to have one that the vents pointed upward, I replaced it with one that blew straight out. I don't recommend that.

We had tremendous input in our archives on the various methods of Air Conditioner installations. Some were no less than brilliant. Unfortunately, all of that was lost when we were hijacked.

Not sure if this helped with the A/C question or not.

Thanks, Loren, for bringing this forward.
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Old 02-22-2006, 06:39 PM   #4
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Trailer: TM14 Surfside
Posts: 29
Thanks guys ... Loren ... For the A/C, you are right, a roof top is out. I remember a few installations, one of which was in the bottom of the closet, that were in the forum prior to the attack. I think that's what I'll look at first. As for the furnace, I have looked at the suburbans and they seem reasonable. Think I'll keep researching that though.

Thanks much,
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Old 02-22-2006, 08:39 PM   #5
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Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Posts: 23,914
Tim, did you see this topic A/C in Fiberglass Trailers
Donna D.
Ten Forward - 2014 Escape 5.0 TA
Double Yolk - 1988 16' Scamp Deluxe
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Old 02-23-2006, 11:07 PM   #6
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Name: John
Trailer: 1985 Scamp 16, 2013 VW Tiguan SEL
Posts: 153
A couple of factors made my first AC installation successful when we toured the South in August last year (yes, I know, I'm from there and that's why I'm not there now). First, I bought the cheapest AC I could buy ($25 used for 5K BTU). I placed it in a cabinet at knee level. Then I almost doubled the investment by adding two AC fans. One sits on the floor in front of the low-mounted outlet and and blows cold air straight up, and the other sits in the cabinet behind the AC and forces heated exhaust air out fridge's old louvered panel. I placed the AC on a plastic dish drain tray (oh, the expenses never stop!), positioned to catch condensation and pour it off outside the trailer wall.

In five minutes, I could get the trailer comfy, and really cool in ten, when it was over 90 and 90 outside. So for less than $50, I got an effective installation that carries its weight low and over the axle. When I want to carry the weight at all, which won't include many summer trips into my closest caming areas, the Rockies.

Making up for that bargain, I spent nearly $450 on a MaxxAir fan, installed. Now for the Olympian wave catalytic heater, that's next. I've heard a propane furnace roaring inside a pop-up, and I don't want that inside my Scamp. Don't want a heater that's dependent on 12V power, either.

Good luck to you. These expenses are worth it because they entend your camping season.
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Old 02-24-2006, 08:17 AM   #7
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Trailer: 84 16 ft Scamp
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John -- How does your MaxxAir fan work? A local RV parts watched me waffle on one a couple of months ago and decided he wanted to dispose of inventory more than get full price, so I got mine for $370 plus the governor's percentage. Haven't got it installed yet.

But I like your AC idea. That way you only take it along if you are going to need it. Make's a lot of sense.

Where do you have your Olympian cat located? I've thought about mounting one on the inside of the bathroom door, near the floor. That way it could heat the bathroom specifically with the door closed, or the entire coach generally with the door open. Bad idea? Good idea?

I'm still entertaining the idea of a propane fireplace. If for no other reason than it's cool. I saw a display operating. The burner was quiet. Only the fan made typical fan noise, but it was a computer fan with a speed control, so it wasn't obtrusive or excessively annoying.

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