AC alternatives for the generatorphobe - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-02-2015, 04:30 PM   #1
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AC alternatives for the generatorphobe

The issue to use or not to use a generator seems to hinge on whether AC is needed, so geography seems to enter into the decision.

I've seen some alternative DIY methods of creating an evaporative AC with box fans, and have been pretty certain something similar would work with the freestanding Fantastic fan.

Building one of the evaporative is on my list of things to do/try. But I thought I'd post some of these ideas here, for those who desperately need AC and don't have a generator!

There is some fun/interesting stuff here. Ingenious Homemade Air Conditioner Ideas


Some of the systems farther down work with solar only. The box fan example here is not very elegant, and I've seen some that look much better (and more compact)

Here is one method with a box fan. Copper coil, fan, and bucket of ice

This is the one I can see being adapted to our trailer space and a little 12v box fan:

Fan plus waterpump and a few doodads

Whaddya think?
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Old 09-02-2015, 05:06 PM   #2
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To be truly innovative, I think homemade AC should be combined with sawdust toilets.
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Old 09-02-2015, 05:18 PM   #3
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Evaporative coolers add moisture to the air. So do fans blowing over ice. Additional moisture in the air inside of a small living space with one or more people already humidifying that space simply by exhaling moisture is simply not desirable. It is not a long term solution.


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Old 09-02-2015, 05:24 PM   #4
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Zeer pot, off-grid refrigeration. Seems to work best with low humidity and really big pot: https://youtu.be/ZNLPeb3qIhc

Solar power ice-maker for the margarita addict (but then we have to find a solar blender, and BUY an ice-maker!): https://youtu.be/T9CcPZMK-bc

Here's another box-fan cooler: https://youtu.be/O1tkRAU9KjA

I like the idea of the little submersible water pump. You can find these running on solar power at the garden shops that sell pond set-ups. I don't like the idea of the bucket on the side; the drip pan right beneath the fan seems to be the smartest setup IMHO.

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Old 09-02-2015, 05:25 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
To be truly innovative, I think homemade AC should be combined with sawdust toilets.
OMG. What a CONCEPT! Do you have any plans drawn up yet?
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Old 09-02-2015, 05:27 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by CPW View Post
Evaporative coolers add moisture to the air. So do fans blowing over ice. Additional moisture in the air inside of a small living space with one or more people already humidifying that space simply by exhaling moisture is simply not desirable. It is not a long term solution.


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Right, this is a short-term solution. However, evaporative coolers require open windows anyway. We're not shutting ourselves in tight (as you would with AC) and plastering condensation all over the trailer (and us). This is simply a way to get some cool air onto people who are too warm.
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Old 09-02-2015, 06:49 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Ellpea in CA View Post
Right, this is a short-term solution. However, evaporative coolers require open windows anyway. We're not shutting ourselves in tight (as you would with AC) and plastering condensation all over the trailer (and us). This is simply a way to get some cool air onto people who are too warm.

Even with all windows open, you still put excess moisture into the trailer. If used, evaporative coolers should be employed outside, under the awning, or someplace where you are not going to introduce additional moisture into a space when that space's worst enemy is water. That is my opinion; if others fell differently, that's OK. Everyone is entitled to do what they want in their own trailer. But if I want to get cool, I choose to use conventional A/C which removes excess humidity as it cools. I don't like it when everything feels clammy, and I know the moisture is promoting mold growth.


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Old 09-02-2015, 10:33 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by CPW View Post
Even with all windows open, you still put excess moisture into the trailer. If used, evaporative coolers should be employed outside, under the awning, or someplace where you are not going to introduce additional moisture into a space when that space's worst enemy is water. That is my opinion; if others fell differently, that's OK. Everyone is entitled to do what they want in their own trailer. But if I want to get cool, I choose to use conventional A/C which removes excess humidity as it cools. I don't like it when everything feels clammy, and I know the moisture is promoting mold growth.


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Sure, I think outdoors under an awning would be great. The idea of doing this with the 12v fan, however, is to find a way of getting cool when there is no shore power.
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Old 09-02-2015, 11:00 PM   #9
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Even with all windows open, you still put excess moisture into the trailer. If used, evaporative coolers should be employed outside, under the awning, or someplace where you are not going to introduce additional moisture into a space when that space's worst enemy is water. That is my opinion; if others fell differently, that's OK. Everyone is entitled to do what they want in their own trailer. But if I want to get cool, I choose to use conventional A/C which removes excess humidity as it cools. I don't like it when everything feels clammy, and I know the moisture is promoting mold growth.


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The exact, very precise, absolutely correct answer is "it depends". I you are somewhere where the word virga is in your active vocabulary then a "swamp cooler" is appropriate. Else you need an air conditioner.
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Old 09-03-2015, 05:10 AM   #10
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The people that I know that have tried the evaporative coolers (such as the 5gallon bucket types) have not been impressed.. They do blow slightly cooler air over you, as long as you are very close to the output tube. They do not cool off the trailer at all. I have slept in very hot conditions with a fan blowing on me, and a wet washcloth on my head or neck (evaporative cooling). And the trailer didn't pick up condensation that way.
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Old 09-03-2015, 07:19 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Pam Garlow View Post
The people that I know that have tried the evaporative coolers (such as the 5gallon bucket types) have not been impressed.. They do blow slightly cooler air over you, as long as you are very close to the output tube. They do not cool off the trailer at all. I have slept in very hot conditions with a fan blowing on me, and a wet washcloth on my head or neck (evaporative cooling). And the trailer didn't pick up condensation that way.
Agree with you Pam on most of what you say, even about condensation not forming. But whether it is perspiration, a wet towel, or a bucket of ice cubes that evaporates as a stream of air blows over it, the water content vaporizes and it doesn't "disappear," it goes into the atmosphere. In a relatively enclosed space, that increases the humidity, whether or not condensation forms. It doesn't take condensation to promote mold growth and make one feel clammy, high humidity will do it. I carry an Ecoseb dehumidifier in my trailer. It is expensive but it does not have a compressor and it puts out a small amount of heat. I use it when it is cold outside and run the A/C when it is hot because humidity levels in a small trailer can get to undesirable levels just from the moisture exhaled during breathing. The relative humidity in my trailer typically stays in the 45%-55% range.
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Old 09-04-2015, 12:15 AM   #12
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...humidity levels in a small trailer can get to undesirable levels just from the moisture exhaled during breathing. The relative humidity in my trailer typically stays in the 45%-55% range.
CPW, I see that you live in Florida. Those who live in California, for instance, have an entirely different experience.

For instance, years ago I flew from LA to Ft. Launderdale to begin a trans-Panama cruise. We stepped from an air-conditioned airplane into the humid Florida heat. Suddenly everyone around me became snappy, cranky, and halfway psychotic. The snarling continued until we all set foot on the air-conditioned ship (and everyone had a nice alcoholic drink).

In northern California where I live, some homeowners use AC, and others use swamp coolers. Both are effective. We have a DRY heat here.

Personally, I'm more comfortable with AC, and sometimes feel I can't breathe in a swamp-cooler environment. However, when push comes to shove, I'd take evaporative cooling over no cooling at all.
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Old 09-04-2015, 05:45 AM   #13
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AC alternatives for the generatorphobe

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Originally Posted by Ellpea in CA View Post
CPW, I see that you live in Florida. Those who live in California, for instance, have an entirely different experience.



For instance, years ago I flew from LA to Ft. Launderdale to begin a trans-Panama cruise. We stepped from an air-conditioned airplane into the humid Florida heat. Suddenly everyone around me became snappy, cranky, and halfway psychotic. The snarling continued until we all set foot on the air-conditioned ship (and everyone had a nice alcoholic drink).



In northern California where I live, some homeowners use AC, and others use swamp coolers. Both are effective. We have a DRY heat here.



Personally, I'm more comfortable with AC, and sometimes feel I can't breathe in a swamp-cooler environment. However, when push comes to shove, I'd take evaporative cooling over no cooling at all.

Are you suggesting that people from Florida are ill tempered because of the heat and humidity? Because I could say some uncomplimentary things about Californians! LOL

I am aware of dry heat. I haven't always lived in Florida and have spent extended time in dry climates, including both Northern California, Southern California, and Utah among others. I personally don't like the "artificial" climate of A/C, but it is necessary in Florida's high humidity (98 degrees, 92% or higher). But you cannot beat Florida in the winter if you don't like cold and/or snow. And unlike you, I would not take EC over no cooling. Heat doesn't bother me.....only the humidity. I can sleep if it's hot, not if it's muggy.


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Old 09-04-2015, 07:16 AM   #14
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Yep, evaporative cooling works great in dry climates. (not as good still as an ac unit but still better than a plain fan). In muggy weather here in Michigan, the evaporative cooling method is not really very effective.
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