Non standard AC - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-13-2015, 04:22 AM   #1
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Name: Mark
Trailer: Casita
Maryland
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Non standard AC

The front conformal 'stock' AC in our 16' Casita is woefully inadequate. It struggled in Boston in July and we are taking it to the southwest this summer. So I was thinking about options, none of which are perfect, including mini-split systems, large through wall units, the 5000 Btuh external ClimateRight unit as augmentation, etc.

I would appreciate anyone's experience in this area. Also, does park management have issues with either the aesthetics or energy consumption of an additional AC? Or one poking out the back?
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Old 05-13-2015, 04:37 AM   #2
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Welcome Mark to FGRV. The problems you had with the cooling in the NE shouldn't be a problem in the SW as the humidity will be very low. There have been a number of members that have replaced a 5k unit for a larger 7-9k that fits in the same space that has worked out well for them. They'll chime in soon.
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Old 05-13-2015, 04:39 AM   #3
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Thanks Dave. Yes I was hoping there would be a benefit from low humidity. However 115F in the shade still is scary to me... The last stretch from Yuma to San Diego especially. Also, I see you are from CA. Any experience with Mission Bay RV Park in San Diego? Looks expensive but right on the water.
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Old 05-13-2015, 05:00 AM   #4
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115*.....piece of cake, but I live in the desert. You know what they say, it's a dry heat but it is true. If I'm in San Diego at 90* with 70-80% humidity I'm ready to keel over, 115* and 10% in the desert it's only hot.
I've been to Mission Bay Park but not camping. Friends have and it is $$$
We used to go to Silver Strand SP for years when the girls were young. That's facing the ocean instead of the bay. You won't need AC at either place. I haven't been to SSSP in many years so you may want to check both places out online as far as reservations.
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Old 05-13-2015, 05:19 AM   #5
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We have a 5000 btu air conditioner. We've never been in 115 F weather ever however we have been in NE in the summer and find the AC works fine. We do place our endless breeze fan in front of it to circulate the cool air through the trailer. We find it's not the absolute temperature but rather the removal of humidity that makes it comfortable.

Is it an option as you head west to stop in Rice and get a rooftop AC?
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Old 05-13-2015, 07:05 AM   #6
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Name: Mark
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I am told in the Casita FB community that the roof of the 16' Spirit Deluxe is not strong enough to hold a roof mount. The stock unit is a Friedrich 7800 Btuh, which blows onto a wall 18 inches away, so air distribution is certainly part of the problem. The other issue is that we -may- have three people on the way out to California, plus an 8 pound dog so the people loading on the AC will be large. Camping in parks where there are no real trees (west Texas and points west) means (I think) that the RV becomes an oven during the day.

We could go the northern route and perhaps stay cooler (at least till we get to Nevada) but my TV is a 2004 Odyssey with drums in the rear... That works very well over the Alleghenies, but the Rocky Mountains are a whole 'nother story.
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Old 05-13-2015, 07:19 AM   #7
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Any stays near the water in SoCal in the summer will require reservations as spaces are limited and this is the most RV dense area on the planet.

Silver Strand may already be booked up for the entire summer and mandates fully self contained RV's only. The ocean side is a giant parking lot with 1000's of families, most in monster motorhomes, parked cheek-to-cheek. Great beach but the CG (?) sux. Pretty much the same situation at Mission Bay, expensive & crowded in the summer.


We go to Silver Strand at least 1-2 times a year, but only in off-season and only during the week. Mission Bay is just to crazy.


And, many private RV parks will charge an extra fee if you have two a/c's, regardless of size.
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Old 05-13-2015, 07:20 AM   #8
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Name: JD
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I have not yet installed it yet, but I bought a Comfort Aire DVH-09 mini split heat pump on sale from Johnstone supply for $500 and I intend to install it with the insode unit (26" X 10 " in the back above the window to blow lengthwise up the trailer. The compressor will go on the tongue. Total weight about the same as a top mount roof A/C.
How well will it work? don't know.
The unit is an inverter technology and it runs hard enough to meet setpoint so ocer cooling should not be an issue. It has a dry function along with heating and cooling.
I can't recommend the unit yet as I have more work to do to get the interior installed before I can do the mounting work. The compressor is 65 lbs and the inside unit is 16 lbs. At least the added drag is not there on top of the roof and the added weight is low on the trailer.
Before I changed the A/C unit in your unit I would make sure the coils are cleaned and it is functioning properly.
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Old 05-13-2015, 07:25 AM   #9
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Thank you Bob. Mission bay may not be the right spot for us... but I will check reservations ASAP. We were hoping to get my daughter set up in her new job and the proximity was a plus. Ever stayed at Alpine (30 miles away). Am totally willing to pay extra for an extra AC (within reason), as long as we don't get kicked out.
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Old 05-13-2015, 07:28 AM   #10
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JD I cleaned the coils without much effect. I think the mini splits are an ideal solution with the small hull penetrations and have no idea why the OEM's don't use them. Have you seen the youtube vid of the guy that installed one? Sadly I probably don't have time to do the install myself (including time to recover from mistakes) and the local RV places won't take me till June. We plan to leave on June 10th.
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Old 05-13-2015, 07:31 AM   #11
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I haven't stayed at Alpine. You might Google "San Diego County Regional Parks" they have some nice locations, but not all have hook-ups
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Old 05-13-2015, 07:35 AM   #12
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One of the best things you can do to reduce heat load is to have a canopy over your trailer. Even something lightweight (and light colored) can make a big difference. We used to do that when we had shorter trailers, but have not had luck finding anything that will cover our tall Parkliner. It's at least an idea.

Best of luck to you, and safe travels,

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Old 05-13-2015, 08:07 AM   #13
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Name: John Michael
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I agree with others that staying by the Pacific makes AC unnecessary. The ocean never really warms up. Silver Strand is a really crappy campground (parking lot really) with a terrific beach. Good group of campers when we stayed with lots of kids on bikes and other wheeled vehicles. We enjoyed our February stay because the beach and San Diego were the draw. Its $55.00 or $65.00 per night depending on whether you want an ocean view. The sites do have water and elec, not sewer. Bathrooms and pay showers are only adequate. It was only about 15% full when we stayed. Summer must be a zoo.

John
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Old 05-13-2015, 08:34 AM   #14
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Name: Darral
Trailer: Scamp Standard 13' 2010
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"ash"...

You dont say how old the A/C is but that could be a factor. Before I would invest in an expensive system, you can do a simple test on yours. It may be a bit more difficult to do as I know where those A/Cs are located in a Casita....but it still might be worth a shot.

Follow the link below as it further confirms what I'm suggesting - but on a central system. You need to have temps up in the 80's so it's actually cooling. But check the air temp going in at the filter. Then check it coming out the vents. You should see at LEAST 15 deg difference....maybe a little less since you're in a more confined space. If you're only getting 5 -10 deg, your unit could be going bad...even though the compressor is still running and everything appears fine. Also, IF it's that hot where you're at, and the A/C unit itself is not getting adequate ventilation, the compressor could be getting so hot that it's be kicking out to protect itself.

My main point is, it would be cheaper to replace a $100 A/C - even if it wont last as long- than do alot of mods and buy a more expensive unit.

Just a suggestion.
http://www.lowes.com/cd_Test+Your+Ce...1351517191983_

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Originally Posted by asherms1 View Post
The front conformal 'stock' AC in our 16' Casita is woefully inadequate. It struggled in Boston in July and we are taking it to the southwest this summer. So I was thinking about options, none of which are perfect, including mini-split systems, large through wall units, the 5000 Btuh external ClimateRight unit as augmentation, etc.

I would appreciate anyone's experience in this area. Also, does park management have issues with either the aesthetics or energy consumption of an additional AC? Or one poking out the back?
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