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Old 10-26-2015, 02:24 PM   #1
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Question Thought Experiment: Removing the A/C

I figured Boondocking was the best section to ask this thought experiment without getting "You're insane" comments.

We aren't even at a full year yet on the road, but since launching full time on April 29th we have not once used our A/C. Not one single time.

I am considering removing the A/C from our Airstream roof. And replacing it with a 3rd Fantastic fan.

I mentioned this idea in another thread, and I wanted to get some feedback here separately. If it's doable and if anyone has any knowledge about the size of the hole cut in for the A/C.

Not ready to go popping the cover to get a guestimate.

We find ourselves boondocking a lot, or dry camping. And rarely have hookups. And travel with the weather. So this thought has recently entered my mind. It would also create additional space for more solar on the roof.
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Old 10-26-2015, 02:34 PM   #2
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We never used it outside of our camp hosting hook up. We used our wheels to get us to places where we didn't need it. Plus we realized we didn't need a companion Honda after all.

Still, when we DID have a hook up and were parked in St. George during the summer, it was GREAT to have. I think it was you that told me about getting 4WD - "When you need it, it's good to have it."
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Old 10-26-2015, 02:38 PM   #3
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Nope, you're not crazy. The roof opening for an A/ C unit is the same for a roof fan. And speaking of fans........you might look into the MaxxFan rather than a Fantastic Vent.

The MaxxAir has a fully integrated cover that allows for operation in inclement weather yet closes flat to the roof. I prefer them over the Fantastic model as they are far easier to install, are modular so if you ever need to replace the workings the mounting bezel does not need to be removed and are fully reversible.




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Old 10-26-2015, 03:00 PM   #4
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With the understanding you probably could not sell the Airstream without it on there, if you don't use it why do you have it. But you're just starting out on your journey, maybe there is a time when you would need it.

The country is heating up these days in summer, even at at our home in Minnesota the Airstream can be quite warm under the high afternoon sun while the house, which has no air conditioning, is quite comfortable.

You've got the youngsters, they sometimes run a high fever when not well. And need to stay in bed, that would good to have the A/C.

I'm sympathetic to the idea because we haven't used our Airstream A/C in over 1,000 nights of camping. We Airstream during the winter months. I would like to see it go, with a few other things we never use and drag around. A/C, spare tire, at least one of several cooking appliances (two built in), one of two folding partitions, all just-in-case equipment, heavy batteries in favor of Lithium batteries, alumnimum propane tanks rather than steel.

We came to Airstreaming from 50 years of backpacks, canoes, and VW Camper vans. I love the basic Airstream concept but all the "conveniences" are somewhat silly in that context. A lighter Airstream yields a more powerful, capable, economical and better braking truck as well. My goal would be 1,000 lbs less weight overall, and move enough things around to a hitch weight of 730 lbs (10% maximum trailer weight). And add a solar panel or two.
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Old 10-26-2015, 03:09 PM   #5
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I second two previous thoughts:

1. MaxxAir fans are the way to go. I swapped out both of my FF.

2. Resale will be difficult without the air conditioner.

We get such good ventilation with two MaxxAir fans I'm not sure a third would do much good. It's all about directing the air flow and you can really get a huge variety of options with two fans and the windows. And we find that many times less is more. Just one fan and one window may give the most comfortable air flow.
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Old 10-26-2015, 03:20 PM   #6
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Camping in the south in the summer would be miserable without AC (somtimes it is not a lot of fun with AC). 95 in Mississippi is not the same as 95 in New Mexico. The humidty is the thing. The analogy with 4 wheel drive is a good one, you don't need it often but when you do it can be a trip saver. I"d really think hard before I removed it.
Adding another fan would move more air, but it won't be comfortable even at night.
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Old 10-26-2015, 03:28 PM   #7
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Let me just address resale real quick. Resale will be difficult when you already gutted the bedroom and made massive modifications that most wouldn't like. Not even a slight concern.

The few times when we thought it would be nice, once in the Badlands, another time in Moab, it was only for a day. And we were boondocking both times. Like Westcoastas, I have just never been motivated to buy a companion. Often I wonder if I had a companion, would I be inclined to use the A/C.

I can see the "You won't need it till you need it" argument. But if you didn't use something for 361 days out of the year, would you miss it for those other four days? Or would you just adjust?

Lew good info. I like the MaxxAir, especially that integrated rain cover. I'd be tempted however to replace the other two if I added one. Ideas.
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Old 10-26-2015, 03:35 PM   #8
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As one who does not like sweltering heat, especially when trying to sleep, I would never consider such a bold move.

I am parked in southern NM right now, the weather is gorgeous, no ac required, but, I was parked in the same spot this past June and July, had I not had ac, my trailer would have been a waste because I would have been in a hotel.

When I built my wife's trailer, there were a few things that we were going to have, a queen bed, a full size shower, endless hot water, a workable kitchen, a flush toilet, and good climate control.

Should civilization collapse, air conditioning for me will be a frivolous extravagance, till then I consider it a necessity.


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Old 10-26-2015, 03:56 PM   #9
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We're in New Mexico as well, certainly don't need the a/c but the furnace is good. The furnace needs batteries to run when boondocking.

In the interest of minimalism, we no longer carry our generator, just rely on our two small solar panels to recharge the Lifeline AGMs. Two overcast days in a row and we're not getting our batteries charged very well.

So here it is again, should we carry our generator to back up the solar for the two overcast days out of the 180 days during this trip in (sunny) New Mexico, Arizona, and So. California, much of which will be full hookups. I say no, we have a nice comforter and a double bed (another reason not to have twin beds).
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Old 10-26-2015, 04:26 PM   #10
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You are not insane. Some owners do this. I got an email via my blog site from someone who purchased a used Airstream Interstate motorhome, and the A/C had been removed from the roof because the previous owner simply didn't see the need for it. But the new owner wanted it, and was asking me if I thought he should swap the Fantastic and the A/C locations given that the A/C had been de-installed to start with. From his question, I gathered that the roof penetrations were comparable in size, which one of these other commenters said is, in fact, the case.
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Old 10-26-2015, 04:33 PM   #11
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Even in the winter in Fl you still need the AC some days..
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Old 10-26-2015, 04:37 PM   #12
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>> The MaxxAir has a fully integrated cover that allows for operation in inclement weather yet closes flat to the roof.

I can not recommend these particular vents. Ours have failed in multiple ways multiple times. They are now out of warranty and MaxxAir will not back them up. Buyer beware.

Both gear drives stripped out within the first year. Those parts replaced under warranty. In the 2nd year both control panels have ceased working. Never got wet, just crapped out. Luckily the remote controls still work. The front one the motor totally locked up. I was able to remove the motor so we can use the manual knob to open.
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Old 10-26-2015, 04:44 PM   #13
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I don't feel like the added benefit of a third fan would be enough for me to remove the AC.

We don't use the AC often and try not to, but the few times we have used it we have been really thankful we had it. And if it is hot out and I'm paying for electricity then damn it I am going to use it.

Also think of the extra drain the third fan will be putting on your batteries. Fans on high take a lot of juice. The only time i think that extra fan will come in handy is when it is really hot and the other two are going full blast. Ours going full blast will use more then our 300 watts of solar is bringing in.

EDIT... Forgot that we now have the 12 portable fantastic fan. Directional flow seems way better over pushing in more outside air.
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Old 10-26-2015, 05:01 PM   #14
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Had a Maxxair in our bedroom on a previous trailer & was very impressed, one night it rained heavy all night, fan was on & not a drop of water on the bed.
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