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Old 05-14-2011, 12:28 PM   #1
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15K BTU Brisk Air vs. 15K BTU Penguin

Is the Penguin worth the extra $500 - $600? You get the heat pump feature, low profile and drain line and what else?
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Old 05-14-2011, 12:46 PM   #2
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For me its just based on looks. I think the Penguin is the best looking RV air conditioner. I would buy it for that reason alone. Otherwise its nothing special, in fact it has a relatively high startup draw, a bit noisy, and the shroud isn't too durable.

But to me the Penguin improves the look of nearly any RV compared to most roof air units.
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Old 05-14-2011, 01:02 PM   #3
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Is the Penguin worth the extra $500 - $600? You get the heat pump feature, low profile and drain line and what else?
Keep in mind, the heat pump will always run, for heat as well as cool, which shortens it's life.

Unless your in extreme cold, the heat strips work fine, and can easily be augmented with the furnace.

Heat pumps are inefficient.

Andy
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Old 05-14-2011, 09:16 PM   #4
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The only way a 15K Penguin is available is a heat pump, and I think it has to have a remote thermostat wired to it, though I'll have to check Monday to be sure. The only way you can get heat in a Penguin now, no matter what BTU rating, is a heat pump. There are no more electric elements, so it's a heat pump or nothing. The Brisk Air is still available with an electric element, in 13,500 or 15,000 BTU, and has built-in controls on the inside unit. Of course, it does look like a big box on the roof of your Airstream...
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Old 05-14-2011, 09:52 PM   #5
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I like the low-profile units with the heat strips.
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Old 05-15-2011, 07:52 AM   #6
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I like the low-profile units with the heat strips.
I liked them, too.
Unfortunately, those are no longer available. The new ceiling units are almost completely plastic, and the heat strips would melt them.
A possible option would be to find an older ceiling assembly that you could still put a heat strip on, and use it with a new roof unit. I've been asking Dometic if this can be done, and haven't really gotten an answer.
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Old 05-15-2011, 09:33 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
Keep in mind, the heat pump will always run, for heat as well as cool, which shortens it's life.

Unless your in extreme cold, the heat strips work fine, and can easily be augmented with the furnace.

Heat pumps are inefficient.

Andy
The shorter life however is not due to detrimental effects of running the heat pump. It just means that the compressor is running more. Much like running the air conditioner will shorten its life.

Quite honestly the run time of the heat pump in my trailer pales to the usage of the air conditioner.

The positive side of heat pumps is that you have thermostatic control of the heat pump, where the heat strip has to be manually turned off and on. I'm much happier with my heat pump than I ever was with the heat strips.

Jack
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Old 05-15-2011, 09:53 AM   #8
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In the world of larger motor homes, you NEVER see a roof A/C unit with a heat strip any more. I would guess they went out of 'fashion' around Y2K or so. I had a '98 Monaco Dynasty 40' diesel MoHo that had 2 roof units with heat strips, and they were all but ineffective when it was cold. They would take a little of the chill out of the air, but were all but worthless as a heat source. Actually, I preferred to use the small 120VAC powered heat cubes to the furnace, which was very noisy and had a severe drying effect to the heated air. That's easy to do in a MoHo with a 7500 watt on-board diesel generator.

Heat pumps however, with their thermostatic control feature, rival a furnace down to about 40*F. After that, you really need the furnace or other heating source like an Aqua-Hot hydronic heating system. And remember, the compressor of a roof heat pump unit doesn't really know whether it is heating or cooling the RV, it just compresses the refrigerant and the reversing valve handles the job of directing the flow of the refrigerant which determines the unit's operation: A/C or heat pump. Of course, it's a little difficult to run a roof unit as a heat pump while off-grid unless you have a large enough generator. This is where the furnace becomes most useful.

In A/C mode, the inner coil acts as the evaporator and becomes extremely cold, so the air passing over it is also cold when directed into the RV. In heat pump mode, the inner coil becomes the condenser and gets very warm, thus sending warmed air into the RV. All the while, the compressor is doing the exact same job; compressing the refrigerant.

So yes, a heat pump will run longer that a strict A/C unit and might possibly effect it's operational life. But with these units failing in as little as 6 months, I would not be taking any bets on their longevity for either type of unit. The best bet is to sigh up for the manufacturer's extended warranties that are offered on new units. For a fee of about $100 or so, you can buy full parts/labor coverage for your new unit that will extend the original warranty out to a total of 4-5 years. The manufacturers offer this directly to the owner, so there is no middle man to file a claim thru.
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Old 05-23-2011, 10:54 AM   #9
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Keep in mind, the heat pump will always run, for heat as well as cool, which shortens it's life.

Unless your in extreme cold, the heat strips work fine, and can easily be augmented with the furnace.

Heat pumps are inefficient.

Andy
Andy, why do you say they are inefficient? Pulling heat out of the air instead of trying to generate the heat by resistance is much more efficent. Are you saying that in the AC mode that a heat pump is inefficient?
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Old 05-23-2011, 11:32 AM   #10
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Andy, why do you say they are inefficient? Pulling heat out of the air instead of trying to generate the heat by resistance is much more efficent. Are you saying that in the AC mode that a heat pump is inefficient?
If heat pumps were inefficient, I doubt the government would be giving "energy saving" tax credits for installing heat pumps in homes.
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