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Old 02-14-2014, 10:42 PM   #1
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1971 31' Sovereign
1972 31' Sovereign
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A/C unit for a 31' Sovereign

Can someone that has changed out their A/C unit tell me if a 13,500BTU unit will be adequate for a 1971 31' international Sovereign that I am currently rebuilding from the frame up. All new insulation throughout.
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Old 02-15-2014, 12:20 AM   #2
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A/C unit for a 31' Sovereign

My stock Armstrong (what is it 11,000 or 11,500 btu?) worked sufficiently last July in 100 plus degree southern New Mexico summer.

Note, I was using the silver looking bubble wrap looking insulation in every window and I have 1/4" plywood over the aluminum interior walls.

I never switched the unit off, I left it on thermostat for 24 hours. From memory I think the highest temp I saw inside was 84 in the heat of the day on the hottest day.

Not exactly an apples to apples comparison, but it should be ballpark to give you the beginnings of an idea.

At one point I was thinking of changing my unit out and was shopping around for a new a/c, if memory serves me right the biggest unit I found that would run on 120 volts was 13,500, and all 15,000 units required 240 volts. Something to think about in the planning stages for sure.

(72 31' Sovereign)
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Old 02-15-2014, 07:06 AM   #3
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Your memory is incorrect in this case. 15,000 btu units are 120 volts.

As for size, I have never heard the phrase "I wish I'd gotten the smaller a/c unit".
15,000 are the same dimension and almost the same power draw as the 13,500.
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Old 02-15-2014, 07:15 AM   #4
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Cole,
Can't say on the effectiveness of a 13,500 unit on a 31', but a 15,00 BTU unit will run on a 30 amp RV outlet. I have even run my SOB with one plugged in with adapters to a 20 amp campground plug, or a generator with 24 amp max output, couldn't run much else though.
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Old 02-15-2014, 08:24 AM   #5
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I just put a 15k BTU Dometic Briskair on my 31 foot trailer and it does fine. Some say you need two such units but I live in the south and it does fine. If it is above 90 degrees you really don't want to go camping anyway. The newer 15k units don't draw anymore current than the older 13.5 k units. I would go with the 15k unit.

Perry
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Old 02-15-2014, 08:33 AM   #6
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I have a 13.5 on my 31' and it is fine 90% of the time. Get out in the open sun, with a high ambient temperature, say Lake Mead in summer, and it will struggle. So will a single 15k but a little less so.

If I had to do it over again, I would spend the few bucks to upgrade to the 15k unit.

Mike
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Old 02-15-2014, 08:36 AM   #7
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15 + white roof

I had a 13,500 on my 34 footer and it would not keep it cool if it was really hot out.

First trick I did was paint the roof gloss white (you'll need to mask it off, etch it, prime it with the correct primer, and then you can paint it with a gloss white oil paint). That alone cut the inside temps by ten degrees and made it bearable. But the a/c unit finally gave out.

I replaced it with a 15,000 btu and couldn't be happier. Works very well now.

Personally, I wouldn't even consider a 13,500 now. You can always cut the thermostat back a little if the 15 makes it too cold

Do look into painting part of your roof though. That makes a big difference.

Take care,
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Old 02-15-2014, 08:48 AM   #8
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It has been about a year since I was looking at possible replacement a/c units. My memory stands corrected!

One nice thing about a nice busy forum is that bad information doesn't make it for very long.

Frankly, had I not elected to keep my original Armstrong unit, I would have likely bought the biggest unit that I could have run on a 30 amp service.
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Old 02-15-2014, 08:58 AM   #9
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Go with a 15,000....living and travel in the South experience says that.
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Old 02-15-2014, 09:24 AM   #10
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We just replaced a carrier ac unit with a Dometic 15K HP this week. The Carrier 13,500, worked OK in the NC beach heat, but it worked. We found that even with the awnings out we could never get the front of the coach cool enough on days with high humidity.
We also went with the HP due to the choice of use of electricity if at a campground and needed to use the heat if small electric heaters were not sufficient enough.
We use the AC more than the heat, the furnace in the coach is new works great, but for the extra $100 dollars, the labor and time is the same we did the upgrade with the HP.
Living in SW TX and the South I'd recommend the 15K as you can always turn it down if it gets too cold, but might have a challenge getting it cooler if a 13,500 is maxed out.

Good luck,
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Old 02-15-2014, 09:24 AM   #11
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Might as well get the 15K - if you're in the South you'll need the extra capacity. Also painting the roof white helps a lot to keep that aluminum solar oven from heating up in the first place, though I'd recommend that you use Kool Seal like they're putting on the new A/Ss. I have the Dometic 15K heat pump and I really like the heating ability in cool temperatures too though it doesn't help when it gets below 40ļ.
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Old 02-16-2014, 12:43 AM   #12
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Responses to A/C replacement delemia

Thanks for all the info, sounds like most of you have gone through what I am facing now on purchasing new A/C units with heat strips for my 31' Sovereigns. Thanks again for the help and your knowledge.
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:57 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crusty View Post
Might as well get the 15K - if you're in the South you'll need the extra capacity. Also painting the roof white helps a lot to keep that aluminum solar oven from heating up in the first place, though I'd recommend that you use Kool Seal like they're putting on the new A/Ss. I have the Dometic 15K heat pump and I really like the heating ability in cool temperatures too though it doesn't help when it gets below 40ļ.
I don't think that the new model Airstreams use Kool Seal. The roof panels come from Alcoa with the white coating bonded to the aluminum.
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Old 02-16-2014, 08:06 AM   #14
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I would do my research on white coatings. The right ones can buy you a lot. It needs to be able to stay on the aluminum and not peal and it needs to stay white and not mildew. Some place like consumer reports might be a good place to look. I would actually test the stuff on a small section of roof or even a lid to a roof vent. I got rid or the plastic inserts on my roof vents and put in a solid aluminum piece. It would be a great place to test roof coatings.

Perry
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