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Old 06-17-2016, 10:40 AM   #1
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1972 31' Sovereign
Kerrville , Texas
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 38
Smile AC on '72-31ft (TX Hill Country)

Well I've sat here for about a half hour now trying to typing and deleting in an attempt to ask a concise question to ask but frankly there are so many AC options I have no clue where to even begin so I'll just out with our objectives and hope you guys can help me out to understand all this.

Trailer: 1972 31 Foot Sovereign
Dominant Location: Kerrville, TX
Environment: parked in direct sunlight, no tinted windows
Current AC: Armstrong, blowing but not cold
Current Furnace: Suburban, status unknown

Objectives:
Substantial Cooling in the TX heat. Not barely adequate
Quiet Operation
Utilize the interior condensate drain tube, no water streaks down the side
Unit should not exceed the height of the armstrong
Do Not Have to cut a bigger hole
Automatic Operation (not sure how to word this but we just want to set it to X degrees and have the AC turn on and off on its own without having to fiddle with it)

Bonus:
Heating. (I understand the duo therm AC units don't do a huge job of this but we may not be able to replace the furnace for a while so if it gets us through 1 mild texas winter it would be adequate)

It seems everybody recommends penguin but they are all low profile and my understanding is that the taller units have some advantages? (namely power and quiet operation) Is this correct? I'm not sure if the armstrong is considered low profile but if there was a more appropriate unit that matched the height of the armstrong we would be ok with using it as opposed to penguin.

Sorry I know this is a bunch of questions we are just total newbies and it's about to get really hot down here so any time you veteran 'streamers can save us with suggestions and insight is greatly appreciated.

Edit:
I am not opposed to fixing the armstrong but is it really adequate for our application of full timing in Tx?
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Old 11-26-2017, 12:16 PM   #2
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I’m sorry no one noticed the trouble to which you went, and to give some guidelines.

Without exception, summertime Texas is hot. Kerrville (where my parents retired years ago and made their base for fulltiming) at least has some altitude, so somewhat lower humidity and cooler nights than nearby San Antonio. This was worth paying any extra.

Shade matters most. Afternoon shade, most of all.

A single 15K BTU AC unit will be able to keep up till mid-morning, and again, overnight, but by itself it will not adequately cool the TT from roughly 10:00 till 22:00. Not without shade, and not without window covers (awnings; and interior Reflectix panels).

Twin AC units pretty well mandatory. One can re-wire to 50A service, or add a 30A service line to second AC and have two power cords to park pedestal. The second unit need not be 15k, but one may wish it so if the main unit went out.

Expect that in year-round use an AC unit will last about three years in Texas. One will be using AC both earlier and later than others.

These trailers have a high ratio of square footage to window area, AND that metal skin, to contend with. Add in leaking door and window seals to compound things.

So, besides or instead of interior press-fit panels of 4’ Reflectix, interior storm windows should be constructed, and perhaps a divided fabric panel at the door entry.

Winter has its problems, so the storm windows are obvious. Trailer skirting (see those threads) is of some benefit in summer as well. In one of the winter living threads are shown enclosed entrances. In effect, a second entry door. In summer, this would of huge help in Texas.

Roof paint should bring down interior temps, but one has a fair amount of prep what with gaskets, rivet leaks and other prior to paint (see those threads).

The advantage to a TT of this type used year-round in Texas (despite this very real heat/cool handicap) is that you can watch the conventional TTs around you deteriorate at a fast pace.

To sum up: I would move or pay extra for afternoon shade. And the “quality” of park AC power is worth your time to understand and explore. Low voltage will shorten the life of every appliance aboard, but especially AC. While an autoformer may be of help, I’d want best quality electric.

Even if it meant a longer commute or what-have-you. These vehicles weren’t constructed with permanent occupancy in mind. Or that vacationers would be in terrific conditions. (They’ll just travel on, right?). So with that in mind, less strain on the electric system is best practice.

And same for the use of electric space heaters in winter. Get a new furnace. Maybe a Dyson space heater to take off the chill (see those threads), but the furnace ready to cut in at a fairly high temp point. (See also Cheap Heat electric retrofit).

Skirting will pay for itself. Use propane as intended. Don’t overdo it on the electrical system. Expect that even with twin AC units the TT won’t ever be as comfortable as a house. Add in cooking, bathing, etc, and learn to adapt to what works best.

.
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Old 11-26-2017, 01:05 PM   #3
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1973 Argosy 24
hartselle , Alabama
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I'm in Bama and went with a Coleman Mach series 13.5 btu with heat. The Coleman is fairly quiet but I believe it is an inch or so taller than my original Armstrong unit. It did fit the original hole without cutting. The 13500 does a fine job of cooling our trailer, can hold 70 on a 100 degree day with high humidity, but my trailer is 7 feet shorter than yours and mine is also painted white all over. For a 31 footer I would probably be looking for a 15000btu unit. I didn't hook up the internal drain (again my trailer is painted not polished) but the Coleman did have knockouts in the pan to make the connection. The heat will hold my interior at 70+ down to about 35. After 35 the furnace kicks on to make up the difference.

The worst of the install was removal of the old unit, and building supports between the skins to properly support the the new coleman. We've been abusing the coleman in south east heat for six years now with no hiccups.
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Old 11-26-2017, 01:17 PM   #4
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I did this for shade where my trailer sits most of the summer, it allows my ancient Armstrong unit to keep the trailer cool even in the heat of the southern New Mexico summer.

It makes a HUGE difference for less than a thousand bucks.
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Old 11-26-2017, 01:32 PM   #5
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That picture of New Mexico reminds me I forgot to add that a floor standing de-humidifier is necessary in our humidity. Takes the load off the AC in late spring and early fall, and in winter cuts interior condensation. I monitor humidity with a hygrometer and make decisions to use based on experience.

I also use a large floor-standing air cleaner (runs constantly) and find it much helps with close- quarters living (and reducing exterior air quality problems; just wait till the next time those fires in Mexico get out of hand).

Texas east of TX-16 is a difficult climate, from the RGV clear north. So expect that utility costs will always be above $100/month averaged out. I would plan $150 and apply balance to replacement costs.
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1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
2004 DODGE Cummins 305/555; 6-manual; 9k GVWR.
Hensley Arrow. 9-cpm solo, 15-cpm towing
Sold: Silver Streak Model 3411
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Old 11-26-2017, 06:38 PM   #6
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1972 31' Sovereign
1975 31' Excella 500
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowmover View Post
That picture of New Mexico reminds me I forgot to add that a floor standing de-humidifier is necessary in our humidity. Takes the load off the AC in late spring and early fall, and in winter cuts interior condensation. I monitor humidity with a hygrometer and make decisions to use based on experience.

I also use a large floor-standing air cleaner (runs constantly) and find it much helps with close- quarters living (and reducing exterior air quality problems; just wait till the next time those fires in Mexico get out of hand).

Texas east of TX-16 is a difficult climate, from the RGV clear north. So expect that utility costs will always be above $100/month averaged out. I would plan $150 and apply balance to replacement costs.


In New Mexico we humidify....
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Old 11-26-2017, 11:42 PM   #7
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Ditto in the high desert of SoCal
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