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Old 07-27-2011, 06:32 PM   #1
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Cool Ducted AC

Has anyone done this in an airstream?
Is it too hard to cosmetically conceal the duct work?
Is there a need...how hard is it to push cold air to the front and end of a 31 ft trailer with a single center mounted 15k btu ac?

Long-timer lurker, first time poster...thanks in advance for the feedback
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Old 07-27-2011, 06:46 PM   #2
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Hi Chetos! As hot as it's been you really need two ACs! Welcome to the forums! I've heard of it being done, but don't know any posts to point you to. Try the Google search and see what you can scrounge up.
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Old 07-27-2011, 06:51 PM   #3
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The problem with ducts is that they restrict airflow. Because of the shape, you have the interior surface of the ducts providing resistance to the air moving through the ducts. It's worth when you need to transport conditioned air through unconditioned space (the attic in your house, for example) or bypass physical barriers (multiple closed rooms in your house.) I think you'd need more fan to distribute the same amount of air around the airstream as the ceiling-mounted unit does, you'd need more fan. I guess you could put scavenging computer fans at the ends of ducts to pull air through to compensate...
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:50 PM   #4
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ha...google just returned my thread as the first choice...it's amazing how efficient that machine is!!!

so, for those of you who retro two ac's in old airstreams...where do you locate them...do you put one in the original slot and another centered on an existing vent?
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Old 07-27-2011, 09:14 PM   #5
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i don't know your layout but in my '94 34' i put a white 10' gutter downspout from the ac, above the door openings to the rear bedroom. slightly flattened, it fit snug to the ceiling without fasteners and it help keep the sun drenched bedroom at an acceptable level. i played with a tiny computer fan to pull more air. that helped even more and was a tad noisy but did improve airflow. did it look tacky? yes, but it made an afternoon nap pleasant :-)
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Old 08-16-2011, 09:41 AM   #6
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I am toying with this idea as well. As hot as it has been, it is only comfortable when the air is blowing directly on you. But w/o ducts the air blows on the ceiling and hits the light and doesn't reach around to the corner of the living area where I sit on the couch. And we have given up on cooling the bedroom and just leave the door closed. Is it impossible to cut out the center ceiling of my airstream and put a ducting system and then just patch an aluminum panel back up? I don't think it would look bad as I would rather see a line of silver up there instead of the white baby bumber material. Dometic has a new QuietZone Ducted System that would be just perfect if I could make it work in my '94 34' Excella Classic. Am I mad? My husband seems to think so. I have to confess I just had him pull out a perfectly great Dometic 15K BTU Manual Control Penguin to install a Dometic 13,500BTU with Electronic Thermostat Control. I really thought having the electronic thermostat would regulate the temp and keep the trailer cool all day w/o having the air on all day. The truth is I really miss the extra 1,500 BTU we had before. And I hate the directional air flow vents on the new one. Your options are dump straight down from the middle or blow at the ceiling. The old a/c was way more flexible. I guess I expected the new a/c to have improvements in design but I can't help but wonder if the person that designed it ever set foot in a travel trailer. If I can't figure this out, I dont think we can stay in Texas. It is turning into sahara! BTW, happy 61st day of triple digit heat. Anyone who says this is normal is smoking crack.

Sorry for the lunatic rant but the heat is making me delirious.

~Yevette
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Old 08-16-2011, 10:15 AM   #7
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I was thinking of using the NEW unit from Duo Therm/Dometic, designated as HP (high performance). It may be ducted or not. When you read the specs on the Dometic website, the cfm of the fan is higher, the freon qty is larger, AND the power consumption is 1/3 less than average. Can it install without mods. as it should be a better performer!
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Old 08-16-2011, 10:21 AM   #8
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Our solution is a 12v Fantastic "Endless Breeze" fan. We point it initially forward to get a breeze in the lounge. At night, we point it back at the bedroom.

I put a vent in the bottom of my AC shroud to throw some cool air directly downward. The Endless Breeze then blows that air where we need it most. The most recent ACs already have a controllable vent in the bottom of the shroud. I simply cut a 4" hole and installed a 4" round vent that can be open or off when not needed. I used the same sort of vent that is used for the furnace, but one with a shutoff. I had to cut off the part of the vent that goes into the hose in order to not restrict the airflow.
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Old 08-16-2011, 10:41 AM   #9
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I might add that in a previous (non-Airstream) I cut a hole in the side of the AC shroud and ran a pipe from the cold air plenum out the side and into a side bathroom that had no direct cooling. The nice stream of cold air kept the bathroom liveable since the door had to be kept closed to not block the passage. Sort of a semi-ducted installation since the normal vents worked as usual.
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Old 08-16-2011, 10:58 AM   #10
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Pahaska, What are the specs of the AC shown in the image; electronic? 15k BTU? Dometic?
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Old 08-16-2011, 11:53 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by yve79 View Post
Pahaska, What are the specs of the AC shown in the image; electronic? 15k BTU? Dometic?
13.5K BTU Dometic. Wish it were a 15K, but I bought the trailer at the Springfield International and it is what came on it. It is just barely enough cooling when used with the Endless Breeze to move air.

OTOH, I can use the 120v water heater and 13.5K AC on a 30A tap without worrying about blowing a breaker. The 15K AC + the 120v WH runs a bit closer to the limit.
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Old 08-17-2011, 06:52 AM   #12
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Lightbulb

thanks for the feedback...good comments and thoughts...keep them coming. I was just sitting on the plane the other day enjoying the directional ducted AC and wondering why I couldn't just do that in my airstream...thinking I could do some low profile rectangular aluminum ducting hugging the ceiling from the unit out towards the sides and then run round flex duct concealed through the overhead cabinet areas....I know this is not conventional...just thinking out loud looking for feedback and ideas.
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Old 08-17-2011, 09:25 AM   #13
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Hey Chetos

Another idea I came across; what about a small split system? The advantage being air blown directly in the areas you want it but without requiring ducting. The link below is an example (very expensive).

http:http://www.alpinehomeair.com/viewpro...ctID=453059573
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Old 08-18-2011, 06:51 AM   #14
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Chetos,
We did something in our 34' that may interest you. Our storage for the trailer is under our screened porch of the rear of our house (elevated house). The roof mounted AC always made it a tight squeeze into its storage spot. I would have to let air out of the tires--it was just troublesome. When that AC kicked the bucket after 20 years we decided to go a different route.
My brother and father are both in the heating and air business--I would have never been able to pull this stunt off without their expertise. I took a 15,000 BTU window unit and split it. Our trailer has a little 'garage' for the horizontal propane tanks at the tongue and those tanks were long gone and regular tanks were there so I had a space for the condensor. The air handler part I put in the linen closet which is the center of our trailer in the bath (walk through bath). We replaced the fan with a larger one able to push the air through the ducts. Made a plenum for the ducts to feed from. One goes into the kitchen area and one into the bathroom, both directly off the plenum (no duct), and then two 5" insulated ducts in the cabinetry take air to the front lounge area and to the rear bedroom. We did run the copper freon lines that connect the units by attaching them to the underside of the bellypan, much like the propane lines. For power, we used the wiring that was already run to the ceiling unit and just moved it to where we needed it.
Running the ductwork was tedious as there is not much room but managed to tuck it high and against the outer wall so it really takes no used space.
I would say that the unit makes about the same amount of noise as the roof mounted unit and I think most of that noise is the air traveling through the ductwork. I am going to investigate the idea of a booster fan at the end of the lounge and bedroom ducts to increase airflow into these two areas.
We also added a heat strip while we were at it and it is more than adequate for the camping we do. The furnace is still available when needed.
The return for the unit is high in the center of the trailer so it is pulling the hottest air to the unit. It also allows me to have a residential style pleated air filter which I change frequently.

In the HVAC business, they call window units window shakers but we have been pleased with the performance of this unit--no vibration.
Hope this is some help to you--good luck.
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