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Old 04-18-2014, 08:36 PM   #1
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enclosed AC inside RV

Lately I have seen a few units on CL where folks have used the Fridge access panel to vent a window ac unit, and then they build a box around the ac on the inside. For these units, they have replaced a full size fridge with an ac below, then a smaller propane/electric fridge above.


I'm looking at a number of older AS and Avions and am wondering if this is a real opti0n, or if it is a hack job. It would seem that even with an insulated box around the ac, there would be issues getting the heat outside. Of course the cost of window units is much lower than rv units, and they would be much easier to replace, so there is a certain appeal.


Is this type of ac application, with an ac unit inside the rv with an insulated box acceptable? Is it cost effective? What are the downsides?


I'm not a huge fan of cutting into the roof of an older unit, so it makes some sense on that level. But before I start looking at units without a/c and work the cost of this application as opposed to a regular roof unit into my calculus, I thought I would ask the brain trust here. Its been slow going looking for my shorter rig, and I'm starting to wonder if I either need to compromise more or start to consider heavier RVs from the 70s. I'm going to look at a 74 Argosy tomorrow, but at 24 feet and nerly 3800lbs without ac or water etch, its starting to get a bit heavy for my 6 banger explorer (but not so much for my Wife's 8 cylinder) even before I add the weight of an ac


In any event, I'm very interested to hear the thoughts on an ac rigged up for the fridge access panel.
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Old 04-18-2014, 09:17 PM   #2
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Well, you aren't too far into the "hack" territory. I have heard of at least one Airstream built in the distant past that had a window style unit built into a closet, and after parking the trailer, you would open a hatch, and the AC unit would actually slide out of the the hatch and into position. So it would look slick going down the road, but a bit awkward in the park. I have also seen 50's vintage trailers with a window style unit installed under a bed or in a cabinet, and the venting goes through the bellypan rather than a wall or the roof.

I think the little fiberglass Casita trailers also used to use a window style AC installed internally and vented to the outdoors, but those are really small trailers.

So... It can be done, and has been done. Is it something that could be easily executed through a refrigerator access hatch? Doubtful you would get much cooling out of it.

The other issue I would bring up is that getting a window AC unit that is big enough to produce the cooling you need, especially in a less-than-optimal air exchange scenario, is going to mean a big friggin' unit, which is going to seriously eat up interior space in your trailer. If the PO who rigged this up is using something tiny like a 5k btu unit, you will likely not get much cooling out of it--maybe that isn't a concern in Ohio, but it is in lots of places you might be interested in traveling.

good luck!
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Old 04-19-2014, 06:10 AM   #3
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Another option, though not a money saver is a split unit. All you have to allow for is a mount spot for the out side unit (trailer tongue) and routing the lines inside. Smokey Joe here on the forums did one on his Argosy.

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Old 04-19-2014, 07:38 AM   #4
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You will need to consider where/how the condensate will drain also.

You know how when your car AC runs, there is a puddle under the car where you park? The AC will pull heat and humidity out of the trailer, and the humidity condenses and drains away.

So think about where you would want the water to go.
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Old 04-19-2014, 09:41 AM   #5
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inside ac

Don't know shipping costs , but a new dometic or coleman with inside ceiling unit is 499 and that's new in the box not salvage or used. They are just outside of springfield mo. Makes a great road trip and you can go to the original bass pro and wander around colaws salvage. They have a web site. I think a new 13500 of either make is around 75 lbs
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Old 04-19-2014, 10:46 AM   #6
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How old are you looking at. Most Airstreams from the 60s on all you would do is remove the center roof vent and install a standard RV AC unit on the roof. Odds are the electric line is there.
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Old 04-21-2014, 09:27 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belegedhel View Post
So... Is it something that could be easily executed through a refrigerator access hatch? Doubtful you would get much cooling out of it.
Putting the hot end of the AC right under the hot end of the fridge would make both of them operate less efficiently. The coils on both units rely upon heat exchange to the air, and that requires the air around the coils starts out as cool as you can make it.
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Old 04-21-2014, 09:47 AM   #8
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How important is AC anyway?

If done properly the window AC inside could work, but don't ask me how.


We rarely use our AC, I'd rather sit outside anyway. The only time we have really needed AC was at Jamboree in the Hills and Nascar races when we're out in the sun with no shade on unusually hot days. when we need it we really need it.


If our trailer didn't have AC I would consider a portable AC unit before either a window unit or a rooftop unit. Install is a non-issue, just a hose out the window, size is not an issue because it can be moved around or left at home when not needed, and cost is somewhere between a window unit and having a new roof top unit installed.


If you need AC all the time, get a rooftop unit, its the most practical option. If like me you only use it occasionally consider a portable unit as an option.
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Old 04-21-2014, 12:16 PM   #9
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An owner from Ontario asking me, in Texas, how important is an AC, anyway....? I'd like to invite you to come visit me anytime between May and November.
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Old 04-22-2014, 06:40 AM   #10
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An owner from Ontario asking me, in Texas, how important is an AC, anyway....? I'd like to invite you to come visit me anytime between May and November.

I'm confused, I thought the OP was from Ohio?
When did this become about Texas?
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