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Old 07-11-2011, 11:36 AM   #1
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Is Your Air Conditioner Adequate in 100+F Heat?

We recently had our first hot day here - 79 - 80F. So, I turned the AC on for the first time.

It took quite a long time for the AC to cool the trailer down. After running it for a few hours, I thought the trailer would be really cold, but it wasn't.
It was really cold right under the AC unit (in the middle of the kitchen) but it wasn't that cold at either end of the trailer (dining and bedroom area). Liveable, yes, but not as cool as the kitchen area.

Bearing in mind it was 108F in Oklahoma a few days ago, I'm wondering how other 'streamers are making out with their AC? My trailer has the wrap-around windows on both ends, which probably doesn't help, but I was really questioning the viability of my unit's AC in extreme heat especially when we need it most, in the bedroom at night!

BTW, I also noticed the smaller vent on one side of my AC was not blasting out as much cold air as the other vents. Is this a defect, or is this the usual way they work. When I adjusted some of the other vents, more air would be directed out the under-performing vent, but it was still not that strong.

Thanks for your input.
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Old 07-11-2011, 11:41 AM   #2
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Well without getting into all the deltas and physics etc. depending on the size of your AC unit, it should cool down pretty well on an 80 degree day. our little 11k penguin did okay in 100 degree heat although it did take several hours to get down to a respectable 80 or so..... summer camping in Texas with an AS can be challenging, but I would think BC wouldnt have a lot of 100 degree days. Could you send some of that 80 degrees our way? thanks
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Old 07-11-2011, 11:47 AM   #3
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I have 25' Safari with the small windows, and a headliner and wall material. It has a 11,000 BTU air conditioner. I think the sizes and models are so diverse your AC performance should only be directly compared to another very similar unit.

I just returned from Bishop CA with temps in the 100 degree range. I've used the trailer up to 115 degrees. On this last trip there were times the interior temp rose to 80 degrees. It was still comfortable for me because in my smaller trailer I'm always in a breeze blowing from the AC unit. In fact usually I shoot for a temp in the high 70s. If it gets down to 72, the breeze from the AC is too cold for me.

My biggest gripe about the AC is slow cooldown if the starting interior temp is 100 degrees. It seems to take forever, usually till after dark. BTW I doubt most people have trouble cooling their trailers at night regardless of the temp. I've had mine in areas where it went down to 95 at night and it got meat locker cold in there. Most of the AC struggles are due to sun load on the exterior. Parking in the shade is a big plus in hotter weather and extends the useful range of the air conditioner.
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Old 07-11-2011, 11:49 AM   #4
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Goal, last night I left the bedroom windows open and the cool, moist air was wafting in - glorious! Natural air conditioning. I was thinking about the poor people in TX/OK who are suffering through a heatwave. We do not get many hot days here, but they can come on suddenly, and it is top news. People think they're dying! Canadians, especially those on the westcoast, sure love to moan about the weather. It's funny how unbearably "hot" here = "nice" in places like TX.

No, we do not get many 80+ days here on the coast, but the interior of the province is semi-arid. Summers are a lot hotter there.

Hope you're not suffering too much.
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Old 07-11-2011, 11:50 AM   #5
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Hi Fly,

There are a couple of similar threads that have been posted recently on this topic and they contain some useful tips.

We had some hot days in the Denver area over the 4th of July weekend. Temps got up into the upper 90's. Here's what worked for us:

1. Use the awning as much as possible.
2. We purchased a roll of Relectix at Home Depot and cut out pieces to fit the skylights.
3. We also cut out pieces for the sunny side windows. I placed them between the window glass and the screen.
4. While not entirely stylish, I took a big piece of the Reflectix and covered the large panorama windows on the outside. I just used a couple of clips and attached to the solar guard.
5. Purchased two small fans to keep air moving inside the coach.
6. Closed off the bedroom until later in the evening when the air started to cool as the sun went down.

7. Kept the bathroom door closed.
8. Start the A/C early in the day before you think you really need it.

The inside temp was very comfortable during the heat of the day using this method. I don't have an inside thermometer but I would guess 70 degrees inside at the peak heat of the day.

Hope this helps.

Ron
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Old 07-11-2011, 11:57 AM   #6
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Ronald, thanks for the tips!

I was thinking of putting one of those car windshield reflectors on the BR panoramic window - at least during the day.

Will stock up and take note of your other pointers. Who knows where the weather could go - it can change dramatically here. I want to be prepared because I get beechy in the heat.
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Old 07-11-2011, 11:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tpi View Post
I have 25' Safari with the small windows, and a headliner and wall material. It has a 11,000 BTU air conditioner. I think the sizes and models are so diverse your AC performance should only be directly compared to another very similar unit.

I just returned from Bishop CA with temps in the 100 degree range. I've used the trailer up to 115 degrees. On this last trip there were times the interior temp rose to 80 degrees. It was still comfortable for me because in my smaller trailer I'm always in a breeze blowing from the AC unit. In fact usually I shoot for a temp in the high 70s. If it gets down to 72, the breeze from the AC is too cold for me.

My biggest gripe about the AC is slow cooldown if the starting interior temp is 100 degrees. It seems to take forever, usually till after dark. BTW I doubt most people have trouble cooling their trailers at night regardless of the temp. I've had mine in areas where it went down to 95 at night and it got meat locker cold in there. Most of the AC struggles are due to sun load on the exterior. Parking in the shade is a big plus in hotter weather and extends the useful range of the air conditioner.
tpi, long cool-down, that seems to be a commonality. I noticed same with mine. Thanks for your reply.
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Old 07-11-2011, 12:05 PM   #8
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Barely, I think the mouse fur and foam vinyl on the ceiling on the classics helps a little.
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Old 07-11-2011, 12:36 PM   #9
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We just visited our Airstream last week, and plugged it in and turned on the ac, first time. It was sitting inside a warehouse, and the temp inside was 94 when we started. Two hours later it had cooled down to 83 when we had to stop the experiment and go catch a flight. While in it, standing in the kitchen under the 15 kbtu unit, I felt the cold breeze blowing straight down. I was thinking about some of the threads I have read on this forum, and picking out where I could put a fan for circulation. ( I think under the dinette where that 12 volt outlet is) Then I started fiddling around with the vents on the ac, and found that when I shut the vent blowing straight down on my sweaty, bald head, the air blew out the end vents a lot harder. Toward the front bedroom and the rear lounge. You know....the east wing over past the pool, game and media rooms.....the end of that longest hallway, down with the sound system.
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Old 07-11-2011, 12:50 PM   #10
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TPI:

It occurs to me if there was a way to vent the AS during travel that wouldn't cause roof vents or windows to fly off, the issue of heat gain during the day and the longer cooldown period might be somewhat mitigated but I'm not sure how that could be done. Anyone have any experience in trying to do that? Seems like a constant displacement of heated air prior to turning the AC on might help make the AS less of a heat sink while on the road.
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Old 07-11-2011, 12:53 PM   #11
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TPI:

It occurs to me if there was a way to vent the AS during travel that wouldn't cause roof vents or windows to fly off, the issue of heat gain during the day and the longer cooldown period might be somewhat mitigated but I'm not sure how that could be done. Anyone have any experience in trying to do that? Seems like a constant displacement of heated air prior to turning the AC on might help make the AS less of a heat sink while on the road.
I always left a vent open in my old SOB, but the airflow over my AS draws A LOT of dust inside the unit.....so no I don't leave them open anymore.
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Old 07-11-2011, 12:56 PM   #12
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dznf0g:

did it help with temperatures? If it did it occurs to me that cutting a piece of furnace filter material to fit inside the vent would eliminate much of the dust issue and would be particularly worthwhile if it did indeed reduce inside temperature or buildup of heated air.
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Old 07-11-2011, 12:59 PM   #13
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dznf0g:

did it help with temperatures? If it did it occurs to me that cutting a piece of furnace filter material to fit inside the vent would eliminate much of the dust issue and would be particularly worthwhile if it did indeed reduce inside temperature or buildup of heated air.
Oh, I suppose it helped some, but I think the real issue with A/C performance is sun load more than ambient temps. (you guys in the SW excluded!)

BTW, I would use a Maxx Air cover (or similar brand) if you're going to leave vents open during travel.
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Old 07-11-2011, 01:12 PM   #14
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In my 2001 ASCL 31' I have to accurately direct the vents to blow the dense cool air high and down the hall into the bedroom. If I want the bedroom to be cool during the heat of the day I also close off one of the living room vents to direct greater air flow to the rear. Also, I use a 12 volt “Fantastic” table/floor fan to increase circulation of the dry air the A/C creates and find the setup quite comfortable.

Additionally, while servicing the A/C filters I discovered two problems with the OEM installation:

· The A/C venting of cool air was somewhat mixing with the warm air being drawn in through the filters due to gaps in the installation (quality of OEM installation). I used some aluminum duct tape to seal the gaps.
· The foam backed vinyl ceiling material (on the Classic Limited) which is pressed down by the A/C cover had much excess that was hanging down inside the cover where the rear air was venting and was obstructing the air flow from those vents (quality of OEM installation). I corrected this by cutting back the excess vinyl.
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