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Old 06-22-2013, 05:00 PM   #1
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Uncomfortable lesson or merely coincidence?

So we set up camp on Tuesday at Cleburne State Park in Cleburne Texas to take advantage of the pre-summer solstice unseasonably mild Texas temperatures..... hey a high of 92 is downright chilly... but I digress

our Safari 23 was blessed with an 11K Penguin AC which has more than it can handle in Texas summers, but turned it on and it ran well Tuesday night, even had to throw on a blanket midway through the night.

Wednesday around lunchtime, i was going to pop some popcorn in the microwave and wondered if perhaps with the AC running, it might not be a good idea to turn off the AC while i used the microwave. I think that became the error of my ways. Popped the popcorn, turned the AC back on high after the popcorn was done.... let's call it a minute thirty..... after that the AC seemed to be chilling, but the output from the fan was non-existent and it seemed like the condensation drip was very slow and I could hear water gurgling in the AC unit. So from Wednesday night through Friday around suppertime, basically I chalked it up to underpowered 11K AC trying to cope with Texas early summer temps in the mid 90s.

After supper on Friday, say six or so, i stepped out and the outside temps actually felt cooler than the interior, supposedly air conditioned temps. So I shut down the Penguin and opened the windows for a couple of hours to try to capture some of the cooler (a relative term) air. when the campfires got to be a bit much, we closed the windows, turned the AC back on and voila, chilled air blowing once again at normal flow rates, enough so that once again on Friday night, mid way through the night, had to get a blanket.

I looked in the AC manual and it notes that if you turn the AC off and don't let it sit longer than 2 minutes, then the refrigerant doesn't get evenly distributed or something to that effect. Is that what happened here?

would appreciate it if one of the AC gurus (Lewster?) would chime in on this.

My eventual plan is to put in a 15K unit so that we can extend our comfortable camping season, even in Texas, but just wanted to know if I had indeed shot myself in the foot with a bag of microwave popcorn?

Thanks
Dana
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Old 06-22-2013, 05:10 PM   #2
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If it's really humid, water condenses on the evaporator coils (the ones where the cold air is coming out) and freezes. Eventually, ice will build up until the coils are blocked and airflow is reduced to almost nothing.

If that happens, run the air conditioner on FAN ONLY for 5-10 minutes to defrost the coils. You'll be able to tell when the defrosting starts; as airflow will increase, and really stinky, humid, hot air comes out. Then, when the airflow seems to be about back to normal, turn the thermostat back to HI-COOL or whatever is appropriate on your unit. Cooling should be back to normal again. If you have a heat pump, you can turn the unit to HEAT for a few minutes to accelerate the defrosting process (some heat pumps may do this automatically).

You may have to do this every couple of hours, depending on how high the humidity is. Also, this may be worse after taking showers, boiling spaghetti, or doing other things inside that increase the humidity even higher than the ambient humidity outside.

I'd try the above before purchasing a larger air conditioner, as this may fix your problem.
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Old 06-22-2013, 05:14 PM   #3
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Thanks, we did have high humidity as one of the first two nights, can't remember which one, we had two separate thunderstorms.... so looks like it might have been a convergence of factors. thanks for the fan only tip.... will try that should this occur again
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Old 06-22-2013, 05:19 PM   #4
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Sounds like you iced up. A couple of things to check. First hopefully your filter is relatively clean. Second, hopefully you don't have a refrigerant leak. Finally you could have a lot of humidity inside the trailer and you are running the fan at low speed. We were in Destin Fl one year and I remember icing up which showed up with decreased air flow from the blower. A traveling air conditioner repair man came through the park we were staying in. After verifying that the ac was within specs, he noted that we needed to run the fan at high speed. He noted that running on low, which may be more comfortable, may have a side effect in that the inside coils become colder due to a slower air flow. High humidity inside the trailer condenses on the coils and tends to freeze rather than turn to water. We kept the fan speed on high and had no further problems the balance of the trip. Apparently he deals with that a lot in that part of the country.

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Old 06-22-2013, 06:21 PM   #5
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Yep!

Most of the important points are covered (good job guys!)

Evaporator ice-up sounds like the culprit.

Good advice to run the fan only to de-ice it. Actually, units with the electronic thermostats have a freeze sensor imbedded into the evaporator that shuts the compressor and continues to run the fan until it is defrosted.

Dirty or blocked coils could also be a contributing factor in the ice-up. The one symptom that Airstreams DON"T have to worry about is insufficient ducting and outlet air flow, as all of the cold air exits right at the air distribution box......BUT ........running the fan speed on anything other than hi will also contribute to ice-up as there is insufficient air flow over the evaporator to transfer the heat from the warmer intake air. ....leading to the suction line being colder than normal and icing.

I had an 11K unit in my '06 19CCD and it worked OK the few times I actually used it, but if I were in TX, I would surely have a 15K.....or 2......or 3!
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Old 06-22-2013, 09:11 PM   #6
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Have read enough on here that i always run it on high cool, but i guess the humidity was the culprit. Thanks for all the great feedback
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