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Old 08-15-2010, 12:39 PM   #1
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2016 16' Sport
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2010
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Upgrading AC on brand new Airstream....

Hello all,

I have a quick question, and apologies if I was not able to find an answer in previous posts. We have taken delivery of a 2011 25FB International (sorry if I have not learnt all the acronyms yet!!). We have been on 4 trips already, and after the last one to check out the Perseid Meteor shower... I have to admit that the AC does not cut it. It has been quite hot and humid in TX, and this combination has been quite taxing to the AC system. I believe my AS has a 13,500 BTU AC unit. Is there a quick and easy "swap" to a 15,000 BTU (or bigger) unit? Although I doubt the 15,000 BTU unit is going to help that much more. The official temp on Friday at our campsite west and north of Fort Worth was 106 degrees, and substantial humidity too. And it was unable to keep the temp inside the AS below 90 degrees. The AC unit did not freeze up on this trip, although on a previous trip it did freeze up.

Thanks for any comments.

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Old 08-15-2010, 01:05 PM   #2
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We have the 15,000 unit in ours, and in the summer time, it will not cool down all the way. I found it helps to use insulation on the fans and windows you do care about seeing out of. I can maintain about 78 - 80 during the hottest times doing this.

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Old 08-15-2010, 01:08 PM   #3
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from other posts i've heard......
the ac will usually only drop the ambient temp 20 degrees.
to reduce the chance of icing, run the fan on high.

from experience....
start the ac before it gets hot in the morning. i suppose that at 100+ during the day, you're not getting to the point of turning it off at night ;-)

park in the shade and use your awnings.
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Old 08-15-2010, 01:08 PM   #4
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I'm wondering if adding an air conditioner would be more effective than adding 10% more capacity.

My 11K btu on 25' seems more effective than you describe. But it is only with one occupant, 24 hour run time, little cooking, efforts to insulate the windows and skylights and using awing to increase shade.

But I can see scenarios where extra capacity is required. Perhaps someone will chime in about the ease of adding a second unit. Replacing the 13.6 with a 15K shouldn't be hard, Dometic Penguins come in both sizes.
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Old 08-15-2010, 01:19 PM   #5
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You might also consider adding the window awnings if you don't have them already. They definitely help with keeping things cooler but when the temp gets over 100 prepare to sweat!
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Old 08-15-2010, 01:41 PM   #6
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Ah, thanks for the replies. I did not in fact extend the awnings... And I have three of them. Hmmm, should have thought of that.

We did find that closing the two "room dividers" helped out a lot in keeping at least part of the volume cool.

The AC ran almost continuously for the 3 days we camped.
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Old 08-15-2010, 01:47 PM   #7
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Awnings is the secret....all sides possible. I used a 13500 in the Caravels here in North Texas area and it was OK. Keep the door closed as much as possible, use awnings.

You have to be laughing at the suggestion to use tree shade (in the Grasslands) around here. Trees? Shade?
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Old 08-15-2010, 02:10 PM   #8
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We had a similar experience in our new 2010 25' International Serenity. It was 102 and humid, and the best our wimpy 13,500 BTU A/C could do was 90 degrees inside. We had to go out and buy two fans! We, too, are thinking of changing it out to a 15,000 BTU unit. Our fridge didn't do too well in those hot conditions, either. The best it could do during the day was 60 degrees inside. We had to throw away some steaks! Ugh! My husband is looking into the possibility of installing a computer cooling fan behind the fridge as some others have done on here. Hope that will help!

I might also add that we had all three of our awnings extended the day it was 102. I don't even want to think about how hot it would have been inside without those!
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Old 08-15-2010, 02:12 PM   #9
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Yeah, seems like the awnings would make a huge difference. If I didn't have trees shading my house I'm not sure my central air would keep up with the lovely weather we've been having in north TX the last couple of weeks. It would be a good side-effect of covering the free roof area with solar cells, too... You'd get a little electric power and keep some direct sun off the top.
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Old 08-15-2010, 02:25 PM   #10
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Here's a couple more tips from a hot weather user.
1. Any windows not shaded by awning and exposed to direct sun can be improved by applying reflective windshield cover (cut to size) on the outside of the window. It can be applied with tape, velcro or suction cup. The key is to keep the exterior of the window out of the hot direct sun.

2. The roof skylight can be covered temporarily with a weighted pad. This can be done without getting on roof.

Windows with direct access to sun and roof skylight can admit several thousand extra btu of heat.
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Old 08-15-2010, 02:49 PM   #11
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The material referred to in tpi's post is called Reflectix. It is available at Lowe's and RV stores. We put it on all the bedroom windows. A piece can slide over the skylight cover and one piece on each fan. All of these except the skylight are affixed by Velcro. It does make a difference. We just leave it on the bedroom windows because we don't look out them all that much plus it's easier.

When starting the A/C, have the Fantastic Fan run for a while to vent the interior after it's been towed through 100˚ temps. The cabinets and wardrobes will be hot too and could be opened for a while to ventilate them.

The awning(s) help too, of course.

I haven't put a fan on the outside of the fridge, but we do have one for the inside. The fridge temp went up to 48˚ in 106˚ heat one afternoon in Utah, but otherwise it stays at 39-40˚.

Airstream must save a few bucks by installing the 13.5 K unit and lose a few bucks several times over in reputation when people suffer 100˚ temps and complain publicly.

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Old 08-15-2010, 05:50 PM   #12
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My 25 FB SE came with a 15K air conditioner. You could hang meat in there on a 100 degree day. One simple thing - regularly clean the filters on the Air Conditioner. Twice a month if you're fulltiming. Using the awning(s) and or shading the windows helps a lot too.

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Old 08-15-2010, 08:25 PM   #13
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South of the river , Minnesota
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I have two A/Cs in my 30'.

The aft bedroom stays cool.

The forward portion of the trailer does not, on hot, humid days, with no shade, when it is windy enough that the awnings can't be extended. I have had the A/C looked at and have been paying increasing attention to exactly what goes on.

Part of the problem is that the fancy thermostat will not run the A/C all the time and at high fan unless there is at least a 9 degree difference between the thermostat setting and the indoor temperature. At 7-8 degrees it will switch between low and high fan. At 5-6 degrees it will stay on low fan and cycle the compressor.

So if you want it to be 72* in the morning so that in the afternoon heat it will drift up no higher than 78* well then you have to set the thermostat at 64* or so when you finish breakfast so that the A/C will run hard enough.
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Old 08-15-2010, 09:36 PM   #14
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As you use the trailer more, you will begin to know the campgrounds that have shade. We stayed in a nice one a couple weeks ago in Denison, Tx, birthplace of President Eisenhower, has a Corps of Engineer Campground (Dam Site) that has large Oak trees. HD TV reception very good using the trailer antenna under the trees.

Our A/C, 13.5 BTU, is 22 yrs old. The interior shroud louvers can be directed right at you and closed in the opposite direction. The window shades that come with the trailer are not good enough to keep the sun/heat off in extreme heat. As someone else suggested buying a roll of the aluminum insulation material and cutting it to fit the windows helps. We cut ours slightly larger than the window casing and they stay in place when pushed in place on the inside of the window. Hope this helps, Pat

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