Portable Air Conditioner

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garyb1st

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Anyone use a free standing units to cool your RV? I've thought about it but only with respects a possible temporary solution to a failed roof top unit. Then during our last outing, on a particularly hot day at a park with only 30 amp power, a neighbor showed me his solution. Had one of his roof top units running off the parks 30 amp service and a second free standing unit plugged into the parks pedestals 15 amp outlet. They purchased the unit from Costco for about $500.00. Other than having another large object occupying the limited floor space, it made sense to me. When we were at that park our AC would only bring the temp in the motorhome down to 87º during the hottest part of the day. The outside temp was about 92º so not much cooling.

I saw one today at Costco Business which was on sale for $399.00. If it worked it would be a nice addition while at a park with limited power and I would think a unit our Honda 2000 would run.

Anyone have experience with a portable unit? The ones I've looked at online have had mixed reviews.
 

Ksouers

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I've got one I use around the house, mostly in the shed or garage, as needed. It was originally purchased to cool an add-on room, since replaced with a window unit.

Couple things to remember about the roll-around units: They use a large (4" plus) diameter hose to evacuate the hot air from the condenser side. The evaporator collects condensate (moisture) in a tray in the bottom that needs to be emptied frequently. There is a hose connection for this, so you need to drain it somewhere.

It worked fairly well. Mostly it was the need to drain that caused us to seek a standard window unit. It would fill a 5 gallon bucket almost daily. Had to make sure it didn't overflow, nor that it got too full to carry out the door to empty. Drilling a hole in the wall to drain was not an option.

The simple logistics of operation became too much of a burden. But it does work well enough on a temporary basis.

Kevin
 

DBarton02

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I'd do some extra reading on these before, and if you were to buy one, buy the next size up or two... AND look into the return policy after purchasing.

My wife and I bought one from Best Buy as we're in the process of getting our Coleman Mach Basement AC fixed in our Adventurer (see other post for the whole fun saga). Figured we'd need something to keep us cool for our weekend jaunt with the kids to Michigan City, IN this past weekend.
Hooked it up, vented it out the drivers door window... and it did absolutely N O T H I N G to keep us cool.

I did some thinking about the idea after the trip was up, and the only thing I'd try to do differently is put up reflective foil in the windshield if you do it this way. I put on the exterior sunshade, but the sunlight coming through the front windows (I think) had too much of a heating effect, and the AC unit struggled to keep up as it was just in one spot.

It was promptly returned when we returned home and not something I'd do again.

Your mileage may vary, depending on your coach, weather, and where you're camping.

Good luck with the experiment. Hopefully it works out better for you!
 

garyb1st

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The evaporator collects condensate (moisture) in a tray in the bottom that needs to be emptied frequently. There is a hose connection for this, so you need to drain it somewhere.

It worked fairly well. Mostly it was the need to drain that caused us to seek a standard window unit. It would fill a 5 gallon bucket almost daily. Had to make sure it didn't overflow, nor that it got too full to carry out the door to empty.

Kevin
That's a lot of water. Must be related to an areas relative humidity? But it's something to think about.
 

Henry J Fate

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There are two types. Big difference between the two.

The type spoken above is a single vent system. Those systems are not very good as they use inside air conditioned air to cool off the condensing coil then exhaust it outside. This air is replaced by the hot outside air that has made things uncomfortable and creates a vicous loop usually ending in failure. A good example of this type of unit is when a user opens the bath vent and turns the fan on to vent potty smells. The user forgets to shut the bath vent and the ac suddenly has trouble keeping up.

The other design (and much better but a little more money) has 2 hoses. It uses outside air to remove the heat from the condensing coil then pushes the air back outside. This eliminates the use of the precious inside air conditioned air. This design is much like a standard window ac that we all are familiar with and they work as they should.

I personally would not reccomend the single vent system and have always used the double hose units which work quite well if set up properly.

The most common question I field when this subject comes up is "how can anyone be satisfied with those single vent units?"

The only users that get by with those single vents are the users that sit in the flow of cool air and are fine with it as it is better than nothing. Other factors creep in too. Outside air temperatures are a very big factor. If it's not too hot outside, it may be fine but those conditions are usually mornings and nights.
 
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Kirk

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When we were at that park our AC would only bring the temp in the motorhome down to 87º during the hottest part of the day. The outside temp was about 92º so not much cooling.
If your roof air conditioner will only keep temperatures 5° below the outside temperature the RV must be very poorly insulated or have some major air leaks. You don't say where you are located but if in direct sun it would help a great deal if you could move to where there is shade. An example of what the sunlight does is the extreme temperatures that a car reaches when parked in direct sun.

Henry makes a very good point. Even with only 1 discharge hose you will lose some value due to the air coming in around that hose, added to the loss of warm air that replaces it. The 2 hose type may help but it would need to be a unit with a higher BTU rating than the roof air conditioner has.
 

garyb1st

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If your roof air conditioner will only keep temperatures 5° below the outside temperature the RV must be very poorly insulated or have some major air leaks.
We were only able to run one of our two roof AC units at the time. At the next park with 50 amp service we were running both units and were able to bring the temps down to the mid-70's. That was with outside temps in the 100's and minimal shade.
 

garyb1st

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The other design (and much better but a little more money) has 2 hoses. It uses outside air to remove the heat from the condensing coil then pushes the air back outside. This eliminates the use of the precious inside air conditioned air. This design is much like a standard window ac that we all are familiar with and they work as they should.
We'll have to take another look at the one Costco sells. I thought it had two vents. The DW recalls only seeing one. I guess that's on par with typical witness testimony. lol.
 

Robert K

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put a soft start on one of your ac's. You will be able to run 2 on 30 amps.
I added one a couple months ago and it works very good. I put it on bedroom unit because it cycles off and on more.
 

garyb1st

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put a soft start on one of your ac's. You will be able to run 2 on 30 amps.
I added one a couple months ago and it works very good. I put it on bedroom unit because it cycles off and on more.
Thought about doing that. Another individual I talked to rewired the second AC so it's independent of the other's wiring and he could run it directly via 110.
 

Henry J Fate

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We'll have to take another look at the one Costco sells. I thought it had two vents. The DW recalls only seeing one. I guess that's on par with typical witness testimony. lol.
I don't think I have seen any at Costco. Lowes did have them about a year ago and you can get them at home depot but may need to order and send to store.
 

Jkoht

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I run a 10,000 btu one in my popup camper and it's enough to take the edge off at night for sleeping. I also have a 15,000 btu one that I run in a 6x14 enclosed trailer that haul my atv in, but also set up bunks for sleeping and it'll freeze you out in there. In my 25 foot toyhauler the front living section is sectioned off from the rear garage where I've set up two sets of bunks for sleeping. Consequently the roof ac is only in the front half. I've gotten by with putting a box fan in the doorway and blowing it into the rear, but I've been thinking about a putting portable ac back there. I have rectangular vents there for venting out exhaust from starting up machines, so I'm thinking of routing the exhaust line of a portable through one of those.
 
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