Opinions Solicited regarding Air Conditioning.

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Opinions Solicited regarding Air Conditioning.

Postby mikerueve » Tue May 06, 2014 7:16 am

Let me preface this by saying that we live in the mid/deep South and as far as people around here are concerned, Air Conditioning is mandatory.

We have taken delivery of our new teardrop and I am busily modifying it as we speak. We had it built to our specifications and I couldn't be happier
with how it turned out. One thing that we left out was provisions for an AC. I've done the searches here and believe that I know all of the different
options for installing one. Sooner or later, I will figure something out, but for now, that leads me to my question.

Our trailer is our 25th wedding anniversary present to ourselves. There is nothing we love better than just hitting the open road and exploring. So this
summer, instead of taking a second honeymoon to some exotic location, we are driving to Chicago and plan on taking Route 66 all the way to California.
Our plan is to basically cruise all day and see the sights along the way and then find a place to stop for the evening to maybe eat a light meal and catch some sleep.
We don't think we will even un-hook the trailer very often. I know that it will get hot during the day (it will be early Summer, duh) and that the desert southwest
can be blazing hot during the day! But we were wondering if since we are planning on only sleeping in it at night and not really setting up camp anywhere,
if things will cool off enough at nights to allow us to be comfortable without the refrigerated air. We do have a three speed Fantastic fan and can adjust the
windows for ventilation.

Like I said in the title, I am soliciting opinions, so please feel free to give me yours. I would love to hear from those of you who might live along the way or
have "been down this road" before.

Oh, and I WILL post some pictures of our teardrop as soon as I can.

Regards,
Mike
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Re: Opinions Solicited regarding Air Conditioning.

Postby citylights » Tue May 06, 2014 7:56 am

AC is great, but it comes with power issues. It is not really practical to build a battery system to run AC. The two options are shore power, or a small portable generator to run it.

I live and camp in desert southwest. I must say AC is nice and I have it in my teardrop, but... My camping is centered around finding areas where the average temperature is ideal, rather than going anywhere and just running the AC. For example, I camp in the low desert in winter, early spring, and late fall. I camp in mid elevation mountains in spring and fall. I camp in high elevation mountains in mid summer. I guess you could say, I chase the ideal weather.

If you are passing through, you won't have the opportunity to chase the best weather. I think you would like to have the AC, but you will need to make provisions to power it.

To answer your other question, yes the temperature cools off at night. In the low desert, if it is 100 in the day, it might be 85 at sundown and 80 by midnight. That is not enough cool down for me. AND it could easily be hotter than 100 with resulting hotter nights. That is why I run away to the mountains! :thumbsup:
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Re: Opinions Solicited regarding Air Conditioning.

Postby jstrubberg » Tue May 06, 2014 8:11 am

In the drier states, Utah, New Mexico, etc, you can absolutely get by without AC. It's just a matter of how long you wait for things to cool down.

In Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, etc, forget it. The humidity means it doesn't cool off at night, it just gets clammier.

There is no way I would trade the $20 it costs to stay in a state park with shore power for AC. Sleep is far too important, especially when you are driving.
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Re: Opinions Solicited regarding Air Conditioning.

Postby bobhenry » Tue May 06, 2014 8:46 am

jstrubberg wrote:
In Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, etc, forget it. The humidity means it doesn't cool off at night, it just gets clammier.



No truer words were ever spoken......

Hot muggy night in the Midwest are all but unbearable. I only take my little 6000 btu frigidaire window shaker to our summer gatherings but it is a great comfort in the July / August gatherings. Rather than cutting up the trailer to install a unit that gets rarely used I simply tuck it under the trailer and duct the cold air ONLY discharge into a window or vent.

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Re: Opinions Solicited regarding Air Conditioning.

Postby Shadow Catcher » Tue May 06, 2014 2:29 pm

You are absolutely correct AC is mandatory in the humid. My solution, viewtopic.php?f=30&t=44561
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Re: Opinions Solicited regarding Air Conditioning.

Postby MtnDon » Tue May 06, 2014 7:28 pm

Even with a good A/C running to keep the TD or TTT cool, much of AZ, UT, NM are unbearable in the summer months as far as doing much in the way of outdoors activities. We live in NM at 5500 feet and July & August make us retreat to 8800 feet and above in order to like being outdoors.
Our 6x12 deep vee nose cargo trailer camper conversion... viewtopic.php?f=42&t=58336

We have a small off grid cabin we built ourselves in the NM mountains; small PV solar system; 624 watts PV, Outback CC & inverter/charger ... http://countryplans.com/smf/index.php?topic=2335.0
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Re: Opinions Solicited regarding Air Conditioning.

Postby Corwin C » Tue May 06, 2014 11:09 pm

Not having air conditioning in the desert southwest isn't necessarily going to make things miserable. Generally I'm boondocking and A/C is not practical. Personally, I'm usually comfortable without A/C except during our monsoon seasons where our humidity can get up to where most of you call dry (50 - 70%) or even higher. Here are some tricks I use when it's not easy to use A/C:
  • Seek out camp sites that were shaded during the day or at least the latter part of the day ... the bare ground, concrete, asphalt, etc. can hold a tremendous amount of heat and will slowly give it up all night long. Shaded areas and places with vegetation will cool quickly right after the sun goes down.
  • Camping near rapidly running water (creeks, springs, waterfalls, even a small trickle) can give several more degrees of relief as well. Standing shallow water can create a higher humidity micro-climate and attract bugs so I avoid them, but lakes can be refreshing if the water is cold.
  • I've also found that camping on a long slope or close to a large abrupt elevation change (especially east facing) can be cooler as well ... all the heating/cooling air will circulate around and create natural breezes that help.
  • Everything else being equal, higher elevations cool quicker, so spending a night in Bryce will be cooler than Zion even though the daytime temps were the same.
  • If it's after sundown when you get to your campground and you don't have an assigned spot, drive around the circle once with the car A/C off and the windows down. Often one part of a campground will be cooler than another due to lawns being watered recently and so on.
I'm sure there are other tricks out there ... any other suggestions?
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Re: Opinions Solicited regarding Air Conditioning.

Postby mikerueve » Wed May 07, 2014 6:30 am

Thanks for all of the replies! I was already leaning towards working something out before we leave.
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Re: Opinions Solicited regarding Air Conditioning.

Postby dmb90260 » Thu May 08, 2014 9:30 am

Rt 66 will be taking you from humidity to heat most of the way from Mo to California and across several certified deserts. AC will be greatly appreciated. Another suggestion, look for a book called The Next Exit, I assume they still print it. It tells you what services are at every exit on National highways (US 40 etc) but it does not include State highways. They used to update it annually. It is a great help esp when looking for a camp ground near the highway. A built in AC unit requires a lot of ventilation, it generates large amounts of heat. My teardrop had vents fore and aft plus one on the side. Front vent sent cool air inside but the back and side were to get rid of heat. When possible I left the teardrop lid up if the AC was on.
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Re: Opinions Solicited regarding Air Conditioning.

Postby Socal Tom » Sat May 10, 2014 8:28 am

The Nevada and CA deserts are very hot all night during the summer. I definitely recommend AC. Through the spring fall and winter you don't need AC out here. But summer is another deal. For example the average low in Las Vegas in July and August is 74F. That means it's hotter than that all night. Without mechanical cooling the inside of the TD will be pretty warm, especially if it's been in the hot sun all day.
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Re: Opinions Solicited regarding Air Conditioning.

Postby Chinookered » Sat May 10, 2014 9:59 am

One option, depending on the humidity in the air, is a very simple a solution. Take a styrofoam cooler. Fill with ice. Cut two holes in the lid. One for in take air, and one for exhausting cool air. Take a battery operated 4" fan. Point it so it blows into the intake, and if you want to get fancy, attach a 4" flexy dryer vent to the exhaust and from there will blow cool air. Its not a 20,000 btu AC unit, but for 20 bucks, it will cool down a teardrop or a tent to a level where you can sleep.

Here's a video of a bit fancier design if you wanna get crazy.

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Re: Opinions Solicited regarding Air Conditioning.

Postby jstrubberg » Mon May 12, 2014 10:42 am

You want to be careful using something like that in a closed environment like a teardrop. You will wake up with water dripping off the walls...
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Re: Opinions Solicited regarding Air Conditioning.

Postby Chinookered » Mon May 12, 2014 12:59 pm

jstrubberg wrote:You want to be careful using something like that in a closed environment like a teardrop. You will wake up with water dripping off the walls...


Yeah, thats why I said depending on the humidity, because you're blowing wet air into your TD. BUT, if you're in a drier climate or have proper ventilation, it would cool your TD off in a very simple manner. Its certainly not a long term constantly running fix, but it can take a bite out of the heat.
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