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Old 06-28-2017, 01:23 AM   #1
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I Got More Cooling & Better Heat From My Basement AC Doing This!

RE: Winnebago Itasca and other models that have a basement AC

Despite all I have read, my only complaint is that my basement AC was not blowing cold or hot air with any volume/strength in the Hi Setting from my roof vents.

...And by coincidence I fixed this problem when I went to the effort of removing the trap floor in the closet, and the second floor board between the closet and the bed, to adjust my Cummins 350 engine valves... And in the process I decide to add insulation and plug (close-off) 2 huge air gaps between the intake area under the washer/dryer and the engine compartment where the engine lids are found; and where air was also being sucked in from gaps in the support... that lead to under the bed.

Much to my surprise, in my coach there was no insulation over the engine covers. So I used some old silver sun screens I had to use as insulation and it fit perfectly!

Then I picked up a residential Water Tank Insulation Blanket (Walmart was discounting to $5, because the season was over) and I cut it to fit on top of the silver sunscreen. This too turned out to be a perfect fit and the spun-insulation comes with a plastic side that makes it easy to work with -- and it probably will also dampen noise as well as add insulation.

...But the real news is that after I plugged the gaps to my intake box... now all the air entering the blower is being sucked 100% from the intake in the bedroom under the washer/dryer (like it should) ...and I'm not sure why but I also got a lot more air flow out the exhaust vents!!! Plus the air was colder when in AC Mode, and hotter when in Heat Mode!!! Hurrah!

So this post is both a tip and a question. The tip is explained above. As for the question:

I don't know why I am getting more forced air out the ceiling exhaust vents when all I did is seal-off the intake vents that were sucking warm ambient air from the engine area and other gaps that sucked air from under the bed?

My guess is that the air being sucked from under the bed does not get cooled or recycled; and that there are gaps in the construction of coach that was letting ambient air in all the time.

Okay, that makes sense, but why is the volume of air stronger when it comes out my ceiling vents? ...Or maybe it's just colder or hotter; and it just feels stronger because of the difference in body temperature vs. the colder or warmer air I am now getting? Either way, I feel like my AC is 20% more efficient and I can say the same for my heater, which is great!

Who really knows? Are there any AC experts who can tell me if closing off these air gaps will not cause any other troubles? ...Like freezing up the compressor?



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Old 06-28-2017, 07:10 AM   #2
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You should have a temp sensor in the evaporator to stop it from freezing up. Can't understand why you would have more air flow, but the temperature difference may be why it seems like it.
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Old 06-28-2017, 07:50 AM   #3
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Old 06-28-2017, 07:51 AM   #4
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Great tip. I will have to look over my rigs and see if this could help them out a little.

I bet you're getting more airflow now because the return air to the AC unit is now sealed up and all coming from inside the coach and not leaking in from outside the living quarters. The more direct flow through the return air duct means more air is pulled/pushed through the supply air vents in the ceiling.

Nice work. Thanks for the tip.
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Old 06-29-2017, 04:46 AM   #5
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Great write up. I'll have to check mine. I suspect your getting better flow because your ac intake is creating negative pressure inside your coach by pulling all of the air it needs to cool from inside your coach. So now your AC doesn't have to work against positive pressure while pushing cool air into the coach through the roof vents.
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Old 06-29-2017, 04:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KD4XR View Post
Great write up. I'll have to check mine. I suspect your getting better flow because your ac intake is creating negative pressure inside your coach by pulling all of the air it needs to cool from inside your coach. So now your AC doesn't have to work against positive pressure while pushing cool air into the coach through the roof vents.
Ya, that makes sense!
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Old 06-29-2017, 05:11 PM   #7
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I've been wondering about return air in my motor home. I have the traditional roof unit, but it isn't cutting it. I need to look for leaks and see where the hot air is supposed to be going.
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Old 06-29-2017, 09:40 PM   #8
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The return-air grill and filter is sitting on the floor of the MH, where cooler air descends. Your air leaks were allowing ambient temperature air into the "closed" system, which meant you were cooling hot outside air instead of recirculating air in your closed-up MH.
In heat-mode, you experienced the opposite effect, cold outside air reduced the temperature of warm air output.
When mine has been operating for a hour or more I regularly measure air temperature out of the ceiling ducts @ 43 deg. F. when outside ambient temperature is in the 90's.
I did closely inspect the duct-work behind the rear cap and re-tape any questionable areas, change my air filter monthly when the unit is running 24/7 while living in the MH. FWIW, I use Filtrete allergen air filters, thus the monthly change schedule.
I was very surprised at the amount of dirt these filters remove from the return air. In fact, the first one I used was nearly clogged in 2 weeks.
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Old 07-09-2017, 01:54 AM   #9
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I was so pleased with the results I got from plugging the hidden air gaps around my engine lid and closet, that I decided to investigate my entire AC/Heat Pump Basement System. (This is something I bet most of us have never done.) And in my case, I made some interesting discoveries and came up with some stellar improvements I would like to share with you. (Hopefully, pictures will show up below.)

1) Remove the right-rear brake tail light and checkout the fully exposed air duct from Winnebago. Then look underneath your coach, and inside your engine compartment. What I saw was a lot of air and very little insulation. So I decided to do something about that!

Plus, my air duct was leaking cold air (and heat in that mode) into the engine compartment where the tape seams were starting to come apart! Plus I found condensation dripping from the lose seams caused by a temperature differential; i.e., where the leaking cold air was coming in contact with hot ambient air.

I especially was not fond of seeing water dripping from the bottom of the air chamber that undoubtedly was forming inside the air duct too, because that's where mold likes to grow!!!

Solution: I used a long bristle brush and finer large paint brush to wash the dirt off the outside of air duct as best I could. Then I applied 3 rolls of waterproof HVAC-Butyl-Aluminum Tape to completely reinforced the entire air duct below and as far up the air duct (into rear cap area) as I could reach. This alone would probably be enough, but not for my coach! ...Plus I was also concerned about the heat transfer from the Aluminum tap, and I did not like the minimal insulation job the factory did...

So I decided to close off the gaps by spraying Great Stuff "Big Gap" Foam (rated to 240F) into that area to add insulation to the bottom air duct portion as seen from the engine bay.

Applying some of the foam first to the sides, so that it would stick and harden first; I then followed with more 3 cans of foam. ...And I used my hands to push the foam back in place after the foam was 3/4 dry and not too sticky. (I liked what I saw, but not the looks of home improvement project.)

I decided to go one step further and paint everything black with Flex Seal-Black!!! This turned out to be a good decision. As not only did the Flex Seal added another protective layer, it also sealed-off the seams of the HVAC tape so I know they will never pull apart later, and the black Flex Seal made everything look great like it came from Winnebago. (Winnebago, are you listening?)

I'm so happy! It was 95 degrees outside today and the inside of my RV cooled down much faster than before!

Note: I also recommend using an oscillating desk fan to recirculate the air and push the air to the back of the coach for even faster cooling!

2) Now for the part I am most proud of: I cut one of the water cooler insulating blankets to 24" wide and used a broom to shove it up the air shaft to close the gap between the coach end-cap and the air duct. So going through the brake light opening, there was enough room to shove the insulation blanket 4 feet up and then tuck it 2 feet down the shaft using a broom.

And because the insulation make a tight fit, I don't expect it to fall. Then I insulated the brake light perimeter with weather stripping to make sure no water leaked in. This concludes all the outside insulation improvements.

3) Now, back to the inside insulation improvements: I never liked how I could feel a cold penetrate the coach when I was asleep. And I never could figure out where the cold was coming in either. I just concluded that RVs are fair weather rides at best.

But now that I got a taste of how insulation can make things more comfortable inside my RV, I decided to insulate under the bed. And since Walmart was closing out on their water heater blankets for only $5/roll (regularly $25/roll) I decided to by 5 rolls and insulate the **** out of my entire bedroom area. (Excuse my french.)

This includes the hidden compartment in the closet and more on top of the engine lid; and I added 2 layers of insulation under the bed! (Taking care not to seal off the Select Comfort bed air pump inlet and cutting the insulation to fit around the cables and wires... leaving plenty of air gap around the circuit panels.) And I even cut a 2 strips of insulation to go under the bottom dresser drawers... where I found 2 large holes that leaked air to the outside.

NOW the temperatures in my bedroom are more comfortable! And I'm sure I will not feel the outside cold (in the range of 20-40F) like I use to at night. Not to mention, I don't expect the night heater will not come on as often.

Note: I prefer to use a portable electric heater to run off the incoming 120v line vs. running the heat pump, as this should extend the life of the heat pump too! Besides, the heat pump is a better AC unit than it is a room heater.

Hopefully these pictures will help you see how and where I used these perfectly sized water heater blankets to improve efficiency of my AC/Heat Pump; and I strongly suggest you do the same if you plan on facing below 50F or above 90F weather. Good luck!

Air Intake Area Under Washer/Dryer (Plus a good spot to locate a solar controller when you decide to add 4-100W to your roof.)






Under Bed:


Under Dresser:


Behind Tail Light:







Tape Bottom Air Box from under the RV:


Fill in gap with Great Stuff "Big Gap Foam"


Spray Everything with Flex Seal-Black
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Old 07-09-2017, 12:30 PM   #10
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Several of your pictures aren't coming thru and the ones that do are small and won't expand when I click on it.

I also used Photbucket for many, many years, but about 6 mo ago they would not display on this forum. Another member explained how easy it is to use the photo link on this forum. I don't use Photobucket anymore.

To attach a photo(s), go to the normal post reply or quick reply window, then click on the paper clip icon and select the photo files on your computer. That's it, done deal. The jpg files size must be under 2 meg.

Back to topic ....
You are right about keeping the cold from escaping out the bottom or back duct work. I added insulation too, but not to the extent you did. And I keep checking every few months to be sure there's no new leaks.

Another a/c improvement you may consider....changing out the ceiling vents. This style disperses the air 360 degrees and really stops the cold spots you get with the stock directional vents. Before it seemed like I was always turning the vents away from where I was sitting or eating. When I bought mine 12 yrs ago, they were less than $3 ea, I see they've gone up in price.
2 PACK DEAL- Round Ceiling Air Conditioner AC Vent White For Rv Camper Motorhome | eBay

A couple of pictures I just uploaded to irv2: My coach at Banff, Canada this week and me & a friend at Spokane River. If you click on them you get a nice sized picture.
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Old 07-09-2017, 12:49 PM   #11
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Nice pics of two nicely trim older gentleman. Kudos to both of you for staying fit and trim. It will pay off in the quality of life down the road.
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Old 07-11-2017, 03:17 PM   #12
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Thank you for the photo upload tip.
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Old 12-20-2017, 12:55 AM   #13
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I previous reported that adding insulation really helped keep the cold air flowing to the kitchen ceiling vents.

I also mentioned my bedroom seemed warm after a drive. Well, it turns out I had an engine exhaust manifold leak that was only present when the Jake Brake was engaged! Apparently, the back pressure was too much for the gasket; so I replaced the gasket without milling the exhaust manifold (didn't appear to be warped) and retorqued the old bolts. Now my bedroom is hardly warm at all. Of course, I insulated the heck out of it.

POINT: IF YOU THINK YOUR BEDROOM IS WARM AFTER DRIVING A WHILE, YOU MIGHT HAVE AN EXHAUST MANIFOLD LEAK YOU NEED TO TAKE CARE OF IMMEDIATELY. THIS IS ALSO A FIRE HAZARD! (It will take on person to drive and the over to inspect the engine as you drive and don't forget to inspect really close when the brakes are applied!)
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Old 12-20-2017, 01:04 AM   #14
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What a great, informative post.

Thank you to all of yous!
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