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Old 06-03-2020, 05:39 PM   #1
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Question Arizona AC solutions

I can confirm the single AC cannot keep up with the Arizona summer once the mercury crosses 100. Poor thing is running all day and and slowly falling behind even with reflective foil sun blocks in every window.

What are my options for cooling the RV if we are to use it in the Arizona summer?
  • Double Pane Windows?
  • Another AC?
  • Bigger AC?
  • Don't summer in Arizona?
  • Some other solution?
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Old 06-03-2020, 06:27 PM   #2
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They make an aluminum shelter to cover RV's. I don't know the proper term for the shelter.
It is basically posts holding up an aluminum roof that is about 14' from the ground to the bottom of the roof. Look around at RV parks and you should be able to find some covering RV's.

I's sure they are not cheap, probably $5K to $10K at least.

Double pane windows is not a cheap or easy upgrade. I doubt they work as well as the foil window coverings. Don't get me wrong, I love double pane windows, it really helps with temps in the 90's and you want to see out. But I think the foil works much better the hotter it gets.
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Old 06-03-2020, 06:47 PM   #3
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Some more background. We are not living in the RV, but right now it is sitting next to my house while we load up for a trip. Currently all of our travel plans are for places that max out at 90ish degrees, but it would be nice to be able to travel somewhere out in the desert here during the summer and not be forced to at least get up into the rim country during any Summer trip.
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Old 06-03-2020, 08:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theSane View Post
I can confirm the single AC cannot keep up with the Arizona summer once the mercury crosses 100. Poor thing is running all day and and slowly falling behind even with reflective foil sun blocks in every window.

What are my options for cooling the RV if we are to use it in the Arizona summer?
  • Double Pane Windows?
  • Another AC?
  • Bigger AC?
  • Don't summer in Arizona?
  • Some other solution?
Easiest one is move to higher ground. Prescott?
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Old 06-03-2020, 10:10 PM   #5
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Living in northern AZ, I can tell you it gets hot up here as well. When we head south in the summer, we take a portable evaporation cooler and our ice maker to supplement our AC. If temps are going to be north of 95, we close all of our shades and pull the divider across that separates the bedroom to make a smaller space. We plug in the evap cooler late morning and fill the reservoir with a gallon of distilled water. We add ice to it for additional cooling. We add ice every couple of hours. We'll go through about a gallon in 6 hours, but then it is starting to cool off and we don't need it. We rarely see temps above 85 using this method.

Now, I know others are going to chime in about adding moisture to our interior and it would be a concern in other areas. However, in the evening we open our windows and change the air out. I have checked the interior RH a couple of times and have never seen it above 25% after going through this for the day. It works for us and portable evaporations cost us far less than other mentioned options. I would not recommend this during our monsoon season.

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Old 06-04-2020, 08:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
What are my options for cooling the RV if we are to use it in the Arizona summer?
Double Pane Windows?
Another AC?
Bigger AC?

Don't summer in Arizona?
Some other solution?
Yes to the first 3 above. However trying to retrofit a RV to add those 3 items is not practical.

One exception, if your existing AC is 13,500 BTU upgrading to 15,000 BTU would help a little but I am not sure it would be the answer for 100* or higher.

Going to 2 air conditioners pretty much requires going to 50amp RV service. That is not a practical upgrade.

While I have run 2 AC's on 30amp and it works pretty good in 90*-95* temps. Having both AC's running constantly for 10 or more hours puts a very high load on the shore power, power cord. It many times overheats and melts the connector unless both parts are almost new, making a very very good connection.
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Old 06-04-2020, 09:37 AM   #7
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I think this is going to be one point where we have to learn to adapt more and more. We are in an area where we try to get the camping/RV use in before it gets this hot. We have not made it out yet and have a trip of forty miles planned for next week but then we see the forecast spiking to 103 and begin to wonder if it is worth the effort to just go and set and listen to the AC run!
I feel sorry for my grandkids!
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Old 06-04-2020, 10:13 AM   #8
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I live in Gilbert, AZ and travel out of the desert in the summer. IMHO 30' and under 1 AC unit should be sufficient. Over 30' I would be looking at 2 AC units. With that said RV AC units will generally reduce the temperature by about 20 degrees. So if it is 110 degrees outside you can expect 90 degrees inside the unit. To me that is unacceptable so we move to high ground. We finished a 3 week trip last week spending 3 days in Prescott, it was in the low 90's. We are fortunate that the original owner of our coach ordered it with dual pane windows. It adds to the weight but is a good trade off. I don't know if adding dual pane windows or a second AC is feasible or not. It seems cheaper to travel north in the summer and the desert areas in the cooler months.
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Old 06-05-2020, 06:56 AM   #9
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I was able to get 18° of cooling in my unit. For at little insulation as it has compared to my home, I thought this indicated the unit its self was operating nominally.

Strangely, It feels like the dash unit has more power. When we stopped to see "the THING" and used the generator to keep the AC going for the dogs, it fell behind a little bit from temps the dash unit was keeping.
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Old 06-05-2020, 11:35 AM   #10
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We live in South Texas.

In the Winter we go to AZ.

In the Summer we stay home in Texas.

In the Spring we head East and North

In the Fall we head North and West

RVs and 100 degree weather do not mix. Period.

Don't fight it, change the way you do it.
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Old 06-10-2020, 05:42 PM   #11
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You will get about 20 degrees of cool from the ambient temp. And.... it will run a lot.

How much or many depends on how big your rig is. Some sun shades on the windows will help some. But remember, you are in a tin can sitting in the sun!!

Best way to keep an RV cool in the 100 degree heat of the AZ summer is to go to the Oregon coast!
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Old 06-10-2020, 06:14 PM   #12
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What's the matter? Flat tire? I apologize for being blunt but these things were made to go wherever you want, including evading oppressive heat. Like Florida, great during the winter months, a hell-hole in summer (perspective from a New Englander). Don't like where you are at? Move.
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Old 06-10-2020, 06:20 PM   #13
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Some ideas

We go to Arizona for a couple of weeks every summer and it's hot but bearable. Here what I do:
• park in a spot that is shady at least from 11 to 3
• park with the awning facing south and out. Put side sheets on the awning to create a bigger shady area
• use fans to circulate the cool air and to blow directly on you
• put the shades down on the windows
• at best it is still 20 degrees below ambient
• I grew up in a small town near Phoenix at a time when almost no one had air conditioning in cars, and few had it in homes (we didn't) so it is possible to live with this although moving the RV to Flagstaff will be cooler.
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Old 06-10-2020, 06:31 PM   #14
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We have used Reflectix R 21 for many RV's.(Available at local Lowes). This is the reflective mylar bubble material. We have also made window coverings with back packing pads and similar foams. These are helpful in both winter and summer. Several companies make exterior window shades, including covers made of Phifertex woven mesh--which comes in several densities and a number of colors. .
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Old 06-10-2020, 06:35 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theSane View Post
I was able to get 18° of cooling in my unit. For at little insulation as it has compared to my home, I thought this indicated the unit its self was operating nominally.

Strangely, It feels like the dash unit has more power. When we stopped to see "the THING" and used the generator to keep the AC going for the dogs, it fell behind a little bit from temps the dash unit was keeping.
The dash air will work better when the vehicle is moving. The air moving across the condenser as you drive is better at removing the heat than the fan is on your rooftop unit. Of course, it's reverse if you are not moving or stuck in traffic.

Other tips for rooftop;
- keep the fan set to ON, not auto, let the compressor cycle ON/OFF
- you should have a 15 degree split between air in and air out. Ok for as high as 20 degree split but no higher.
- has the outside of the A/C been cleaned? Leaves, debris and dirt impact the heat transference (usually the cause of the 20 degree split).
Even if the coil is visible clean, shoot some cleaner and copious spray of water through coil fins. You'll likely be surprised what comes out.
- should have been the 1st tip but keep in mind the condenser efficiency goes down when the outside thermometer climbs. The condenser temps range over 100 degrees, hard to get rid of that heat when outside temperatures are close to condenser temperatures.

Check for hot spots around your coach using infrared thermometer. Inspect those areas to see if insulation improvements can be made.
Use awnings to shade sidewall and consider window awnings versus double insulated windows.

Update on any of your findings, improvements so others can benefit.

Bobby
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Old 06-10-2020, 07:35 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theSane View Post
I can confirm the single AC cannot keep up with the Arizona summer once the mercury crosses 100. Poor thing is running all day and and slowly falling behind even with reflective foil sun blocks in every window.

What are my options for cooling the RV if we are to use it in the Arizona summer?
  • Double Pane Windows?
  • Another AC?
  • Bigger AC?
  • Don't summer in Arizona?
  • Some other solution?
We have a 30J Aspect and we put in a 2nd AC unit in the bedroom where the Fantastic Fan used to be.. moved the Fantastic Fan to the bathroom to replace the cheap exhaust fan that was in there. Husband found a pigtail plug in that lets us use the 50 amp service divided between the main RV and the 2nd air (please don't ask me what he bought because that's his balliwick.. I just know that the 2nd AC unit makes summers in Arizona MUCH more comfortable if you choose to camp in one of the RV parks in the desert elevations. Hope this helps.. we had our local RV shop install the 2nd AC unit.
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Old 06-10-2020, 07:42 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theSane View Post
I can confirm the single AC cannot keep up with the Arizona summer once the mercury crosses 100. Poor thing is running all day and and slowly falling behind even with reflective foil sun blocks in every window.[/LIST]
Been there and done that years ago. To keep from selling our home in another location, we decided to live in our 23 ft Toyota Dolphin for the four years prior to my AF retirement at Lke AFB, AZ. It had a truck camper sizeed AC. After the first summer, we moved to an RV lot that had trees and I had an awning installed to help fend off the heat. We also but the foil insulation on the front and rear windows and the side windows on the side that caught the afternoon sun. There were days that it was cooler to sit outside under the trees than to be cooped up in the RV.
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Old 06-10-2020, 08:06 PM   #18
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Swamp cooler?

Quote:
Originally Posted by theSane View Post
I can confirm the single AC cannot keep up with the Arizona summer once the mercury crosses 100. Poor thing is running all day and and slowly falling behind even with reflective foil sun blocks in every window.

What are my options for cooling the RV if we are to use it in the Arizona summer?
  • Double Pane Windows?
  • Another AC?
  • Bigger AC?
  • Don't summer in Arizona?
  • Some other solution?
It's fairly easy to make a DIY swamp cooler. It uses evaporation to draw heat and moisture out of the air, which condenses. It's nothing more than a water-soaked screen, and a fan that blows the room air through the screen. You can buy a fairly large roll of the stuff for a few bucks, and the world's cheapest box fan will suffice. Add a muck bucket and you're good to go. This will pre-cool the air enough to allow your AC to effectively do its thing.https://smile.amazon.com/Dial-3073-C...837495&sr=8-13
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Old 06-10-2020, 08:27 PM   #19
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Here is a cheaper DIY suggestion. Get a cheap, small A/C unit that will fit one of your windows. Seal it in the window opening. Most campground pedestals have both 30 and 50 amp connections. Get the proper adapters and a heavy and shortest run extension cord length that will work. You should be able to snag enough amps off the 50 amp plug to run a small A/C. This is the way we air conditioned our first Toyota Chinook RV.
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Old 06-10-2020, 09:24 PM   #20
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AZ is hot, hot, hot. We have a large basement ac unit, we do have double pane glass, and were doing fine up to about 107 that we had experience year to date. (and knew we were good to 110 from prior years). Then three weeks ago, the cooling fan in the ac unit quit. Worst thing possible in the AZ heat for the RV, to lose one's ac.

The temps kept rising, 110, 112, and beyond to 118 on the sun side of the RV, for three days in a row. We added foil insulation to all windows on the sun side, and procured 2 portable ac units, put one in the living room 12000btu, one in the bedroom 8000btu.

The big one kept tripping the breaker inside the RV, so we ran a contractor extension cord with adapter out to the 30amp plug on the power pole. With both running, we were good until about 2 in the afternoon, then the most you had was a little bubble of cool around each.

By the time the sun set, temps were dropping inside, and we had no problem sleeping.

After 13 days, parts arrived, cooling fan was replaced, and it was cool again. Time to leave. The real solution is to be out of the sun, in AZ during the summer. RV's have too much glass, and too little insulation for that exposure. We were stuck in AZ because of the virus shutdowns, toyed with the idea of staying all summer, we are now in Las Vegas, heading further north tomorrow.
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