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Old 07-07-2012, 09:41 PM   #1
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A/C question

I just purchased a 2011 390bh. How well can I expect the a/c to work in extreme heat 95+ deg. When sitting in a parking lot in direct sunlight the coach would not cool down to anything better than 85deg. I was running on the generator and both a/c's seemed to be blowing cold air, it just wasn't enough to gain on the heat. Is this normal?

Mark
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Old 07-07-2012, 11:19 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbills
I just purchased a 2011 390bh. How well can I expect the a/c to work in extreme heat 95+ deg. When sitting in a parking lot in direct sunlight the coach would not cool down to anything better than 85deg. I was running on the generator and both a/c's seemed to be blowing cold air, it just wasn't enough to gain on the heat. Is this normal?

Mark
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In high humidity and 95 degrees I think you did well at 10 degrees below outside temp . we have 1 13.5 on our 5er and it was 101 yesterday and we maintained 86 but we were in shade on both sides.
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Old 07-08-2012, 12:07 AM   #3
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I found the same, esp in the sun. It's not bad in the shade, there's just not enough thickness and insulation in the walls and ceiling for direct sun. I added a 3rd AC unit, which made it much better in high heat w/sun.
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Old 07-08-2012, 12:27 AM   #4
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Did you try adjusting the vent on the individual ac units? There is a vent switch on each unit that allows air to bypass the ducts and blow directly down. When we are trying to get our hot coach cooled in a hurry, we open the vent which allows for free flow of air. We live in Texas and it seems to work.
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Old 07-08-2012, 08:08 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by kingwood390bh
Did you try adjusting the vent on the individual ac units? There is a vent switch on each unit that allows air to bypass the ducts and blow directly down. When we are trying to get our hot coach cooled in a hurry, we open the vent which allows for free flow of air. We live in Texas and it seems to work.
I did have each of the a/c units set to just dump the air into the coach. The dealer did explain that that would cool things off the best. I wonder how much the dark exterior is affecting things.
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Old 07-08-2012, 09:35 PM   #6
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Agree with kingwood390bh. On each of the AC units, there is a vent that controls where the air will go. It will send the air throughout the unit if closed, or directly down below the AC unit. Open it up until cooled so you are comfortable, then partially close it to blow air throughout the unit. We have endured 108 degrees this way and have been able to cool the unit to 85 degrees while in Texas. Close the doors to any areas not requiring immediate cooling. And finally, eat some ice cream, it will cool you down..
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Old 07-08-2012, 10:12 PM   #7
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As a side note, keeping a coach cool is easier than cooling a hot coach. When you have to cool all of the hot walls and furniture, as well as the air, its a battle. We super cool the coach before we set out and try not to let it heat up.
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Old 07-09-2012, 12:00 AM   #8
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I have a somewhat related question here. Today, I was testing out my single 13.5 AC unit in the 29' Salem, as we'll be camping in 2 weekends and I'm sure we're going to need AC for the first time. So this unit also has the vent control that you can open it up and it will blow all the cold air straight down, or you flip the control and the cold air flows through the ducts and out the registers. My issue is: there are 3 registers in the main area of the camper on only one in the bedroom (which is where the DW will insist that it be cool). First off, doesn't that seem kind of dumb to put three in one area? Second, has anyone tried to block off a register to force more cold air to the other registers? I'm pretty sure that I could fabricate a block-off plate for one of them, but is it a good idea? Thanks!
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Old 07-09-2012, 03:27 PM   #9
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On mine you can close off each register by closing the end of each vent cover. Can you do that on yours?
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Old 07-09-2012, 05:13 PM   #10
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No, that would be great. The ends of the registers spin so you can direct the air flow to different areas, but no provision for closing them off. I think a block-off plate is in my future.
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Old 07-10-2012, 06:24 PM   #11
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The two standard 13.5s are not enough to cool the unit adequately in the south's extreme heat/humidity combination. Last year in Houston with exterior temp about 96-98, best we could do was 87 inside with both units running since the night. They were not frozen or anything like that. The fridge then had problems keeping up and could only get to the 45-47 degree mark. We added a 15 and had much better performance on our Florida trip this year. FR hasn't admitted to themselves yet that it's not really adequate for summer use in the south. Hopefully on future models, they'll have the 3rd AC unit either standard or as an option.
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Old 07-10-2012, 07:04 PM   #12
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No, that would be great. The ends of the registers spin so you can direct the air flow to different areas, but no provision for closing them off. I think a block-off plate is in my future.
Don't know for sure on your unit, but my Flagstaff has 2 ducts running the length of the trailer and I tapped into the duct and put an outlet in the bathroom. You might look at yours and see if that is possible in the bedroom.
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Old 07-10-2012, 09:31 PM   #13
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Joker, did you add a third a/c unit to your coach? I went looking through old threads and couldn't find who did that. That was apparently quite effective.

On a previous motorhome, I replaced a 13.5 with a 15 for about $600. It was a great improvement, maybe because it was bigger or maybe because it was new.
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Old 07-10-2012, 09:50 PM   #14
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Sounds like normal 13.5k BTU A/C operation to me. my A/C always works great in extremely hot weather. that is untill I`m parked where there is no shade! When I have a site with shade my 32ft. trailer will cool down to 70 deg. with out issue and will actually cycle! just over the 4th we were in a campground with no shade and temps that averaged 100deg. the A/C could barley keep 85 deg. I just deal with it.
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Old 07-11-2012, 10:37 AM   #15
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I posted about adding a 3rd AC unit in the Speaker thread (http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ent-24560.html, which contained a few other off-topic things as well). We put it where the ceiling vent was in the kitchen area to keep the install simple and more cost-effective, after making sure the generator and thermostat could handle a 3rd unit. When we camp in the desert, where there's direct sun and no shade, the best we could do with the stock units was 10* below outdoor temperature. (You can feel the heat coming in through the walls from the sun.) With the 3rd unit, we get another 10-20* of cooling. Expensive, but if you want it to be 72* inside when it's 95 outside, it's money well spent.
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Old 07-13-2012, 10:12 PM   #16
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Yes, we replaced the vent port near the kitchen with a 15k btu unit, but I did not make a posting about it before. We are going to have a new vent port cut. There's some requirement for venting if using combustible fuel cooking indoors plus we like the fan to pull in fresh air when we are out in fair weather. In the heat this summer, the combo of the three units performed very well on our Orlando trip.
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Old 07-13-2012, 10:49 PM   #17
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DUCK TAPE!!!! That is what we did!!
Don't you know it will fix about anything

We taped the back of the vent and placed it back up!
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Old 07-14-2012, 12:05 AM   #18
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For Joker and Motowood, did you look into the effectiveness of replacing the existing 13.5ks with 2 15ks? I'd guess, from previous experience, that would be easy and about a $1400 job. What made you decide on three?
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Old 07-14-2012, 12:21 AM   #19
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I decided on three because going from 27k btu to 30k btu is only 11% capacity increase, but going from 27k to 42k btu is 56% increase. Plus, I now have more redundancy. If one goes out, I still have 2 functional units. I suppose another 13.5 would have been almost as good, but I figured I wouldn't regret getting the bigger one to start. There is apparently a potential problem with freezing the unit(s) if I'm using the ducts exclusively, but if I'm using both units, then it's really hot and I'm just 'dumping' the outflow, so it's not a real concern for me.
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Old 07-14-2012, 06:13 AM   #20
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I decided on three because going from 27k btu to 30k btu is only 11% capacity increase, but going from 27k to 42k btu is 56% increase. Plus, I now have more redundancy. If one goes out, I still have 2 functional units. I suppose another 13.5 would have been almost as good, but I figured I wouldn't regret getting the bigger one to start. There is apparently a potential problem with freezing the unit(s) if I'm using the ducts exclusively, but if I'm using both units, then it's really hot and I'm just 'dumping' the outflow, so it's not a real concern for me.
You know I thought the same way until I landed at a campground with under size wires and low power. The folks with 13.5's ran on days my 15k would not turn over.
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