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Old 05-14-2021, 08:19 AM   #1
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15k versus 13.5k Air Conditioner

Hi all. Did some searches but did not find the answer I am looking for.

We are hoping to get a new Wildwood travel trailer for next season, looking at the 26DBUD.

Considering upgrading the AC unit to the 15k, but we rarely use the AC so I am wondering if there are benefits to going bigger. What I am really wondering is if the larger unit will not have to work so hard and result in a quieter cooling experience. Anyone use both and able to shed some light?

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Old 05-14-2021, 09:40 AM   #2
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I'm not sure that there's much difference in the noise level between the two units of the same mfg..

We have a Dometic Brisk Air 15k btu unit in the living room and it's pretty loud, we also have one in the bedroom, but it's an Atwood AirCommand and while I won't say that it's a lot quieter, it is a lot more tolerable due to the frequency of the sound. It does appear to be a lot quieter.
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Old 05-14-2021, 10:45 AM   #3
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i have 1- 15 ac in my 29 ft puma toyhauler. not the best insulated trailer. it does the job. preped for 2nd ac a 13 btu ac. but not installed. 2 acs would freeze you out. 1- 13 btu ac won't cut it in a trailer that is not insulated well. my f.r. wildcat was fine on 1- 13 ac . go 15 ac cost may be just a few $$$s. 15 btu ac. runs on 30 amp 2 ac s ,50 amp. keep a 50/30 dogbone , or 30/50 dogbone. which ever fits your cord. burned sockets at campgrounds are common , just use a bone to adapt to other receptical.
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Old 05-14-2021, 12:09 PM   #4
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Our dealer orders in all their trailers with the upgraded 15KBTU AC due to the heat and humidity here in Georgia. Even with the 15K unit some days cooling the trailer down can be a challenge. In some models, not all, going with the 15KBTU also adds heat strips.
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Old 05-14-2021, 03:18 PM   #5
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Go big or sweat

We have a 30’ 5th wheel - ultra light. That means big space indoors and not much insulation. The 15,000 btu main A/C is quiet and efficient but cannot keep the trailer cool during warm summer months. We also have a 13,500 btu second A/C that we can use when needed. We have camped all over Kentucky and Tennessee, but the warm summers would over stress our two units. No dogs? No problem. With our old dog we couldn’t leave the trailer in the summer for fear of power problems and A/C failure. We had to change campgrounds on several occasions to find a shady campsite. Factors for you to consider: shady campsites? do you typically have 30 or 50 amps to start and run two A/C units? pet travels with you? lightweight camper? summer camping? all-season camper? live in the south or western US? As you can see the decision has numerous elements, very particular to you and your family. I would error toward two units just in case you need/want them. Good luck!!!
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Old 05-14-2021, 03:43 PM   #6
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Our 32ft. Crusader Lite 5th wheel came with one 15K air conditioner, having just one may be fine in the northern half of the country, no so in Southwest Louisiana. I added a second 15K in our bedroom, both running on really hot days can make it bearable. I do not mind the noise if I am cool, especially when sleeping.
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Old 05-14-2021, 03:50 PM   #7
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I’d say it depends on where, how & when you’re camping.
We bought our Wildwood 27RE last spring and it had 15k. We’re in Alabama and I had the dealer install another 15k in the bedroom. Best move we made. A little loud but Deep South camping it’s worth it, IMO. Better to have and not need vs need and not have.

Not knowing your situation (where, when, etc). I’d say the 15, based on the “better to have...”
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Old 05-14-2021, 07:34 PM   #8
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I see you live in Newfoundland. I think you will be fine with the smaller unit. Here In Texas I would definitely go for the larger 15K unit. When I was looking used I found a lot with the smaller AC units for sale.

RV's are not well insulated, but you say you rarely use the AC, so you have probably answered your own question.

A larger unit might cool slightly more quickly and therefore be off just a little more, but I doubt if you can tell the difference in noise or wear and tear.

I'd save my upgrade money for a different feature if I lived where you do (unless you have some grand travel plans which will someday take you to the far south in summer.)
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Old 05-14-2021, 07:57 PM   #9
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You kind of never know.

We stopped in Kansas in June. Temp was well over 100 after a long travel day! Without 2 15,000 units the temp in the rv would have not gotten below 85 until after midnight. During the day one unit would struggle to get to 85.

The next summer we went to Houston to help our daughter with her newborn for a month in July. Holy cow. The two units had trouble getting the rv below 80 during the day.

At your size, the more the better. One 15,000 unit will not cut it south of the us border.

37’ fifth wheel.

But, if you stay north? There are a lot of ac complaints with one unit.

Ours has a ceiling duct system. Often at night we only run the rear ac unit. Quiet in the front bedroom.

We are old enough to be beyond ruffing it.
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Old 05-18-2021, 06:50 PM   #10
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Any camping in hotter/humid weather and you will wish you had the bigger AC in that large of a unit especially only having one. My 5th wheel has 2 one is supposed to be 15 the other 13/5 but when i ran the serial numbers they are both 15
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Old 05-26-2021, 08:31 AM   #11
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Thanks for the input all. I think i am going to go with the bigger AC unit. We do hardly use it but sometimes we do travel to warmer climates. I do recall one time with our first camper we were in Maine and the temps were over 100F.

Another question, somewhat AC related, I was going to opt for the 50amp service which comes with second AC prep. I have no plans to install a second AC unit for the cost and weight. For those with this prep or the second unit installed, is the main AC still ducted to the bedroom?

What will I be looking at in the ceiling? Believe I read a skylight or vent may be there where the AC will go.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-27-2021, 06:00 PM   #12
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The one A/C should still be ducted everywhere and my guess would be a vent. 50 amp is nice if you want more power without popping breakers. I used to pop breakers in the morning making coffee and running the griddle while my wife did her hair in the bathroom.
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Old 05-27-2021, 09:53 PM   #13
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We bought our Windjammer off the lot. It has just about everything. The only option I wish it had was 50A service. With the 30A we have to make sure to turn off heaters and the microwave before using hair driers, etc. It's not feasible to convert to 50A later. If I were to order an RV, I'd definitely get 50A.
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Old 05-28-2021, 12:08 AM   #14
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One size doesn't always fit all, and a larger AC isn't always the right answer. I have a couple's camper, and it had two factory options, the 13.5K and the 15K BTU options. I pondered this same question, and ultimately decided on the 13.5K BTU unit. I'm glad that I did.

Why, when some will tell you bigger is always better? Because an oversized AC unit will short cycle. That is to say, it will blast out a huge slug of cold air, hit the set point, then turn off.

However what most people don't realize is that an AC is providing two distinct functions: cooling and dehumidifying. If the AC doesn't run long enough to properly do it's second job, you'll have high humidity inside the RV, it can get moldy and musty, and it can feel cold but clammy.

For the size RV I have, the 13.5K was just right. We just got back from a multi-week trip down to Tampa Florida to see our daughter graduate, and the AC performed both functions flawlessly. The compressor had no problems keeping up with the heat, and ran long enough to drop the humidity down to acceptable levels. A 15K unit would have been too much, and we would have had humidity problems.

A bigger unit might need a larger AC of course, and that's fine. Get what you need, but make sure it's an informed decision, one not swayed by not understanding the totality of AC functionality.

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