Adding an A/C unit

Musictom

Member
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 13, 2021
82
Greetings,

Last March, I purchased a new Rockwood 2318g. My wife and I are thinking making strongly about adding an AC unit. The dealership where we purchased the pup quoted us $2250 installed.

Last year, we took 13 trips with the pup, and will do more this year, including a five week trip this summer. Overall, we plan on spending about 60-70 days/nights in the pup.

Unfortunately, I didn't get what model AC they were installing. I know my pup comes "prepped" for AC, but don't know that it really means anything. 😁

Does that price seem fair? High? Just curious how the experts here feel.

Thanks!!

Tom
 

theseus

Living the Darkside...
Silver Supporting Member
Feb 6, 2007
3,517
Centerville, OH
You can probably shop around and get a better deal on an a/c unit. The parts themselves are about $1000 if you buy them yourself. $1200 for an install is a bit much. By the way don't go smaller than 13.5K. A 13.5K unit will with Popup Gizmos be able to keep up in 98% of all conditions. Just my opinion and experience...
 

Musictom

Member
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 13, 2021
82
You can probably shop around and get a better deal on an a/c unit. The parts themselves are about $1000 if you buy them yourself. $1200 for an install is a bit much. By the way don't go smaller than 13.5K. A 13.5K unit will with Popup Gizmos be able to keep up in 98% of all conditions. Just my opinion and experience...
Thanks! We do have the gizmos, which help quite a bit already in the heat!
 

Raycfe

Waterford Ct.
Oct 3, 2007
18,211
Waterford, Ct
With A/C prep you should have a 20 amp breaker and outlet set up for the A/C to plug into and the roof usually will have a support/frame in the roof for the A/C. The hole just has to cut.

This may offer some more info. Shop around for your A/C and don't forget mobile camper/rv guys
 

davido

Super Active Member
Jul 17, 2014
1,376
Find the price of a Dometic 13.5kbtu air conditioner: $600-$1000, add $150 in installation parts. The problem is the shop's markup on parts. It's not uncommon for them to take a $600 air conditioner, and charge $1000 for it. I hate that, but it's common with mechanics too. A sensor that I could buy at the store for $20 gets billed at $40.

Then there's the labor. Realistically, it takes a proficient shop three hours. What's their shop rate? $150 per hour? Shops are becoming like attorneys in their hourly pricing. :)

So imagine a $600 air conditioner marked up to $1000. And $150 in parts marked up to $300. That's $1300 right there. Add three hours at $150 per hour, that's $450. $1300+$450=$1750, plus tax, which gets you (approximately) $1900.

If you're being quoted more than $1900, ask very detailed questions on what air conditioner is being installed, and then ask if it's actually necessary to install a $1000 air conditioner on a $13000 popup. :)

I think I paid considerably less for my air conditioner to be installed, but I worked that out at time of purchase of the popup itself. If I recall, the AC added about $1300 to the purchase price. Even that seemed steep to me, but I was willing to pay it for mostly the same reasons you are: Much of my camping is in hot weather with hookups.

As for what cooling capacity you need: For my Rockwood Premier 2516G (Utah floorplan), with a slide-out and a queen and king size bunk ends, the 13.5KBTU air conditioner is perfectly adequate if I use popup gizmos over the bunk ends and slide-out. I would recommend getting them. Even if you had a 15kbtu air conditioner, you will simply be more comfortable in the popup in hot weather if you have Gizmos. Without them, the main cabin area will be cold and the bunk-ends hot. With them, you can achieve much better balance.

I frequently camp in southern Utah, where day time temperatures can be in the upper 90s to low 100s during the summer, with very low humidity. With Gizmos and a 13.5kbtu air conditioner, I've never found the RV to be too hot inside.
 

Musictom

Member
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 13, 2021
82
Thanks all for your replies -- as always, they're very helpful.

I do have the gizmos, and love them!

I've also watched most of the above video, and thinking perhaps this is a project I can take on, as I consider myself somewhat handy, haha.

My one lingering question is this: my unit is "AC Prepped", which means there's a cutout on the side of my pup, and I see the screw in the ceiling, marking the spot for the AC. I can't seem to find where that cutout on the side leads. There's nothing on the roof to indicate a connection. Perhaps I'll have to run my fish tape and see where it leads. :)
 

theseus

Living the Darkside...
Silver Supporting Member
Feb 6, 2007
3,517
Centerville, OH
Your popup doesn't have a cutout on the side. It has the cut out on the roof. Specifically where the vent is. Because of the way cold air falls an A/C in the wall wouldn't provide much relief from the heat. All the air would be trapped low.

If yours is prepped then the dealer was planning on removing your vent, and installing an A/C there. If your vent is kitty corner, then there may be marks in the ceiling where it is prepped to cut the hole.
 

Musictom

Member
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 13, 2021
82
Sorry, I wasn't quite clear describing my "cutout". 😁
Next to my 30 amp service plug on the driver side, there is another round opening with a slide down cover labeled "AC PREP".
I'm at work, but will upload a picture when I get home.
Thanks.
 

Musictom

Member
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 13, 2021
82
This isn't a great picture, but at least shows what I'm talking about:
 

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Rusty2192

Super Active Member
Jul 30, 2014
1,189
Kentucky
Sorry, I wasn't quite clear describing my "cutout". 😁
Next to my 30 amp service plug on the driver side, there is another round opening with a slide down cover labeled "AC PREP".
I'm at work, but will upload a picture when I get home.
Thanks.
Here’s an old thread started by @davido talking about the A/C port and how it’s intended to be used by Rockwood.

 

popup-flyer

Active Member
May 11, 2021
341
Central Texas
That hole on the side, at the bottom is for you to install and pull a power cord out and plug it in to the hole you make in the roof side wall and install the water tight male socket.

Fundamentally you put a hole in the roof for the AC unit in the designated spot. It should be pre-framed on all 4 sides. Install the AC per manufacturer directions, install a power cord if its not in that bottom hole you are asking about already. It should be wired to its own 20 amp plug and breaker.

Then you put a hole in line with that bottom plug in the roof side panel and install the male 20 amp plug for the cord coming out of the bottom hole to plug in to.

Run some "channel" along the sidewall from on the inside to where your AC unit is and then run some more from the sidewall to your AC unit to conceal the power wire.

Of course wire it all up internally to the AC unit etc...

BEWARE
DO NOT walk on your roof. The safest bet is to span it left to right with some 2 x 6's or 2 X 12's to support you when you get up there. You will see why I say that when you make the hole for the AC unit.
 

Musictom

Member
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 13, 2021
82
That hole on the side, at the bottom is for you to install and pull a power cord out and plug it in to the hole you make in the roof side wall and install the water tight male socket.

Fundamentally you put a hole in the roof for the AC unit in the designated spot. It should be pre-framed on all 4 sides. Install the AC per manufacturer directions, install a power cord if its not in that bottom hole you are asking about already. It should be wired to its own 20 amp plug and breaker.

Then you put a hole in line with that bottom plug in the roof side panel and install the male 20 amp plug for the cord coming out of the bottom hole to plug in to.

Run some "channel" along the sidewall from on the inside to where your AC unit is and then run some more from the sidewall to your AC unit to conceal the power wire.

Of course wire it all up internally to the AC unit etc...

BEWARE
DO NOT walk on your roof. The safest bet is to span it left to right with some 2 x 6's or 2 X 12's to support you when you get up there. You will see why I say that when you make the hole for the AC unit.
WOW, that's great information, and confirmed a lot of my thoughts.

We're taking the pup out this weekend, so I'll be able to look inside and see what kind of prep work Rockwood has already done

Thanks again!
 

popup-flyer

Active Member
May 11, 2021
341
Central Texas
WOW, that's great information, and confirmed a lot of my thoughts.

We're taking the pup out this weekend, so I'll be able to look inside and see what kind of prep work Rockwood has already done

Thanks again!
Pretty sure you will have a 20amp breaker possibly a "wall plug" inside the cabinet connected to that breaker and that is all, if that. I believe that and the marker in the ceiling for where to cut along with the outside opening for the cord constitutes "A/C ready"

You will have to add the 20 amp power cord (possible a plug to the breaker), roof side wall water tight male plug, wire molding at least from the sidewall to the AC if not all the way down the sidewall. I have had 2 popups they were each done both ways as the curtain on the sidewall covered the wire it wasn't strictly necessary I guess.

On a 2318G (I had the flagstaff equivalent 228D) You can access quite a bit from the square opening under the sink when the sink is raised but its a very tight opening. The fuse panel comes out by removing the 4 screws that hold the face on, then there are 4 screws attaching it to the "wood" wall. Be careful and don't use power tools or you might strip those holes. The hardest part of adding a wire is getting it through the rear of the box. Needless to say, do all this work with it unplugged from power and disconnect the battery too for safety.
 
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Musictom

Member
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 13, 2021
82
Thanks again! Great advice, and I'm getting closer to making this a DYI project.
 

Musictom

Member
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 13, 2021
82
With A/C prep you should have a 20 amp breaker and outlet set up for the A/C to plug into and the roof usually will have a support/frame in the roof for the A/C. The hole just has to cut.

This may offer some more info. Shop around for your A/C and don't forget mobile camper/rv guys

Thanks so much. This video has been a HUGE help!
 

brettstoner

Active Member
Jun 17, 2014
139
Toledo, OH
That hole on the side, at the bottom is for you to install and pull a power cord out and plug it in to the hole you make in the roof side wall and install the water tight male socket.

Fundamentally you put a hole in the roof for the AC unit in the designated spot. It should be pre-framed on all 4 sides. Install the AC per manufacturer directions, install a power cord if its not in that bottom hole you are asking about already. It should be wired to its own 20 amp plug and breaker.

Then you put a hole in line with that bottom plug in the roof side panel and install the male 20 amp plug for the cord coming out of the bottom hole to plug in to.

Run some "channel" along the sidewall from on the inside to where your AC unit is and then run some more from the sidewall to your AC unit to conceal the power wire.

Of course wire it all up internally to the AC unit etc...

BEWARE
DO NOT walk on your roof. The safest bet is to span it left to right with some 2 x 6's or 2 X 12's to support you when you get up there. You will see why I say that when you make the hole for the AC unit.
This is exactly how I installed A/C in my camper. Removed the vent, cleaned the roof, and installed the A/C unit. Installed 20 amp breaker in panel and used part of a 20 amp extension cord hardwired into panel. It will pull in and out of the A/C prep hole. Drill hole in side of roof and install 20 amp Park Power inlet. Hardwire A/C unit to power inlet along roof and hide cord in channel.

So then when you camp, before you raise the roof you pull out the A/C cord and plug it into the roof inlet port.
 




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