Portable Air Conditioner for Popup

Discussion in 'Heating / Cooling Systems' started by prospectpopup, Sep 3, 2010.

  1. prospectpopup

    prospectpopup Once you get there... there you are!

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    May 18, 2010
    Hi all,
    I have a 1995 Starcraft popup. It's a good size since it has 2 queen beds. We use it about 4-5 times a year. This year it was very humid and hot. We used fans, but they can only do so much.

    I would like at add a portable AC unit but I'm concerned about power usage and exhaust. If I can cool if off 5-10 degrees at night and get rid of the humidity that would be great.

    I'm looking to be frugal here too. A roof unit can get expensive right? I just don't know what to buy and are there portable AC units just for campers. Can someone give me a model number and brand name?

    Remember I want to remove the humidiy.
    Thanks for your help
    Paul in Prospect,CT
  2. CampingGators

    CampingGators Awaiting the day...

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    Aug 21, 2010
    We lived in Virginia and didn't have A/C in the pup.when we moved to Florida my husband installed a window unit. He cut a hole into the side of the camper. He removed a cabinet so it could blow in. We must have taken it out for travel. I don't recall driving down the road with it hanging out the side. We must have covered the hole when it was not in it's spot. Good luck with it. [CP]
  3. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    Mar 3, 2006
    My frugal solution was/is a 6000 btu window unit sitting on a plastic shelving unit. Works great for sleeping and waking to a dry PU!
  4. jim1999

    jim1999 New Member

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    Jul 8, 2008
    East Central Illinois
    As far as costs go, you can get a new complete 13,500 btu roof air unit for around $600, shipping included, off of ebay. If your camper is already set up for an AC unit and you have a roof vent already installed putting on a roof AC is pretty straight forward and easy.

    New portable units generally run between $250 and $500 depending on brand, size and features. A 10,000 btu will work pretty well at night. A 12,000 btu will do fairly well during the day up through a 10 foot main box, and a 14,000 btu for day time uses for campers with larger than a 10 foot box. Before buying one though develop a plan about where you are going to place it for use in the camper and know what case size you can get by with.

    As far as power goes, most people I know will use an extra heavy extension cord and plug the portable unit into 15/20 amp outlet on the camp site power box. The ones who plug the P/AC directly into the camper usually only do so if their camper is already wired for a roof unit and plug into the dedicated 20 amp AC outlet.

    Venting a portable AC can be done in a number of ways. Some will vent through a window by unzipping one and wedging the hose in between the inner flap and the screen. Other people will cut a hole in the floor or wall of their camper and install a modified drier vent or a PVC pipe and get an end cap for it to seal off the pipe when not in use. How you ventilate will depend mostly on where you choose to place the P/AC in the camper while in use.

    The final piece of advice I can give you is that even though most of todays P/AC's say they do not need a drain line run because they "mist" the collected moisture out through the vent exhaust hose, most of these unit can not keep up in a camper in moderate to high humidity conditions and a drain line must be used. The drain line is easy to run. All you need is some plastic/vinyl tubing of the correct diameter and then route the hose to the outside of the camper. Most of the time this is done by drilling a hole in the floor or wall. In either case to make the installation look good install a water drain **** with a flange and connect the hose to it.
  5. stanz

    stanz No matter where you go, there you are.

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    Jul 30, 2010
    here's a neat window unit to rooftop conversion:


    If you are careful you can simply bend the refrigerant lines enough to make it fit.
  6. toppopr

    toppopr New Member

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    Aug 3, 2010
    We faced the same dilemma a month ago with a weeklong trip to Tennessee. I didn't want to go the rooftop route as we do rustic camping in the fall and I like the ventilation and bit of extra light the vent provides, plus with a 14 year old camper I would probably have to add a roof support and adjust the lifter system. Costco had a DeLonghi 14,000 BTU AC unit on sale for $400 . Our pup has a dinette next to the door, and a U-shaped dinette at one end. The box size is 12', open it is just short of 24 feet long. I left the table for the dinette next to the door at home and placed the AC there. The bunk canvas zips to the sides on the box at each corner (of the box) behind the roof supports. There is a flap of canvas that covers the zipper and roof support. The AC vent is oval about 2x8 inches. I raised the nearest zipper and directed the vent outside, leaving the canvas flap open, then snugged the zipper down. It fit well enough that I didn't have to worry about bugs getting in. I just plugged the unit into one of the regular outlets as it draws 10 amps max. Next year I will run a separate line to the outlet set up for a roof mount AC, and put it on its own circuit, but we had no problems as it was. The cool air vent of the unit is non directional, so I fashioned a couple of baffles from styrofoam cups to send some of the air to each end. We were not at the campground much during the day, but when we were, we could cool it down (and dry it out) to a comfortable temp in about a half hour. Daytime temps we high 80s to mid 90s. Our site was shady, I'm sure that helped. At night it got down right frigid. Very snug in 3-season sleeping bags. I drained less than a plateful of water from the unit maybe three times during the week. I suspect it was a bit noisier than a rooftop unit, but it didn't keep anyone awake. Everyone agreed it was the best $400 purchase I've made in a very long time.
    Tracy D. likes this.

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