Thinking of using a Portable Air Conditioner. Thoughts???

Discussion in 'Heating / Cooling Systems' started by jnorris, May 14, 2014.

  1. jnorris

    jnorris New Member

    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    May 8, 2014
    Ok everyone, I am a new pop-up Camper owner. I camp 90% of the time at my lake lot in central IL that is completely shaded. My pop-up is probably 100ft from where we have our Generator set up. I want to add air for those really hot days. My Pup doesn't have air now but does have a roof vent and says it is wired for A/C. After reading all of the posts on this site I'm worried about the weight of the A/C damaging my roof and I'm conserned about that far of a run from my generator.

    I think I have a lead on both a used rooftop unit and a used portable a/c. Both for about $200.

    I'm sure the rooftop would cool better, but I would have to install it and worried about long extention cord run.

    Portable would have less draw, easier on my roof and no chance of me messing something up on install. Not sure it would cool enough. I have a small Pup (10' box).

    Need advice.
     
  2. medicmike5969

    medicmike5969 Been an Apache owner since 1991 - 2nd owner

    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2013
    Location:
    Clarkston, MI
    I use a 12000 btu portable c/a unit & it works GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I have an Apache pop-up (hard side, No canvas) & when I first bought the a/c unit, I plugged in it, it was 96 degrees outside temp (inside temp was about the same) & after running the a/c unit - it took the inside temp from 96 degrees down to 72 degrees in 45 minutes.

    I highly recommend it!
     
  3. mckeapc67

    mckeapc67 New Member

    Messages:
    681
    Likes Received:
    3
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2011
    I just bought a 14,000 BTU free-standing portable air conditioner with heat for use in my game room that was our 2-car garage. It works great there.

    I wouldn't hesitate to use it in our PUP if it didn't already have an A/C.

    The only drawbacks that I could see are that:

    1 - It would take up some floor or counter-top space.
    2 - It needs to be vented outside; so, I would have to figure out the best method for that.
     
  4. huizarr

    huizarr Member

    Messages:
    432
    Likes Received:
    2
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2009
    On our first popup, a 1980 StarCraft with a 9 ft box, we used a Portable A/C. Ours was a 14k Btu, it worked okay. We have had better luck with a 13.5K roof mount.

    Many Portable A/C's claim the don't need draining. While I don't know how humid IL is, but here in South TX we would have to drain the condensate. The first few times it would wake us up a night beeping to let us know it was full. Later on we just got a hose to drain the condensate outside.
     
  5. bildoo

    bildoo New Member

    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    I have a 12k portable unit for my pup and its a pretty big pup. It works awesome at night but if the camper is in the direct sunlight I can only get the temp down about 15 degrees. I do not have any solar bunk end covers. With that tho it is still better than nothing and it is also less humid. Closing off an unused bunk with the curtain also helps. We do not spend time in the camper during the day except for naps so this works good enough for us. We have 2 small 12 volt fans from Walmart that really help moving the air around. I put the portable a/c on top of the counter next to my sink. It takes up no floor space then and it blows the cold air out near the ceiling. I run the 2 large venting hoses right out the zipper section between the back side wall and bunk end. With a little duct tape it seals well enough. I also run a vinyl hose from the condensate drain directly into the sink which drains outside.

    I also use this unit in my insulated 24x30 garage and it take about 15 degrees off also.
     
  6. Rynderz

    Rynderz Lifelong Camper

    Messages:
    1,953
    Likes Received:
    2
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2011
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    DD pup came with a portable A/C, venting is easy, drain hose out the side of camper beneath the canvas. They love it
     
  7. capy235co

    capy235co Member

    Messages:
    719
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2011
    Location:
    Seal Beach, CA
    You are right that you need a VERY HD extension cord for that long a run.
     
  8. ghacker

    ghacker Active Member

    Messages:
    3,438
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    You don't mention the yr, make, and model of your PUP (You might want to put that in your signature for future questions.), but if it's a Coleman it's likely got a 350 lb wt. limit closed and 150 lb. open. If you have an ABS roof, you'll probably want to go with the portable unit. Why tempt fate?

    But unless the 2 are roughly equivalent in BTUs, you'll do better with the roof top unit assuming it's 13.5K BTUs. Being in the shade will help a bunch but if you ever use the PUP elsewhere, I'd plan for the worst. Along those lines, I'd also invest in a set of SHWPUGs for whenever you camp elsewhere. They make a tremendous difference in cutting down the heat if you're in the sun. They also offer some protection from sap, bird droppings, etc. Along the same lines, making some Reflectix inserts for some of your windows will also make a difference keeping the heat load down. These 2 mods will also make a big difference if you're into winter camping. They help keep the heat in.

    For a 20a service at a 100', a 12ga extension would work. But since I always want a cushion, I personally would use a 10ga cord.
     
  9. n2cruzn

    n2cruzn New Member

    Messages:
    648
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2012
    you may plug a/c to outlet and may not be able to use any other outlets???????
    rooftop maybe prewired for a/c?????
     
  10. Jayko

    Jayko Jayco 141J aka Big Bertha

    Messages:
    1,263
    Likes Received:
    15
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2012
    Transport of a portable is tough, they like a fridge must remain upright. That said, we love our portable AC unit. Someone else stated that during the day they only reduce the interior temp by 10 to 15 degrees when the camper is in the sun. I don't have gizmos or reflexit. But at night when you really need the lac of humidity and cool, they work great.

    We also use the portable in our bedroom in the summer. Our room is the last space on the central AC line. Our bedroom is now more comfortable.
     
  11. mckeapc67

    mckeapc67 New Member

    Messages:
    681
    Likes Received:
    3
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2011
    At 100' of run, you would definitely want a heavy duty extension cord. To run a portable A/C system, I would probably opt for a 10 gauge cord. These can get somewhat expensive.

    Another option, if you are using your PUP's A/C circuit (assuming you have one) to run either a portable or rooftop A/C, would be to get a good heavy duty 30 amp extension cord for your PUP.

    For my generator, I wired up a generator cord with an RV 30 amp plug on the end and a separate 15 amp 120v plug using the two legs of the 240V generator output. Obviously, I used appropriately rated wire for the cord.

    If your 100' distance setup is at home or on private land, you may consider running a permanent circuit from your generator location to your PUP location. This could be a cheaper and safer option than using an extension cord.
     
  12. jnorris

    jnorris New Member

    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    May 8, 2014
    Thanks for all the help. This is all new to me. To answer a few of the questions brought up.

    1997 Starcraft Meteorite - appears to have one cross brase for the Ceiling.
    It does appear to have a blank outlet under dinette seat marked A/C wiring.
    My Lake lot is a long term lease, so I can make improvements so runnig a circut in I assume conduit would be an option, but again I'm no electician.

    Portable A/C I'm looking at is 12,000 BTU so not quite as big as rooftop, but close.

    I'm leaning on trying he portable and if I'm not happy it looks like I can get my money back out of it on craigslist. They seem to sell quickly.
     
  13. IGYPup

    IGYPup New Member

    Messages:
    478
    Likes Received:
    3
    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2010
    how big is the generator [?]
     
  14. jnorris

    jnorris New Member

    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    May 8, 2014
    7000 watts I think, but we do run two popups off of it.
     
  15. bildoo

    bildoo New Member

    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    My pup was also prewired for a/c. There was a blank outlet cover by the table that said for a/c. I installed a 20 amp outlet there and that is where I plug in my portable unit.
     
  16. Revelations

    Revelations Enjoy the adventure!

    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2013
    We went with a 12k BTU portable for a 12' box. Love it. Our 2250watt inverter generator runs it easily. Get a 2-duct unit, better cooling since it will not draw in hot outside air through the cracks and openings of the canvas. Plus no draining of condensate. Works great! Be sure that you have room in your PUP or TV while transporting. We sized one for our PUP, fits perfect between the rear bunk and sink. In use I place it on the counter and I throw some extra sheets on the hot condenser exhaust duct.
     
  17. jnorris

    jnorris New Member

    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    May 8, 2014
    Revelations, What do you mean by two duct? What unit do you use?
     
  18. JeepMama

    JeepMama New Member

    Messages:
    2,424
    Likes Received:
    12
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2011
    It seems like you got the answers from other members who have successfully used a portable a.c. unit.

    I'd just like to add that we never had a.c. in our popup up. We made our own popup up gizmos from sportsman blankets from Cabela's. They made a big difference. We also set up two table top fans inside the camper and they really helped keep us comfortable in the hot, humid Pennsylvania summers.

    We have a.c. in our TT now, sometimes it's almost too cold I think.
     
  19. smithe67

    smithe67 smithe67 & bdb15905

    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2012
    We were wondering about the portable AC units. We travel with our 10 year old dog and when its really warm she seems to have a hard time breathing. Was also curious about what a 2 duct unit is.

    Sent from my LG-E970 using Tapatalk
     
  20. lugoismad

    lugoismad Active Member

    Messages:
    1,188
    Likes Received:
    3
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2013
    Some Portable units have 2 ducts. One for drawing fresh air in, one for pushing hot air out.

    Other units are one duct, meaning they draw air in from the room and exhaust it outside. These aren't as efficient because your constantly pulling new air into the room which you then have to cool.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.