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Monday, June 20, 2016

Keeping Our Cool

Our Journey has a basement air conditioner unit that works very well for most temperatures.


One drawback with it is that when temps climb into the mid to high nineties (or higher), it has a hard time keeping the interior of the Journey cool.  We see inside temps climbing and the air starts to get a bit sticky and uncomfortable.

There have been some Winnebago owners with basement a/c units that spend a couple of thousand dollars and mount an additional roof top air conditioner in place of a roof vent.


After thinking about it long and hard, I went a different way.  First off, I didn't want to lose the vent, it is right near the stove and is necessary to help vent cooking odors.  Also, there are times when we have no FHUs and use the vent and an open window to cool the Journey's interior.  The vent is powered by the Journey's house batteries.

Summers usually find us up North where days are a bit cooler and the basement a/c works just fine.

So I went a different and less permanent way.  A run to Lowe's and I bought an 8000 btu portable air conditioner.


I vented it out a small window next to the front passenger seat.  I got it in place temporarily with some cardboard and packing tape, but will make a nicer looking cover in the next few days.  I also bought a heavy duty 12 gauge extension cord which I ran to the campground electrical box and plugged it into the 20 amp plug so I'm not drawing power for the unit through the Journey's electrical system.


A small pan is used to capture the water that drains from the unit.

We've only had to use the new a/c twice so far and it works great, really helping to keep the inside of the Journey much cooler.  Since we're going to be here at the COE for the long hot summer, this unit will be a big help.  Plus it is easily removed for our travels.  Total cost?  $271 for the a/c and $49 for the 50 foot HD extension cord.  A lot easier on my wallet than installing a roof top unit.  :c)

As for my eye issue, it's getting better.  A visit to the eye doctor last week revealed I still have 20-25 vision and the retina has remained in place.  The gas bubble is down to about 1/4 of its original size and I look forward to it disappearing completely in the next week or two.  Still using a bunch of eye drops, but they should be tapering off too.   Now I'm looking forward to Krakatoa being removed in August and get back to normal.

Thankfully, we'll be cool while we wait.  Summers are hot down here in South Carolina!   ;c)

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.


23 comments:

  1. My basement AC died a couple of weeks ago. It was not easy getting someone to fix it. Apparently the fan motor had to be replaced. Set me back $1500, but considering it's 110* the last two days it was worth it.

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    1. It's good to see you are still around Judy. Stay cool.

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  2. Actually, I know all about those. Both our kids have those air conditioners at their homes. It's rare temperatures get above 90 in Washington for long periods of time but when it does, they need something. They work perfectly. Good idea !!!

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  3. I know what you mean by hot and sticky. It's beginning to get that way up here in VA as well. Ah, such fond (or not) memories of summer weather in VA.

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  4. Even though it's on the 90's here we are in the shade, have a nice breeze and spend our time outside, We have a 200 foot 16 gauge extension cord plugged a 15 amp receptacle, so not enough power to run even one of our a/c's. Good thing the heat does not bother me and there is a nice inground pool and nobody around to use it except us.
    WE could fire up our generator though is we we really want to.
    Glad your eyes are healing well.

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  5. Ingenious solution ... but then wouldn't have expected otherwise.

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  6. We bought a second ac last summer when we were stuck in AZ. It worked really good. Good news on the eye.

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  7. We bought a second ac last summer when we were stuck in AZ. It worked really good. Good news on the eye.

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  8. I had no idea about those basement ACs. We have two rooftops and love them. Your solution sounds like the perfect one. Aren't you glad there is a 20 amp to run it from? Glad to hear your eye is improving too. Cool and clear sounds good.

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  9. MacGyver rules! Glad you're winding down on your medical issues.

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  10. June 21, 2016

    Hi
    We have been using a portable air conditioner since 2012. I also use the 12-3 cord but plug into the 30 amp receptacle using the 20-30 adaptor. Our motorhome has the two roof top air conditioners but they are noisy when trying to listen to the television. The portable air conditioner keeps the roof to a lower operating time and the noise level is much lower.

    George

    http://busterstravelsgeo-bon.blogspot.com

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  11. Glad to see that you are getting better. The AC solution seems to be a big step in better comfort. The upper 90's on the east coast is tough. A lot better out here in CO, but still hot. Take care.

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  12. I really appreciated this post. We had an older Winne with the same kind of situ and I could never figure out whether it was US, or whether the basement A/C was just not up to the job. We found a different solution but I appreciate knowing that the problem is symptomatic of the design. Makes me feel better in some odd way.
    I’ve used those portable units and love them. Good luck with that!!!!

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  13. It's been extremely hot here in Tampa and I sure wish we could head north. That was a great idea to keep you cool.

    I'm glad to hear the eye is healing well and that you're on the mend. Are you still going to be able to go on your motorcycle trip? (I'm secretly hoping not) :)

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    1. I have an appointment with the eye doc tomorrow (Thurs 6/23) as a follow up and I don't see any reason why I won't be able to do the trip about three weeks from now. I sure want to! ;c)

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    2. I have an appointment with the eye doc tomorrow (Thurs 6/23) as a follow up and I don't see any reason why I won't be able to do the trip about three weeks from now. I sure want to! ;c)

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  14. We have friends that use portable A/C units, so your not alone. Thats good news on your eye, here's to a speedy recovery on it and the other issue.

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  15. I sure hope the eye doctor gives you the go-ahead and you can get out of that heat. It's really tough when medical problems get in the way of our fun.

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  16. Good to hear that your eyes are getting better. Good luck in August ☺

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  17. Maybe you can enter that setup in the Rube Goldberg contests!

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  18. Happy 4th to you and Marti. Hope all is well.

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  19. Hi Paul,

    I read your post about replacing the engine air filter and thanks to that I had the courage to do the job that at first seemed impossible. Weird, because you would not think I would be scared of the work involved. Here's what I did a while ago:

    We have a 2002 Journey and temps here in Tennessee have been close to 100 with high humidity. Helped a little by the shade of a tree we are able to keep it cool, but more importantly, dry. The humidity level inside the RV is about 60%

    Last winter I pulled the basement ac out myself because the reversing valve of one of the circuits did not work anymore. I found a container that was exactly the right height so I could slide the whole 2 ton unit out of the bay on the box and with a bit of dragging into the garage. The reversing valve had to be soldered out completely. I ordered the valve from somewhere on the interweb and had an AC guy put it in for me. He filled the system with the colder R410a instead of the old original R-22 and replaced all capacitors (which helps the motors to run cooler and more efficient). Total cost was I think $400.

    I took the opportunity of course to clean both the evaporator and the condenser coils and hosed the whole unit down inside and out with a garden hose (No I'm not scared :-) ). I oiled the axles of both fans too. Hopefully the unit is good for the next 14 years of service :-)

    I haven't measured AC performance but when running as a heat pump at 40 degrees it is funny to see how one half of the coil (the r410A circuit) turns frosty white while the other half (the R22 circuit) apparently is not able to lose as much heat as it just stayed dry. In other words, the R410a circuit seemed to perform better.

    As said, we seem to be able to keep the RV quite cool but more importantly, we can keep the humidity down. It seems important to keep all windows closed and fans off because more importantly than heat, it brings in lots of moisture which is counterproductive. Together with a little fan on our dash it helps our natural transpiration to be nice and comfortable while the temperature inside is around 80 while running mostly stage 1. We could go lower, but that would feel cold.

    We also bought a little dehumidifier, mainly for the winter. But it makes sense to even run it in the summer when indoor and outdoor temperatures are close to each other and humidity gets above 70%.

    Which makes me circle back to portable AC units. Those things blow lots of hot air out of the window which is great. But for every bit of air going out, you need fresh air to come in. Where we are now (Knoxville TN) that air would be hot and humid. Not a big help. I would do anything to make the basement air work and work well. After all it is a 2 ton unit, good enough for a 900 sqft home. It should be able to cool a 300 sqft RV?

    Kind Regards,
    Paul & Donna Karman

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  20. I have to say, this is an approach I haven't seen. I have central air in my house, so the basement never really gets too hot. I can say, though, that contemmporary zone air conditioning units are incredibly efficient. I just picked up a small tower for my dorm room and it seems like a good enough substitute for air condotioning.

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