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Old 09-29-2013, 11:52 PM   #1
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Avoid basement AC units and heat-pumps?

I keep hearing sad stories about basement AC units and heat-pumps being hard to service and failing after a few years. (Many tell of seeing Alfa fifth-wheels just a few years old in RV parks with three window AC units running and supposedly at lower cost than when the heat pump worked.)

In Texas one might think that heat pumps would be ideal but people keep telling me that the RV heat pumps don't last.

So what has been your experience? Is there credibility to these warnings I'm getting?
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Old 09-30-2013, 12:04 AM   #2
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Any system built by man can and will fail. Some will last longer than others, some won't. We have heat pumps, but don't live/travel much in hot areas. Been in Yuma and Phoenix a few times though, but not for long.
Our 11+ year old heat pumps are doing just fine.
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Old 09-30-2013, 12:55 AM   #3
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Biggest problem I've heard of w/the basement units (never owned one) is that its hard to find someone to service the thing when it has an issue. RV tech's don't like them, and residential AC service outfits mostly take one look & beg off.

The nice thing about roof AC's is that I can turn the back one on during the day, shut the door to my bedroom, and its quiet up front and cool. Then at night, I can run the front w/the door closed and its quiet in bed. W/the basement AC when its under the bedroom you have that noise at night, but of course during the day its nice & quiet in the salon.
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Old 09-30-2013, 01:36 AM   #4
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I have 1993 Navigator with the original basement air.

It is not a heat pump. It is still going strong. It is very quiet no matter where you are in the MH. .

I did have to replace the two speed blower motor several years ago. The high speed had quit working. Did the work myself. Really not that bad.

My point... Mine is 20 years old so the "urban legend" that they fail early doesn't apply in my case. Of course you may have only meant heat pumps.
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Old 09-30-2013, 07:34 AM   #5
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Basement units are just like a roof top unit with the components rearranged. They are harder to work on and hard to find someone to work on them. Otherwise they cool fine.

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Old 09-30-2013, 07:48 AM   #6
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No "roof jobs" on my rig (room for other "stuff).

The rig was built in 1995, has two Dometic basement units which we have been running hard during winter stays in Florida. Had the rear bedroom one serviced few years back, unit was OK it was the wiring going to it that chafed someplace in the walls so it stopped working, we bypassed the run with new wire and it works fine. Used the units as both air conditioning and heat pump. Getting to it in the basement was a PITA but I found a shop in Goshen that fixed it with no problem. The two units started as air conditioners for stationary park models, I don't think there is one built specifically for travel trailers (but I could be wrong) so that is a part of the problem, very few installation for techs to get familiar with. SpaceCraft puts basement air conditioners on their trailers, but again this is an "option", normally they put them on the roofs.

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Old 09-30-2013, 01:42 PM   #7
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A heat pump will generally have a shorter life than an A/C only unit. This is cause by the number of hours on the compressor. An A/C unit is run only in the summer so the compressor is not run during the winter.

On the heat pump, the compressor is running during the cooler weather as well.

The other issue is with a the reversing valve. One more control and one more thing to fail.

We have a roof top heat pump and I really like it. This is the second RV we have had with a heat pump and I love it in cool weather.

Ken
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