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Old 11-11-2019, 01:24 AM   #1
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HOT SUMMER * HUMID NIGHTS => 40' DP Gets A Portable AC

This is what I'm thinking for my next RV project:

Next Spring & Summer I plan on spending time in hot and/or humid climates. I know my basement AC will a good job of keeping me comfortable, but only on "High" and even then I know I will be running it 20+hrs/day. And what if it fails?

Since you can't have too much cooling in 100+ degree weather... with humidity... I'm thinking it would be a very good idea to supplement the AC I already have with a portable unit... over adding an AC to my roof.

I don't think a "Split AC" is an option for me. However, I do think a portable AC is something I can add without much effort/modification.

THIS OPTION WILL BE USEFUL WHEN I'M FULLY SETUP...
IN AN RV PARK WITH 50A & 30A POWER


These are my ideas. And I welcome your feedback so I can make improvements when I start the project.

SPACE

First I need to enough space for a floor-standing-portable AC (14,000 BTUs) inside your RV -- and fortunately my 40' Itasca "Horizon" has about 36" of room between my couch and the kitchen. (See picture)

Note: This is where a lounge chair would normally sit, but I don't have a chair in this space. I took it out long ago. And I prefer those 4 storage cubes I got at IKEA. I plan to keep this and run the exhaust tube through one of the bottom-cube areas... and move my wine rack to the right side. (TBD)

Next I will cut a 5-1/4" hole in the floor board for the 5" hot AC exhausted air duct to slip through. This will allow hot exhausted air from the AC to be vented to the outside. (Note: I found 5" LED Recessed Lighting-Trim Rings work well to seal the edges around the 5" exhaust hose.)

Also, the hole in the floor will need to be cut in-between the aluminium supports. So I'm not exactly sure where this will be, or how that will affect the location of the AC inside. (TBD)

I do know that I will retract the AC exhaust hose and plug the hole in the floor, before I store the slideout. But I'm not too concerned about that. I'm sure I can reuse the cutout plug. ...Which means I also need to cut a 5-1/4" hole in the bottom of my IKEA storage. (No problem.)

PORTABLE AC TYPES

Most AC have a drain pan and the option to attach a drain line. In addition, some Portable ACs also have an "evaporation" system... which is very desirable if you are in a home that is better insulated than an RV, I doubt it will be able to "keep up" with the water the AC will extract from the air in the RV. So you will need a drain line anyway.

My goal is to reduce the humidity (moisture in the air) in my RV as much as possible. So paying extra for a portable AC with a evaporator is not necessary. Having a drain line is!

So I also will drill a hole in my floor for a drain line... the the water can drain outside and under the RV.

POWER

Most 14,000 BTUs and less Portable AC run on 115V power with a standard 3-prong plug. And so I plan to run a 10-gauge dedicated power line... With one female-receptacle for the Portable AC; and the other end will run to a female-receptacle I will cut-into the sidewall of the kitchen counter side wall. This power will run behind the dishwasher and under the sink and to my power compartment.

Then I will create my only 10-gauge "Stranded" 25' extension cord with male-plugs on both ends. One end of this extension cord will run to the separate 30A source provided by the RV site (with RV-30A-Plug); and the other male end will have a standard 3-prong male end and will run to the junction mounted in the power compartment.

So now I will have a connection from the Portable AC in the RV to a dedicated 30A power source, that is separate from our RV's 50A service, which is what I want.

So far I have not seen any pictures of this type of installation. However, it sounds like it should work; and it does not sound like the installation will be too difficult.

If anyone has done this, can you please let me know if you have any additional suggestions?

And if you don't think this is a "clean" why of adding additional AC without resorting to a "roof top AC" then please let me know.

* I threw the residential refrigerator upgrade picture into the mix so others can see how I installed mine. It's a GE Refrigerator Model #GTS16GSHCRSS. It's been working great with my old 2000W Dimensoins square-wave inverter for over 4 years! And I have not spent a penny on maintenance! I do have 400W of solar on the roof and this helps. But I get more help from the VSR device upgrade that recharges my house batteries when I'm driving.

Here's some specs on the Portable AC:


Product Weight (lb.) 73.9 lb
Voltage (volts) 115
Wattage (watts) 1200
Cooling Area (Sq. Ft.) 700
Cord Length (ft.) 6
Decibel (Sound) Rating 54 dBA
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Old 11-11-2019, 06:37 AM   #2
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I have used these in houses for years and they are nice. A couple of things to consider.

You may be making more work for yourself than you need. These don't draw that much and you probably have more power than you need right at the nearest outlet in the RV. Ours shares an outlet with everything else in our family room for years without a problem.
They do make a bit of noise. Think window unit but less than many roof units.Perhaps you could borrow or rent one just to make sure before committing.

1400btu will only be enough to cool you in basically warmish weather or shady conditions or to take some of the load off of the basement unit.
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Old 11-11-2019, 07:44 AM   #3
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we had our ac failed in june in az and again in july in vegas was not fixed correctly got a honeywell portable also got a honeywell portable heater as well have both units in the basement storage but keep them for back ups
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Old 11-11-2019, 08:49 AM   #4
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A power cord with 2 male ends may be dangerous.

My rig has a 20 amp dedicated circuit for a washer/dryer which I don't care to have. I've wired that circuit to an outlet box in my engine bay (block heater or tool power supply) and an outlet in my bedroom (space heater).

I also ran a 12 guage extension cord circuit from inside the rig to an outside compartment on the driver side. I can uncoil the cord, plug into the extra 15 amp outlet on the pwr pedital and have a dedicated circuit inside. I've used it for a heater or whatever. I once borrowed a portable ac unit but found it too loud. I don't want one.
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Old 11-12-2019, 04:54 AM   #5
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You're overthinking this in terms of electrical. 1200 watts @ 120v is less than a typical, portable, electric heater draws. This air conditioner should operate just fine by plugging in to a standard outlet.

Besides, you don't want to run this on a 30A circuit as you will not have the over-current protection the appliance needs. Think of it this way: a 30A breaker wants a 10 gauge conductor and the breaker is actually a heat monitoring device designed to protect the insulation on the conductors from igniting. Since your plan is to use 10ga conductors for your power supply, so far so good. But what about the appliance itself? It is designed to be on a 20A circuit. So, let's say something goes haywire in the appliance ... a short in the internal wiring maybe. Now the appliance is overheating, maybe catching fire, but the breaker is not tripping because that is "normal" heat for a 30A circuit.

If you do want a dedicated, independent power supply to your portable air conditioner, a 10ga cable is overkill (12 ga is just fine unless it is going to be a very long cable) but won't hurt a thing. But be sure to connect it to a standard 20 amp circuit for best over-current protection and fire safety.

Be cool!
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Old 11-12-2019, 05:02 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve11669 View Post
A power cord with 2 male ends may be dangerous.

My rig has a 20 amp dedicated circuit for a washer/dryer which I don't care to have. I've wired that circuit to an outlet box in my engine bay (block heater or tool power supply) and an outlet in my bedroom (space heater).

I also ran a 12 guage extension cord circuit from inside the rig to an outside compartment on the driver side. I can uncoil the cord, plug into the extra 15 amp outlet on the pwr pedital and have a dedicated circuit inside. I've used it for a heater or whatever. I once borrowed a portable ac unit but found it too loud. I don't want one.
20 amp dryer? my splendide 2100xc is 50 is your unit all in one? i can wash running off the 7k gen but not dry. sorry for off subject.
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Old 11-12-2019, 03:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertkathy View Post
20 amp dryer? my splendide 2100xc is 50 is your unit all in one? i can wash running off the 7k gen but not dry. sorry for off subject.
Ummm, good question. I have not had a WD unit in this rig so I can't answer but the compartment has a water supply and drain so it is def a WD location. The 20 amp circuit ended to a 20 amp outlet and has a 20 amp circuit breaker.

I don't see any other power supply there. I guess there were 20 am units???
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Old 11-13-2019, 02:00 AM   #8
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Wire Gauge options....

Thanks "Yonder".

Please let me know what you think about these additional thoughts and questions.

LENGTH

* I figure I need 20' of cord running from the power post in the RV site to my power bay in my RV. And another 10' of wire to the the 20A receptacle I will mount inside my RV. This will make 30 of stranded wire. And I agree 12-gauge will work fine. However, I also know the AC will run for 15+ hours and I was thinking 10 gauge wire would help with the heat buildup over a 30' run. What do you think is the right gauge for this application assuming the portable AC will pull 13A.

* I think I can use a 20A receptacle on each end of my 10' run (between the power bay and my inside kitchen wall socket) and it will not matter if I use 2-male plugs like "Steve11669" suggests. His he right?

* And per your suggestion, I will NOT use the 30A service since I will never have more than 15A-20A on the line at any one time. Now I know why fires start in RVs. I.e., the wire melts and starts a fire before the circuit breaker trips!

* Still... a motor that runs 24hrs per day gets hot. Are these AC single-phase units? ...Or is that not applicable to a portable AC?

* If I put a "Ground Fault 20A Switch" on one end will this add any safety margin? Note: Every RV park power pole I have seen already has one of these, but I wouldn't trust it. They always look old and weather beaten.

* Plus many RV park power lines are not in the best of shape. I swear they are often have neutral problems too.

* So would I be better off tapping into the park 30A line, with a 30A male plug on the end of my extension cord... but then putting a 20A Ground Fault switch in my RV... in the power bay... to protect against fire? At least this way I can trust my 20A ground fault switch, which is like a circuit breaker only more sensitive. What do you think about this setup?
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Old 11-13-2019, 07:27 AM   #9
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Just throwing this out to consider. The 5 exhaust that blows hot air outside creates the need for replacement air inside. That needed air is going to have to come from somewhere, which of course, is hot air from the outside. IMHO, adding another unit to the roof would be much better.
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Old 11-13-2019, 08:36 AM   #10
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Whoaa.... Think you are way over thinking this - I'm a home builder and Have used these units as temp A/C in homes, yes they work well and trust me the best way to do this is by using the KISS Method (Keep It Simple S.....) You have a location in the Coach that is Perfect - requires Little to No modifications - allows you to have it where you sleep and also make it great for day use by not being in the Living Area and taking up valuable floor space.

Added Bonus is that you just turn it on in the AM after a Cool Night at Elevation and warm things up. -

Just put it in place of the Washer Dryer that you Do Not Have.

You have more than enough Electric to handle it there - you should already have a Vent - and you will already have a Drain Pipe

Slip it in - set it up and Open or Close the doors as needed - likely the doors are vented so it will even work with them closed. -

This may help to be sure it works where you want it - https://www.lowes.com/pl/Duct-reduce...ing/4294512223 - if not just encrease the size of the vent in the wall and you are done.

This was the spec's I used - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0028AYQDC...dDbGljaz10cnVl

Amazon makes it easy - but these are usually in the Big Box stores and go on sale at a big Discount - I usually could get them in the Summer for under $300.00.

Best of Luck,
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Old 11-13-2019, 11:41 PM   #11
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Do not confuse the purpose of a GFCI. It is not in any way an over-current protection device. A GFCI, whether a breaker or an outlet, monitors the circuit for fault current or, an imbalance of current between the hot and neutral. That is the condition that exists when somebody could get shocked by touching metal (conductive) parts on an appliance. These are typically only installed near plumbing, water supplies or outdoors.

Again, you are unnecessarily complicating this project. Your A/C unit is going to draw a safe amount of current for any outlet in your rig. So plug it in and relax.

The only reason I see for a dedicated circuit would be if you were to plug it into the circuit where you were also making toast and brewing coffee. Those heat producing appliances draw a lot of current and all three at once would probably trip a breaker.

If you really want to do the extension cord thing, you could use a 10 ga cord but overheating is not the issue and if the appliance itself gets hot, 10 or 12 ga is not going to change that. The only benefit of bigger wire would be to reduce voltage drop in a longer cord. 10 ga won't hurt anything but IMHO is not necessary for a 30 foot run.
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Old 11-14-2019, 04:35 AM   #12
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I would just plug the A/C in a nearby outlet but if you feel the need to overdo this, rather the a double male plug extension cord, install a male receptcal. With that, there is no hot blades sticking out.

If your sticking with 30 amps and 10 gauge, use a 30 amp twist lock RV style receptcal. They come in black and white.

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Old 11-14-2019, 06:21 AM   #13
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Thanks!

I do have a washer/dryer combo in the bedroom so I will placing the portable AC in the living room... between the couch and the kitchen counter.

The reason for the separate power source is because I am concerned that if I have a portable AC pulling 13A off my RV AC receptacle, which is on the same power line as my kitchen receptacles, which I use for my toaster oven (15A) on occasion... that there could be a problem on a 20A circuit breaker. Is this real concern or am I missing something?

I could run a new power line to my bedroom fuse box and add a circuit breaker (I do have one open space), but frankly I think it's easier to run a new power line to my RV power compartment... and I think there is the added benefit of having a dedicated/separate power source. Is there some added benefit to this approach?

Based on everyone's feed back, at this point, I think I will go with 2 female receptacle plugs; and a 25' extension cord I can run to the RV campsite power pole, with 2 standard male ends. (Probably 10 gauge stranded wire)... and I will just trust the RV power pole 20A circuit breaker... and I will not use a ground fault switch since I wonder if A) it would not add any real protection; and B) I suppose a ground fault switch could trip when the portable AC motor turns on and off. I'm not sure, but I do know you normally do not have a GFI on a garbage disposal plug for this very reason. ...And I will use 20A commercial grade receptacles for reliability and durability.
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Old 11-14-2019, 06:31 AM   #14
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I used to use one of these in my boat, it worked OK but not great. On any day over 85 or so degrees it could only drop the temp a couple of degrees, even though it was putting out plenty of very cold air.
The problem is that all of the hot air that gets vented out has to be replaced inside the RV (nature abhors a vacuum), which is done by pulling air in through all of the small gaps we have in these things. So for every bit of hot air it pushes out, it pulls in hot/humid air from outside - so while they work, they don't work as well as the roof AC which keeps recirculating the same air.
If I were to get one of these again I'd get a dual hose model, so that it can pull in outside air through the second hose rather than through the living space. Yes, that means it never has the ability to work with the slightly cooler air inside, but to me that's a fair trade to having air constantly coming in from outside, keeping the heat and humidity higher than *I* think it should be.
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