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Old 05-13-2013, 08:05 AM   #1
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A/Cs wont keep MH cool; Are some RVs better insulated?

My parents have a 34' Harney Riata diesel pusher with 2 Dometic 13.5 roof top A/C units. Their complaint is the MH won't cool when the outside temps are mid 90's. The A/C units have been checked by two different RV service shops and both have stated the units are working perfectly.
When comparing my MH to theirs, mine has no problem staying cool, even when the outside temps are over 100 degrees. Not sure if this makes a difference, but mine have heat pumps and theirs are just plain A/C units.
Another thought could be the contruction of the MH itself. If the unit has poor insulation properties, then the A/C units don't stand a chance. Are there certain brands of motor homes that handle the heat better then others? Thanks.
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:25 AM   #2
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My favorite motorhome was my 345 Airstream. It was also the hottest. It had a aluminum outer skin and a aluminum inner skin with aluminum braces connecting them. This conducted the heat right into the interior. I have had five motorhomes. The Pace and the Open Road were the coolest. The Argosy and the Airstream were by far the hottest. The answer to your question is yes, Some motorhomes are cooler than others. When I was service manager we checked the motorhomes at about six o'clock. They all were out in direct sunlight. Some were noticeably cooler than others.
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:35 AM   #3
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Take a meat thermometer and stick it into one of the ceiling output ducts to measure the temp. Then measure the input air intake duct temperature. The best you can expect is a 14F - 20F difference between input temp and output temp.

The hotter is is outside the harder it will be to keep the inside cool.

Also, turn your A/C on early in the morning to get a head start. Don't wait until the inside is too hot. If you do the A/C will never be able to catch up.

Close all of the shades, keep as much shade on the RV as possible. Make it as dark as you can inside. Use solar covers on the OUTSIDE for all windows. Use your patio awning, window awnings, etc.

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Old 05-13-2013, 08:53 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Gearhead383 View Post
My parents have a 34' Harney Riata diesel pusher with 2 Dometic 13.5 roof top A/C units. Their complaint is the MH won't cool when the outside temps are mid 90's. The A/C units have been checked by two different RV service shops and both have stated the units are working perfectly.
When comparing my MH to theirs, mine has no problem staying cool, even when the outside temps are over 100 degrees. Not sure if this makes a difference, but mine have heat pumps and theirs are just plain A/C units.
Another thought could be the contruction of the MH itself. If the unit has poor insulation properties, then the A/C units don't stand a chance. Are there certain brands of motor homes that handle the heat better then others? Thanks.

What are the exterior colors? Some have reported 15/20 degree higher surface temps on dark colored areas.
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:59 AM   #5
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Thanks for the quick responses.

Richard- The A/C units are between 15-20 degrees cooler then the outside temps. They have done all the "trick" you suggested in order to maintain a comfortable temp inside. However, with her two little dogs, this is unacceptable. I would hate for them to replace the A/C units only to discover the MH doesn't get any cooler.

GA_Traveler- This may be the only solution. They may have to find another brand that does a better job staying cool.

Brockx- Their MH is all white with some blue graphics.
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Old 05-13-2013, 09:09 AM   #6
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Thanks for the quick responses.



Brockx- Their MH is all white with some blue graphics.

Oh well, worth a thought.

My PA vision is the first MH we have owned. I have been very pleased with the AC. During travel the dash air is very adequate, we close the passage door to the bath and bedroom. The house air(s) do a great job even here in South Florida.
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Old 05-13-2013, 09:56 AM   #7
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Our MH has minimal insulation and the 2 13.5 ACs. It's a lighter color. It has kept the unit at 70 or below in 98 degree desert heat with no shade.

I was walking thru a MH show on a hot afternoon, going from unit to unit. You could tell how thick the insulation was by looking at the ceiling depth at the fantastic fan. The ones with about 3" insulation, like ours, were noticeably warmer than the ones with approx 6". Now I know something new for when I upgrade.
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Old 05-13-2013, 11:07 AM   #8
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Our MH has minimal insulation and the 2 13.5 ACs. It's a lighter color. It has kept the unit at 70 or below in 98 degree desert heat with no shade.

I was walking thru a MH show on a hot afternoon, going from unit to unit. You could tell how thick the insulation was by looking at the ceiling depth at the fantastic fan. The ones with about 3" insulation, like ours, were noticeably warmer than the ones with approx 6". Now I know something new for when I upgrade.

Thats a good observation, I have noticed my fans are "thick/deep" never gave it a thought. Wonder if any of the newer models have the sprayed foam insulation.
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Old 05-13-2013, 11:14 AM   #9
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Gearhead, I had the same problem. Had to take cover off for cleaning. Found a 3" hole where the wires came to the unit. It was pulling air from between the inner and outer shell. Used spray foam to seal. Now unit cycles in hot weather.
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Old 05-13-2013, 11:28 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gearhead383 View Post
My parents have a 34' Harney Riata diesel pusher with 2 Dometic 13.5 roof top A/C units. Their complaint is the MH won't cool when the outside temps are mid 90's. The A/C units have been checked by two different RV service shops and both have stated the units are working perfectly.
When comparing my MH to theirs, mine has no problem staying cool, even when the outside temps are over 100 degrees. Not sure if this makes a difference, but mine have heat pumps and theirs are just plain A/C units.
Another thought could be the contruction of the MH itself. If the unit has poor insulation properties, then the A/C units don't stand a chance. Are there certain brands of motor homes that handle the heat better then others? Thanks.
Get one of the infrared thermometers like this:

Amazon.com: Infrared Digital Thermometer Gun with Laser (Non Contact): Everything Else

You can buy them locally for about $25 - $30. Check the RV for hotspots. I reduced my driver compartment temps by 20 degrees by using Reflectix (available in rolls at Lowes) .... custom cut to fit windows. It needs to be installed outside or, if inside, as close to glass as possible. Skylight in shower is another hotspot but should only be covered from outside.
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Old 05-13-2013, 11:41 AM   #11
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My dark MH with dual pane windows, awnings, and incredible insulation top to bottom is hard to keep cool when in the direct sun at those temps. The AC's don't shut off. You cannot put your hand on the paint when in direct sun. I also painted the skylight over the shower with white paint. It was tinted but the heat coming in was incredible. All measured with an infared thermometer. I used some aftermarket tint on the inside for testing and found that actually raised the glass temps. Covering the front windshield from the outside versus using an inside cover makes a tremendous difference too.
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Old 05-13-2013, 11:52 AM   #12
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Skylight in shower is another hotspot but should only be covered from outside.
Why do you say this? I had my last MH for 17 years and the skylight was covered from the inside with no problem.
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Old 05-13-2013, 11:56 AM   #13
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Thanks for the quick responses.

Richard- The A/C units are between 15-20 degrees cooler then the outside temps.

Snip...
As has been mentioned, 15-25 differential temp between outside air and inside air from the A/C is normal.

If you want more difference you'd be looking for a roof top refrigerator unit. Don't think they make them for RV's.

You might have them consider changing the windows to double paned. Expensive, but not as expensive as removing and replacing A/C units over and over.
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Old 05-13-2013, 12:17 PM   #14
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Why do you say this? I had my last MH for 17 years and the skylight was covered from the inside with no problem.
Because many (not all) skylights are 2 piece assemblies. Depending on what you use as an inside cover, the temperature change within the skylight assembly can exceed design specs and cause failure. Your mileage may vary ...
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