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Old 02-06-2022, 03:14 PM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: New Orleans, LA
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A/C only or A/C Heatpump when replacing

Our 2005 Safari Cheetah came with 2 - Dometic Duo-Therm low profile a/c-Heat Pumps (13500 btu). These units are 16+ years old and one is not working but the other still puts out cold air. Both have cracked condenser covers and the inside return grills are too brittle to seat correctly.Considering their age I am thinking of replacing them both rather than patch work repairs.

The "recommended" replacement is with 2 - Dometic Penguin II units at 15,500 btu. We have never used the heat pump feature. Had a HP in our sticks and bricks and hated it. If it gets a little cool (>40) we will use a little space heater to take off the chill. If its colder, heat pumps really do not work and we use the LP furnace. The old units are very noisy unless diverted to ducts.

In researching options I like the Furion Chill A/C (dual fan and low amp draw) but Furion apparently do not make HPs.

Also, Atwood makes a HP as does Colman.

Two questions: 1) should I go with just A/C or spend the extra for A/C-HP for resale reasons (have no plan to sell in the next 4-5 years)?

If we go with straight A/C should I stick with Dometic or try a brand like Furion or Atwood?
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Old 02-06-2022, 03:31 PM   #2
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I've never used the heat pump option in my coach. Well that's not exactly true...I used it long enough a few times when I first got the coach to realize I didn't like all the noise and the air coming out wasn't as warm as we wanted it. It kept the coach warm but the blowing air had a wind chill component to it. And it would run and run and run because it was heating the coach from the top down. Silly. We just use the 2 very quiet furnaces now.

I guess if you were full timing and not on metered electrical would make sense financially. But that's not our sitch.

Edit to father just replaced his unit and saved a few hundred dollars by eliminating the HP option.
-Eric E. 2006 Fleetwood Discovery 39S, Cat C7, Allison 6 speed, Freightliner. CFII/MEI Beechcraft Specialty. Gulfstream Contract Pilot.
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Old 02-06-2022, 03:39 PM   #3
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When I replace my working 20 year old units it will be with A/C only.

I put in diesel heaters and thats the most efficient I think you can get.
New to us 2000 Monaco executive 40 500hp tag
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Old 02-06-2022, 04:51 PM   #4
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If you don't plan to use the units as heat pumps, then there is no reason to spend the extra money as cooling only units are cheaper with fewer parts to fail. In a few years your coach will be 20 years old, it isn't likely you will get a higher price because you have pumps.

I live in Florida and for me heat pumps work great with our mild winters. Between the pumps and the fireplace, we probably haven't used the Aqua Hot a total of 5 hours since 2019.
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Old 02-06-2022, 05:12 PM   #5
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I would definitely go with the Hi-Capacity heat pumps! We love them!

Remember to buy the CCC2 thermostat too!
Joe & Annette
Sometimes I sits and thinks, sometimes I just sits.....
2002 Monaco Windsor 40PBT, 2013 Honda CRV AWD
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Old 02-06-2022, 06:12 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by chuckftboy View Post
If you don't plan to use the units as heat pumps, then there is no reason to spend the extra money as cooling only units are cheaper with fewer parts to fail.

It appears the major difference between an A/C and a HP is a reversing valve which Dometic and others apparently charge a lot for. Changing the direction of the compressed coolant determines if it is sent outside (to gain heat for the inside) or inside (to draw heat out of the interior). That said, I understand the heating performance is pretty poor and as stated above, works best in mild climates.

The obvious advantage to using a HP is that you're not burning any carbon fuels and hence less risk of CO poisoning. Also, not payng for fuel if you have a flat rate all-you-can-eat power hook-up.

As for added cost, depends on usage.

'07 Coachmen Mirada 300QB - UVW <14,000 lbs, GCWR 10,300 lbs > GVWR
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Old 02-06-2022, 06:16 PM   #7
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We like our Coleman-Mach basement heat pump, and it's what we use for heat whenever the temperature is above 40 degrees or so. I sure wish the fan had a lower setting though, which is true whether it's running heat or a/c. If you're not a sound sleeper it'll surely wake you up.

We feel safer having electric heat rather than gas while we're sleeping at night, both for fire and carbon monoxide reasons. We'll often fire up the gas heat when we get up in the morning though just to take the chill off.
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Old 02-06-2022, 06:36 PM   #8
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Weve had great success with the heat pumps and use them frequently when above 40F. Replaced the rear unit a few years back with the Penguin 2. Well run the front unit when in the back and the back unit when in the front. On our coach they are much quieter than the fan on the LP furnace.

We had a few nights in the low-30s and upper 20s. Set up 2 small heaters at 600W and 900W. Eventually the coach cooled enough that the furnace came on. One heat pump puts out volumes more heat than both of those portable heaters combined, even at 1500W each. Id never replace them with A/C only units. The only drawback is sub-40 temps.
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Old 02-06-2022, 08:47 PM   #9
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If you dont think you will use it save the bucks and get cooling only. We love the heat pumps in ours especially to knock the chill of when its not real cold. When it does get cold we use a space heater to keep from using the propane furnace.
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Old 02-06-2022, 09:13 PM   #10
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Save yourself big bucks by not buying HP A/Cs. We use space heaters at $15 - 50.
Full Timers.
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Old 02-07-2022, 06:15 AM   #11
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With the cost, and problems (especially the reversing valve), you would be better off just buying a Penguin A/C without heat pump and just use your furnace when needed.
Vera & Ken
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Old 02-07-2022, 06:42 AM   #12
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The original units on our coach was 13.5K AC/Heat Pumps & 20 years old. Have never had a problem with the reversing valve. Every time you start the AC unit the reversing valve does it's job as the default is for heat pump, so when you start it goes to AC.

I had to replace the motor on the front AC unit ~6 years ago, cost ~$125. Last year started to have trouble with the rear unit, the rubber isolation motor supports needed to be replaced so while I was at it I was going to replace the motor BUT I could not find one anywhere. Not sure if it was obsolete or just out of stock.

So after some sole searching I decided it was time to bite the bullet and replace both.
I definitely wanted to upgrade to a 15K unit but was up in the air about getting a heat pump until I asked my wife and she said to go with the heat pumps, she likes them (in the past when I worked full time the wife actually used the coach more then I did) she used the heat pump function a lot.

So 15K BTU heat pumps is what we got and I decided to go with the Micro Air Easy Touch thermostat which I really like, bluetooth capable so don't have to get up change temp or which unit is being used but it is also WIFI capable. Cost ~$100 more then a 10 button CC which I would have had to upgrade to anyway.

I'll also add is that I don't like to use the furnace, it does do a good job warming the coach but is really loud, I'd rather use small cube heaters or the HP with the fan running continuously.
Jim J
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Old 02-07-2022, 07:31 AM   #13
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Be aware that new heat pumps up R410a refrigerant and will heat down to the upper 20s.
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Old 02-07-2022, 07:51 AM   #14
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The rear AC/HP in our RV has quit either heating or cooling, so I was asking myself essentially the same question, go with the HP option on the replacement or not. Since I'm in Florida I don't have to worry about being in really COLD weather, so the HP works fine for me, when I use it, which isn't often. However I use it some, and it's nice to not have to worry about a space heater running when I'm not right there to watch it. But dang they want a lot of extra money for the HP option. And then if you change brands from what's installed you also have to put in a different thermostat and interior cover, so more money. And then there are availability issues on many of the models as they are backordered for two or more months.
So, after lots of research and going back and forth I decided to go with the option below (though I ordered it from the mfg where it's less than on Amazon). It's a different brand than what's in the RV so it won't work with my current thermostat, but it comes with a remote and a wall mount for the remote, so there's the 'thermostat'. It comes with everything needed, no extras to buy, I just had to specify that I needed the 'ducted' model. It had generally good reviews, was a reasonable price and ETA for delivery is 10-12 days, I'll know soon whether or not that holds true.
Of course the true test is when I get it set up and turned on, which wont be for a few weeks, hopefully I won't regret the decision.
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