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Old 07-01-2016, 06:07 AM   #1
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Excessive A/C Use during extreme heat

It a Duo Therm in my 2002 Sunline 19.5, I suspect it is original. It works better than the A/C that came in my parents Mercedes RV, but it seems to be struggling a little the last week or so in the TN heat wave we have been having.

I am not so concerned about myself, but my cat who stays in the RV when I am at work (I am full timing). Even with the jalousie windows and Fantastic fan, it has gotten up to 92 degrees inside the RV and 95 is about the danger zone with cats when I have RV'd in the past.

Fortunately, I have shade in the afternoon, it starts to settle in around 1:00pm but all that seems to do is help the A/C struggle a little less.

I want to go away for the weekend and I am concerned about leaving the cat in addition to other temp/weather sensitive items I have in the RV. I don't feel safe leaving the A/C on 24-7 nor do I feel safe leaving the windows open with the Fantastic going.

I used the A/C on medium for the first time last week, and it completely froze over. On low, it never has frozen, but I don't know if that is a coincidence or not. Also, one hot day last week when I left the A/C on while I went to work, I came home for lunch to check on it and I smelled a little burning, plastic or electrical. I quickly shut down the A/C and was not sure if it was the A/C or the converter box.

The one thing I did change since then, is that my main power cord had a 30-50 amp converter on it to help it reach the outlet. I moved the trailer back for more shade and in the process was able to remove the converter and just run straight 30 amp to the outlet in hopes that deleting this extra piece might somehow help.

Other than cancel my plans or take the cat with me (I don't want to hear him meow for the entire 3 hour drive), what other options or work-arounds with the A/C might I have? I think it is too late for a kennel right now and I might need to get him a few more shots to do that.
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Old 07-01-2016, 08:11 AM   #2
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The hotter it gets the harder any AC works. It should not freeze over regardless.
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Old 07-01-2016, 08:22 AM   #3
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Sounds like it needs a cleaning. The interior filter is easily removed via the access panel above your head. It washes easily with soap and water.

The outside is more difficult. If the fins are bent over it greatly reduces the cooling ability of the air-conditioner. They can be straightened with a fin comb. They are readily available on the Internet especially on eBay but I don't know where you might find one locally, maybe Home Depot were similar. Also the exterior fins may be partially or fully clogged up with dirt and debris. I usually use compressed air to clean them out.

Realistically it needs a trip to the shop for complete servicing.
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Old 07-01-2016, 07:48 PM   #4
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I agree with Steve, if your AC unit coils have not been cleaned since the unit was new, odds are high they are very dirty and that can rob the efficiency of the unit. Both the inside coil and the outside could need to be cleaned if your has made it to this point.

Here is a post on how to clean them, this may or may not be doable in your case short of taking it to a dealer. Cleaning the AC coils - (Lots of pic's)

That said there are a few things that may help.

Run the unit on Hi. Running medium or low lowers the fan speed and my not clear out the ice buildup. Running Hi, this helps overcome this.

The windows, these allow a great deal of heat in. In the lumber yard they sell a product called "Reflect-ix" Reflectix - Insulation - *The Home Depot

It comes in different sizes and lengths. By putting this on the inside of the widows on the sunny side of the camper, it can help reflect out the heat. May use them cold weather camping to keep heat in but they work both ways.

The demand on the AC unit is a lot in time of high heat. The dirty AC makes the problem worse, but it is still an issue on a clean one, just not as bad.

I do not know of a fast fix for your weekend. The Reflectix is about the cheapest and it will help, how much I do not know.

LG does now make small portable AC units. While and option, it is not a cheap one.
LG portable-air-conditioner LP0815WNR | LG Electronics US

Sadly, you can buy a new roof unit for about the same money less installation. My son one of these for his pop up and it worked pretty good. But he had nothing and did not want to cut a hole in hi PU roof.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 07-02-2016, 06:42 AM   #5
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There are two things that can cause an AC unit to freeze up one is simple one is not. The one that is not will also cause your AC to run a lot and not really cool well and that is low refrigerant the other is a clogged evaporator coil the one inside the camper generally not the case. That is why I said in should not freeze over unfortunately the low Freon level is the most common cause.
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Old 07-02-2016, 08:42 AM   #6
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Hopefully it is just some kind of animal nest in the A/C.
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