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Open Roads Forum  >  Fifth-Wheels

 > Mini Split A.C. in their fiver

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jjj

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Posted: 09/03/22 03:49pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I was wondering if anyone has put a mini split a.c. in their fiver or trailer and if so how do they like it and how does it work especially if you have 2 rooms like a fifth wheel. I have seen a lot of you tube videos but never heard first hand from anyone. Just curious.


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ReneeG

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Posted: 09/04/22 09:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We had one installed in our bedroom. In the 12 years we've had it, we rarely use it because we haven't had the need like we thought. It's definitely noisier than the main, but cools really well. Last time we traveled to an area that we needed both, was Moab, so we're ready for hotter climes and glad we have the extra.


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spoon059

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Posted: 09/04/22 10:41am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ran into someone down in Tennessee earlier this year, first time I'd seen one in person. He LOVED his. Says it draws very low power, is very quiet and very efficient. It was in the upper 80s, low 90s for our trip at Anchor Down and there aren't really any trees. It gets HOT and the regular ACs struggle to keep up. His little 12K BTU mini split was running with ease and keeping his camper quiet comfy.

He installed the outdoor unit in the front generator compartment, as he doesn't have a genny. He cut out some of the floor to give ample air circulation and ran it with the compartment door open. The inside unit was mounted above his door and circulated the air all throughout his camper.

It was just him and his wife, I didn't even think to ask about how the airflow suffered if they closed their bedroom door at night. Bottom line, he thought it was a great upgrade and spoke highly of it.

Much cheaper than adding or replacing a roof top unit, quieter, less power draw, more efficient cooling, easier to maintain a set temperature, also a heat pump for cold nights. Got me very interested when we upgrade to a 5er in a couple more years!


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Posted: 09/04/22 11:05am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The main downside I see is that it's not ducted. Is there a problem with your rooptop units? I feel like if they had an advantage over rooftop, ducted units they would use them instead.


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Posted: 09/06/22 10:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

https://www.google.com/search?q=mini+spl........10l9.14538j0j15&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

There are now ceiling cassettes which may be a better option for you. Above is a Google search with many options.

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valhalla360

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Posted: 09/06/22 11:55am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

spoon059 wrote:

Much cheaper than adding or replacing a roof top unit, quieter, less power draw, more efficient cooling, easier to maintain a set temperature, also a heat pump for cold nights. Got me very interested when we upgrade to a 5er in a couple more years!


I doubt it would be cheaper for a replacement (maybe for adding an extra unit but that gets more into how complicated the installation of each is). Installation of a replacement RV unit is quick and easy (4 bolts and a few wires).

Retrofitting a mini-split means you need to find a location and mount the exterior unit and find a location and mount the interior unit...then run the lines between. Generally, that's going to be a much bigger project.

The big advantage I can see is eliminating a hole in the roof and the inverter based unit having lower startup amps making starting on generator easier. (they have heat pump based RV units)

While mini-splits are more efficient, a lot of people confuse the lower amps when putting out lower cooling as a direct measure of efficiency. If a 15k btu unit is drawing 6amps instead of 12amps at full output and only putting out 7.5k btu...just because it's using half the amps, doesn't mean it's twice as efficient. Yes, mini-splits are generally more efficient but not by massive amounts.


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spoon059

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Posted: 09/06/22 03:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If one can install themself, you can buy a minisplit for under $800. You can't buy a rooftop for under $800 that I am aware of. My Coleman Mach 15K is $1282 on Amazon right now. That is 50% more expensive. Installation isn't that complicated, especially if you buy a precharged unit that doesn't require pulling a vacuum. The wires, condensate line and refrigerant line all run together. I've seen them run in pantry cabinets, behind curtains or tucked in the corner of a wall with a small cap over them. Someone with moderate skill can install one in a couple hours with handheld tools.

Even paying for installation, an HVAC tech will charge a couple hundred dollars for a minisplit. A RV shop will likely charge at least that, if not more. Granted, it is a retrofit so you'll have to do some work to find a place to put everything, but that doesn't make it more expensive (which is the point you are refuting).

And I wholeheartedly disagree that a minisplit isn't massively more efficient than a rooftop unit! They draw significantly less power than a rooftop AND cool more quickly than a rooftop. They also maintain temperature much better than a rooftop. Compare the yellow energy usage sticker from a rooftop unit to a minisplit, significant difference.

* This post was edited 09/06/22 06:28pm by an administrator/moderator *

valhalla360

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Posted: 09/06/22 05:40pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you treat your labor as $1/hr, sure, you can rebuild the entire RV to make it work and it will be cheaper. But put a reasonable price on your labor and it's going to be significantly more than simply dropping a new RV unit in it's place.

I've used mini-splits overseas a lot. They work fine but I don't see where they provide significantly better temperature control but if it makes you happy, go for it.

* This post was edited 09/06/22 06:29pm by an administrator/moderator *

Johnnybgood

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Posted: 09/17/22 09:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

In order to use ceiling cassettes you would have to cut the whole in your roof 2+ times bigger to get them to fit. I would love to find a ducted mini that would fit as I have ducting in the living room and bedroom.

spoon059

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Posted: 09/17/22 02:50pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I was at the Hershey RV show earlier in the week and talked to a manufacturing rep for Columbus. I was asking him about minisplits. He told me that they are in talks with a manufacturer and may move towards those in the next couple of years. We had been chatting about some other things for a while before I asked about the minisplits, and other people were in the camper and wanted to ask questions, so I didn't push it any further.

I would MUCH rather have a minisplit with 2 heads (I'll take the traditional cassette heads, it was a 5th wheel we were looking at) over 2 or 3 rooftop units. Cheaper, less invasive on the roof, heating and cooling, quieter and less power draw. I'll be anxiously awaiting...

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