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Old 05-31-2017, 08:18 PM   #1
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Evaporative Cooler vs AC

Hello-
A friend recently turned my on to using an evaporative cooler (the brand is Turbo Kool) instead of an air conditioner to cool his travel trailer.
We live in the arid SW and will be doing a vast majority of our traveling here. We will mostly be boondocking as well, so AC will not be used very often. The evaporative cooler, however, runs on 12V.

We have used these swamp coolers before to cool our home, and they work great. We will have the solar option along with dual 6V batteries as well in our 19'er. Our completion date is July 20th!

My questions for you all are:
1. Does anyone have any experience with these coolers for an RV?
2. Did it work well? Drain your batteries? Any problems with leaks?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Jim
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Old 05-31-2017, 09:13 PM   #2
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I've no experience with a swamp cooler in an RV, but I grew up in a desert area with a swamp cooler on the roof instead of AC. I see a couple of advantages. First, the ability to run it when boondocking with no generator. Second, it's much less expensive than an air conditioner. Perhaps another big advantage, and I'm just assuming here, would be that it will be much quieter than the AC unit.

But, if the relative humidity goes above about 35-40 percent, the cooling capacity drops pretty dramatically. For example, in southern Arizona where it can routinely reach 95 to 100F, if the relative humidity stays very low, it could potentially cool the trailer down to the low 80s. Liveable, but certainly not cool as A.C.. But having traveled in that area quite a bit, there are many times when the humidity is higher. In such a case it might be able to reach the upper 80s. Better than 100, but nowhere near what AC could do. One big reason the cooling capacity is limited, even in drier conditions, is that these type of coolers actually humidify the air, vs an AC unit which dehumidifies it. Once the inside air reaches a certain humidity level, the cooling part is over.

One other thing to consider is, the insulation in an Escape is relatively thin. The manufacturers of the Turbokool are probably estimating cooling capacity for a stick built trailer with thicker walls and thus better insulation. That will make a difference.

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Old 05-31-2017, 09:33 PM   #3
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Don't evaportive coolers need a steady water supply? If that is true and you are boondocking, you'd empty your fresh water tank in short order.

I will admit being not too familiar with evaporate coolers since I'm from Florida, where nothing evaporates.
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Old 05-31-2017, 10:30 PM   #4
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Don't evaportive coolers need a steady water supply? If that is true and you are boondocking, you'd empty your fresh water tank in short order.

I will admit being not too familiar with evaporate coolers since I'm from Florida, where nothing evaporates.
They do require a water supply. In the case of the Turbokool, they have a built in water reservoir. The reservoir can be filled using either the trailer's water lines, or from a stand-alone pressurized 15-gallon water tank with 12-volt pump, or from a 3-gallon self-pump water supply tank, according to the manufacturer.

They use water as they operate, so there's no waste water, and no draining into the trailer's tanks. But, as you point out, they need a steady water supply. If boondocking for an extended period, that could be an issue.

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Old 05-31-2017, 10:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Lewis View Post
I will admit being not too familiar with evaporate coolers since I'm from Florida, where nothing evaporates.
Thanks for the falling-off-my-chair laugh for the day.
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Old 05-31-2017, 10:54 PM   #6
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Thanks for the falling-off-my-chair laugh for the day.
You're welcome! (though it was unintentional)

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Old 05-31-2017, 11:23 PM   #7
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You can make a redneck version with a 12v fan, aquarium pump and swamp cooler filter media in a 6 gal plastic water bucket. You tube has videos. Not as classy as the roof mounted one but you can experiment to see if it will work in your area.

A swamp cooler needs to get the intake air from outside, pull it thru the wet filter media and blow it into the trailer. You also need an exhaust but the MaxxFan on a low speed would be ideal as it would be exhausting the warmer air near the ceiling.

I'm playing around with a redneck ice chest air cooler. A plastic sheet resting on the inner shelf holder will have a cut out for a 12v fan to blow air in and a large round or square tube to exhaust the air straight up. No modification or cuts to the ice chest so I can still use it to keep food and drinks cool. It will cool by melting ice. Wondering if the freezer can keep up refreezing containers of ice.

It's more of a game for me because I live in Colorado and have no intention of camping where it is so hot I need the roof top A/C unit.
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Old 05-31-2017, 11:57 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by SFDavis50 View Post
I'm playing around with a redneck ice chest air cooler. A plastic sheet resting on the inner shelf holder will have a cut out for a 12v fan to blow air in and a large round or square tube to exhaust the air straight up. No modification or cuts to the ice chest so I can still use it to keep food and drinks cool. It will cool by melting ice. Wondering if the freezer can keep up refreezing containers of ice.

It's more of a game for me because I live in Colorado and have no intention of camping where it is so hot I need the roof top A/C unit.
Fun game, but even if you needed only a fraction of the standard A/C capacity to keep the trailer cool that is a lot of ice. Even 3,000 BTU/H is equivalent to melting 500lbs of ice over 24 hours.
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Old 06-01-2017, 12:12 PM   #9
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They make 12v cooler-air which blows air across ice to cool. I have one and it works well for about 3 hours. Used it in my non-a/c toy hauler. Here is an updated item
https://www.amazon.com/Portable-12-v...VFDD6FHF2996XW
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Old 06-01-2017, 05:35 PM   #10
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Back to the OP's question though: we're talking about perhaps installing a roof mounted Turbokool instead of AC. I can see pluses and minuses. Would be interesting to get other points of view.

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