Hello from a oldish newbie! I purchased my van back in February of this year. I wasn’t too worried about air conditioning because my plan was to follow the weather as many do.
However, I am currently living in Southwest Central Florida. The day after I got home with the van, we went to Home Depot and purchased a 5000 BTU window unit. My husband took out one of the back windows and installed it right away. What a blessing that has been! I could not stand it if I did not have it. I do not handle the heat well at all.
I still plan to follow the weather as much as possible, but there are going to be those times when I will need dependable air. I’ve got the heating for winter under control; that’s not a big deal.
But as far as AC, I have re-searched the Internet, asked friends, watched YouTube videos, but I still am in limbo.
Initially I wanted to put a roof unit in. Then I saw how much they cost. But more than that, the top of my van conversion is fiberglass and I don’t know if a roof unit would be compatible with fiberglass.
Then, I was looking at mini splits. They seem to be ideal. Much less in cost and much quieter, from what I hear (actually, no pun intended.)
But there again, the problem was the fiberglass topper. I could see a decent place to put the inside part, but I would not want to put the condenser part on the back (metal). It would be low enough that somebody could steal it (for the copper). The other option again would be putting the condenser on the fiberglass part of the top, even if it was on the side. As I said, I’m just not sure how well fiberglass would hold up to cutting and also the weight.
I would also be concerned about anything on the outside jostling around and perhaps tubing breaking or something equally disastrous. I love my van, but she is not exactly a smooth ride.
OK so now I’ve been considering portable ACs. I have looked at many. If I got one I would be willing to spend up to five to $700 at the very most. There is a place in the side of the van where a vent hole could be drilled.
We have discussed that we would like to have one with a single hose going out the vent. I have seen some that supposedly turns the water into a mist and goes out along with the heat. I’ve even seen a couple where there is a tube within a tube. In other words, there is a drain tube inside the heat exhaust tube.
I’ve even thought about just using the window unit that we have in it now. The problem with that, other than it being outside is that I really need the storage space in the back of the van. I am planning on raising the bed quite a bit and that would not work with the air conditioner as it is.
I never thought that I would consider a swamp cooler, but I have read some pretty good reviews right on this thread.
So there you have it. All my concerns about each type of cooler. I’m sorry that this is so long. I tend to write long posts and be very detailed and I’m sorry if that gets on anyone’s nerves.
If you made it this far, thank you so much. Any and all suggestions are very very welcome and appreciated.