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Motorhome air-conditioning

If you are planning to visit some of the hotter European countries, then air-conditioning is a must. There are many options available to you, the first thing is to find out the internal length of your motorhome. There are many different models on the market, all with different cooling capacity’s, the one you choose will depend on the size of the motorhome.

Below I have listed some points that will be very useful when choosing the correct unit:

  1. Ensure you have the correct unit installed for the geographical area you are travelling. Air-conditioning units use a fair amount of power, a Dometic FJ2200 will draw 4.1 amps, and the Dometic FJ3200 draws 5.7 amps, the amp draw will only become critical when you visit countries with campsites that only offer a 5 amp supply. These campsites can be found throughout Europe but mainly in Spain and Italy. If you consider that your fridge will draw between 0.5 and 0.7 amps, your battery charger/transformer will draw between 2 and 3.5 amps and your water heater will draw between 3.5 and 8 amps, you can soon see how you can trip the site electrics. If you are on a 5 amp supply you can use your FJ2200 and your fridge at the same time, but nothing else! If your vehicle has less than a 6m internal length you could install a Dometic FJ1700, this unit draws 2.7 amps, so you could probably leave your charger on as well if using this unit, hopefully this explains why choosing the correct unit is so important. The other thing to consider is the make of unit you decide to purchase. The larger Dometic units have a ‘Soft Start’ process, this means that they do not have a large power spike when they start up, this allows them to be run from an inverter, but I will elaborate on that a bit later. It will be quite frustrating if you purchase an air conditioning system for your motorhome and when you need to use it you can’t as it keeps tripping the site electrics. Ensure you have all the facts before you choose a manufacturer and an installer.
  2. Ensure the unit is fitted in the correct location. Ideally you want your air conditioner installed in the centre of your motorhome. If there is not a 400mm x 400mm skylight already installed in the centre that can be removed, we can cut a new hole. If you install the air conditioning unit at the rear of the vehicle it may not be able to effectively cool the front of the van.
  3. Would you like to use your air conditioning while the vehicle is in motion? In most cases this is possible, we will need to check the size of the alternator and establish if it is a Smart alternator, if you have a Smart alternator it is far more expensive to achieve this. Most motorhome alternators produce a surplus of power, we can utilise this to operate your air conditioning system. We will need to upgrade your split charge system and install an inverter. You will need a minimum of two 100ah lead acid leisure batteries or one 100ah Lithium-Ion battery to power the air conditioning unit. It is important that this system is installed professionally by an experienced motorhome power management installer, if it’s not installed correctly, it will be unreliable and in certain instances it could be dangerous.

If you require any additional information or would like us to quote on any installation please contact us and we will be happy to help.