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What a Relief! Window Air Conditioner Unit Installed


The Texas heat is not letting up and I had to come up with a plan to get some relief. I wrote about the problems I was facing with just 30 amp service last week and the inability to run both roof top mounted air conditioning units simultaneously on only 30 amps.

The only option was to purchase a small window air conditioner – hoping it would operate on the existing 20 amp breaker that feeds all the ‘house’ circuits in the Old Girl.   A Zenith 6500 btu unit was purchased at Home Depot for $149.00.  The specification indicate it draws 6 amps when running.  The next problem was where and how to mount it.  Most RV’s are not window air conditioner friendly

About the only spot available to mount the small window AC unit was the large sliding window above the couch. The wooden frame for the window air conditioner unit I decided to build a wooden frame to support the unit for strength and to keep it off the metal frame of the window.  I was worried about possible harmonic vibration .  Materials used were pine 2×4, 1/4″ plywood to seal the space above the frame and 2 1/2″ deck screws to put it together.  Cost was less than $25. The hardest part was getting the measurements exact and working with the curved frame of the window.  The horizontal 2x4s brace against the inside of the window frame and prevent the window AC unit from tipping outward.  The frame rests on the small lip on the inside of the metal frame and appears to be very secure.  A snug fit helps in that respect.

Exterior view of installed window AC unit

Interior view of installed AC unit

It was a hot, muggy afternoon working up this installation. By the time I was ready to place the AC unit in the frame, the inside temps in the Old Girl had climbed to 89 degrees — with the rear roof top AC unit running wide open and the sweat was dripping off the brim of my hat. I cussed those Day/Night shades as I fought them to get the frame in place. The distinct thought crossed my mind that I would be really upset if the unit overloaded that 20 amp circuit and would not run. Yeah, I would be really pissed. So when it came time to plug it in, I did so with some trepidation. I turned off the roof top unit and fired up the window unit. It worked! I punched the EMS switch on the rear AC unit and it fired up as well! Well alrighty then. Looks like I was good to go. I went out and checked the readout on the Progressive EMS and it was showing 23-25 amps with both units and the TV system running. Not much cushion left but I knew it was going to be close.

I marveled at how quiet the window unit was compared to the old roof top units. It was possible to converse normally and watch TV at sane volume levels. Nice! Within 20 minutes, the inside of the Old Girl had cooled 5 degrees —- during the hottest part of the day. I can live with that.

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What a Relief! Window Air Conditioner Unit Installed, 9.2 out of 10 based on 12 ratings
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20 comments to What a Relief! Window Air Conditioner Unit Installed

  • Nice job! Happy that it’s working out for you. I hate to run my AC because of the awful noise and try not to unless absolutely necessary. Except for a few afternoons, I’ve been using window fans. One to suck the air out and another to blow air in. So far, so good. :)

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  • Dale

    Hey Andyj, nice job. I commented on the previous post before I found this update. Any problems with bugs getting in?

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    • admin

      The window AC has been a great addition and has been trouble free. No problems with the installation or bugs getting in.

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  • Claire

    good job there. we are in the process of doing the same thing. im in louisiana and this heat and humidity is just awful.
    so i see you put in a Zenith 6500 btu and built the frame. well we got a Frigidaire 8000 btu which is larger than the one you have so it fits just perfectly and a frame cant be put around it.
    we have the same sliding windows in our fifth wheel as in your pictures. and im just wondering if you know of any way to remove these windows. then there would be enough space to fit the monster.
    and thank you your post here really helped us out. :)

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  • Claire

    one more thing… can you explain how you built your frame???

    thanks :)

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    • admin

      The pics are pretty self-explanatory. The frame is big enough that it ‘catches’ the inside of the window frame to hold the AC unit in place.

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  • Ryanallie1

    Hi All.

    Hi Andy. I must say I was quite surprixed at the “Finished Project”. “Congrats” on a well done Job. Before I read you post or saw the pictures, I thought to myself, “OH No” Not anohter hole in a wall A/C added to some old Junker RV. I know most of us have seen them before. What an eye sore they are, and are just plain Tacklesss, and Ugely. But like I said, I was very surprized at your work. “Good Job Andy”. I hope this surves you well for some time to come. You also have one advantage. That 6500 btu A/c you installed is refridgerated. So that 6500 btu will probably feel a whole lot colder than even a 15,000 regular RV A/C. I’m sure you will notice a pretty big differance between your other A/C that only changes the Abenient Temp by only about 20 degrees. I hope you will get back to us and let us know what kind of temps your A/C acutally puts out on a very hot day. It just has to beat an RV A/C. Good Luck. Happy Travels. Dan & Jill

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    • admin

      Thanks for the kind comment. The window unit cools quite well and a huge advantage is the quieter operation.

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  • Tom

    Great idea…but I don’t have a “flat” window, just the old “crank-outs”. Any ideas there?

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    • admin

      Yes– get a portable A/C unit. We just got one and I am favorably impressed. I will do a write up on it in a day or two.

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  • D

    Be careful with the portable ACs. We just bought one because our roof AC went out yesterday. There is so much heat coming out of the back of the unit through the hose that connects to the window it’s like running a radiator heater. Kinda cancels out the cold air coming through the front. We’re gonna take it back and get a window unit.

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    • admin

      Ours ‘leaks’ no hot air whatsoever.

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  • ryan

    We’ve been using a portable to cool our rv during the hot summer months of camping. Ours is a 31ft hornet with dual real sliders that open up to make a large living space. The single 14,000 btu on the roof isn’t adequate for this size of space sitting in hot 100* weather. The portable barely helps cool. The best is the window a/c unit. I’ve been looking for the smallest window ac unit made and there doesn’t seem to be one narrow enough to fit the rear window I wish to install one in. I wish someone made a 12″x12″ windows ac unit. It would still cool better than the 10,000btu portable we’re using.

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  • Bill

    I am about to embark on a similar project. I have a 1992 34′ FW Bounder MH and both rooftop ac units quit working, I am about to go to walmart and buy a 5k btu Frigadare mini window ac for the bedroom and a 10K Frigadare window ac for the entire front of the coach. I will have to mount it in the front picture window over the sofa. Will let yall know how everything turns out.

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    • Bill

      UPDATE: A friend of mine came by the day b4 I was going to buy 2 window a/c units for my bounder. He works as a jack of all trades, he got up on the roof and took off the roof cover and said he could fix my a/c problem with a screw driver, wd 40, and a wire clothes hanger. I got them for him and within 2 minutes he had me go in and turn on just the fan of the livingroom unit and by gosh it worked, then he said turn on high fan and it worked, next was low cool and again it worked and so did high cool. he went to the back unit over bedroom and told me to shut off the front unit and we repeated the same thing on the rear one.
      He had fixed both units. He said “dirt dobber wasps” had built a nest against a fan blade and frame causing the fan not to be able to moved and by breaking them off freed up the motion. All it cost me was a cold Dr Pepper.

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  • Larry

    Looks good. I have thought about doing this same thing in my RV, not because my regular rooftop unit doesn’t cool enough but the fact it is so loud when it’s running. Seriously you would think they could quit down these AC’s they put on trailers. I like how you framed yours up my only question is did you paint the outside wood. I would think a couple coats of white paint on the wood would make it look a lot nicer. I think I will try what you did on my trailer.

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  • Sharon B

    My travel trailer has a cabinet above the 3 way refrig. The manufacturer sold units with a window A/C installed in that upper cabinet. It is a nice idea so there is nothing sticking out to the exterior.
    There is external ventilation to the outside at the bottom of the refrig compartment along with another vent a few feet above where the gas flame is surronded with a rount protector that exhausts. My unit did not come with an A/C but if one is put in that upper cabinet the top vent would be shared
    with the flame exhaust. I have concern of a carbon monoxide issue and the fact that the upper vent does not appear to be large enough for the intake of air to cool down the a/c motor. I’m going to seperate the two compartments along with sheet metal. Anyone have any other ideas or opinions about this set up.

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  • pattie

    My roof ac quit last year and i installed a window unit and was happy, although i was gone for most of last summer. This year is already so hot i BOUGHT A 2ND SMALLER UNIT for the bedroom yesterday.
    As soon as i had BOTH running for about 10 minutes, it was too much and it tripped the breaker. Its always the same breaker wheneveri use too much, whther its a vacuum + a/c, or microwave or electric water heater or coffee maker: ITS THE BREAKER MARKED “MICROWAVE”.

    What gives since both are 15 amp, and is there a simple way to tap it into the

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    • Andrew

      If it is a small AC unit, use an auxiliary power source like the 20amp 110v plugs on a generator or power pedestal. Make sure you run a heavy extension cord to the AC unit.

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