There are many factors to be considered before you can safely zero in on a new air conditioner for your caravan. You have to check its cooling capacity, level of sophistication and usability (heating and cooling ability, noise levels, programmable features, etc.), modes of operation (electric, gas, battery), energy efficiency, terms of warranty and service, and so on. However, in this post, we’ll be focusing on a very important aspect that is often missed out in the process – the weight of your caravan’s air conditioner. Why exactly is the weight of your air conditioner important?
What are you buying – a roof-mounted AC or an under-bench AC?
First up, the aspect of weight isn’t a universal parameter while browsing for a new caravan AC. Whether or not it matters, and the extent to which it matters, will depend on the type of air conditioner you’re interested in buying. There are two basic types of caravan air conditioners – those that are installed on your caravan’s roof, and those that go under the caravan’s bench (or into the cupboard). The first of these is the more effective choice in terms of air conditioning efficiency and space savings. Cold air being heavier than warm air tends to descend, which means that a roof-mounted AC will tend to cool your caravan much quicker than its under-bench counterpart. However, it will also exert some force on your caravan’s roof by virtue of its weight, which brings us to the next parameter.
Do you have a caravan, a camper trailer, or a pop-top?
Not all caravans and motorhomes have the same structure. The roofing systems of most caravans are designed to take the weight of a standard motorhome air conditioner, though it is always a wise decision to cross-check the same with your caravan’s manufacturer. But if you own a pop-top or camper trailer with a single skin roof, you will need to give your choice of air conditioner some serious thought. A single skin roof is not the ideal foundation for supporting a roof-mounted air conditioner. An under-bench version will be a much safer bet. In certain cases, you can have the roof of your home-on-wheels reinforced to become compatible with the weight of your new air con. However, this involves precision work and is best not attempted if you’re even a little doubtful about the end result. A roof-mounted AC will also impede the opening of your pop-top.
Have you weighed your caravan’s aggregate trailer mass (ATM)?
Though usually not a deal-breaker when it comes to finalizing your choice of caravan air conditioner, the aspect of aggregate trailer mass does have a role to play in your decision making process. As you most probably know, aggregate trailer mass refers to the total weight of your loaded trailer, while unhitched. This weight must be well within the maximum allowable limit, which in turn may be determined from the maximum permissible trailer weight that your car can tow. Essentially, you would need to read your car’s manual carefully, or check with the manufacturer, to ensure that your trailer’s ATM isn’t exceeding the maximum permissible weight. Again, an air conditioner will probably not be the deciding factor here, but wherever possible, try and include it in your preliminary weight calculations, so you don’t end up overshooting the maximum permissible weight.
So evaluate your options, do the math, and determine the type and size of caravan AC that will suffice for your mobile home. A number of state-of-the-art, compact and lightweight caravan air conditioners are available today, which means that you won’t necessarily have to compromise on cooling efficiency, even if you have to trade in some wattage.
DISCLAIMER* Please note, this advice is general in nature and we strongly recommend consulting the product manual and where relevant, a professional installer.