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Old 03-25-2018, 05:45 PM   #1
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Keeping inside of bus cool

Is there an air conditioning unit that doesn't require the typical full A/C system . Looking for a way to keep the bus cool while working inside during the upcoming heated days in the Houston area. Don't think a fans gonna cut it. Anything 120v out there?
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Old 03-25-2018, 06:42 PM   #2
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Is there an air conditioning unit that doesn't require the typical full A/C system . Looking for a way to keep the bus cool while working inside during the upcoming heated days in the Houston area. Don't think a fans gonna cut it. Anything 120v out there?
A couple of decent window units would be the easiest temporary arrangement.

I'd suggest a swamp-cooler, but the humidity is too high in Houston and they require a well-insulated space to work effectively.
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Old 03-25-2018, 08:40 PM   #3
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U think there's a unit similar to the window units people usually use but that would fit in ine of the emergency exits in the roof?
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Old 03-25-2018, 09:20 PM   #4
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The ducting would need to be changed and most window AC units are taller than roof top units and are likely to be scraped off in the first gas station. I'd recommend a sweat band and going nekked. Jack
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Old 03-25-2018, 09:24 PM   #5
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U think there's a unit similar to the window units people usually use but that would fit in ine of the emergency exits in the roof?
Most RV rooftop units have that type mount. They are pricier than the window units.
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Old 03-25-2018, 09:29 PM   #6
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Just google "portable ac unit". They work like a window unit without the hassle of installation. They are reasonably priced and fairly effective.
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Old 03-26-2018, 03:26 AM   #7
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Just google "portable ac unit". They work like a window unit without the hassle of installation. They are reasonably priced and fairly effective.
The two hose portable units are more efficient than 1 and if you insulate the exhaust hose, even more so.

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Old 03-26-2018, 06:24 AM   #8
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Is there an air conditioning unit that doesn't require the typical full A/C system . Looking for a way to keep the bus cool while working inside during the upcoming heated days in the Houston area. Don't think a fans gonna cut it. Anything 120v out there?
A roll-around unit that uses a 4" vent hose to direct hot air out...

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Old 03-26-2018, 07:02 AM   #9
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3 Small craigslist window units on the emergency exit windows.
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Old 03-26-2018, 12:09 PM   #10
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Is there an air conditioning unit that doesn't require the typical full A/C system . Looking for a way to keep the bus cool while working inside during the upcoming heated days in the Houston area. Don't think a fans gonna cut it. Anything 120v out there?
First of all, howdy from just barely south of you on I-45 in League City! So when it comes to coastal Texas heat and humidity, I know exactly what you are talking about...

If you are just setting up AC so you can work on the bus in the Houston summer, and of course this is going to depend on #1. How big the bus is, and #2. Are you keeping any of the windows?

How big will determine how much AC you will need, windows will determine where you can put it.

Portable ACs exist, I have one in my garage workshop. It's better than nothing, but not by much. Although they DO allow you to vent in a much more flexible way. Check the reviews on the portable units though. For the most part, and I am sure there has GOT to be one that isn't like this, but all of them I have seen are of incredibly poor build quality, leak condensation like crazy, and, well just don't cool well when they are working.

If you have to go rooftop, just go ahead and fork over the $$ for rooftop RV AC units and install / run them as you work. You are going to need them anyway if you are going to be staying anywhere near Houston metro from April through November...
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Old 03-26-2018, 07:51 PM   #11
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Back when my family and I were vandwelling, we used a curbside find window AC i shoved through the back window of our 1990 gmc vandura. Used a cut up sleeping bag to insulate around it and a nice leather belt (vertically) outside to hold it in. Ran it off an inverter.

Be amazed how many tailgaters washed their windshield on it.

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Old 03-26-2018, 09:49 PM   #12
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Howdy from another Houstonian (near downtown)--- Quite a few Skoolies here.

I have yet to hear anything good about the "portable" A/C's. Mostly very negative reviews as noted in a earlier response...very little cooling effect...leaky. etc.

There are a ton of cheap but very effective window units these days. Much better units than our Pappy had to pick from. I am doing a permanent mount on an 8K btu unit in mine. Given how small my shorty is I am hoping it will do the job.
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Old 03-26-2018, 11:07 PM   #13
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Howdy from another Houstonian (near downtown)--- Quite a few Skoolies here.

I have yet to hear anything good about the "portable" A/C's. Mostly very negative reviews as noted in a earlier response...very little cooling effect...leaky. etc.

There are a ton of cheap but very effective window units these days. Much better units than our Pappy had to pick from. I am doing a permanent mount on an 8K btu unit in mine. Given how small my shorty is I am hoping it will do the job.
Id be pretty certian 1 or 2 decent mounted window units of proper BTU size would do just fine

In the long term, insulation and parking in the shade will save you A LOT of idling/generator/whatever your powering the AC with too. Much more of an effect than one naturally assumes.


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Old 03-27-2018, 08:34 AM   #14
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ifyou are working inside an uninsulated bus in houston summer? bring lots of water to drink.... even 100,000 BTU of factory bus A/C with the engine on wont cool a bus you have gutted out...

once you get the roof painted white and the ceiling down, insulated, and back up then you have a good chance with a couple of portable TWO HOSE A/C's or window units will do good..

you didnt mention your permanent A/C, but i would seriously look at Mini splits if you can swing them for your permanent Post-conversion A/C.. they are inverter / generator friendly and much more efficient than free standing or window units.
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Old 03-27-2018, 09:13 AM   #15
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Good responses so far. The OP didn't mention most of the important details but guessing...

Shade and insulation are super important - obviously.

I can recommend the RV rooftop units from experience. The 15k BTU models are in the $1k range. A 45' coach needs at least two of them. For Houston summer, probably four or five (guessing - no experience there). When ducted, the noise they make is rather minimal inside the coach.

I have experimented with one of the portable, two hose units (this one from Whynter) and it worked quite well. However; it is 14k BTU and won't perform magic. For a permanent solution, one would have to deal with the hoses and noise somehow.
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Old 03-27-2018, 10:23 AM   #16
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ifyou are working inside an uninsulated bus in houston summer? bring lots of water to drink.... even 100,000 BTU of factory bus A/C with the engine on wont cool a bus you have gutted out...

once you get the roof painted white and the ceiling down, insulated, and back up then you have a good chance with a couple of portable TWO HOSE A/C's or window units will do good..

you didnt mention your permanent A/C, but i would seriously look at Mini splits if you can swing them for your permanent Post-conversion A/C.. they are inverter / generator friendly and much more efficient than free standing or window units.
-Christopher
As the old Studebaker ads say, ask the man that owns one. I do own a two hose portable AC, and it is horrible. Sorry to say it, but for most people the experience with consumer grade portable air conditioning is abysmal.

On the other issues though, you are spot on. Get the ceiling out, insulation out, and then insulated right and ceiling back up soonest possible, then your AC might have a chance of keeping you at least from dying in the heat.....

Paint the roof white / silver to reflect the heat, and if at all possible, work in the shade. And whatever you do, do NOT underestimate the value of air movement. Those big Home Depot air circulator fans https://www.homedepot.com/p/Ventamat...0UPS/202795625
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Old 03-27-2018, 10:27 AM   #17
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Early in my build I had a 5k BTU window unit in mine. It made it somewhat comfortable once the sun was down. In the summer sun windows down was way better than that thing.

My 12k btu mini splits are in a completely different league. And now I have insulation.

This may not be welcome advice, but during the really messy phase of your build if you are in a hot climate, working at night may be the only way to keep from being miserable.

If the outer roof skin has sun on it and is bare to the inside, be prepared to cook like an egg inside during the day no matter what ac you run because of radiant heat transmission.
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Old 03-28-2018, 03:04 PM   #18
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Thanks for all the replies, advice and suggestions guy!

Few things:

1. Bus is 12 row sized

2. Bus is stationary (for the time being)

3. Bus is mostly stored under shade (just about all but dog nose)

4. Solution is temporary so looking for easiest route/cheapest route but, if keeping cool enough means spending a little money then I'm for it

5. I'm, at some point, Getting rid of the windows for RV style ones but that's a whole other situation

6. I intend to install a mini split A/C or 2 for my permanent A/C solution


I was looking at portable ac units before starting this thread but since a lot of the reviews of the ones I've looked at and the fact that it seems like installation required some type of hose, I didn't know. Like a few people suggested, I might go with a window unit.

One concern I have based on a few replies suggesting to take the inside ceiling skins down, old insulation out, put new insulation up and then new ceiling up is I was planning on taking the inside skins and insulation out as my next conversion step but wasn't quite ready to put new insulation or ceiling in yet. On top of that, if I do take the insulation out with the Houston summer heat creeping up seems like a bad idea..? On top of that, I wanna raise the roof on my build but am still researching the easiest way to go about that (aka, hesitating because I'm scared and have no experience nor knowledge )

At the end of the day, I'm leaning towards a window unit. Anyone ever install one in a skool bus with the stock windows? Hope its as easy as I imagine.
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Old 03-28-2018, 05:43 PM   #19
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It's very easy to install a window unit temporarily.

If the unit is too high for the open window, remove the window and fill the gap with plywood. Make a cheap frame to support the unit on the outside.
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Old 03-28-2018, 08:18 PM   #20
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I would get working quickly. I was around Houston at the end of July in my old bus which we normally use high powered fans in but they were not cutting it at all. One of the few times we've been so hot we couldn't sleep.
If you get a couple tall screw jacks spaced out evenly on a foot or two wood block you can raise the roof and support it temporarily until you brace it. You would need at least one other guy so that you could both raise it up evenly. I just did this. Haven't uploaded pictures yet.
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