Jump to content

Full time 5th Wheel living in Phoenix in the summer - what brand rig to buy?


sparky60

Recommended Posts

It seems as though all of the so-called "Four-Seasons" 5th Wheel manufacturers focus on the cold weather. I would like to know how any of them would fare in an extremely hot environment, like the Phoenix, AZ area during the summer (120 degrees)

If you've got some experience with living full time in your Fifth Wheel in the Phoenix or Mesa, AZ area, I would sure like to hear from you about what rig you have and how your unit coped with the extreme heat.

I've pretty much exhausted my search about tips and tricks to reduce the heat. What I'd really like to know is what brand 5th Wheel you have that's made your living in the valley a reasonable venture.

We want to buy a 5th Wheel (probably pre-owned 3-5 years old) and make Mesa, AZ our full time home until we retire and can snowbird (in about 5-7 years).

Thanks very much!

Mark & Sue

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Any insulation that keeps cold out will also help hold the heat out but at 120 you better make sure you are parked in the shade. If your fridge is on the side of the setting Sun dont be surprised if you cant keep it cool. Go sit in an RV and turn both ACs on and then TV on so you can hear it real good and then picture that for all day long and probably most of the night. I did spend a month in Golden Valley one time. Wherever you park make sure you have 50A service and that the electric is included in the rent

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ah well, I did give my response on the other forum. We spent the entire summer in Havasu.

I will add here that our rig was in the sun but we did build sunshades to keep the sun off the slides and particularly the refridge.

The lot owner gave us an option of $200 monthly rent and we pay the electric or $500 and he pays it. We chose the $500 to keep it simple.

Like the OP, we had reasons we needed to spend the summer in the heat. We survived it and the rig did very well. 76-78* inside- never got warmer than that.

post-10577-0-14243400-1473279551_thumb.jpg

post-10577-0-56571700-1473279561_thumb.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We spent a summer in Mesa AZ in a Teton Homes Fiver, temps reached 116. Teton went out of business in 2008 but there are a lot used as park models and more on the road than you would think. They had a good reputation for building quality units. Here is a link to 20 years of product brochures: http://www.tetoners.org/Brochure_Main.html

 

We had dual airs and covered the east windows with the foil sunshade. The AC noise wasn't bad both ran pretty much 7/24, could still hear the TV and kept inside temps in the 70's. If you can find a site that has a permanent awning to help keep you cool that is a big plus as the haboobs and wind storms can wreak havoc with awnings or portable shade structures.

 

Here is a link to the Teton Owners Club For Sale Section: http://www.tetoners.org/for_sale.html

 

Here is a RV For Sale site with several Tetons: http://www.rvtrader.com/New-and-Used-Teton-Fifth-Wheel-For-Sale-On-RV-Trader/search-results?type=Fifth%20Wheel%7C198070&sort=featured%3Aasc&radius=150&layoutView=listView&make=Teton%7C2301876&

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are a number of fifth wheels built for four seasons. The better the winter rating, the better for summer. You can't have too much insulation. I know of no parks in the Phoenix area that have shaded spaces. Certainly 50 amps and two air conditioners in good condition are necessary for survival. During May and June there are relatively few storms, so the awnings are helpful.

 

I'd look for a unit that had a new, white roof. The UV damage on the low desert is fast and fierce, so look closely at the roof on any unit used in Arizona. If your park managers don't object, on any window that is getting full afternoon sun you can cut the heat by covering the outside with aluminum foil, shiny side out. To cut the heat gain you need to block the light on the outside as the intense sunlight will heat anything inside the house it hits. Your indoor sun shades become heating panels, while if placed outside they would block the heat. There are hundreds of window tinting businesses in the metro area. Tinting the fiver's windows would be very helpful in cutting the heat. I'd guess there's someone who can do the tinting on site.

 

The RV park may also play a role in how hot you are. A park that is mostly asphalt and darker rock landscaping will be hotter than a park with grass or light colored ground cover. Lots of grass will have a lot of cooling due to the constant water evaporation (which is why you won't see much grass). Trees are also helpful. Parks with units crowded together are going to be hotter than well spaced parks.

 

There have been a couple of folks who summered in fivers on the low desert and they reported in trailer temperatures of high 70s. Few Phonecians can afford to drop their homes below 78 during the hotter part of the year. The A/Cs run constantly during the days and well into the night, so to experience cold we go shopping or to a movie.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As mentioned above. . . Well insulated units for the cold also are well suited to keep the heat out. Very few RV'ers want to spend the summers in Phoenix and you do for several years, so I would use that to your advantage. I would buy a well insulated RV and then market yourselves to RV parks looking for work campers on a year round basis. They would certainly have troubles finding work campers in the summer and if you made it clear that you would work camp on an annual basis, you could probably find an arrangement that would pay your site and electric. I understand that you are still working, but between the two of you possibly you could find an arrangement that would accommodate your working hours.

 

Jim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...

Here's a tip for 5th wheels in the summer.  The furnace intake is usually open to the basement as it serves as an intake plenum for the furnace and heats the tanks to keep them from freezing.  That opening directly into the basement serves as escape hatch for cold air in the summer.  In effect, you are trying to cool the basement.  In the summer, block this furnace return air opening and your ac's will work better.  NOTE ... DO NOT RUN THE FURNACE WITH THIS OPENING BLOCKED.  What helps the furnace keep everything warm actually hurts the Air Conditioning.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, 297550 said:

Here's a tip for 5th wheels in the summer.  The furnace intake is usually open to the basement as it serves as an intake plenum for the furnace and heats the tanks to keep them from freezing.  That opening directly into the basement serves as escape hatch for cold air in the summer.  In effect, you are trying to cool the basement.  In the summer, block this furnace return air opening and your ac's will work better.  NOTE ... DO NOT RUN THE FURNACE WITH THIS OPENING BLOCKED.  What helps the furnace keep everything warm actually hurts the Air Conditioning.

Actually, the same is true for the floor mounted heater vents.  They connect to an underfloor duct that either has openings to let air into the basement or at most has minimal insulation to the outside.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We had two different Montana fivers, one was 3 years old and one we purchased new.  We were full timing then.  They both had the "artic" package but not double pane windows.  Of course they had two airs.  Since we were full time and traveling we were always in hot climates 12 months out of the year.

Depending on humidity and how much shade you were parked in, we could only lower the temps 15 to 20 degrees.  In other words, if it was 100 degrees in the Midwest with high humidity, partial shade, in the afternoon we could keep the interior down to 80 and no cooler.

We never camped in Florida or Arizona in the summer so I can't comment on that.  But we did spend time in other states out west in the summer.

My belief it that that you need 40,000 btu and good roof insulation (R-19 or above) to really cool any RV in all climates.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, FL-JOE said:

Depending on humidity and how much shade you were parked in, we could only lower the temps 15 to 20 degrees.  In other words, if it was 100 degrees in the Midwest with high humidity, partial shade, in the afternoon we could keep the interior down to 80 and no cooler.

While dual pane windows do help, even with them a major factor is also how much outside air penetration there is. That can be improved by the RV owner but RV's are notoriously bad for poor air seals throughout. When outside temperatures get above 100°, nearly all RV's will begin to experience slowly rising temperatures on the inside. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When we were spending winters in a RV park here in AZ, West Valley area, we met several people that were there year round.  When looking at their units (FTW and TT) all of them had at least three window AC units (bedroom, kitchen area, and living area), one guy told us that was cheaper and more effective than using his roof top AC's. 

 

Bill

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/26/2018 at 8:06 AM, FL-JOE said:

We had two different Montana fivers, one was 3 years old and one we purchased new.  We were full timing then.  They both had the "artic" package but not double pane windows.  Of course they had two airs.  Since we were full time and traveling we were always in hot climates 12 months out of the year.

Depending on humidity and how much shade you were parked in, we could only lower the temps 15 to 20 degrees.  In other words, if it was 100 degrees in the Midwest with high humidity, partial shade, in the afternoon we could keep the interior down to 80 and no cooler.

We never camped in Florida or Arizona in the summer so I can't comment on that.  But we did spend time in other states out west in the summer.

My belief it that that you need 40,000 btu and good roof insulation (R-19 or above) to really cool any RV in all climates.  

I don't know about the 40K BTU's of ac part ... but you are right on the "when it hits 100 we can only get to 80 ... maybe".  I thought I had a defective unit, but it seems to be very common to have this "problem".  Most rigs are rated to work properly between 30 and 90 unless they have some special packages.  From our experience, if we stay between 30 and 90, we have no trouble with interior temp control.  Going below 30 is doable, just plan on using a LOT of propane.  Going above 90 really has no solution other than you are likely to be uncomfortable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We spent one summer in Lake Havasu City, with daily temps reaching 110-115 for most of the summer. We have  one 13.5 AC  and one 15.0.  We did put sunshades out on our western exposure side, and the ACs ran for 6 weeks straight, but the temps inside the rig never went above 78*.

We were in  2012 Mobile Suites.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another thing you may be able to do since you will not be mobil for a long time is to erect a cover over your parking spot to shade your RV from direct sunlight. I have seen people do this up north to protect their rig from hail storms. You can use plastic PVC pipe for the frame of the structure and canvas for the cover. Shade is your friend in the desert. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...