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Air Conditioning for Self-Build Campervans

Though most new campervans will come with some form of climate control as standard, self-builders are often keen to explore the possibilities of air conditioning units to see what they can offer. Finding, buying and installing air-con can be quite a challenge, so here’s a quick guide to getting it right…

Choosing the Right System

Size matters when it comes to air-con and you’ll need to measure your roof opening compared to the unit. Typically, units are available in 400x400mm but if your roof requires something different there are other options. Otherwise, the decision needs to be based upon weight and power. A heavy machine will probably use more power so if your battery is only up to a modest amount of strain it might be safest to keep things lightweight.

Installation and Operation

In theory, if your roof opening is the right size, installation shouldn’t be too much of a problem and your unit should sit in and easily wire up to the mains. Check you have the unit in squarely and the right way around before wiring it in, but if all has gone well it should be easy to use regularly. Some units can be remote controlled which can be a real advantage if you’re wanting to control temperature from the driver’s cabin.

Proper Maintenance

Air conditioning absolutely does need to be cleaned and well maintained: the recent outbreak of legionnaires disease in Scotland was most likely due to poorly maintained air-con units. Air con needs to be serviced regularly and failing to do so can cause serious illness which will not be covered on your campervan insurance.

Air con units really do improve your living conditions in a campervan so they can be a sound investment. As always, make sure you get the installation right and give due care to electronics: sometimes you just need to get a professional in!

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