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Old 08-09-2020, 09:18 AM   #1
SmoothBoarBBQ
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Default Food Trailer Rooftop AC

Hey All,

This summer has finally forced me to break down and install an AC in my food trailer. I have a rooftop hole already cut for it and I already have an electrical line ran for it. For reference my food trailer interior is a 14' long and 8.5' wide, so I'm just under 120 square feet on the interior.

I'm looking for suggestions as to brand / type of AC unit that I should be looking at. I also have no way to get on top of the trailer, so I'd likely need to have it installed by a professional. I'm trying to get a general idea of cost for parts and installation. Any and all advice will be welcomed and appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 08-09-2020, 10:39 AM   #2
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Was the electrical service to the hole in the roof already there for something along the lines of a powered roof vent?

Make sure that's a 30 amp circuit before you spend any money...

That aside you'll need at least a 13,500 btu unit and the Dometic Brisk is the best value unit for the price.
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Old 08-09-2020, 10:46 AM   #3
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Maybe look at taking it to an RV shop and have them install it. Coleman makes RV air conditioning units as well.
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Old 08-09-2020, 11:23 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InThePitBBQ View Post
Was the electrical service to the hole in the roof already there for something along the lines of a powered roof vent?

Make sure that's a 30 amp circuit before you spend any money...

That aside you'll need at least a 13,500 btu unit and the Dometic Brisk is the best value unit for the price.
The electrical service to the roof is there specifically for a rooftop AC unit. The trailer was brand new when I bought it, so it has a hole with a screen on the roof, with the electrical connection right next to it. It is connected to a 20 amp breaker, so I'll have to look at how I can upgrade that to a 30amp. I did look at the Domestic Brisk II and it says it's a 30amp, so good call there and at least I can get ahead of this before I buy anyhting.

Thanks so much for your response.
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Old 08-09-2020, 11:28 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clay-b-que View Post
Maybe look at taking it to an RV shop and have them install it. Coleman makes RV air conditioning units as well.
I was looking at taking it to Camping World, but I've seen some pretty nasty reviews about their service department (in my general area). I'm looking to have some other modifications made to my trailer, so I might just bite the bullet and take it to a food truck fabricator and have them do all the work at once. Thanks for the response.

The Coleman 13500BTU looks like it's a 20amp, so that might be an easier way to go for me rather than upgrading my current setup for a 30amp for the Domestic Breeze.
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Old 08-09-2020, 01:13 PM   #6
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We added a 2nd AC to our 5th wheel years ago. The hardest part, was getting the AC on the roof. If it's prewired-then it's just a matter of removing the current screen, dropping in the new one, making the connections, and clamping it in place. I think it took us 30 minutes?

I just used the back of the truck to climb up on the roof, since it already had the AC in the back...
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Old 08-09-2020, 02:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
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We added a 2nd AC to our 5th wheel years ago. The hardest part, was getting the AC on the roof. If it's prewired-then it's just a matter of removing the current screen, dropping in the new one, making the connections, and clamping it in place. I think it took us 30 minutes?

I just used the back of the truck to climb up on the roof, since it already had the AC in the back...
That's a good idea...sounds pretty easy. I appreciate the input.
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Old 08-09-2020, 04:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmoothBoarBBQ View Post
The electrical service to the roof is there specifically for a rooftop AC unit. The trailer was brand new when I bought it, so it has a hole with a screen on the roof, with the electrical connection right next to it. It is connected to a 20 amp breaker, so I'll have to look at how I can upgrade that to a 30amp. I did look at the Domestic Brisk II and it says it's a 30amp, so good call there and at least I can get ahead of this before I buy anyhting.

Thanks so much for your response.
One advantage to the Dometic is you can get it with heat as well, if that's ever needed.

We use the heat pumps in our trailers a bunch around the holidays when it's cold out they are handy to have.

My old trailer uses a Coleman roof unit on a 20 amp circuit, I love it because my little 2000/1700 Champion inverter starts and runs that thing with ease and sips gasoline along with being very quiet.

There's zero reason not to run it and use it, cheap and makes a long day at an event or job much nicer.

Can't recall if that's a 9k or 12K btu unit, I think the original was 9k and we replaced it with a 12K.

There's nothing to the install, just place the compression gasket aligned with the four corners of the opening and carefully set the unit down centered on it, the rest is all done below inside the trailer.
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Old 08-09-2020, 09:50 PM   #9
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12K to 14K BTU will work for your sq. footage. If no insulation in roof or walls and ovens going with windows open etc. consider a 24k BTU unit.
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Old 08-10-2020, 03:54 PM   #10
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So I dragged my food trailer to Camping World in Garner (about 2 hour trip each way) as they told me they could do all the work I was requesting (AC, water heater, and a couple of other things). So I get there and they outright refuse to do any work on a food truck / trailer, even though on the phone they said they had worked on food trucks before and it wouldn't be a problem. What a mess...anyways, I ended up with a Domestic Brisk II plus the control panel.

I'm looking at installing the unit tomorrow so hopefully that will work out and not be too bad. I am very cautious about getting on top of my trailer though as it just doesn't look like it's designed to have people on top of it. Guess we'll see how that goes tomorrow.

Thanks to everyone for helping out and responding to my post. Cheers!
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Old 08-10-2020, 04:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmoothBoarBBQ View Post
I am very cautious about getting on top of my trailer though as it just doesn't look like it's designed to have people on top of it. Guess we'll see how that goes tomorrow.

Thanks to everyone for helping out and responding to my post. Cheers!
If the roof structure doesn't seem like it will enjoy your weight and the weight of the ac, throw a sheet of plywood up on top. Will make it easy to slide the ac unit across the roof into place, without damage, to either roof or ac, as well as helping to distribute your weight more evenly. I did that when installing one on my nephews race trailer.

Dometic's are good units. Have 2 on our motorhome.
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Old 08-10-2020, 05:26 PM   #12
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I put a replacement unit in my friends RV for him and the roof was definitely soft so I went and bought a sheet of 1’ blue rigid insulation to help spread the weight.
Attached is a video showing step by step directions.
https://youtu.be/nbGKJMD-ibc
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Old 08-10-2020, 05:29 PM   #13
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Part two of the video
https://youtu.be/wNTXCs6CjXg
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Old 08-11-2020, 07:01 AM   #14
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I would skip the rooftop unit and go with a 24K btu ductless mini split if you have the wall space inside. You can get a heat pump or a straight AC. In the heat of the summer you'll be glad you have the extra btu's.
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Old 08-11-2020, 07:35 AM   #15
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Thanks Pat but I've already got the rooftop unit and am going to get it going today.
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