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Do Portable Air Conditioners Work In Yurts?

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Old 03-19-2021, 02:53 PM   #1
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Default Do portable air conditioners work in yurts?

We have some property north of Oklahoma City, and we are thinking about putting a few yurts on it for AirBnB rental. Our thinking is boyscouts, youth groups, etc. would enjoy the experience of an authentic Mongolian ger.

It's brutally hot around here five months out of the year, though, so renting portable AC units would be non optional in the Summer. I've looked into the cost to run them, and that wouldn't be too bad because electricity is only 7 cents a kilowatt hour around here. The cost of running the electricity out there would be kind of pricy, but that's a one time expense, and would serve other purposes, too.

We were also thinking about putting tin roof awning over the deck, which would keep the yurt cooler and also increase the lifespan of the cover by keeping the sun and rain off of it.

Anyhoo, just wondering what your experiences are with the portable AC units. We were looking at the ones in the 12k to 15k BTU range. This would be for a 20ft 5 wall ger with standard height walls.

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Old 03-19-2021, 03:22 PM   #2
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Default Re: Do portable air conditioners work in yurts?

I have been contemplating getting one too, but haven't decided yet. I wonder in your case if a mini-split might be a better option, then you could use it for heat too?
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Old 03-19-2021, 03:38 PM   #3
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Default Re: Do portable air conditioners work in yurts?

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Originally Posted by Jafo View Post
I have been contemplating getting one too, but haven't decided yet. I wonder in your case if a mini-split might be a better option, then you could use it for heat too?
The thought has crossed my mind. The cost is what gives me pause. A portable AC units can be had for around 500 and doesn't require any installation.
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Old 03-22-2021, 05:51 PM   #4
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Default Re: Do portable air conditioners work in yurts?

I have a mini-split in my Mongolian Yurt in northern Idaho and we use it a fair amount in the summer and it works well. I can not remember the BTU's but I remember getting slightly oversized so it would work well.
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Old 06-25-2021, 12:50 PM   #5
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Default Re: Do portable air conditioners work in yurts?

I had just started a new thread asking if anyone put in a split

heating

and air conditioning system. I see that you have. Would you tell me a little bit about the namebrand the BTUs and how you went about the install?
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Old 06-25-2021, 02:14 PM   #6
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Default Re: Do portable air conditioners work in yurts?

The units I have seen in houses I worked on were a supplement to standard AC/heat system. Working in close proximity to them while in operation, I found they pump out plenty of cool and warmth in areas that needed it. But that's all I got. No deets about brand, model, energy use, btus etc. Good luck.
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Old 06-25-2021, 06:38 PM   #7
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Default Re: Do portable air conditioners work in yurts?

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Originally Posted by kyms999 View Post
I had just started a new thread asking if anyone put in a split

heating

and air conditioning system. I see that you have. Would you tell me a little bit about the namebrand the BTUs and how you went about the install?
I can not remember the BTU’s. I think it was 18,000. The brand was Blueridge and I bought it online from Alpine Home Air Products.

The have a complete DYI system that that is very easy to set up. The hardest part is getting the electrical completed.

https://www.alpinehomeair.com/catego...ss-mini-splits

This is a great company with great customer service. Here is an example. Last year I had a problem with the unit. It would not cool or heat. I had a local HVAC company come and try to repair. Two of their techs tried to tell me that it would not be worth fixing because the control panels would be more than the unit was worth and I should just replace it. They also could not figure out the error code. I spoke with the Alpine and the sold me replacement boards for $130. Once the boards were installed the HVAC tech was still getting an error code and he was ready to give up. I gave him the number to Alpine. He called them and about an hour later I got a call from the tech saying it was fixed.

I also think it is a good idea to cover the yurt. That is what I did and it makes the yurt last longer and keeps it cooler in the summer.

Chris
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Old 06-26-2021, 07:49 PM   #8
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Default Re: Do portable air conditioners work in yurts?

I live in Texas outside Austin where we get up into the 100s, and sometimes have humidity in the 65% range at the same time. I've used both a single-hose and double-hose portable systems, both about 15000 BTUs. My yurt is tiny at 12', so I only have 113 sq ft to cool. Most yurts are generally less well insulated than houses, so it's safe to assume you will need one rated for more than your actual square footage unless you have an unusually well insulated yurt.

I started with the single hose. It cooled ok, but it caused that airplane-takeoff ear-pop feeling when I used it. Why? Because the air being exhausted from the yurt through the single hose *must* come in somewhere else. This causes a pressure drop, especially in more well-sealed yurts. They are also much less efficient because you're effectively pulling in outside air to replace the hot air your pumping out of the house.

I then tried manually adding a second hose by duct-taping a box over the intake and running it outside. This *immediately* improved the efficiency by over 20% with fairly scientific data collection. I did more research and heard a lot about the problems with the single-hose portables, so I bought a double-hose Haier that I use today.

The double hose ones are much more efficient because they keep the inside air and outside air completely separate. So, at a minimum, get a double hose one or make one from a single hose one. The other problem with portables is that the entire system, including the compressor, fans, etc, are all inside your yurt making heat. That's great in the winter, but bad in the summer. I'm pretty convinced that a good window unit would be better because most of the heat generating part is outside, but so far I haven't tried that.

I also find that the portables have to be disassembled and cleaned about once a year. This is annoying and time consuming, and again, a window unit would probably be easier. Otherwise they can get mold on the coils.

The 15000 BTU Haier I have can keep my yurt around 80-82 o F when it's 100 outside, but it has to run almost constantly. Previously I tried large comforters for

insulation

, and they *really* helped in the summer and the winter. But they get dirty and are hard and expensive to clean. This year I found some used-but-clean fiberglass

insulation

, bagged it up in heavy-duty transparent plastic, and am using that to insulate the yurt. I already have a layer of Reflectix bubble-wrap radiant barrier in most places, and I'm putting the fiberglass under that. Once it's bagged up and the bags are cleaned, you don't have to worry too much about the fibers causing itchiness and breathing problems. For actually working with it I use a Tyvek suit, respirator, eye protection, etc. Getting it under the roof was quite easy, but getting it onto the walls has been a bigger challenge, and will require a little re-jiggering of my wall-to-roof join.

I expect that once I get the Reflectix and fiberglass fully installed and sealed, I'll be able to keep in the inside temp at whatever level I'm willing to pay for. This month I think my total electric bill will probably be about $60, with about half a month of upper 90s under the belt. Next month will be hotter, but I will also have the full insulation. It will be interesting to compare my numbers with last summer when I didn't have the insulation.



Quote:
Originally Posted by okie View Post
We have some property north of Oklahoma City, and we are thinking about putting a few yurts on it for AirBnB rental. Our thinking is boyscouts, youth groups, etc. would enjoy the experience of an authentic Mongolian ger.

It's brutally hot around here five months out of the year, though, so renting portable AC units would be non optional in the Summer. I've looked into the cost to run them, and that wouldn't be too bad because electricity is only 7 cents a kilowatt hour around here. The cost of running the electricity out there would be kind of pricy, but that's a one time expense, and would serve other purposes, too.

We were also thinking about putting tin roof awning over the deck, which would keep the yurt cooler and also increase the lifespan of the cover by keeping the sun and rain off of it.

Anyhoo, just wondering what your experiences are with the portable AC units. We were looking at the ones in the 12k to 15k BTU range. This would be for a 20ft 5 wall ger with standard height walls.
TLDR:

Minisplits are better than windows units which are better than portables. Double-hose portable are way better than single-hose ones. Used fiberglass insulation is easy to find cheap because people do remodels all the time, if you're willing to spend some time using Tyvek you can make yourself batts and blankets out of it. Better insulation and shading the structure (mine is in the forest) goes further to lower AC bills than getting a more expensive AC unit, and also works in the winter.

As an added bonus, my two-hose portable operates as a bi-directional heat-pump, so it can provide heating in the winter at a much higher efficiency than a resistive electric heater down to just above freezing. Instead of moving hot air from inside the yurt to the outside, it does the opposite.



Last edited by thebitmaster; 06-26-2021 at 07:51 PM. Reason: Picture didn't work.
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Old 06-26-2021, 10:23 PM   #9
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Default Re: Do portable air conditioners work in yurts?

That 'bagged fiberglass in plastic sheeting.' idea is ingenious. Thanks so much for the tip. That should go into the build archives here.
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Old 06-27-2021, 01:09 AM   #10
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Default Re: Do portable air conditioners work in yurts?

Thanks Bob! That means a lot coming from you. I also considered using Tyvek to put the batts in, since there would be less likely to be

moisture

problems, but it's way more expensive. My Mom had the great idea, for the walls, of using mattress storage bags. A king sized bag is only like $11 and will hold an 6 ft x 6 ft of insulation with room to spare. The issue I had there was that the 2'x4' batts I had wouldn't stay in place inside the bag, they would fall and bunch together. But since I want to have the radiant barrier anyway, I think what I'm gonna do is either cut that to size, or maybe just a big roll of craft paper, spray that with adhesive, and glue the fiberglass to it *before* I seal up the bag. Then I think it will act more like a single blanket.


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That 'bagged fiberglass in plastic sheeting.' idea is ingenious. Thanks so much for the tip. That should go into the build archives here.
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