In our tropical country, air conditioning ends up being necessary in most recreational vehicles. With continental dimensions, there are many places and regions where we also have severe winters, where the “hot” function is very welcome when integrated into the device. It was at the Preview Expo Motorhome in Canela last 2019 that we got to know the new company in the Brazilian caravanning industry. Sanz Clima now has a branch in Brazil, made a point of sending its newest model of ceiling air conditioning. MaCamp taking on the challenge has already done the installation by our own hands and now publishes this review with all the details.
SANZ CLIMA: Company founded in Madrid in 1956, won the world through proximity to the customer, with units in Germany, United States, Mexico, Poland, Belgium, Russia and BRAZIL. Pedro Sanz’s family business still preserves the soul of management and innovation in the design of its products. The flagship is for environmental comfort equipment, such as conditioners, heating and water heaters, ranging from bus / truck applications to locomotives and also recreational vehicles.
CEILING AIR CONDITIONING: There are two models offered by the company. Both for ceiling application with designations “DREIHA” 2.5 (8,500 BTUs) and 3.5 (12,000 BTUs). The model we received was the 3.5 model with 12 thousand BTUs of cooling power. The brand differential is given by the modern design both in the aerodynamic external unit and in the internal one. It promises to be quiet, includes an installation kit and asks for a 36cm X 36cm opening in the ceiling. Altogether he weighs 53kg.
WHY CEILING?There are many advantages to using a ceiling air conditioner. The first without a doubt is the fact that we have a device built, designed and developed to be shipped: Withstand road bumps, dust and have the correct ways of fixing the machine on the vehicle. Another advantage is the fact that it does not occupy important spaces in the recreational vehicle, mainly internal cabinets or lower luggage compartments for condensers. Inside, only one panel flush with the ceiling and outside, occupies a small height and a small area that is generally empty. Another advantage is that most models can be “ducted” by hand. With just one machine, you can build ducts through the roof that serve more than one environment. In most cases, a device is installed in the center of the home motor, in the circulation area, where locally it serves the bunk and bathroom. Extended by ducts in the ceiling, they serve the bedroom at the back and the front room.
OUR CASE: In our motor home there was no air conditioning installed originally. In the past, “window” residential models were used, but we chose not to lose the air cabinets. Even with the most recent “Split” models, it would be difficult to find a place for the evaporator that would certainly look “improvised” and poorly located, in addition to the need for two devices, one for the living room and one for the bedroom. The “ceiling” type air conditioning is perfect for us. Ceiling with plenty of space and a single unit located in the center of the circulation that connects the living room, bedroom and bathroom “touches” the entire home engine.
UNBOXING: Well packaged in a huge cardboard box. Air traveled from Rio Grande do Sul to Paraty-RJ by the carrier, but we searched in our own car at the entrance of the city, since a sanitary barrier due to the pandemic did not allow trucks to enter. Inside the package, the device was very well accommodated and fitted in the styrofoam form, which also accommodated the installation parts, manuals (different in four languages) and remote control. The front panel comes in a separate box.
COMPONENTS:The first task was to study all the components that came in the package and then devour the Instruction Manual. A tip we give is never to mount or install anything complex together with reading the manual first. Whenever a new “toy” arrives, we first thresh all the components as if we were going to assemble and install without any manual. Then we put everything away and take the manual to read well away from the device. This prevents us from being carried away by the excitement and starting to assemble it in that wrong and sudden way. Reading the Manual in an unpretentious way we can start to have a perception of what each one of those components are and what care and order we must follow. These are some complete readings to understand everything more accurately. Then we can play soul in the installation. That’s exactly how we did it with Ar da Sanz Clima. It is even worth a note about the manual. Very complete, it came in color printing, which facilitates and makes reading more pleasant.
We separate the external machine, the internal panel, remote control kit and the fixing bars and support of the set. There, nothing too complex, it would be used only in the respective stages of the installation.
In addition, there was a set of screws, intended for fixing the support bars, those with a long thread to fix the external unit to the bars and also those that would fix the panel to the previous complete set.
We also had a set of Styrofoam “buds” with metal flanges and respective joining foams that serve to compose the “duct” that connects the machine’s air outlet to the panel. The number of buds will depend on the thickness of the vehicle’s roof.
Finally, we had a small KIT for thermal insulation and aggregation of electrical harnesses that connect the panel to the machine.
INSTALLATION:We first studied the location of the machine and where the ceiling cutout would be made. Once cut, there is no turning back, so we study the exact position of the outdoor unit in order not to conflict with the other elements of the home engine roof. In our case, the air conditioning was a few centimeters ahead of what we wanted, since the outdoor unit would take the skylight in the room. The chosen place contained an old and native fluorescent lamp that for the reason of the position would not be fully occupied, leaving space for the composition of a new smaller one. Scratched the picture of the opening that followed the measures contained in the manual, we started to tear the inner face of the ceiling and the structure / filling, leaving only the outer face to be cut only in the last hour. That way we could study well and not be surprised by a rain.
After removing the filling and also some structural components of the ceiling, we made all the edges of the same structure to guarantee the rigidity of the ceiling and the base that will be fixed to the air conditioning unit. The conduit of the luminaire fell like a glove so that we can take the 220V line that will supply the conditioner.
Once the entire internal area was resolved, it was time to choose a sunny day, as we did not have coverage for the service. A nice wash in that area of the ceiling before passing the jigsaw on the top so that the entire fence would not encounter problems. Before that, we marked the four ends of the cutout square and then the saw worked. The opening looks very small compared to the size of the entire machine.
It’s time to climb the machine onto the ceiling and position it in the hole. Four pointed elements in the plastic on the bottom face help to position it. At this moment the whole outline of a very noble rubber on the machine’s “belly” is already supported on the ceiling, waiting to be pressed, making a seal so confident that we don’t even think about applying any sealant.
It is time to screw the threaded rods without first going through the support bars that will make the internal and lower anchoring of the ceiling. The head of those long threaded screws has a central “philips” fitting that makes threading work faster. They are long and can be screwed down to the bottom, as they are exactly the ones that adapt to the thickness of the ceiling, which can be a minimum of 30mm and a maximum of 80mm. At the time of “tightening”, the hexagonal shape of the head of the same screw is used to tighten with a spanner or star, pressing the sealing rubber. At this moment, the external unit is already completely fixed to the vehicle and with all the sealing that isolates the hole from rainwater infiltrations outside.
It’s time to prepare the inner panel. First the first Styrofoam section is fixed with the respective metal flange to the machine. After calculating the number of buds according to the thickness of the ceiling, it is time to join them by the self-adhesive foams. Then it is time to separate the panel from the internal module, which for now is only attached by the guide magnets. This internal module is screwed into the support bars, and the lower external panel is hung by the control, power and sensor harnesses.
The next step is to connect the harnesses through the different connectors that do not make mistakes in the connections. As these wires and connectors will be in a place that will be highly cooled and endowed with moisture, it is necessary to join them separately with the self-adhesive foams that come with the product. After them, the whole set is thermally insulated by an aluminized blanket and secured with plastic clamps.
Finally, what seemed the simplest remained, but it was more difficult in our case. Attach the outer panel to the inner module. It is necessary to detach the filtering system from the side air intakes of the panel to have access to the place that screws this panel to the support bars on the ceiling. As our space was minimal, we had difficulty finding a tiny Philips key to be able to see and tighten the four screws on the panel. The guide magnets help to keep the panel in place on the internal module in place. With a little dexterity and patience we managed to arrest the four. Mission accomplished, we just needed to replace the filter and grid.
Last step was to connect the 220V power and put the toy to work.
WARNING: A representation photo contained in Sanz Clima advertising can confuse the installer and cause problems after cutting the ceiling. This is because the photo shows the internal panel attached to the external unit exactly below the frame, which does not happen. In fact, the wind duct is not centered on the panel and so it is further ahead of the projection of the external unit. And this is what made the skylight in the room not leave our panel in exactly the position we wanted. By studying, we were able to identify this issue, avoiding mistakes. We tried, but it is not possible to reverse the direction of the panel, as there are fittings that limit this installation.
In a rough but informative montage, we more or less represent the real condition of the “marriage” of the projections of both elements (internal and external).
FUNCTIONING: One of the biggest surprises we had was the item “noise”. Although the manufacturer promises low noise on his device, we expected an unusual noise coming from this type of device. But it surprised us. The noise is really low, with the sound of the compressor very soft and the maximum level of ventilation with very acceptable intensity. At lower speeds, you can not even hear the fan noise even close up. The remote control controls almost everything. It even has many more functions than on the device panel itself, which already allows access to the main controls.
PANEL: The front panel of DREIHA is all in white and with a very modern and “clean” design. The digital display only appears when lit, in large numbers and easy to see. The six control buttons on the panel fulfill the basic functions that do not require the remote control. From left to right we have: 1- “MODE”, which selects the five available modes – Automatic, Cold, Hot, Dehumidifier and Fan; 2- “VENTILATION INTENSITY”, it is used to regulate the fan in the modes – Low, medium, high and the Turbo function; 3 and 4- “+ and -“, regulates the temperature intensities on the display between 16ºC and 30ºC; 5- “LIGHT”, turns on or off the ambient light embedded in the panel; 6- “ON / OFF”, Turns the device on and off.
Just above the digital buttons mentioned, there is the numeric display and four more signal icons: 1- “ON”; 2- Filter cleaning alert; 3- Cold mode indication (Refrigerated); 4- Hot mode indication (heater). The remote control sensor is right next to the signaling LEDs.
REMOTE CONTROL:The control is very complete and has a display that takes even more information than the air conditioning panel itself. It comes with the batteries so you don’t have to run after it and a wall mount with screws. Its 4.5cm X 12cm has 14 buttons that serve the entire range of the brand’s products and therefore some of them may have no function. Buttons: “ON / OFF”, Turns the device on and off; “MODE”, toggles between the available modes – Automatic, Cold. Hot, Dehumidifier and Fan; “-” and “+”, regulates the temperature intensities between 16ºC and 30ºC; “FAN”, Regulates the fan speed in the modes – Low, medium and high; “SWING”, would regulate the position of the wind direction fins, which in the case of DREIHA are manual and therefore have no function; “CLOCK”, sets the clock; “LED”, turns the panel’s ambient light on or off; “TIMER ON”, sets the predetermined activation at the desired time; “TEMP”, Toggles the panel temperature display at the programmed temperatures and in the indoor and outdoor environments (In our case it only reports the actual internal temperature, but not the external one); “TIMMER OFF”, Sets the exact time you want to turn off the device yourself; “TURBO”, selects the maximum performance mode from both cold and hot modes; “SLEEP”, automatic night off function; “LIGHT”, turns the lights on the panel buttons on and off and especially the display in case it disturbs sleep. In this case, this last key glows in the dark to facilitate its “blind” use. Toggles the panel temperature display at the programmed temperatures and in the indoor and outdoor environments (In our case it only reports the actual internal temperature, but not the external one); “TIMMER OFF”, Sets the exact time you want to turn off the device yourself; “TURBO”, selects the maximum performance mode from both cold and hot modes; “SLEEP”, automatic night off function; “LIGHT”, turns on or off the lights of the panel buttons and mainly the display in case of disturbing sleep. In this case, this last key glows in the dark to facilitate its “blind” use. Toggles the panel temperature display at the programmed temperatures and in the indoor and outdoor environments (In our case it only reports the actual internal temperature, but not the external one); “TIMMER OFF”, Sets the exact time you want to turn off the device yourself; “TURBO”, selects the maximum performance mode from both cold and hot modes; “SLEEP”, automatic night off function; “LIGHT”, turns on or off the lights of the panel buttons and mainly the display in case of disturbing sleep. In this case, this last key glows in the dark to facilitate its “blind” use. automatic night off function; “LIGHT”, turns the lights on the panel buttons on and off and especially the display in case it disturbs sleep. In this case, this last key glows in the dark to facilitate its “blind” use. automatic night off function; “LIGHT”, turns on or off the lights of the panel buttons and mainly the display in case of disturbing sleep. In this case, this last key glows in the dark to facilitate its “blind” use.
LIGHT: The Air Conditioning panel has a very modern design with “touch” buttons and hidden lighting that only appears when lit. The LED that emanates a light in a bluish-white circular shape does not offer full illumination, but it is great for creating a dim light of circulation that serves as a night guide or simply decorative. It can be operated from either the remote control or the panel and regardless of whether the air is on or off. In short, her lighting is very nice, but don’t count on her to light up your room as the main source of light.
COLD FUNCTION: The DREIHA ceiling air conditioner has a rotary compressor system that cools the air in a circulation system. It takes the warm air from above and returns it chilled to the environment. The fan function complements your performance and can be chosen to taste. For our 6.90m X 2.30m home engine it served perfectly, leaving only the part of the cabin without its comfort on hot sunny days (the furthest environment from the machine and all glass)
HOT FUNCTION:A great advantage of Sanz Clima’s air is the so-called “heat pump”. Some brands of ceiling air conditioners use electrical resistances combined with the fan to perform this function, which requires greater energy consumption and lower efficiency, in addition to drying out the air too much. In the case of DREIHA it has a reversing valve that reverses the cooling direction of the system, heating the evaporator and cooling the condenser. It must be said that both split-type hi-wall and ceiling conditioners are not the most suitable for use in hot mode, since they disarm more often due to the rising hot air. It is for this reason that North Americans and Europeans do not use this type of heating. However, in our tropical country, the hot option of ceiling air breaks the branch well in cold weather opportunities, dispensing a heating system.
VENTILATION FUNCTION: The device responsible for distributing the cooled or hot air can also be used as a fan, circulating the air and bringing mild comfort. There are three wind intensities to choose from.
DEHUMIDIFYING FUNCTION : The less talked about function of air conditioners is perhaps even MORE IMPORTANT in RECREATION VEHICLES than at home. This is because this mode performs the function of removing moisture from the place, “turbinating” that effect in which water is formed by the drain hose. Whenever the refrigerated air is turned on, it is common to see the drain pouring water. The ice formed by the humidity of the air accumulated in the evaporator, condenses and this water is expelled. This “DRY” function works for this withdrawal. It is very prudent especially in trailers and motor homes that we do dehumidification, since they have a lot of wood and fabric, causing mold and mildew. This function may not always be comfortable when you are inside, and this treatment is more suitable when the vehicle is empty.
AIR OUTLETS: These are the air diffusers at the ends (front and rear of the vehicle’s direction). The wind direction fins are manually adjustable and independent on the DREIHA. The remote control has a “swing” button that would regulate their position or trigger the random function, but it has no effect on these ceiling air models. (The remote control, according to the manufacturer, serves several models of the brand). We do not feel the need for this function at a distance, even because in the “manual” mode we have the option to adjust each one in a different way.
AIR OUTLETS AND FILTERS: The air intake to be cooled (or heated) is through the side flaps of the panel. There are two grids that are easily removed by a “click” system and that release the WASHABLE filters. We used it for 30 days, half during dusty renovation services and half at the normal pace and the situation of the filters was as shown below. Washed in the sink with water and neutral detergent left them as new. The device has a filter cleaning alert that lights up on the inner panel. The light activates after adding 250 hours of fan operation. After cleaning the signal is still on, just press the “+” button for 5 seconds.
EXTERNAL VOLUME: As it has a flat compressor, the external height of the machine is very small for this type of equipment. For those who have height limiters such as access gates or even porticos of places that they usually visit, follow the dimensions that resulted in our roof. The owner should carry out a new measurement of the total height of the vehicle in order to be able to evaluate the entrance in the places that have this parking restriction information. Height from the ceiling: 26cm; Total width occupied on the ceiling: 71.5cm; Total length: 1.02m.
DRAIN: Like the other ceiling air conditioners, condensed water is dispensed right there by the drain, as the vehicle’s roof is prepared to receive rain. That is why each trailer or motor home will have a different “path” for it to run. This will also depend on his leveling at each stop. There are two drain points in the DREIHA: On the two sides ahead.
ERROR CODES:Some operating errors have the causes reported on the air conditioning panel display and this can help a lot in troubleshooting. The main one in the case of Brazilian caravanning is represented by the acronym “PL”. It means that the electrical network is below 184V and the compressor has entered safe mode. Sometimes the peak of the start can cause this mode to enter even with the voltage (at rest) above 185V. Another code that can be frequent in some regions is “H1”, where the defrost function had to enter temporarily while eliminating the condenser freeze. This will happen more in cold weather when using the device in hot mode. The codes H3, E8, F0. F1, F2, F3, F4 and JF did not have their causes revealed to the lay public, being in charge of specialized technicians, “H3” and “E8” can possibly be eliminated by restarting the device. In our case, we only saw the error “PL”.
CLEANING THE FILTERS: Simple to use, just press the two sides of the air intake grilles to remove them. Inside is the filter that can be washed under running water and mild soap. In our case, we hadn’t even lit the cleaning alert on the panel and the filter was already in this situation. Because it is small and easy to access and work, it is worth cleaning it more often.
MAINTENANCE IN THE EXTERNAL UNIT:Although the maintenance time has not passed, we opened the external unit as instructed by the manual. The manufacturer recommends this inspection twice a year, but we did it a month after installation to illustrate this review. The external cover for DREIHA must be removed using the two rear screws and the eight plastic plugs. To remove them, just push the core inwards to release the “head”. The air conditioning kit comes with several spare bushings, which may be necessary. Even taking care, we broke two of them. The maintenance opening is due to the need to clean the condenser unit, that grid identical to the car radiator. During cold operation it is responsible for dissipating the heat removed from inside. It heats up and the air must be blown for this heat exchange with the atmosphere. It happens that with a long time of use, dust and other elements that obstruct the air passage and make the cooling or heating system less efficient there. In our case, as we only used one month, the condenser was clean. Otherwise, it must be washed very carefully so that water does not spill on the other components and it only drains through the drain pan. Soap or neutral detergent can help with the service.
CONCLUSION: All expectations were met. The Motor home now has air conditioning that touches all environments and no “taken” space. It is important to repeat that the low noise level was surprising for this type of product and during this first month of use the operation was perfect. Even the hot function could be tested, given some very cold nights this May.
CHARACTERISTICS (Dreiha 3.5): Cooling capacity: 3,500w; Heating capacity: 3,200w; Voltage: 220V-240V; Frequency: 50Hz; Phases: single-phase; Consumption power: Cold 1.270we hot 1.180w; Nominal power: 1,400w; Operating current: Cold 5.6A and hot 5.2A; Noise: Internal 49 to 65 db (A) external 65 to 75 db (A); Dehumidification capacity: 1.5L / h; Protection: IPX4; Opening in the ceiling: 35.6 cm X 35.6 cm; Ceiling thickness variation: from 3cm to 8cm; Refrigerant gas: R410A w / 670g; GWP potential: 2088; Dimensions External unit: Length 1.02m x width 71.5cm x height 26cm; Panel dimensions: Length 61cm x width 48cm x height 5cm; Total weight: 53kg.
PRICE: The SANZ CLIMATE not directly sell to end consumers. At the time of this review, the product was sold for R $ 10,760.00 on MY TRAILER + Shipping.
WHERE TO BUY: At the MY TRAILER store or other online and physical stores across Brazil.
REVIEW – PRODUCT: This equipment was sent by SANZ CLIMA, which relied on MaCamp’s know-how to test its products in the Reviews section. Tests were carried out on our Turiscar Caribe 1992 home engine in the state of Rio de Janeiro.