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School bus A/C

By Steve Schaeber, MACS Technical Editor

I recently had the chance to tour Rifled Air Conditioning in High Point, North Carolina, where they install new A/C systems into school buses. It’s fascinating to watch the teams work together, as they install these unique A/C systems.

DSC_7083 Fig 1Air conditioned school buses can be found throughout North America. Usually it’s only mandated for special needs buses, but with high temperatures and humidity during much of the school year, many buses in southern states have A/C.

DSC_6875 fig 2Depending on their size, buses can have multiple, independent A/C systems installed side by side. This bus has three systems: A front or dash system provided by the vehicle manufacturer, along with two additional systems installed by Rifled Air Conditioning.

DSC_6877 fig 3Bus A/C systems are typically referred to by their installed location: front, mid and rear. This mid unit hangs from the ceiling, while the rear unit is integrated with the rear bulkhead.

DSC_6964 fig 4

Installation teams work together to install A/C systems at Rifled Air Conditioning

DSC_7054 fig 5Even though they’re really big, there’s only so much room for heat exchangers at the front of a school bus. Many times the mid and rear A/C system condensers are mounted along the side and are referred to as Skirt Condensers.

DSC_7068 fig 6Just as with any other A/C system, performance is highly dependent on having a properly charged system. On this school bus, the A/C charge label can be found on the inside of the electrical panel, along with A/C system relays, fuses and connectors.

Are you interested in learning more about these complex and highly important A/C systems? Make your plans now to attend the 2016 MACS Training Event and Trade Show! Several classes will cover bus A/C, HD truck and specialty vehicle A/C. Visit for more information, or call us at (215) 631-7020 to register. We hope to see you in Orlando!

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