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Old 03-27-2012, 08:48 AM   #1
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New Owner - HELP !!

Hi...we recently purchased a 2011 28' International. We are the third owners. We took her out this weekend for the maiden voyage...and have a few questions. Not sure what the right forum is for this post...so hoping this will find its way to some knowledgeable and willing to share AS owners...;o).

1) Fantastic Fan - how / when to use them ?

2) Propane usage - we went through an entire tank in 2 days. Heat went out in the night and we had to get up and switch tanks...is this normal?

3) Bed - so uncomfortable even though we have a wool mattress topper and a heated mattress pad. any feedback on a replacement would be much appreciated.

4) Insulate and seal storage area. Has anyone does this ? Is it okay ? Seems like it would help eliminate the "cold" near the head of the bed.

Thank you in advance....
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Old 03-27-2012, 09:07 AM   #2
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We also have a 2011 28' International so maybe I can offer a couple of words of advice....

Fantastic fans should be used as often as possible (in my opinion) because condensation quickly builds inside the trailer and it's a way to help get rid of it. We've not camped in seriously cold weather but even with the furnace on I could see that some ventilation through one or both of the fans would be good. You can switch the fan off but have the vent open, which might help if you're worried about losing warm air too quickly.

Propane usage is obviously dependent on the weather; if it's very cold and if you're using the furnace and water heater all the time then yes, two days for a tank is probably OK. You shouldn't have to manually switch tanks, though, as the system allows automatic switching when one tank is empty. You do have to keep an eye on the indicator collar, though, because you don't want to run both tanks empty if you can help it.

The bed is a matter of taste and, with a foam topper we've found it to be fine. It's a standard queen mattress so I guess that a replacement wouldn't be hard to find.

I've heard a few people complain about that underbed storage space when it's cold but not heard of any viable remedies, yet. The outside door does have a seal but maybe there's a better one available somewhere?
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Old 03-27-2012, 09:13 AM   #3
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

1. Our dear Lucy has two Fantastic Fans. We use them often to vent out the hot air when we start the air conditioner. We also use them with one set on 'out' and the other set on 'in' to do a quick air exchange in the trailer.

2. Using that much propane that quickly doesn't sound right unless the furnace was running non stop day and night. The tanks are designed to switch over automatically. If it didn't do this, something is broken.

3. Our Lucy still has her OEM foam mattress. We use a 2" memory foam topper on it. We have camped in Lucy for over 1,000 nights, and still find it very comfortable.

4. We have sealed off Lucy's storage area from the bed board by using a layer of rubber flooring (the kind used for kids' play areas) glued to the bed board.

Brian
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Old 03-27-2012, 09:16 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by moosetags View Post
.

4. We have sealed off Lucy's storage area from the bed board by using a layer of rubber flooring (the kind used for kids' play areas) glued to the bed board.

Brian
Duly noted!
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Old 03-27-2012, 09:23 AM   #5
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Wow, seven gallons of propane in two days? That's very, very fast. (In mid-winter up here with extremely cold temperatures, one such cylinder would last about two and a half days.) Are you sure that the cylinder was full? We are talking about seven gallon (30 pound) cylinders, right?


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Old 03-27-2012, 09:24 AM   #6
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Welcome to the forums! Did you guys have a good time?

I'm pretty new myself, but here's what I "know" (and your mileage may vary):

1) Fantastic Fan - how / when to use them ?

The fans pull air from the inside of the trailer to the outside. Use when you want to pull fresh air through the trailer from another source (open window, for instance) for cooler/fresher air, when you want to pull moisture from sleeping/cooking/showering/etc. out of the trailer and vent it to the outside. I believe some fans also reverse to blow air into the trailer.

2) Propane usage - we went through an entire tank in 2 days. Heat went out in the night and we had to get up and switch tanks...is this normal?

This is sort of a "how long is a piece of string" question. A few questions: How cold was it during your trip? How high did you have the furnace set? What other propane needs did you fill besides the furnace, such as cooking, and how much of it? Did you notice how long and how frequently the furnace was running?

Most full timers seem to keep their heat set very low at night -- I find a heavy down comforter and about 50-55 to be comfortable. (Don't forget the old-fashioned night cap -- covering your head with a thin hat or cap often keeps you warmer at night than just about anything else.)

3) Bed - so uncomfortable even though we have a wool mattress topper and a heated mattress pad. any feedback on a replacement would be much appreciated.

Tons of info on the forums here on mattresses. Here's one of the latest. There are also many threads on custom mattresses and the companies that make them. Rocky Mountain Mattress is one and is linked in that thread.

4) Insulate and seal storage area. Has anyone does this ? Is it okay ? Seems like it would help eliminate the "cold" near the head of the bed.

Lots of threads on this too; try clicking on the pull down menu up there in the blue stripe on "Search" and try "insulating storage" or some such.

When I picked it up, I had a positive gushing draft of frigid air from under the head of the bed in my 19' Bambi. The storage door seal wasn't pushed in far enough and the dealership (CanAm) happily fixed that. There's still a bit of cold air from under there now, but it's livable. If I was going to be in a cold climate for very long, I would definitely think about the "line the storage compartment with styro and reflectix" method. If it's only a short time in cold and the seals were all good in the compartment, I'd probably just stuff a pillow into the gap.

I love the 28'! If I could have afforded a new TV and TT, I think I would have bought that size!

ETA: man, people respond fast!
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Old 03-27-2012, 09:48 AM   #7
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The propane usage is an interesting one; a fellow I was talking to had been wintering in Florida and met with a couple of weeks of cold weather in early 2011 - he reckoned on using a whole tank every two and a half days - mind you, he wasn't equipped for the cold and being a man he didn't think about going out and buying a decent duvet!
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:01 AM   #8
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Good responses on the use of the Fantastic fan. It does a great job of removing interior air if you slightly open a window in the bedroom and leave all other windows closed, then it pulls out the air the full length of the trailer.

We have often camped in sub-freezing weather with our 28' AS. We do keep our thermostat set at 50 degrees at night and usually get a week on a tank of propane. The system does have automatic switch-over so you'll definitely want to check it out and also make sure there are no leaks.

I have to admit I find our bed quite comfortable using just the stock mattress even though it is now six years old. We have not used a pad or any sort of heat, though the mattress pad-type heater sounds interesting. We each have a sock full of rice which we microwave and bring into bed if it's really cold just to get things warmed up a little. I realize this is pretty low tech, but, hey, it works and feels great.

I haven't done any insulating of the storage compartment but I like the idea expressed above to provide some insulation under the mattress. I have seen products designed to be used in pickup campers to insulate the mattress in the cab-over space which would likely work great in this application as well.

The 28' is a great floor plan which works well for extended living. We took a 9,000 mile cross-country trip last April-June for 7 weeks and then spent 4.5 months in it as snowbirds this past winter.

I'm wondering about three owners on such a new model though.
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by day tripper View Post

1) Fantastic Fan - how / when to use them ?

Thank you in advance....
Fantastic Fan demo video

How To Operate the Fan-Tastic Vent Fan for Airstream Travel Trailers Bambi International - YouTube
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:28 AM   #10
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Thank you so much for all the helpful info. Already called husband...and advised he may need to take another look at the propane tanks...as they did not switch over and frankly...we weren't aware they should. Will admit we thought it seemed odd since everything else is automatic.

The weather was fairly mild for PNW. We had the thermostat set at about 68 let it run all day/night, had the pilot light on the stove and cooked a few times on the cooktop. Too much ???

As we did not have the privilege of a dealer walk through....we do not quite understand the fans. What does the cold/hot button do ? Do you always turn on the fan when you open it ? What does the 0, 1, 2, 3 button mean ?

Sorry...but really truly do appreciate all the advice!!

Thanks for the tips as well on the mattress and the underbed storage. Will spend some time researching those before we decide what to do there.

Our bed is a short queen not standard...60x75 vs 60x80. Was thinking of purchasing a foam topper and cutting it down...anyone here tried that?

Patrick...thank you so much for the video on the fans...will try and watch that at home. I wish we lived closer to your dealership...;o).

Thank you again everyone !!

K
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:44 AM   #11
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For manuals and operating instructions on your Fantastic Fans.

Yes, you can cut down a topper easily, the best, most easy way is to buy a $12-17 dollar electric carving knife. Don't try to push it through the foam too hard, glide it through. Mark the pad with a marking pen and cut with the electric knife.

Did the furnace run a lot? How often did it go on?

And have you bought the Newbies Guide to Airstreams yet?
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:48 AM   #12
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Thanks for the fantastic fan link...will study up on those !!

To be honest...I didn't remember the furnace going on and off too much.

We weren't in the trailer much at all during the day. I guess the lesson there would be to turn it way down if we leave...;o).

While we're talking about fans...we had the one over the stove running while we were cooking...thought my husband was going to come out of his mind with the rattling. It was SOOOOO loud !! is that normal ?

Will try the foam thing...thank you!!

Seriously...y'all are the best!!

K
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:23 AM   #13
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RE: Propane switch over valve

Here is the basic system. Both valves need to be open. The black lever will be pointing toward the "main" tank which is the one that the propane is being drawn out of. The glass ball/indicator should be green showing that the main tank has propane in it. When this tank is empty, or close to it, the glass indicator will turn red and the valve will automatically switch over to the other tank. The lever will still be pointing toward the empty tank.

When you see the red indicator, flip the black lever to the other tank, turn off the valve to the empty tank, remove it and take it in to be refilled. Return the full tank, open the valve and your system will switch over when the other tank is empty/low. There is a risk using the automatic feature and that is, if you don't monitor the tanks you have a real chance of running both tanks empty. I choose to use this feature because, one, I am more than willing to keep my eye on the levels and two, I don't want to run out of propane in the middle of the night and have to go out in the cold or rain to switch the tank over. To each their own.

As far as the mattress question goes, we find ours quite comfortable. Perhaps it has everything to do with being out of doors and on the road with our Airstream. Many have talked about ways to improve the comfort but we are happy for now.

Yeah, the fan above the stove isn't the best. Airstreams are great trailers but they are not perfect. Enjoy yours.
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:29 AM   #14
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Thank you everyone !! In spite of some minor annoyances...most of them from our own ignorance...we LOVED the trailer !!! Had a great time...and had some big smiles from fellow travelers enjoying the view as we rolled on down the road. Had no idea the AS would also be such an attention getter in the campground. True story...little 7 or 8 year old boy rode up on his bicycle...and with eyes as wide as they could go asked my husband as we were hooking up..."is that an AIRSTREAM ?". Cute as could be...he went riding along...singing "Airstream, Airstream, Airstream"...I'm not sure...but I think he may have been bit by the bug...;o). Thanks again !!
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