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Old 09-03-2004, 11:19 AM   #1
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Airstream Insulation

I couldn't find a tread dealing with insulation, but I think it's an important topic so I'll start one. The other day there was some discussion about the R-value of insulation used in the different models. There was (is) a belief that the Classics and Limited have an up-grade to the insulation of these units. I, as thoses who read the post know, called that factory to try and pin down the answer to this belief. The answer I received was that there isn't a difference, and all models used the same insulation, EXCEPT for thae actual slide out portion of the coaches with this option. Here, they use a foil face bubble insulation. I did a little research and found that this insulation although only 5/16 of an inch thick can have a rating as high as R-15. This depends on where and how it's installed. I'm waiting on some printed information from a couple of the manufactures and will have more details. The thing that struck me was that to achieve these R-values, there has to be an air space between the surface being insulated and the insulation itself.That's a consistant air space. If it's just pushed into the wall cavaity and the the wall surface installed, it loses most of the insulating properties. I would be interested to see how Airstream installs this insulation.I was told that you could request that this insulation be installed throughout the coach at a substantial increase in price. In taking with the manufactures, I was told that this insulation is actually less expensive per square foot that traditional glass wool (Batt) insulation. My interest in all this is as a house builder in the past. Although this insulation has been used for years in metal building and warehouse construction, it is realitive new to home building. It's also a good cure for interior condensation I'm told. So why isn't it more widely used in trailer construction? It's begining to be, but old habits die hard. Seems like this could be used in tight spaces ( Airstream walls) to not only increase the value of the insulation but to stop or control condensation at the same or LOWER price. .Why anything new to a segment of industry comes with a mistique and HIGHER price tag, baffels me. It's really difficult to get a straight answer unless you do the research yourself.This is very valueable information to people who full-time or use their coaches in colder climates. I certainly don't know all the answers but I'll continue to look into it. The value is not only better insulation but lower fuel costs as well.
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Old 09-03-2004, 01:06 PM   #2
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I am also extremely curious about this insulation. I am rebuilding a 1963 Overlander, which will need insulation under the floor, as well as in the walls, eventually.
Where can one get his bubble foil insulation at a reasonable cost? What is it called?
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Old 09-03-2004, 01:37 PM   #3
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I have seen it for sale in my local Lowe's. It is in the insulation isles. It seems to be available in differing widths, and without without staple tabs. I do not remember the cost per roll or the sq footage.
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Old 09-03-2004, 02:59 PM   #4
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My guess is that even thought the matierials cost less, it could take more time to install it (correctly). With batt type insulation, you just throw it in there and seal up the walls (more or less). Anything that adds manhours to a project will increase cost, or at least that's how I see it.

I didn't opt for the new type of insulation for a few reasons:


1) I don't fulltime

2) When I am in a situation where the elements are on the extreme of eitherside, I found in the average run, LP gas and electricity are a good value compared to having the special insulation installed, even though I may be wasting some energy compared to the better insulation.

3) It's an RV and I don't need R-30 like I do in my main home (different I suppose if I were fulltiming) and my first concern is that I get the windows to seal properly and get most of the gap issues fixed. There is where the greatest energy losses are on my coach. For example, while camping with the windows fully closed, I could hear birds singning through some windows as if they were open. This is the case on about 50% of the windows in our coach and has been since day one (also one of the reasons I suggest that Airstream drop those cheap non Classic windows). The ones on our '03 were bad, but are worse on our '04. That is where I am putting most of my energy, the windows. I get very little heat of cold through the walls with the current insulation that is used. Most of my energy losses are coming from misaligned windows that do not seat properly.
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Old 09-03-2004, 04:03 PM   #5
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Twink, you forgot reason # 4.

4) I've got a big honkin 15,000 BTU airconditioner that can turn this silver palace into a meat locker! I don't need no stinkin refrigerator!


Jack
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Old 09-03-2004, 07:13 PM   #6
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I have a roll of this stuff bought years ago for a special application. The stuff I've seen recently doesn't declare an R-value for just foil/bubble wrap, but something like R-15 when installed in a 4" cavity with a dead air space and between two layers of 3/4 inch sheathing. I'm sure the sheathing, and air space, has a lot to do with the total R-value.

While R-15 is very respectible, I don't think replacing the 3/4" sheathing with 1/32" aluminum is going to give the same results.

Here are some interesting test results from Glacier Bay: http://www.glacierbay.com/Instresult.asp
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Old 09-03-2004, 11:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcanavera
Twink, you forgot reason # 4.

4) I've got a big honkin 15,000 BTU airconditioner that can turn this silver palace into a meat locker! I don't need no stinkin refrigerator!


Jack
LOL!!
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Old 09-04-2004, 07:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcanavera
Twink, you forgot reason # 4.

4) I've got a big honkin 15,000 BTU airconditioner that can turn this silver palace into a meat locker! I don't need no stinkin refrigerator!


Jack
ROFLMAO Only problem is that the 15k of cooling power doesn't help much when the outside temps are down in the single digits But then I guess you can stoke up the LP furnace and depend on brute thermal force to overcome the elements

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Old 09-04-2004, 07:58 AM   #9
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Seems the Amarican way to me. If it doesn't fit use a bigger hammer.
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Old 09-04-2004, 08:43 AM   #10
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You all are just crackin' me up. It is very true though.

I've found that Chevy (GM) does it best. Instead of making the interior cabin more quiet by adding insulation and better door gaskets (spending the money and increasing the cost by a bit), etc, what do they do? They have this neat little device call speed compensated volume (SCV). As you go faster the radio gets louder to help overcome the extra road noise and as you slow down the volume decreases. Gotta love America.
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Old 09-04-2004, 08:43 AM   #11
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insulation

Hi folks
Speeking of meat lockers ... haave a look at a technology called AREOGEL... a NASA spin off.
It use to costly 10 years ago but i think by now there is some co's. that produce it for consumer apps.

http://www.aerogel.com/

http://www.aerogel.com/products.htm

http://statusreports-atp.nist.gov/re...91-01-0025.htm

I tested a sample for hi temp dowbhole oil tool apps and the stuff is unbelivable, it can be spec'ed to a spicific temp gradient and can be had in fabric form.

see ya
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Old 09-04-2004, 08:46 AM   #12
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Pretty interesting stuff.
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Old 09-04-2004, 11:36 AM   #13
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More about foil...

I am definitely going to use foil to insulate my AS. I have the materials on hand and just need to finish a few other things before I start to install it. I posted information about foil in several threads. Here are some to check out:

A new leak - my post number 5 (info on how I am going to install in the walls)

Painting airstream red - post number 59 (some heat transfer info) Also there is an experiment documented here that is underway awaiting some panels from Andy.

What should I use to insulate the floor? - post number 20 (about foil insulation)

Try a search using the word "foil"

I would be happy to discuss any of the details of using foil insulation with anyone that asks.

By the way I am also going to use hot-water radiant heat in my floor but that is another topic all together.

Malcolm
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Old 09-27-2004, 05:15 PM   #14
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I have used this foil combined with styrofoam and it is incredibly efficient and effective in my 66 tradewind
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