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Old 03-13-2004, 10:02 PM   #1
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Question Comparison of appliances, cost, energy, etc

Does anyone know if there is a source like "Consumer's Reports", to compair appliances costs, weight, reliability, energy consumption? For things like air conditioners, refrigerators, lights things like that. Thanks, silver suz
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Old 03-14-2004, 08:22 AM   #2
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I assume you are asking about RV appliances? The answer is "no".

The list of suppliers is very short for all RV items. Really just two furnace makers, three a/c manufacturers, three or four stove/cooktop makers, and two hot water heater manufacturers, so the number of prospects is limited.

Your best source of information is forums such as this one, and the manufacturers' specifications.

Mark
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Old 03-14-2004, 09:44 AM   #3
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Question so what appliances are the most energy conscious, reliable etc.

Thanks, Mark! My Mark is in Missiouri on his way to pick up the van and trailer, (wish I had known about the checking -out trailer group!) but time out to visit grandma in St. L.,
Well, everyone? what is your opinion on the makers and quality of appliances. No gas or propane please as I can't tolerate that. Think I'll have the first all-electric AS???? : ) .

1. I'm especially interested in airconditioners. I'll have a 31' 1971 soverign, which we plan to double-insulate. I'll be in VERY hot climes, heavy humidity, (yes, I plan on having a de-humidifyer). I like ( require)? sleeping cold at night. Can I vent A/C to the back bedroom? or should I get a second A/C?. i'd run the one in front or the other in back, but probably not both at the same time. Can one A/C keep a back bedroom cold (72 degrees) at night in the florida keys in summer? or should I get 2. And what is the best most reliable A/C? also fans which are best?- I mean 4 -5 paddle fans. I'm short- so have no worry about being beheaded. I know about fan-tastic.
3. I was thinking of getting the sunfrost refrigerator (supposedly the most energy conscious in the world) (only 12 v) Has anyone gotten one? Any other ones out there that are better? I need freezer room and my shopping trips will be infrequent.
4. How about water heaters- again only electric- hopefully I'll have a solar pre-warmer. But I have to have hot water to my washing machine to kill any dust mites etc.
5. What are the best lights? I was thinking of 12 volt led lights. But what is best in the shower? should all the lights be 12 volt or some 110v? I loved the idea of the 12 volt California neon tape, which comes in white, to do indirect lighting with. as my eyesight isnt good I need a lot of light.
6. How about phones, tv's and computers. **** Internet is extremely important to me, how do I get the service?**** I have yahoo now, which worked great when internet cafes were available. but now I want it in the trailer to keep me sane when alone. I love IM'ing with my son in college, and my family at home. Is there mobile internet service??
I'm not really into music, so a regular solar charged radio is fine for me.
7. What about combo microwave/ convection ovens? I even saw one that had a vent to the outside to use over burners. I'm going to try to do with 1 electric glass covered burner unit. It might make life difficult, but they are SO expensive.Think 2 is better? I do have an outside solar oven.
8. What cubic size refrigerator/freezer is the best for long trips (months) say two people average. and I love my ice. do people ususally just buy ice for drinks (soft, -iced tea, water : ). when I'm spending a lot of time in the ocean 4-6 hours, I try to drink 2 gallons of water a day to prevent salt dehydration.
9. Which brings me to water filters- any good ones? I have seen outside ones and inside ones, which work the best? I have to filter all water entering the trailer as I am chlorine sensitive. and I have heard that RV parks water can be terrible tasting.
10. Has anyone used the incinolet toilet? It makes a cup of ashes in 1-2 weeks. I can handle that better than compost-moldy.
11. It turns out I will have the van with me. I am ignorant enough that I dont know if running the van motor will charge the batteries. Is that bad for the van?(haven't been able to drive in 30 years).
12. Are there people in a trailer park, usually, whom you can pay to do chores? Like refueling the van?. or going grocery shopping? do the people who fish- are they willing to sell fresh fish to you? Is it impolite to ask?
13. are you allowed to ride an electric bike around the park etc if you dont have a license? Has anyone tried the eGO bike?
14. any other appliances that are helpful, please tell me about. don't worry I don't use a hair dryer or iron. heh heh.
15. What is the most reliable company to do internet ordering from?
16. Last question what RV group/s is it good to sign up with? Good Sam etc?
thanks for all your help, Silver Suz
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Old 03-14-2004, 08:48 PM   #4
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"I'll have a 31' 1971 soverign, which we plan to double-insulate."

How?

"Can I vent A/C to the back bedroom? or should I get a second A/C?."

It has often been reported that 30’ and larger coaches benefit from two ac units.

"...also fans which are best?- I mean 4 -5 paddle fans."

There is no way to put paddle type ceiling fans in an Airstream. They would have to be so small as to be useless. Your AC will have a recirculating fan, and if you have two of them you will be able to move rather a lot of air around.

"I was thinking of getting the sunfrost refrigerator (supposedly the most energy conscious in the world) (only 12 v)"

Phred talks about these and the Novacool brand on his website – which you must visit http://www.phrannie.org/phredex.html . Look under “Source and Resource”

"How about water heaters- again only electric- hopefully I'll have a solar pre-warmer."

Some RV water heaters can operate on propane or electric. If yours doesn't, perhaps it can be retrofitted. If not, your choices are an RV unit that can run on 110 v or a home type. The latter will be hard to fit. How will you get enough hot water for your washing machine? Where will you put a washing machine anyway?

"What are the best lights? I was thinking of 12 volt led lights. But what is best in the shower? should all the lights be 12 volt or some 110v?"

LED lighting is not really viable yet as general purpose lighting. I’d use lots of flurescents, some 12 v and some 110.

"What about combo microwave/ convection ovens?"

You either like a convection oven or you don’t.

"I'm going to try to do with 1 electric glass covered burner unit."

Since you will be buying a household type cooktop, a two element cooktop will be little, if any, more expensive. Why not just buy a drop-in electric stove with cooktop?

Can’t help you on your other questions, sorry. However. Phred deals with lights, water filters, and some of your other issues.

Mark
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Old 03-14-2004, 09:38 PM   #5
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Double-insulating (adding ribs inside the inner wall and adding another inner wall) an Airstream isn't practical, especially when you get into the areas with compound curves. And it would add a lot of weight.

You need to be paying a lot more attention to weight. The older Airstreams were lighter and their frames and axles weren't designed to carry that much weight. In designing your rebuild of this trailer, you should keep it at 5000 lbs or less equipped but empty (i.e. without your "stuff" in it). Besides adding up the watts/amps of all these things you want, you'd better start looking at their weight.

1. I believe you will find in the Keys that you frequently need two air-conditioners running simultaneously. Since you are removing the furnace, I'd recommend using heat-pumps. You should not need separate dehumidifiers. The air-conditioners will run frequently enough to keep humidity down. Besides, dehumidifiers are heavy. A 13,500 btu air-conditioner located in the bedroom vent should be able to keep that room as cold as you need it.

2. Both Duo-Therm and Coleman air-conditioners are good and widely used. As Mark said, forget about ceiling mount paddle fans. With the curved ceiling of an Airstream, the blade tips would be too close to the ceiling even when normal height people are cracking their skulls on them.

3 and 8. Most of us get along fine with 8-10 cu ft refrigerator/freezers, and 2-3 RV sized ice trays. When we have a party, we buy ice to fill one of the coolers.

4. We also get by with a 6 gallon water heater, even on the electric element, not using propane. For 120V use, I'd recommend one of the small 10 gallon units used in office suites or remote locations in a residence. Rheem makes one. I don't believe you need a 40 gallon unit, and you sure can't afford the weight.

5. Airstream equipped our 34 Limited with TWELVE of the 12V 1.4A ThinLite twin-tube flourescent fixtures. One under the overhead over the couch, two in the living room ceiling, two in the galley/dinette ceiling, one over the kitchen sink, one under the microwave, two in the hallway/dressing area, two over the bathroom mirror, and one in the bedroom ceiling. There is also a 12V 2 bulb incandescent chandelier over the dinette, and one two-bulb incandescent sconce on each side of the bed. There are 12V single bulb reading lights over the couch and over the bed. And there are exterior lights. I like having all the lights on 12 volts, and appreciate the coolness of the flourescent lamps when the weather is warm.

6. Lots of info on this forum about Internet on the road. Do a search.

7. I don't know anything about microwave/convection ovens, but keep their weight in mind when shopping. I'd have at least two burners on a cooktop.

8. See 3

9. Here's an article on water filters. We use the disposable Hydro-Life filters, which eliminate the chlorine. However, I wouldn't fill the fresh water tank without chlorinated water.

10. How heavy is the Incinolet? It sure is going to eat a lot of your limited electrical supply, especially when you want to use two air-conditioners.

11. The van alternator will not effectively charge your batteries even when run for hours. It's hard on the engine and produces a ton of pollution.

12. There are people who "work-camp," so I'm sure you may find someone to do outdoor tasks for money. For fish, you need to make contact with someone who's a deck hand on a fishing boat. A lot of times tourists give them fish they don't want, and they take them to the market and sell them. They could also pick up any particular fish you might want from the market.

13. I don't think you'll have any complaints or problems riding an eGo bike around the campground.

14. Besides the washer/dryer combos Wal-Mart sells, some RVers (including some Airstreamers) use a unit from Splendide.

15. Depends on for what. Camping World and Campers Choice are reliable for RV stuff like the 12V lighting. Dunno about the Sun Frost.

16. People who full-time often belong to Escapees, a club (and forum) for RV fulltimers.
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Old 03-14-2004, 09:56 PM   #6
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The water heater issue still bothers me. Sue wants to run a washing machine, and wash with HOT water. I don't see a 10 gal. electric (which will not deliver 10 gallons of actual hot water anyway), getting it done, even with the most water efficient machine. I could be wrong, of course.

I meant to mention the possiblity of a heat pump - that is an excellent thought.

Another issue that I suspect will concern you is air filtration. RV AC units are not famous for their high quality filters. I don't know what the answer is here either.

Mark
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Old 03-15-2004, 12:28 AM   #7
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electric appliance use/abuse

Thank you very much for your replies to my questions. I have been trying to do a spread sheet of each appliance, cost, dimensions, weight,volts, amps, watts ,ac/dc. energy efficiency, etc. I will concentrate more on weight. I realised that some of the appliances have their own heating elements, such as the Equator washer/dryer combo, (one of the world's most efficient) and the 4 place setting dishwasher (uses less washing water than hand washing). I will have to account those in. although a dishwasher seems frivilous to you, knowing ME and my low energy level, a dishwasher is best, especially with a sterlizing cycle. My husband does all the hand washing at home.
I think the 10 gal hot water heater will be fine especially with preheated water added in. We will see!!! I cant remember for sure but the Equator will do 14 lbs with about 5-6 gallons of water. It's VERY energy efficient.
I have mucho air filters . ($14,000 worth up in the attic). when I travel I often bring 2 or 3 in a large suitcase, but I havent tried flying since sept 11th. Away, I sleep with a hepa filter blowing in my face. I will bring those plus put filtering material on the airconditioners/ heat pumps. that's fine with me, we use heat pumps here.. I'll have to remember including them on my spreadsheet. If we dont make 3' ribs- which we figured would help for the insulation as well as supporting a rack of 4 solar panels (have to remember to include their weight too!!!). I will just have to find out the most efficient thin insulation that I can tolerate. -More to research. We have paper backed mylar /foil up on our rafters plus the fiber batts, in the attic. I was thinking of putting the deep cycle gel batteries under the dinette seats which are up against the fridge. Balance weight and keep them in temperate climate.
Sunfrost is the most energy efficient ref in the world and runs on DC only the9- 12 cubic foot one that I was looking at. needs no venting. Have to have freezer room for organic frozen foods.
I have a problem with flourescent lighting- flickering can trigger off seizures. However the new curly bulbs dont seem to have that problem, and we have started using them. also the led lights. I love the flat screen on the computer. Have you ever noticed even the faintest flickering with your flourescents? I can't take flickering on tv's either. Strobe light are guaranteed inducers!!! and not enough time to get a seizure assistance dog either. too long a wait list.

There is a great d/c low watt ceiling fan but it just might not work. I guess the insurance premiums for beheading guests would be pretty high. If I got 2 A/C's I doubt I'd need it.

People keep talking about thievry. would the eGO bike be safe even chained to the trailer tongue? and I'll have to weigh in the electric charging for that too! My lung damage is pretty severe, so walking is... .... It's 120 lbs- would it fit on the back of the trailer?
I'm too trusting. I always assume people will be nice. should I bring my dog along if I'm going to be alone so much???
*************
By the way I'd like to make something clear- my illness was brought on by a heavy overexposure to pesticides, now banned. (NOT by choice) I have never smoked, did drugs, drank, was a vegetarian and was very fit. and I dont have aids or hiv, but my immune system is very damaged. I have a genius level brain with swisscheese holes (little black dead areas) as we fondly call my brain pics. That's just "what is" and that's why the trailer has to be this way. **************
Does anyone know of anyone else with an all electric AS trailer? Maybe a boondocker with a couple of lights!
If I remember correctly the incinolet is 98 lbs. I balance that with not having to deal with black tank water, the smell of which would make me very sick , probably induce a seizure which I want to avoid at all costs,and unable to deal with it. and the black tank water probably weighs at least that much.
Is it possible for me to run 2 air conditioners/ heat pumps on these 50 amps??? Here at home the heat pumps dont take enough water out of the air. My dehumidifier in the kitchen is pretty light and I can use gathered water in the tub for cold water washes, like silks.
We will have to do an extremely sophisticated water filter system as we have here, only smaller. it will filter all the water between the tank and the inside trailer. chlorine is one of my worst for reactions. If an RV park doesnt have a pool I'll be VERY happy. Yes I even bring water filters for faucets and showers when I travel-imagine how that would go over on a plane now!!
Phred was very helpful resource. My husband will happy to have the info.
the washer/ dryer combo will go in the closet up against the shower on one side and the kitchen sink wall, so the shortest run to the HWH. I'm re designing the configuration to having the bedroom in the back with bunk beds and desk and the split bath. Well ,..it's after midnight , thanks again everyone. today my guys will get to see the yet seen van and trailer! thanks, ciao, Silver Suz
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Old 03-15-2004, 11:57 AM   #8
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When trying to balance the trailer, measure from the center of each weight load to the center of the trailer for lateral balance, and to the center between the axles for fore/aft balance. You want the tongue to carry 10-12% of the total trailer weight, so you need to keep track of where the center of mass is.

Shell SM-110 panels only weigh about 26 lbs each, and are 52" X 26" wide. At most, you'll be able to fit four on the roof, probably in two 52" X 52" pairs. So with mounts, lets say 150 lbs. The Airstream doesn't need any more structure to handle that weight. You already have the older, narrower body trailer, and adding internal walls will make it narrower (with a shorter ceiling) yet, not to mention add a lot of weight.

Sideload washers use only a fraction of the water a top-loader does. And the small sideloads use less. However, non-vented dryers use cold water during the drying cycle to cool the outer drum so that the moisture in the heated air condenses on the drum and runs out the drain. So they aren't quite as water-efficient as you might think. Most modern washers use only cold water in the rinse cycles. The temperature control determines whether hot, warm, or cold water is used in the wash cycle. Given the little washers only use 3-5 gallons per cycle, the 10 gallon heater should supply enough hot water for the wash cycle.

I've not noticed any flicker with the ThinLite flourescents. Remember that they're operating off DC rather than 60 cycle AC.

If an air-conditioner or heat-pump isn't removing sufficient water from the air, that is because the AC unit is too large for the space, and cooling the space too quickly. It's a common mistake people make when building a house, especially in humid climates.

You need at least one 12V vent fan in case the power goes out.

With two heat pumps and the Incinolet, you'll have 145A of possible use, and only 100A available from the 50A RV power. Obviously, you can't run everything simultaneously. If you'll notice on the original power layout I gave you, I've balanced the the things you're likely to be using together, the water heater and washer, and microwave and cooktop, on separate 120V legs, and the same should be true for the air-conditioners. Here, I've moved the Incinolet to Leg 1, to put a 2nd air-conditioner on Leg 2.

120VAC 50A Leg 1
RV Roof-Mount AC/Heat Pump 20A
Two-Burner 120V Cooktop (1600W) 15A
Combo 120V Washer/Dryer 15A
Incinolet Toilet (1800W) 15A
Bath, Kitchen, Outdoor Outlets 15A GFCI

120VAC 50A Leg 2
RV Roof-Mount AC/Heat Pump 20A
10 gallon Rheem 120V Water Heater (1700W) 15A
Microwave/Convection Oven (1800W) 15A
Living Room, Converter, Bedroom Outlets 15A

On Leg 2 now, if the AC is on and the living room, converter, or bedroom outlets are being significantly used, you can only use the water heater OR microwave at any given time. Not both simultaneously, but that shouldn't be a biggie. Remember here that the converter is powering your 12V lights, refrigerator, and water pump when it is plugged in.

On Leg 1 however, if the AC is on and the outlets are NOT being used, you can use the Incinolet and either the washer/dryer or cooktop at any given time. Not both simultaneously. However, if you need to use the bath, kitchen or outdoor outlets signficantly, either the Incinolet will have to be off, or you can't use either the cooktop or washer/dryer. You'll need a light to tell you when the Incinolet is cooking and you can't use but one other electrical thing. And with you drinking 2 gallons of water a day, it may be running a lot of the time.

While a dog may give you company, it may certainly narrow the campground sites available to you. Some campgrounds don't allow pets, some allow them only in certain areas, and those who do charge extra if you have them. Keep in mind you'll have to walk it outdoors several times a day, even when the air-quality is poor. And you'll have to deal with its feces. Probably the easiest way is to carry a bread bag, slip it over your hand, pick up the feces, and then turn it inside out over your hand. You'll also have to deal with fleas if parked in a "pets area."

And those walks may be on chemically maintained grass, which the better campgrounds will have, in addition to one or more swimming pools.

Mostly what the eGo is going to do is take you around perfumed people wearing perfumed fabric softened clothes, lawn chemicals, chorinated pools, BBQs, etc. It probably won't help if there's a long walk across the beach to the ocean. I wouldn't try to carry an eGo on the back of any Airstream. Carry it in the van, well-secured. If you are going to have one, I'd keep it under the awning, chained to one of the trailer wheels. Keeping it out in the rain alongside the tongue probably isn't good for it.

Keep in mind that aluminum doesn't fair well close to salt water. That includes the air-conditioner units. You'll want to wash the trailer frequently and wax it at least twice a year.
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Old 03-16-2004, 06:06 PM   #9
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Incinolet

I did a little research on the Incinolet. After flushing, it "cooks" for 90 minutes and cools for 30. You have to be careful about other electrical use while it's "cooking."

It has a 100 cfm vent fan that pulls in room air, which picks up the smoke and smell and then passes over a catalyst that is supposed to remove that before exhausting the air outdoors. With camping neighbors in close proximity, you'd better hope it does, or you'll probably be evicted.

You must leave the bathroom overhead vent partially open or the Incinolet's fan won't be able to exhaust the smoke and smell. At 100 cfm, in less than every 15 minutes, it consumes the equivalent of an Airstream's entire air volume, which is replaced with hot, humid outdoor air from the overhead vent. And it does this continuously for 2 hours after every flush. The bathroom is going to be hot and humid, and the door won't stop the humidity from spreading to the rest of the trailer. A recipe for mold in South Florida.

It's VERY important that a circuit breaker not trip or the power otherwise go out during its cycle. If it does, the vent fan stops, and smoke and burning feces smell can enter the trailer from the Incinolet room air intake.

The manufacturer claims it uses 1 kw/h per flush, however that depends on how cool the room it is in is kept.

Contrast that with what most semi-permanent RV setups use. That's a PVC pipe (instead of an RV sewer hose) adapted to the RV sewer fittings on each end. You have to go out whenever the black tank is full, pull the handle, wait a couple of minutes, and push the handle back in.
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Old 03-16-2004, 07:13 PM   #10
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Incinolet toilet

You are so good about sharing your information with me. Based on what you say, I will get a regular toilet. Thank you for saving me a lot of money and hassle. The 1971 31' AS landyacht soverign arrived in the past hour. Wow it's in amazingly good condition, hate to tear it apart. there will be a lot of happy people getting various parts. It's the kind with the bath in back and its in such good condition I hate to do my changing the bath and bed idea. Have to take a lot out.
Off to feed a bunch of hungry teens and john,
thank you again, Officially Silver Suz
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Old 03-16-2004, 07:21 PM   #11
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Congratulations, Suz!
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