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Old 09-27-2006, 09:55 AM   #1
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1970 27' Overlander
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Question Winter Living and Enough Air

Hi everybody, this is my first post after many times consulting this site for advice. I've never seen this topic addressed, though: I'l be spending a Wisconsin winter in my 70 Overlander, which I've caulked, insulated, weatherstripped, and window-plasticicized 'til I can do no more. I covered the vent opening under the fridge, as it's running on electricity and it seemed like that was in place for air intake when running on gas (please let me know if I'm wrong about that!) The silver cabin seems draft and leak-free, and my question is: assuming no air is getting in at all, will the fan vent above the stovetop (and bathroom I guess) be enough to let in the air I'll need for combustion of the furnace & stove, and enough so that I get enough air myself ? I've always wondered how much air you need to get into a small enclosed place like this to make it habitable. Of course I'd like to keep as few openings as possible to keep out drafts and trap warm air inside, but is it necessary to crack a window or roof vent all winter for this reason? Any responses and advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Jim
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Old 09-27-2006, 10:18 AM   #2
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Refrigerators need to breathe

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Originally Posted by crockerjl
. . I covered the vent opening under the fridge, as it's running on electricity and it seemed like that was in place for air intake when running on gas (please let me know if I'm wrong about that!) . . . .
Jim,

You need to leave the vent open to get some airflow over the condenser. Thats the tube with the fins located at the top rear of the refrigerator.

If you run only on electric, you could open up the vent to the inside of the coach, and recover some of the waste heat from the refirgerator. However, that could KILL you if you forgot to set it back to the original configuration when you go back to running on propane. It could also kill the next owner of your coach if they didn't understand that the rear of the refrigerator needs to be completely sealed off from the inside of the coach.

I would suggest leaving the vent open, and insulating around the back of the refrigerator, and the scoop that goes to the roof.
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Old 09-27-2006, 10:43 AM   #3
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Ok, thanks- I'll open that back up and fiberglass along the wall and under the fridge. Any thoughts on the necessary ventilation I'll need to stay breathing this winter?
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Old 09-27-2006, 10:46 AM   #4
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The furnace uses combustion air from the outside. The vent screen in the bottom of the refer compartment should remain uncovered to allow for natural convection. You will still need fresh air for yourself to survive.
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Old 09-27-2006, 11:09 AM   #5
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Smile

So the furnace doesn't just take in air from inside the trailer via the long thin opening at floor level under the kitchen stovetop/sink cupboards? Is the area you're referring to the square opening under the furnace itself?- I did leave that as is. Do you think the air coming in from the stovetop vent would be sufficient for, uh, breathing?
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Old 09-27-2006, 11:24 AM   #6
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Jim
Good luck on your adventure. I have spent time in my '69 in the dead of winter in MN. I found that once it got to zero outside , the A/S furnace could not keep up. The amount of prpane consumed was unbelieveable. You will fight condensation inside. The walls get cold!! Because of the thermo loss through the sides/ top, snow melts and then freezes on the outer sides . Found myself with the door iced shut.

Personally, TT's are not intended to be lived in in extreme cold.

Loren
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Old 09-27-2006, 11:36 AM   #7
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The purpose of the opening you see under the front of the cabinets is to circulate the cool inside air by pulling it in, passing it over the heat exchanger portion of the furnace and then sending the warm air out the two vents. One vent is by the entry door. The other is the vent in the floor at the bath area. The hole you mentioned as " the square opening under the furnace ", is the outlet that connects the furnace to the vent in the bathroom floor via an oval duct.

Loren
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Old 09-27-2006, 11:49 AM   #8
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Yikes! Thanks for the wishes, Loren. Hmmmm... well, I guess I'll see how it goes, and may have to bolt for Florida early. I've read the horror stories on these threads, but there were some successful winterers, too, so I'm hoping I'll be one of them. I guess my asking about adequate air might cause some hesitation for advice, because noone would want to find out about the member whose body was found in spring and wonder what their post to him said (hahaha), but I'm just looking for examples from people who did ok during the winter. Did you have to leave a window cracked?, etc. to keep things from getting way too stuffy- that sort of thing. So please keep the comments/advice coming before the temps drop way down! Jim
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Old 09-27-2006, 11:56 AM   #9
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Ah, ok- we posted at the same time, Loren, so I didn't see your furnace reply. So basically then the furnace brings in its combustion air from outside the trailer & I don't have to worry about it getting enough oxygen. And the fridge I need to keep vented from underneath and keep that cold cold air away from the inside by insulating the connecting walls and kickplate.
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Old 09-27-2006, 01:13 PM   #10
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Enough Fresh Air

Jim,
Most of the furnace manuals recommend that you have an opening both high and low for fresh air. I too would be concerned about large amounts of condesation on the interior walls. It will wet curtains and carpet and in general make the coach "feel" colder than it should. The window frames will also transfer the cold and sweat. I would also invest in a good carbon monoxide detector. As the saying goes; " DONT WAKE UP DEAD !"
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Old 09-28-2006, 12:26 AM   #11
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I've built and used a solar collector that fits into one of my windows. It doesn't get all that cold where I am, But with my home made collector 2feet by 5 feet on a 40 degree outside day this thing puts 125 degree F. into my rig. Pretty sweet huh. As long as you have bright sun it should do the same for you. I'm getting ready to reinstall it after I get back from the Nor Cal rally in 3 weeks. I could post some photos if you like. Tim
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Old 09-28-2006, 09:06 AM   #12
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You definitely will need to obtain an auxiliary tank for propane. The standard Airstream tanks will never give you an adequate supply. As noted earlier you will use a lot since these trailers are really 3 season units.

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Old 09-28-2006, 09:38 AM   #13
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One thing I found useful in my old Scamp is to temporarily remove the refrigerator and insulate the walls of the compartment with the Thermix foil-bubble-foil insulation, available at most HD, Lowes, and larger hardware stores.

In the Scamp, it was to keep heat out of the adjoining cabinets, but it would work for cold just as well. It seemed to make the refrigerator cool better in the summer, as well, probably because the thermal currents were stronger when the heat stayed in the compartment..
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Old 09-28-2006, 09:51 AM   #14
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Air usage, 2 adults will use the easy to breath oxygen in about 6 hours.
You can weeze for another 6 hours without death.

If you leave a bath vent open half way, and a round hole about 2" diameter somewhere low in the couch, there will be enough thru air to keep you fine.

You will be suprised at how much the hot (70 to 80 degrees above outside) air wants to exit the top of your unit. If there is any wind, you could get enough air thru a 1/2" hole. So seal it up as much as possible now. It is real easy to cut holes in tape and plastic, but difficult to get more tape to stick to frozen aluminum.
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