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Old 11-19-2019, 07:41 PM   #1
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Insulation question

We just arrived at our lot at The Ranch this afternoon, and naturally, the neighbors all came over to greet us. As Jo Ann was talking to one of the ladies, she mentioned that we're going to sell the Foretravel and get an Airstream. The neighbor used to own an Airstream, and she said that Airstream used 4" fiberglass insulation that was compressed to 2" and that she always felt cold air coming in when sitting on the front sofa.


The cold air issue is maybe the easier to deal with. If air is actually moving it probably means that there is a leak somewhere. If it is heat radiating, that's probably due to single pane glass - something that isn't easily fixed without a LOT of money.


The insulation question is more difficult. I can't imagine any manufacturer paying for 4" insulation when 2" is needed. On the other hand, maybe 2" would be considered a special order and therefore more expensive. Compressing insulation actually makes it less effective than using the proper thickness.


So, finally, the question: What DID Airstream do for insulation in 1995-2005 Airstreams? That's the age range we're looking at.
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Old 11-19-2019, 09:06 PM   #2
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It's just normal 2" fiberglass insulation in walls, ceiling, and floor, not 4" compressed.
The reality is: Airstream vehicles are not well insulated. And, the metal ribs penetrate the insulation and transmit the temperature between the inner and outer skin.
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Old 11-20-2019, 05:22 AM   #3
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We had a 2009 25' International and don't ever remember feeling a drafts of cold air (unless window is open or A/C is running, of course).

I do know that the interior walls will feel cold to the touch when it is cold outside. And it is my understanding that the models being built today use a different type of insulation (said to be better). But I don't know the details.

As AW Warn mentioned an AS is not designed as a cold weather trailer. But don't let that stop you from joining the "club".

Best wishes on your search!
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Old 11-20-2019, 06:06 AM   #4
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I think the walls and roof are more like 2" insulation compressed to 1". The floors have thicker insulation, 4" or 6". Poorly insulated and drafty? Absolutely.
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Old 11-20-2019, 06:24 AM   #5
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Expect about a R-7 value no matter what insulation material or method was used. Material and method will depend on the year / model where sometimes it is fiberglass and sometimes it is foam. Best way to get an idea on actual insulation material is look through the rehab threads, but my perspective is that this is immaterial as it is what it is. And, sure, large single pane windows will definitely make a draft feeling.

Travel trailers in general do not have great insulation and make-up for it by sizing the furnace and A/C accordingly. If minimizing the heating and A/C energy is the goal, a 5'er tends to have much better insulation in the roof.


Just for a data point in the discussion, I had my previous rig down to 18* F outside temperatures on one weekend trip and the inside stayed where I set the thermostat (65 - 70 range). Went through a LOT of propane though.
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Old 11-20-2019, 10:14 AM   #6
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Thanks. We're full-timers and generally prefer to be in more moderate temperatures when we can. Unfortunately, that isn't always possible. We can deal with those fairly rare times.
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Old 11-20-2019, 10:34 AM   #7
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Airstream uses fiberglas insulation in the walls. I assume they know how much to put in. The best packing density is not the same as for house walls. Airstream trailers leak heat at a great rate in cold weather. They get hot when sitting in the sun. Just a simple fact. I like my Airstream. But we do not push the weather envelope at either the warm or cold ends. High altitude in the west in the summer and Florida in the winter. Parked under a live oak tree. Works well for us. Have done some hot and cold days. Have moved a couple of times to get power for either AC or heat.
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Old 11-20-2019, 11:43 AM   #8
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I think the AS are insulated better than I am. So I stay in Florida during the "season".

The draft the op mentioned the former having on the sofa was likley caused by a hole. A hole in a battery compartment, access door seal, or just a hole in the skin. It happens.
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Old 11-20-2019, 12:25 PM   #9
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Since most of the Airstream is aluminum heat goes in and out pretty fast. The skins conduct heat very well. There is gap filled with fiberglass but there are ribs that conduct heat from outside to inside and vice versa.



A modern SOB trailer might have a full 4 inches of insulation in the roof and the roof is painted white. Most consider an Airstream a 3 season trailer. If you live out west, it might be a two season trailer because of the very hot summers and very cold winters. Painting the roof white and using your awnings can help a lot in the summer. In the winter you best have plenty of propane and a space heater on high.



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Old 11-20-2019, 12:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kb0zke View Post
We just arrived at our lot at The Ranch this afternoon, and naturally, the neighbors all came over to greet us. As Jo Ann was talking to one of the ladies, she mentioned that we're going to sell the Foretravel and get an Airstream. The neighbor used to own an Airstream, and she said that Airstream used 4" fiberglass insulation that was compressed to 2" and that she always felt cold air coming in when sitting on the front sofa.


The cold air issue is maybe the easier to deal with. If air is actually moving it probably means that there is a leak somewhere. If it is heat radiating, that's probably due to single pane glass - something that isn't easily fixed without a LOT of money.


The insulation question is more difficult. I can't imagine any manufacturer paying for 4" insulation when 2" is needed. On the other hand, maybe 2" would be considered a special order and therefore more expensive. Compressing insulation actually makes it less effective than using the proper thickness.


So, finally, the question: What DID Airstream do for insulation in 1995-2005 Airstreams? That's the age range we're looking at.
...2” and they are cold...and drafty..not good in cold ....summertime when it is hot ac barely keeps up...but they tow nicely
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Old 11-20-2019, 06:41 PM   #11
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Once I turned on the fantastic fan, I felt rush of air from the gap between fridge and cabinet. I could feel air coming from under sink.. there's a gap and you can see the outside light through side vents for fridge. I probably need to put some insulation there.
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Old 11-20-2019, 06:53 PM   #12
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A can of spray foam and an hour looking inside cabinets and in storage compartments does wonders......Everywhere you see light or an opening to the outer skin, zap it ! In no time you will be warm and toasty!......some folks would find fault with a solid gold pencil with a lifetime lead....smdh
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