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Old 09-11-2012, 07:54 PM   #1
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Cold weather rating?

Looking to purchase a classic 30. Does anyone know the cold weather ratings for these units? I can't seem to find any data on them. As a related question, does anyone know the r value of the floor,walls and ceiling?

I have enjoyed reading the creative options people have done to the airstreams to battle the elements.

Thanks so much!!!
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Old 09-11-2012, 08:11 PM   #2
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The r-value is not large. An inch & a half of simple fiberglass. R-3? Or not much more.

There is a foam thermal break between ribs & interior skin. Still -- there is a lot of conduction heat loss.

I have had good success living in and keeping plumbing from freezing up in the 15-16 F range if I can keep the furnace running. Don't run out of LP. Temps approaching the single Fahrenheit digits will give you major problems with freezing of the gray & black plumbing down underneath.
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Old 09-11-2012, 09:15 PM   #3
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CanoeStream has it about right, but the actual R number may be a bit higher, R5 or 6 overall. Not much different from all the other wood and nails type trailers.

They work down to 15 to 20 maybe, but as noted, don't run out of propane or battery power.
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Old 09-11-2012, 09:38 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idroba View Post
CanoeStream has it about right, but the actual R number may be a bit higher, R5 or 6 overall. Not much different from all the other wood and nails type trailers.

They work down to 15 to 20 maybe, but as noted, don't run out of propane or battery power.
New yep, but remember, the mice tunnels R-1 due to mice traffic. I had a highway through part of mine Plus the fiberglass insulation from the 70's wasn't as efficent as todays IMO... but is a lot itchier

I had spray in foam under my 1968' it was far better insulated than the walls
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Old 09-12-2012, 02:03 PM   #5
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We spend a lot of time in our 25 Safari in the fall in the mountains of Colorado.
Most of the time we are without hookups.
The other posters have it correct. The trailer is semi comfortable down into the 20's as long as the furnace is running. In the teens things start to freeze up and the furnace runs much of the time. Any colder--bail out, winterize and go to a motel. With no furnace running, the Airstream will cool from the 70's to close to the outside air temp by morning.
We use sleeping bags and keep the interior in the mid 50s because keeping the interior temp at 65-70 means the furnace is running much of the time and it is LOUD.
The floor is ice cold as there is zero insulation in it.
The Safari has jalosie type windows. They were drafty until I tightened them up by sealing them with thin adhiesive foam insulation.
In other rv's I have insulated the vents by putting foam in them. With Fantastic Fans this is more difficult to do.
If I was going to do a lot of rv winter living, I would sell my AS and buy a so called four season rv.
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:58 AM   #6
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Others have posted about living in an Airstream in freezing conditions. Conclusion: It's awful. The trailers just aren't made for such conditions. They are made to hitch up and go someplace warmer.

Insulation is poor, heating is not too swift, condensation and dampness, freezing pipes etc etc.
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:22 AM   #7
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I've been out in temps in the 30's under fairly windy conditions and the furnace runs a lot. You'd be surprised how fast a 30 lb tank is exhausted when you experience 24 hours of wind and cold. Last time this happened I think I ran a tank dry in one camping weekend.

I consider my Airstream a 3 season trailer. The heat pump makes a big difference when you do a lot of spring and fall camping but it has its limitations. My first bad experience with the heat pump was down in Branson when temps were in the mid 40's and it was raining lightly. The pump ran so much that the outside coils actually formed a block of ice and blocked all heat transfer. The heat pump has a defrost cycle which reverses the process (without the fan running) to heat up the outside coil and defrost. Unfortunately in a high humidity situation, it wasn't long enough to dump all of the ice. Here's a picture of it frozen up.

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Old 10-04-2012, 08:36 AM   #8
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What Jack said. I had a similar experience, but not as severly. The fan started knocking. When I got home, I disassembled from the roof ...and.... nothing hitting the fan or debris under the cover. Conclusion? Ice had built up to the point that it was thawing and re-freezing in the bottom of the unit (or wherever) and fouling the squirrel cage fan.
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:45 AM   #9
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That defrost cycle is strange. It's a timed cycle that occurs automatically after the heat pump has run continuously over a certain length of time. First time it occurred was a complete surprise to me. We were sitting in the trailer one evening on a cold fall night and the heat pump was doing its thing. Suddenly I hear this big hissing sound, the fan turns off but the compressor continues to run. I thought the heat pump had broken. After a few minutes of run time, the hissing sound comes again and the fan goes on. As I learned the hissing was a valve in the heat pump unit that reverses the flow of the freon so that the outside evaporator coils can heat up. With no fan running the heat up occurs faster.

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Old 10-04-2012, 03:16 PM   #10
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I have slept overnight in my trailer in temperatures down to -15 F after making some modifications to the ductwork to provide more even distribution of heat:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f427...tml#post931483

The interior of the trailer, with these mods, remains a comfortable 70 degrees throughout.

I have also made some modifications to address furnace noise:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f427...ace-70036.html

I have not tried to use the plumbing at these temps and defer to CanoeStream's deeper expertise in this area.
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Old 10-04-2012, 03:23 PM   #11
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I copied Jammer's duct mod and did some additional mods to the furnace blower and was pleased with the results.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcanavera
That defrost cycle is strange. It's a timed cycle that occurs automatically after the heat pump has run continuously over a certain length of time. First time it occurred was a complete surprise to me. We were sitting in the trailer one evening on a cold fall night and the heat pump was doing its thing. Suddenly I hear this big hissing sound, the fan turns off but the compressor continues to run. I thought the heat pump had broken. After a few minutes of run time, the hissing sound comes again and the fan goes on. As I learned the hissing was a valve in the heat pump unit that reverses the flow of the freon so that the outside evaporator coils can heat up. With no fan running the heat up occurs faster.

Jack
My 1st experience with the defrost recycle was around 3 am. For some reason I woke up sensing something was wrong. I could hear the compressor running but no fan. That can't be good, so I got up to investigate and just then there was the hiss Jack mentioned and then the fan started. Still uncertain about what just happened and now being wide awake, I dug out the book and learned that when the outside temp drops to 42F, and the heatpump has been running for 25 min, it will go into a 4 1/2 min defrost cycle. During that time, the CCC will display Defrost on the display panel. For some reason, with that knowledge stored away in some obscure corner of my brain, I now sleep through the defrost cycles.

Incidentally, when the outside temp drops to 30F, the CCC will automatically switch from heatpump to furnace operation, then switch back when the outside temp rises above 30F. There are at least 2 reasons this works this way: As the outside temp drops, the ability for the heatpump to produce adequate heat diminishes notably and the furnace operation at temps below 30F provides under floor heat to protect the plumbing. If the CCC isn't automatically switching to furnace operation in freezing weather, it likely needs a simple reset.
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Old 10-05-2012, 08:40 AM   #13
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Silver goose is correct, but just a reminder......each time you disconnect the batts or use the store switch, you must reprogram the auto switchover feature in the CCC.
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Old 10-05-2012, 01:27 PM   #14
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The reset procedure for the 5 button CCC and the CCC II is the same.

Switch the CCC to Off
Press and hold the Mode & Zone buttons together
Switch the CCC to On
The display will show FF, continue to hold the buttons for a few seconds then release
Select the mode of operation you want

That's all there is to it.

But is digresses from the OP's original question.
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Old 10-08-2012, 05:11 PM   #15
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I find that once we hit the 30's, the heat pump is hard pressed to provide the level of comfort that the furnace can. Once the run time is long enough to start triggering the auto defrost, you now lose the heat function while that cycle runs. Unless you are under the covers, it may get uncomfortable. The other factor is in my case if we are running long enough to hit defrost, that means we didn't hit the set point. So now as defrost is occurring, the temp inside drops. It then becomes obvious that you can't keep up and you decide to flip to furnace.

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Old 10-14-2012, 09:47 AM   #16
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Well for my 2 cents, I spent a good part of last winter in Breckenridge in my 23D International (2008 model) and was extremely comfortable. I was hooked up at a year-round RV park there, so I had full hook ups (electrical, heated water spicket, sewer, cable). I made the following preparations:

* Skirted with foil backed roll insulation, fixed to the side of the trailer with duct tape (note DO NOT use duct tape. Find gaffers tape instead. It took me a week to get this stuff off my trailer in the spring)
* Homemade insulated water line hose, using heat tape and pipe insulation
* I insulated the sewer lines, and kept the flexi line very short, mostly under the skirting, and insulated where it was exposed to the outside
* Stuffed insulation in the outdoor shower compartment
* small electric space heater under the trailer, surrounded by chicken wire to make sure nothing blew into the heater and started a fire (also used a very safe heater with tip over/overload protection)
* small space heater inside the trailer in the cabinet, directing heat along the passenger side of the trailer to keep water lines from freezing on that side

I also bought some moisture absorbing buckets for the interior to keep condensation under control. Finally, I bought 2 cheap electronic outdoor thermometers, and placed the probes in two spots under the trailer so I could monitor the outdoor temps at night, and the humidity and temp inside as well.

I kept the water on all winter, with two exceptions when I winterized because it was going to be well below zero. Many nights it was around zero, but I should note that it was an odd winter where it was warmer than usual in breckenrige so that helped. I have a large (100 gallon) propane tank on site so I'm not limited by that.

The results? Comfortable the whole time I was up there. The furnace ran quite a lot, but I didn't really care because even spending the money on propane it was incredibly cheap staying there compared to renting anything else in breck, and I had a great little ski lodge to come back to after a day on the slopes. Had my family with me often, a friend up once - and we all loved it.

You just have to take precautions. And I would think boondocking without electrical would be nearly impossible in these conditions. With good hook ups its great!
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Old 10-15-2012, 05:58 PM   #17
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Any pics of the skirting?
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:56 PM   #18
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Unfortunately I don't. But I wouldn't recommend my skirting method anyway. It looked a little white trash if you ask me Plus after the winter I had to throw out all that roll insulation as it was torn taking it off, so it was bad for the environment.

This year I'm going with 2" rigid foil backed panels. I bought 4 4x8 sheets which I will cut in half along the length. I'll tape them together, use some 2x4's for bottom bracing (under the trailer out of sight behind the panels) for heavy winds, and I'll build an access panel to get to the heater.

Also - I stack snow up around the perimeter when it's available (not a problem in Breckenridge) as it's just one more layer of insulation and wind protection.

I'll take some pictures when it's done.
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Old 10-17-2012, 09:29 AM   #19
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Nightwatch,

I would love to see what you do. Wintering in our 34ft here in Wheat Ridge this winter and would love to see what you are doing! We have full electric hook up and was pretty sure we will have a 100lb tank on site as well. Found a great place to get one from that we can rent for next to nothing. Just have to pay to fill it and then we use the 2 30lbs for back ups. We don't have a sewer hook up but have a portable for now. Figure if we can't use the bathroom on cold times no biggie.
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Old 03-17-2013, 05:44 PM   #20
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comfortable in cold

We are full-timing in our 2005 25' with shiny interior. We've spent nine days with nights to 19F. Daytime we used our catalytic heater (permanent install, hinged mount) with proper ventilation both for moisture AND replacing 02. Nighttime we set the propane furnace on 45F, the low limit on this after-market digital t-stat.

It runs some, a good thing, but not too much. The ducting includes sink bases and under pantry (plumbing lives there) and under-floor tanks/plumbing.

This past October we were crossing from Bend OR to Boise UT and stayed overnight in the high plains. Low temp we recorded was 11F. Same scenario with furnace set on 45F -- and yes, it ran more. We had zero problems with plumbing, all the faucets and piping worked fine (we were NOT hooked up to exterior water supply).

The keys, as some posters stated above, are to keep enough propane on hand, have enough battery or shore power, and be sure to let the furnace do its job. The furnace will run heat to the plumbing places.

If I was stationary awhile, I think I would adopt skirting and keep one or two 60 watt light bulbs heating the newly enclosed space. Just conjecture . . .
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