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Old 01-17-2013, 05:57 PM   #1
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How well insulated are Airstreams?

My DW and I are thinking we might want to full-time in newer 30' Classic. We would tow with a newer 3/4 ton diesel truck with a cap on the back.

How hot do airstream trailers get in the summer when sitting in the sun and how cold when a cold spell sinks temps into the mid teens in N. Florida?
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Old 01-17-2013, 06:15 PM   #2
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Our 1969 Sovereign gets hot fast in the summer and cold fast in the winter. For summer we added reflective film on the windows, and look for shady places to park. In the winter...well in the winter we don't go to cold places, but even in the not so cold wx in the winter it gets pretty chilly in there. I hear that there are some models of AS that are all season so maybe someone else will be able to help on the subject. I am still considering beefing up the insulation somehow, but have gotten side-tracked on our 62 Tradewind. I will be exploring different insulation systems on it, since it is pretty well stripped down and could be insulated better as I go. Good luck.
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Old 01-17-2013, 06:35 PM   #3
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I take my 1986 Sovereign to Yellowstone every summer and we see the teens in May and June and the 80's in late July. Between the furnace and a ceramic space heater, it is not hard to keep it warm.

Cooling it in Yellowstone is no problem. But, going and coming we often see 90's and you have to pretty much run the a/c full time starting in the morning to stay ahead of the game.

Rolled into Las Vegas one day and it was 115. You could actually hear the a/c whimper...

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Old 01-17-2013, 06:44 PM   #4
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In direct sun light in the summer you can almost make beef jerky inside...even with the AC going full tilt. A little better in the shade of a tree until the birds start pooping on your roof. Believe me I know...When we got too hot - or knew it was going to happen - we just planned going some where like a pool to pass the afternoon.
In the winter the sun works for you to help keep it warm inside along with a small ceramic heater. But you want to be sure to under pin the AS with a suitable wrap to keep the cold wind from blowing under. When and if you ever get to full time as we do, you will be adjusting all along the way. The built in furnace tends to use a lot of propane. So, to counter that we use a MR. HEATER device attached to a seven gallon propane tank. And this is ONLY used when it is FRIGID COLD. Lot of people are scared of them but we are not, and have used it for several years now with no problems...just make sure there is some air coming in. The little electric heater will dry out the air pretty good - so your not going to like that part. But you can take a garden mister/sprayer and moisten the air to remedie that.
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Old 01-17-2013, 07:20 PM   #5
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They get hot in the summer. They get cold in the winter. Condensation is a big problem in the winter. Don't let that stop you. We have been full time in ours for several years. You just find ways to work around the issues and get used to it.
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:55 PM   #6
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Insulation is mediocre at best. But if you are full timing, head south in the winter and North in the summer is what most of the snow birds out in Yuma do. we camped at 10 degrees and the heat pretty much runs all the time. In hot summer sun in sw, it is pretty much miserable with 1 ac on the big units. A couple guys here in the forums put 2 acs and they say they can hang meat in the summer, so I guess that climate can be fixed. A full hookup and electric heaters will take care of the other one.

At the end of the day, travel trailers are not gonna be even close to a well built house for insulation, so just go with it, it will work out.

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Old 01-17-2013, 10:25 PM   #7
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..ours does well in below freezing temps in MT ... but watch out for water vapor condensation inside.
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Old 01-17-2013, 10:30 PM   #8
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confirming responses above - not insulated well at all but we are all ok with it.
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Old 01-17-2013, 11:51 PM   #9
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Ditto to all entries above.

I'm living in northern NV where the temps are presently 19* and have averaged 21* since January 1st.

Picture living inside a large walk-in freezer that's filled with warm air. The walls are always very cold and using foil-backed bubble wrap to insulate the windows helps. I use the bubble wrap around the head of the bed which helps keep the cold from pouring over my head. If I lived in Vegas it wouldn't be an issue, but my work is here and so is Tahoe and the Sierra... I love northern Nevada.

Airstreams have horrid out-dated insulation which is installed at the factory so they can claim they are insulated. It seems AS is not interested in doing it right or well.

The heater works properly but sucks LP, the tanks are not frozen, but the drain valves are frozen. Condensation freezes on the inside of the windows and walls when the heater is at 55* and it's single digits outside. I use a small ceramic heater to augment the furnace back in the bedroom.

Hope that helps!
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:08 AM   #10
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Are any AS models insulated better than others - like, is an Eddie Baur edition better insulated than say a Bambi. Or is a Classic insulated better than an International?

Or are they all the same as far as insulating value. My DW hates to be cold.

I do plan to chase the sun but even then there will be that times we get caught in 10 to 15 degree weather.
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:53 AM   #11
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We part time for 3 to 4 months in mid FL each winter. We had three 30' trailers before we got the 25' trailer we have now. We have been been able to stay comfortable most of the time.

It was 44 here this morning and I have been comfortable setting here wearing my jamies. The furnace and electic heater are both cycling on and off. The lowest temp we have had is mid 20's while we have been here. The outer perimeter along the trailer walls and the floor are pretty chilly when it is that cold outside, but the furnace makes it mostly comfortable inside. Our bed in the 25' trailer is against the outer wall on two sides so that gets cool. The 30' trailer with the queen bed was more comfortable. In either trailer we supplement with a small electric heater when it's below 50+/-. Doing this, we usually burn one 30# tank of propane per month trying to maintain 70 degrees inside the trailer, also heating water and cooking. We could heat totally with the ceramic electric heater but the furnace provides more even heat throughout, which is more comfortable. We have no problem with condensation since we open windows in the afternoon when it warms up and we hang towels outside after bathing. We use the roof vent when we shower regardless of outside temperature until the shower is dry.

We have also been here when it's hot in the summer. The AC will cool the trailer ok if it is working properly. It's just louder than I would like.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:03 AM   #12
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We had a 25' FC with one ac and it got hot not warm in Daytona during July. Camped in north Carolina in Jan and no complaints about heating. Just traded for a 30' classic with two acs so hopefully they will hang meat this July in Daytona. Window sweating is something to stay on top of so it doesn't run down and stain the walls.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:17 AM   #13
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Go for it, tuffr2, and have a great time! As many have said, bubble-type window inserts for the hottest summer, deploy your awnings to reduce sun penetration. A small portable heater (we use electric oil-filled radiator) keeps the chill off at night without running the furnace. When it gets down to 20 or less, run the furnace to keep the pipes open. Operate on internal water when cold, fill up when warmer. Try Topsail Hill Preserve State Park near Santa Rosa Beach, FL, for a wonderful Panhandle experience. Visit Highland Haven in Virginia for summer relief. Go see what's happening in Texas. This is the life. It has wheels, so roll it.
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:07 AM   #14
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Since this is covering a lot of ground on insulation I have a couple of additional questions. I have a 62 Tradewind that I have mostly gutted. Fixing floors, patching holes. And fixing leaks. Before I put it all back together I want to upgrade the insulation. I plan to use a layer of the silver bubble stuff, a layer of the pink or blue sheets of foam and inter spacing of air spaces. What would be the best order of layering? I plan to put up some furring strips (to make a layer if air space )apply the bubble wrap silver and the sheet foam all on top of the original inner wall surface and probably a layer of luan plywood to protect the surface. I know it will take up a couple of inches in width and length. But that would be ok to get a more even temperature range. Of course a different approach will be needed for the upper walls and ceiling. Any ideas about what should be next to the wall and what should be the top layer.thanks, bill b.
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:52 PM   #15
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Are any A/S trailers considered 4 season? I am asking about 2007 or newer. Is a Sport less insulated than an International or is a Classic the best insulated or are all A/S 2007 to new insulated all the same?
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:14 PM   #16
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Although I'm still new at all of this from everything I gather they are more like a 3 1/2 season trailer, not the best for super cold temps. I also believe the insulation is the same across all the current models. They did switch to the ecobatt insulation in 2013 from fiberglass but I don't think it changes the r value. The ribs do transfer cold from the out skin to the inner. Also, the windows are single pane glass. That being said, there are people using them in the winter and the newer ones do have heat ducts around the water tanks. Hope this helps.
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:39 PM   #17
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Our '65 Caravel does not seem to be very well insulated. Rain is loud. Fortunately, the A/C and heat work well enough to keep comfortable in all weather.

Our '83 Excella is insulated very well. We never hear rain unless it is really coming down hard. We were in a freak freeze at South Padre Island, with 1/2" of ice all around and ice cycles hanging on the trailer and the furnace kept is cozy and warm without running itself a lot. When we shut the door, most outside noise is gone. The walls are covered with vinyl down to the bottom of the windows, and a carpet material the rest of the way to the floor. That was factory installed. Love it.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:17 PM   #18
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Our '65 Caravel does not seem to be very well insulated. Rain is loud. Fortunately, the A/C and heat work well enough to keep comfortable in all weather.

Our '83 Excella is insulated very well. We never hear rain unless it is really coming down hard. We were in a freak freeze at South Padre Island, with 1/2" of ice all around and ice cycles hanging on the trailer and the furnace kept is cozy and warm without running itself a lot. When we shut the door, most outside noise is gone. The walls are covered with vinyl down to the bottom of the windows, and a carpet material the rest of the way to the floor. That was factory installed. Love it.
Jim, sorry to digress. My avatar shows my long gone 1947 British competitor to the US 47 Chev. Mine could tow a load of sticks to the fire pit. Morris 8.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:15 AM   #19
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Headwest - thanks for the reply and good useful information. 3 1/2 season would be fine as I never plan to winter in the northern tiers of the country. But will probably get stuck when the cold spells hit the middle of Florida, S. Texas or S. Arizona. The colderest I have been in was 19 degrees for a few hours last year in Florida.

Again thanks
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Old 02-02-2013, 12:40 PM   #20
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I just left NJ, been there 3 months working hurricane Sandy in my 1996 28 footer.

I had included Electricity, so I ran one space heater in the front, and one in the back.

This was fine till it hit the mid to low teens.

Then I needed to turn on the gas heat.

This is without doing anything to insulate the window other than drawing the curtains.
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