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Old 09-29-2006, 09:37 AM   #21
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Hey, thanks for all the responses everybody! Yes, it is absolutely beautiful here in the Kickapoo Valley which is how I ended up here basically- I'd been living in (mostly big) cities for years and years and just needed to escape the noise and traffic and endless buildings and so on, so found this land to rent for $160/mo- there are horses living more or less wild in the 300-acre pasture, the river runs right out in front of the hills, cranes and other critters are always around (until winter, I guess), and there's nothing except the old barn in my line of sight that wasn't built by mother nature.

I have electricity, a septic tank to drain to, and have been getting water for the fast few months from the well in town (pop. 177... well, make that 178) which I've been assured runs all winter. Tasty water, but if it stops drawing I'll get water from the plant I'm working at, I guess. I had a big propane tank delivered. I've just been taking "jug showers" in the yard with either sun-heated or stove-heated water (which the sheriff, to our mutual surprise, embarassedly stumbled upon while checking in on the old place while on patrol! All I could do was smile and wave.)

So my plan, so far, for winter is to disconnect the waste hose, empty out the tank, and rig up a cold little toilet & outhouse around the septic tank opening. As far as showering, I'm just about to test this out: still using water heated on the stove, I'm going to plug up the bathroom tub, bathe there, and suck the water out of the tub using a little wet/dry vac that I have, then empty it out every few days outside. I have plastic sheeting that I'm going to skirt the bottom of the trailer with, stapled to wooden posts every few feet around. Like I mentioned, I insulated like crazy, adding 40-ft. of fiberglass roll to all the poorly-insulated areas I could find, especially in the back behind the 'Bel-Air Bathroom'. All the windows seal completely as the rubber seal contacts with a thin weatherstrip on the frame side. All the compartment doors (fridge access, etc.) got the same treatment. The inside of the windows all have that plastic on them that you put on with a hairdryer and tape. I put a little square of insulation, covered by that same shrink-wrap plastic, on the roof-vents above the bed, in back, and on the vent with the fan, in front. The long middle roof-vent that has the translucent cover I just covered with a double layer of shrink-wrap, because I figured the sunlight getting in was worth more than blocking it with fiberglass.

I have a 70 Overlander International, which has a small fan/vent in the bathroom and a fan/vent over the stovetop- these I left open for pulling out condensation and to let in oxygen for myself. I'm wondering if that will be enough, which was my main question in my first post. I had a little mouse problem, so I went underneath the trailer and noticed some of the aluminum sheets were loose and there were gaps where critters could wander in, so I went bananas with the rivet and caulk guns and it's now completely tight down there.

So as far as staying warm, it's up to the furnace and the electric blanket this winter. Can someone tell me where the air comes in for the furnace? Loren, you mentioned the duct under the bathroom- where does it open to the outside- is that the reason for the rectangular openings on both sides of the storage/waste drain compartment? I'm also wondering if the fact that the furnace draws air from outside itself would help with getting enough oxygen inside when everything's pretty sealed up?

Ok, sorry for such a long post... just trying to explain my set-up up front, so anyone graciously offering assistance knows what I've got already. This is home sweet silver home for the time being- my girlfriend (who lives 2-hrs. away- dang!) and I plan to move to Florida ...next...(dang!) year, so all I'm trying to do is make it through the winter and enjoy this little slice of paradise while I've got it. I may end up fleeing to Florida early if things just aren't working out, but it would mean eating a big deposit on the place, and not seeing my sweetheart for a while (she's a teacher under contract for the year). Whew! Well there it is! Thanks again for reading all this, and any more advice about the fresh air & furnace questions are greatly appreciated- Jim
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Old 09-29-2006, 09:44 AM   #22
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DoorGunner, I would like to hear the basics of the solar collector- thanks! If you have a chance, what materials I 'd need, etc. Or where I can find a dive helmet in this area. Jim
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Old 09-29-2006, 09:58 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crockerjl
Can someone tell me where the air comes in for the furnace? Loren, you mentioned the duct under the bathroom- where does it open to the outside- is that the reason for the rectangular openings on both sides of the storage/waste drain compartment? I'm also wondering if the fact that the furnace draws air from outside itself would help with getting enough oxygen inside when everything's pretty sealed up?
The heater air comes in and out of these two holes on the side of the trailer. It is a sealed unit and no air from that part of the heater should enter the trailer living area. The heater is a heat exchanger, it heats fins in the heater then a fan moves the air inside the trailer over the fins to heat the trailer inside. Please note that a heater of that age (or any age) may leak and air from the combustion chamber could make it's way inside. This could result in Carbon Monoxide posioning and death. A CO detector is a must have item if you are going to use the heater.
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Old 09-29-2006, 10:16 AM   #24
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Jim,

The duct to the bath area doesn't open to the outside. There should be a heat supply vent in the floor or under a cabinet that the heated air comes out from. As for the furnace combustion air, looking at the outside of the trailer, there a rectangular with two approximately 1 -1/2 " holes . This is the point for the exhaust from the furnace to exit and for the air for combustion to enter. Each is "piped " separetely of the other. The combustion chamber is "sealed" from the inside of the coach so it should not take air from the inside or vent CO inside. This is taking into consideration all seals for the furnace are in good order and the furnace is clean and in good working order.

Hope that gives you a better idea of how it works.

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Old 09-29-2006, 10:19 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by dwightdi
Most recurrent problems are condensation on all the inside skin and window surfaces from the moisture given off by occupants. The colder it gets the more the interskin cools down and the moisture condenses. You need to get sufficient outside air in to dry it out. When you heat up the cold outside air, it raises its ability to absorb the moisture. Progressively open more area till moisture stops running down the windows. .
I guess you could run a small dehumidifier. Has anyone tried this to combat cold weather condensation?

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Old 09-29-2006, 10:44 AM   #26
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I guess you could run a small dehumidifier. Has anyone tried this to combat cold weather condensation?

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Old 09-29-2006, 11:18 AM   #27
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Question

Loren, I guess what I'm looking at-the opening under the furnace- is just a cutout for the various lines to run under the floor- where I was getting confused is that there is what appears to be an oval opening at the bottom of this recess going toward the back, but it looks like that may only be the outside contour of the water tank against the subfloor. The actual heatduct is right there on top of the floor and runs under the bed, to the bathroom, and comes to the register mounted on the side of the tub. So thanks to you guys I've got it figured out- 2 holes in the furnace vent-one in, one out. So I guess I may as well block off those rectangular openings in the storage/waste drain compartment? (the picture shows the larger one on the right as you face the back- there's a screen temporarily over it) It seems like if they have no function, that would keep quite a bit of cold air from getting under the floor.
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Old 09-29-2006, 01:58 PM   #28
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O.K. Jim I'm gonna give this a shot, if no pics show up here then go to my member photos. Measurement of main glass is 27"X61" the lip is 12". Builditsolar.com is where I got most of the info= I modified the design to fit the window. The foam is easy to cut, foil tape the seams, use sealer --no leaks in the rain! This is my prototype kinda iffy looking but it works. So trying the pics. What the $**&Y is the url of the image just go to my photo page. Tim why not visit your girl friend every so often?
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Old 09-29-2006, 06:40 PM   #29
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You did say barn?

Quote:
Originally Posted by crockerjl
and there's nothing except the old barn in my line of sight that wasn't built by mother nature.

- Jim
Is the barn part of the property you are renting? If so, it would save you a lot of grief if you pulled your Airstream inside, and shut the door. It would help a ton with the heating problem, as you would be out of the wind, and you wouldn't have to worry about ice, snow, or other nasty winter stuff.
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Old 09-29-2006, 08:28 PM   #30
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Cold Climate Wintering

Hi. Wisconsin is surely some of the prettiest scenery and the nicest people is the world. Years ago when I decided to follow my grandparents into the dairy business my grandfather arranged for me to take an AS to stay and work for a few summer and FALL months west of Madison. Didn't take me long to agree with my grandfather that dairy farming was a lot harder than going to college! smile. But the thing is, it gets really COLD! Guess you already know that...

Just a few years back I found myself needing to stay a few weeks longer on a property that I bought and re-sold in Garden City, KS. I put electric heat strip around the fresh water hose, but the furnace could not keep up. I bought and used three little electric ceramic heaters and they worked great, but on two occasions I could not get my door open from ice! The post above about moving into the barn would be nice if it is available. Otherwise, come to LA and park in my barn. Seriously, it sure is going to get to be an ice rink in that shower.

Hope you get it worked out well. Keep us posted. I, for one, would love to hear how you fare.

Good luck!
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Old 09-29-2006, 11:00 PM   #31
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HI, Jim,

Wintering in Atlanta a couple of years in an Argosy 28, I drilled out some of the rivets in the back bumper compartment and put a 60 watt lamp aimed at the drain of the bath tub.

Now I'm back in the same area with an Airstream 31, and I have to think about this once again. I'm going to use the trailer as an office this winter, so it's got to weather the winter with water. (It's a quarter-mile walk to the house, and my imagination runs wild thinking about gastric urgency.)

The furnace in many Airstreams circulates warmth to the holding tanks, so if you want to stay wet, yes, a lot of extra propane is called for.

Gee, I'm a thousand miles south of you, but we'll probably see some nights in the 20's. That's what I'm planning for, anyway. So far, we've seen the high 40's and the heat strip in the old Armstrong has kept it up in the low 70's overnight.

And, yes, I could simply drain the thing and put in a porta-potty, but, hey, I'm used to this old thing and want it to work for me and be WARM when I get into it in the mornings.

By the way, all I have here right now is a pole and a "blue-boy." I have a 150-gallon propane tank coming this week, and I will be using an "Extend-a-Stay" adapter to hook up.

I'm with you all the way. Since 1992, I've had a home, hearth, and warm room that I was always welcome to in north Georgia. My Argosy, and then my Airstream, have been my chosen home since then, and I'm finding it very hard to give this up even though I'm HOME in the full historical and family sense right now.

This topic comes up every winter. We have folks that have wintered all over in their Airstreams, and you can, too.

Some of them will join in this thread. I say, "Go." Grab for it, and you'll have stories to tell right here where folks love stories almost as much as they like pictures.

Lamar
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Old 09-30-2006, 09:18 AM   #32
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O.K. I'm doing better today! More info on the collector- weight of 32 lbs., foam purchased at lowes 1 sheet 3/4 1 sheet 1/2 the frame uses the 3/4" the divider inside the 1/2". The pics do not really show how the collector works. The thickness is 7". basically what we have is a rectangle 27x61x7. put a shelf into the rectangle centered between the glass top and the bottom foam leaving 4" space at hthe bottom. Finish off the top to fit your application. What we have here is a unit that sets up its owm convective loop. cold air enters the back side , drops down and the shelf is warmed by the sun thus warming the air. the cold air gets warm and rises up and into your rig. If you get the angles for mounting close to optimum- right angles to the sun- you WILL get temps of 145 F. Theres lots of info on the web in my earlier post. Good Luck Tim
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Old 10-01-2006, 07:24 AM   #33
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Here is a link for several articles on cold weather camping.
http://www.ccis.com/home/mnemeth/skp/survive.htm
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Old 10-01-2006, 09:26 AM   #34
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[quote=crockerjl]
So my plan, so far, for winter is to disconnect the waste hose, empty out the tank, and rig up a cold little toilet & outhouse around the septic tank opening. As far as showering, I'm just about to test this out: still using water heated on the stove, I'm going to plug up the bathroom tub, bathe there, and suck the water out of the tub using a little wet/dry vac that I have, then empty it out every few days outside.

When I read these posts my mind wanders to be young and adventurous again. Good luck and best wishes on your survival. Maybe I'll pull Chummy over by your land one day this winter to see how you are doing and offer you a hot shower.
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Old 10-01-2006, 06:55 PM   #35
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Thumbs up

Well thanks again to everyone, especially Waynon for your kind offer- I think it's all going to work out fine here, though. I'll just give it a shot & learn as I go. The barn here doesn't have a door nearly big enough to get a trailer into unfortunately. So I'll put the skirt on (the trailer), get that little toilet rigged up, get myself a co detector, and I'll post any (mis)adventures that come my way. The 3 barn kittens are already hunkering down in front of the door daily with a hopeful look in their eyes. This will be a beautiful place to spend my last northern winter and I'm kind of looking forward to it. Jim
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Old 10-05-2006, 09:28 AM   #36
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Here's the reason I'm giving it a go: the front and back yards....
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Old 10-05-2006, 05:58 PM   #37
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please post pictures from the same spot in january!

john
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Old 10-05-2006, 08:30 PM   #38
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Barn????

I'm just wondering, and without a picture it is just a thought - If there is a barn and the interior space is large enough, and you only need a bigger door, and you own it (LOTS OF ANDS) then it might be better for you and the camper to modify the door to gain access to the barn. Your overall comfort and possibly survival might make up for the initial expense.

Just a thought.
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Old 10-05-2006, 10:15 PM   #39
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Are you french? if so looks like you have plenty of meat to eat to get thru winter!
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Old 10-10-2006, 03:17 PM   #40
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Just Beautiful!

Your front and back "yards" are calendar quality beautiful.

How much snow will an AS support? Stupid Southern question, probably, but is there any chance of too much snow load?

I know you'll work it out. Just from looking at your beautiful pictures, I wonder if you'll have vehicle access all winter?

The suggestion to take pictures in mid-Winter is a really great idea. That would make a great memory!

Keep us all posted, lots of pictures. You could keep this thread alive all winter like some people do who post their travels to a blog. We could all keep up with your discoveries as you work it out. Then other people could benefit from your experience.

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