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-   -   Staying through the winter in Taos, NM without winterizing (https://www.airforums.com/forums/f462/staying-through-the-winter-in-taos-nm-without-winterizing-161869.html)

YodaBuddha 01-27-2017 01:05 AM

My furnace is still cycling on and off - given it is running now probably 90% of the time - but the fact that it is cycling shows it isn't maxed out yet - now at 3.4F.

xrvr 01-27-2017 05:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OTRA15 (Post 1904152)
With the use of electric heaters and hair dryers, and no discussion of a generator, it seems highly likely that shore power is being used IMO.

Or there's a uhaul trailer filled with fully charged batteries. ,!

OTRA15 01-27-2017 06:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Antique Pedaler (Post 1904283)
Here's the couple who have all the experience in wintering in an Airstream in Alaska and the Grand Canyon . Here on airforum look up deauxrite from 2012. Like Dudley do right.

Thanks for the reference. Here is deuxrite's thread on Winter Living in the Grand Canyon:

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f459...yon-98031.html

and deuxrite has posted in this thread which also looks on-topic judging from the title:

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f227...tes-84702.html

Search results for that user name:

https://www.airforums.com/forums/sear...archid=6828809

OTRA15 01-27-2017 06:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by YodaBuddha (Post 1904416)
My furnace is still cycling on and off - given it is running now probably 90% of the time - but the fact that it is cycling shows it isn't maxed out yet - now at 3.4F.

The additional electric heat you have added contributes to the cycling, which does have the downside of robbing the very hidden locations of crucial heat from the heating ducts. I would consider turning off the electric heaters in those visible plumbing spaces, if they are safely warm [edit -- or put the heaters in fan only mode]. A simple electric fan in those spaces would have been an adequate solution IMO, as they are exposed directly to warm air, and would permit the main furnace to supply all the heat, including to the tank/piping areas buried deep below in the underbelly of the beast.

:blink:

Adventure.AS 01-27-2017 07:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by YodaBuddha (Post 1904416)
My furnace is still cycling on and off - given it is running now probably 90% of the time - but the fact that it is cycling shows it isn't maxed out yet - now at 3.4F.

Using the supplemental electric heat directed into the plumbing space appears to be a viable option. With the furnace running 90% of the time it is still putting plenty of heat into the plumbing and tank area as well as heating the interior living space.

Where some people run in to problems is in using the supplemental heat in the living space. In that configuration the furnace runs too little and that could cause the plumbing and tanks to get to the freezing point in very cold weather.

Alluminati 01-27-2017 02:05 PM

Very inspiring! Thanks for sharing your experiences!

I hate cold weather, which is why I want my trailer to work stupendously to shelter me from the elements when the mercury drops. But you've made it sound fun, and now I want to go skiing!

YodaBuddha 01-27-2017 03:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OTRA15 (Post 1904443)
The additional electric heat you have added contributes to the cycling, which does have the downside of robbing the very hidden locations of crucial heat from the heating ducts. I would consider turning off the electric heaters in those visible plumbing spaces, if they are safely warm [edit -- or put the heaters in fan only mode]. A simple electric fan in those spaces would have been an adequate solution IMO, as they are exposed directly to warm air, and would permit the main furnace to supply all the heat, including to the tank/piping areas buried deep below in the underbelly of the beast.

:blink:

The electric heater that I'm using is very small and has a low 600W power setting. Also, since it is heating this interior space that is closed off from the living area, I'm not sure how much it actually heats the living area. And, we like to keep it very warm in here, so we probably run the furnace more than average.

I've been paying close attention to how much the furnace is running, and I haven't noticed a significant difference with the electric heater running in this space.

For these reasons, I wasn't that worried.

However, I would still rather not run this electric heater for the reasons you describe. The reason why I'm using it might sound absurd. Our cat loves cavelike spaces and she will go into this space instantly if we leave the door to it open. My wife and I don't want her to go in there as we're afraid she might be drawn to crawl to the warmth of the furnace, and we aren't sure if it might be hazardous for her to be in there. Also, we are worried that she might scratch the furnace ductwork, or damage the wiring, or even get herself electrocuted.

So, leaving this door open doesn't seem to be an option.

In any case, last night it went down to -5.1F here, and I dumped the grey tank this morning when it had risen to about 20F. No freezing and no problems.

I have a feeling that last night will be the coldest night of the year here in Taos - so I'm feeling confident that there is no risk of freezing with our current setup, including the electric heater.

I'm planning on not running the electric heater if temperatures are only going down into the 20's. I'm a little torn about whether to run it if temps go into the teens.

Docinabox 01-29-2017 10:00 AM

Thank you for exploring the limits of your airstream for all of us! Very nice write up with a lot of great information. Someday I hope to do winter camping off grid. There are a lot of great ideas here to help. I hope things continue to go well for you.

abqdor 01-30-2017 01:49 PM

Very informative. Thanks for starting the thread.

n930jd 01-31-2017 08:47 PM

Any update?

AirDFW 01-31-2017 09:27 PM

Staying through the winter in Taos, NM without winterizing
 
Spent time in Santa Fe in similar conditions for a week with success. 2016 27FB. Headed to AngelFire for a week next month and only adjustments will be: heated water hose and dehumidifer. Heated hose won't change the usage protocol, but will prevent me from the need to disconnect / drain / store somewhere warm / reconnect constantly, which is a bit maddening.

OP: How long is a a single OEM size AS propane tank lasting you in those temps?

BHecht 02-02-2017 03:19 PM

Just subscribed. Very interested to see how it goes, as I just got a 23 International Signature that will likely live in Lake Tahoe as a guest house, preferably year round. Good luck!

YodaBuddha 02-04-2017 02:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AirDFW (Post 1906384)
OP: How long is a a single OEM size AS propane tank lasting you in those temps?

In the coldest temps we had, approximately three to four days. This is not a very accurate estimate as I was following a protocol to not let any tanks go completely empty - so I am not 100% sure how much longer I could have gone on a given tank.0

YodaBuddha 02-04-2017 02:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by n930jd (Post 1906373)
Any update?

Sorry for the delayed reply. I've been very busy skiing and haven't logged on in a bit.

Everything's great. Zero problems and business as usual.

YodaBuddha 02-04-2017 02:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by YodaBuddha (Post 1907711)
In the coldest temps we had, approximately three to four days. This is not a very accurate estimate as I was following a protocol to not let any tanks go completely empty - so I am not 100% sure how much longer I could have gone on a given tank.0

Note that tanks might have only lasted two days, but there was a significant amount of passive solar heating here in the day. Even with temps in the twenties, the sun kept it warm enough so the furnace almost never ran.

Nothing like the New Mexican sun in the winter at high altitude!

OTRA15 02-04-2017 06:25 AM

Thanks for the updates. Glad your AS survived the bitter cold, in large part thanks to your willingness to R&D and explore the plumbing system's details. Well done!

It is good to keep in mind, however, and in my personal opinion, that our great trailers are not very well insulated, with R values in the single digits apparently, so that "making it work" involves very high energy costs in the use of petroleum fuels of some kind, whether we are heating or cooling.

The quote below is from one of many older threads which touch on R values. Just a FYI to keep us all aware that Mother Earth is paying a price when we push the envelope and need to stay "comfortable."

The use of renewable energies such as solar and wind dampen this profound use of fossil fuels, of course, but storage capacity becomes an issue on the road due to battery weights.

Getting ready for Spring!

Cheers,

Peter

[click on arrow in quote to go to that thread]

Quote:

Originally Posted by 2airishuman (Post 786744)
hi dillon

welcome to the board.

shells are spun glass and NOW floors are bubble foil.

its ALL single digit R value, there is only so much that can be done in such a small gap.

newer units also have a 'thermal break' butyl tape used in the walls (between sink/ribs)

which reduces conduction THROUGH the walls, but as bob's pic shows, NOT MUCH.

with windows/vents/skylights and holes for fridge/furnace stove vent and VERY POORLY sealed doors...

a/s are NOT known for being well insulated for the EXTREMES of temperature ranges.

LOTs of discussion about this in old threads (mostly 04/05)

when there were RUMORS of different insulation in different models...

of course the rumors were wrong, but made for posting interest.

all u need is in these threads.

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f249...ries-8925.html

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f46/...ion-13619.html

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f46/...sts-40442.html

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f46/...ess-46441.html

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f458...load-9024.html

cheers
2air'


YodaBuddha 02-04-2017 11:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OTRA15 (Post 1907730)
...so that "making it work" involves very high energy costs in the use of petroleum fuels of some kind, whether we are heating or cooling.

Good point. However, my estimates are that we are using less fossil fuel heating the airstream, even on the coldest nights, then if either my wife or I was driving a car to commute to work every day on your average commute route. Since we've arranged our lives and our work so that we don't need to commute to work, we actually have a lower fossil fuel footprint than the average American who commutes.

Also, note that we did not choose to go to the most frigid of climates with our Airstream. Winters in Taos are actually very mild. This was a very unusual cold spell - rather rare. Normally it goes well above freezing every day and only dips into the 20's at night, and we would use much less fuel for heating.

Keep in mind that this is a very "back of the envelope" sort of calculation - but I still believe that it is accurate enough to be in the ball park.

Here we go.

To get to work, the average commuter drives 15 miles each way. Let's assume that the average car gets 20 miles per gallon during this commute - note that the average gas milage is probably lower than this, but I'm being conservative in this calculation.

This means that they would burn approximately 1.5 gallons of gas per day, five days a week.

A gallon of gas weighs 6.2 pounds, so this is 9.3 pounds of gas a day.

On the coldest days, 30 pounds of propane seems to last about 4 days. So, we are burning 7.5 pounds of propane per day. This is less fuel consumption than used for the average daily commute to work!

Now, on normal days here in Taos when it isn't unusually cold, a 30 pound propane tank seems to last about 8 days or more. So, we are actually burning less than half the fossil fuel than we would in this daily commute to work.

Additionally, we aren't living in a larger normal house. While a normal house would be better insulated, because of it's size it would require a similar amount of fuel for heating than the Airstream.

So, I disagree with your statement implying that what we are doing is worse for the environment than living in an ordinary house and/or doing "normal" things such as commuting to work.

OTRA15 02-05-2017 06:53 AM

All good points, thanks! The general point was to suggest that we all live consciously with full awareness of our choices. It is hard to get through life without leaving many footprints, but some folks take the costs to Mother Earth for granted IMO, not you necessarily.

Peter

n930jd 02-05-2017 01:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by YodaBuddha (Post 1907712)
Sorry for the delayed reply. I've been very busy skiing and haven't logged on in a bit.

Everything's great. Zero problems and business as usual.

Nice. I'm really encouraged by this. Glad it's working

AirDFW 02-07-2017 07:12 PM

Will be in AngelFire in three weeks and will report back on our adventures as well.


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