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Old 09-30-2011, 07:11 PM   #1
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Hot and Cold

We are considering buying another Class A motorhome, had a 2005 SportsCoach Encore which we sold this summer. One of the reasons we sold it was because we found it cold ( my wife is always cold ) when travelling and also when we were parked. When the outside temperature was close to freezing furnaces seemed to come on about every fifteen minutes. Also when parked in Phoenix in April air conditioners had to run almost steady just to keep unit cool. I'm wondering if this is typical for Class A motorhomes or was ours poorly insulated. Travelling was also cold, dash air couldn't keep up and only alternative was to run with coach furnace on which I don't like for safety reasons. Wondering what other peoples experiences have been like. Considering a Tiffin Phaeton.
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Old 09-30-2011, 07:26 PM   #2
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Hi mickey11,
I do not know your previous coach. Answering your question about HVAC is temp control is difficult. On the heat side what is the thermostat set at? Also, wind has a lot to do with how a coach dissipates heat. On the A/C side, if the front of the coach is facing west it will be difficult to keep the coach cool. One must also cover the windshield to give the HVAC system a chance to maintain the desired temp.

My coach maintains the desired temp in both heat and a/c mode. We are comfortable when and where we travel.
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Old 10-01-2011, 12:43 PM   #3
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Actually: YES, it is fairly typical.. However there are things you can do.

First, both the heat and cooling are not designed for extremes. Pheonix,, epically in say August (If your chocolate bar melts in the fridge... Welcome to Arizona in the summer) sure qualifies as "extreme" You can, I'm told, buy "booster" units (Basically pre-coolers) or rent them but in truth I've never seen one. Just read about them.

But you can expect the units to run full time, what's more it tends to be dry in Pheonix and Air Conditioners work better with a bit more humdity in the air, adding an evaporative cooler to the motor home might help under dry conditiones.. About 10 degrees in my case. Alas, the unit finally died of old age (lasted six years) Will have to replace before I re-visit AZ.

Winter.. Wife complained about cold coming in the window over the bed.. I managed to hang a blanket that solved that one.. Helps both summer and winter and blocks light as well. All around good idea.

In my case I cut a lenght of 1x1 lumber to the exact width of the window's "Side frame" things (not sure what they are called, like a cornice box but on the side, valances?) it fits snugly, I used paper clamps from Staples (Big heavy pieces of spring steel with wire bails) to "Clamp" the blanket to the curtain "rod" Navaho blanket, Very scratchy but since it's between the glass and the pleated day-night shade, not a problem. Again worked great.

Also in summer.. Try to find shade.
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Old 10-01-2011, 03:11 PM   #4
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Re: "Travelling was also cold, dash air couldn't keep up and only alternative was to run with coach furnace on which I don't like for safety reasons."

I would encourage you to make sure that your next MH is equipped with heat pumps, you can run them while traveling with the generator running. They do a fine job of heating for ambient temperatures as low as 40F.

I just spent a whole week campng on the water in Northern lower Michigan and used the heat pumps for the entire duration of our stay. They worked flawlessly, did not turn the furnace on once I just used the CG electricity to run the heat pumps! ( temps got down to the low to mid 40's at night and we were snug as a bug in a rug) So you may want to look into them for your next unit.
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Old 10-01-2011, 04:52 PM   #5
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What is the safety concern of using the furnace while driving? There should be no concern for a properly operating furnace.

Most motorhomes are very poorly insulated in the front area. Lots of cold can come in and around things when on the road.

For comfort, I found that a 5er was generally more comfortable.

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Old 10-01-2011, 08:07 PM   #6
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RVs are poorly insulated compared toa stick kouse - the walls are thinner, as are the ceilings and floors. And every wall in an RV is an exterior wall, and every place in an RV is within 4 feet of an exterior wall. Exterior walls are cold or hot, according to the season. And RVs have a lot of windows and skylights too, not to mention that huse windshield on a motorhome.

So yes, the heat or a/c will run a lot. And the dash air alone won't cool the driving area in 90+ weather. You need the house a/c to cool when driving in hot climates, and maybe the furnace or heat pump in frigid weather. They really aren't designed for either one.
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Old 10-01-2011, 08:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickey11 View Post
I'm wondering if this is typical for Class A motorhomes or was ours poorly insulated.
With all due respect to those who have agreed with this statement, IMHO it is a function of the quality of the MH not of Class A's in general. We intentionally purchased an older MH built by a company known for quality and we haven't been disappointed. We have dual-pane windows, a "hydronic" heating system and enough insulation that we were able to walk around in shirt sleeves when we got caught in ~15 degree weather last winter. The heating system keeps the entire basement above freezing so water usage in cold weather is not an issue either. Furthermore, the heating system runs on diesel fuel and a preheat switch diverts engine heat while driving so we arrive at our destination warm without any use of fuel whatsoever.

I recognize that these features are primarily found on higher end ($$$) MH's. We knew that and that's why we bought ours used so we could afford what we knew we really wanted.
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Old 10-02-2011, 12:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary RVRoamer View Post
. . . .

So yes, the heat or a/c will run a lot. And the dash air alone won't cool the driving area in 90+ weather. You need the house a/c to cool when driving in hot climates, and maybe the furnace or heat pump in frigid weather. They really aren't designed for either one.
That's been pretty much my experience.
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Old 10-02-2011, 12:39 AM   #9
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Hot & Cold

Thanks everyone, useful information and it sounds like you get what you pay for. My safety concern, travelling with furnace on, was in case of an accident you could have an open flame with propane spilling from broken lines, not a good mix.
We were in Phoenix second week of April, temp in low 90's, and AC definitely had trouble keeping up. Since a lot of our travel will be in a cooler climate, Canada, I'm more concerned about keeping the coach warm.
Thanks again.
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Old 10-02-2011, 12:32 PM   #10
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W/regard to propane on while traveling, certainly each to his/her own. We don;t worry about it to much. If there is an accident that ruptures an internal propane line the sudden rush of propane will trip the auto shutoff feature built into all modern MoHo tanks. If the tank is ruptured, very unlikely, on or off will not matter.

We travel in the winter and keep the furnace on when temps are below 40, no way the dash heater will keep up, besides we need the furnace running to keep the water system from freezing in sub 32 temps which we also encounter no matter how hard we try to avoid.

We have double glass and our coach is relatively well insulated, but it does get chilly when the temps drop into the 20's, we dress warm and keep the furnace set to 70 and keep driving south or west to get out of the chill.
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Old 10-10-2011, 09:31 AM   #11
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Have you been happy

Thanks again for your feedback. I'm wondering what the folks who own Tiffin and Newmar units think of them. Are you generally happy, what sort of issues have you had and would you buy another one? We owned a Coachmen Sportscoach Encore 380ds and I wasn't real happy with it although the biggest issue was the temperature inside during colder weather which from your responses seems to be normal for a lot of the coaches out there. It seemed like I was always fixing something on the Coachmen but it was always minor items which I could repair myself and that's probably normal since things tend to shake loose as you're rattling and rolling down the highway. Overall structurally, sidewalls, roof etc, the coach seemed to be fine with the exception of one leak which I'm pretty sure was a manufacturing flaw.
Our budget should allow for a 2006 or 2007 Newmar or Tiffin class a diesel preferably in the 36 to 38 ft. range so I'm curious to know what you folks think of them.
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Old 10-12-2011, 08:17 PM   #12
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We can't talked about the cold weather as we just bought our Tiffin Allegro 35QBA in June of this year but we ca attest to the fact that the A/C ( and insulation) worked great. The windshield is so big that the front of the coach was a little warmer than the rear. Assumption is the front of the coach will be colder in winter. Some folks have additional insulation placed behind the front TV and dash area. Seems to be successful. Good luck.
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Old 10-17-2011, 10:28 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yondog
We can't talked about the cold weather as we just bought our Tiffin Allegro 35QBA in June of this year but we ca attest to the fact that the A/C ( and insulation) worked great. The windshield is so big that the front of the coach was a little warmer than the rear. Assumption is the front of the coach will be colder in winter. Some folks have additional insulation placed behind the front TV and dash area. Seems to be successful. Good luck.
Did you consider getting addl insulation behind the front tv? We're getting the 2012 35qba in December or so.

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Old 10-17-2011, 11:19 PM   #14
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"Cold" is a personal feeling. One aspect of science associated with the "feeling" of cold or hot is what is called "surface temperature." Regardless of what the actual air temp is in a room, it will be the temperature of the room "surfaces" that will dictate our feeling of comfort. That is the actual surface temperature of the walls, ceiling, furniture, glass, etc.

Another factor in "comfort" is the physical size of RVs mean we are physically closer to the walls than in a stix-n-brix and those RV walls can only contain some 2in of insulation compared to 6+ in a stix-n-brix.

If those walls are cooler (more noticeable than warmer) than the inside air temp our feeling of comfort will be dictated by the surface temp of those walls and NOT the actual air temp. And you bet, with less insulation, those RV walls will not have a surface temperature the same as the inside air temperature. Couple that with the closer proximity to those colder surface temperatures and absolutely, some folks may "feel" colder - and justifiably so.

The smaller physical air volume of an RV also makes precise temp control difficult if not outright impossible. The smaller, non circulating RV air space cools/heats much quicker than we are used to in the large air space expanse of a stix-n-brix. This means not only do we feel the "dis-comfort" of the unequal (i.e. cooler) surface temperatures but we also feel the more varied inside air temps (easily spanning 5+ degrees) between on/off cycles of the heat (or AC). This rapidly changing air temp and the wider temperature cycles can also have a dramatic impact our feeling of "comfort" for some folks. Hence faster temp cycling and a typically wider temp cycling make RV "comfort" very different than we are used to.

So, due to an RVs size, surface proximity, and limited insulation, the physics and room architecture science can cause some folks a high degree of temperature dis-comfort.

We can take steps to increase perceived comfort by minimizing the effects of surface temperature imbalance by covering walls and as many surfaces as possible with "softer" coverings like fabrics and the like. "Hard" surfaces "feel" colder than "soft" surfaces. We can minimize drafts with caulking, foam, double insulated windows, and make sure the heat/AC does not blow that air directly at us thus compounding the temp imbalance. We can optimize the location and type of thermostats to try to minimize the on/off temperature swings, but due to physical size and low physical air space volume this is very challenging.

The ratio of glass to wall in an RV is typically far higher than in a stix-n-brix and when combined with the low air space volume means we will feel the impacts of that glass radiation more directly - as well as being physically closer to the windows.

That Imax sized windshield offers impressive views and also impressive heat/cold radiation and we sit just a couple feet away from it. You betcha you will feel that single pane surface temperature before you feel the air temperature.

That low air volume in an RV will make the heat kick on/off like it's gone wild (typically far more heat BTU than AC BTU) which also means the AC may run continuously. RV size limits air ducting meaning more hot/cold spots due to less air mixing and air turnover.

We don't notice that the AC in our stix-n-brix probably also runs continuously because we are not living right underneath the AC in a stix-n-brix. Hence, proximity to the furnace and AC in an RV means we are far more aware they are running than in stix-n-brix adding a strong psychological factor to our feeling of comfort.

So yeah, there are lots of factors (and science) why it can feel so different in an RV and why our "comfort" may or may not be different in an RV. Different folks have different sensitivities to these factors and hence have different perceptions of "comfort" in an RV. Try to identify those factors above that seem to affect your feelings of comfort and work to minimize them.
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