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Old 12-23-2015, 04:46 PM   #1
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Well insulated used Class A?

I'm about to begin a search for a good used Class A to fulltime in. It's likely that I'll spend time at a park in the Reno NV around the holidays visiting the family there... maybe for a few months during the colder and sometimes snowy winter months.

I know... tell the family to move to a warmer place, right? Or just move in with them? Neither are really viable options...

What are your thoughts about brands/models and/or equipment packages that would make life more comfortable (and economical) in a place like Reno with 20-ish nighttime temps. Would heated tanks be necessary if I'm connected to park utilities (still a newbie at all this).

Thanks!
Dan
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Old 12-23-2015, 04:56 PM   #2
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Look for a unit that has dual pane windows & rigid foam insulation in the walls & ceiling. With our MH (National Dolphin) we run the propane furnace when the temps are in the freezing range to keep the tanks & pipes from freezing. Not sure if that is true if you have heaters on the tanks. Be prepared to go through a lot of propane during the winter. Good luck with your search.
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Old 12-23-2015, 05:15 PM   #3
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Look at upper end or flagship units and you will typically find:

-good thermal and acoustical insulation
-large capacity propane tank
-2 furnaces
-heated tanks with larger capacity tanks (less susceptible to freezing)
-dual pane windows

American Coaches and many other brands will fulfill these requirements.
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Old 12-23-2015, 05:18 PM   #4
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Make sure you look for a rig that has Aqua-hot unit with zone heating. From what I understand this is very efficient, in milder temps it can run off of electric but in colder temps it burns diesel fuel to heat the circulated coolant. If you boon dock the circulating pumps run off of 12 volt and use very little power.

X2 on the dual pane windows. Good window shades all the way around also help hold in the heat.

Some rigs are 4 season rigs and withstand pretty cold temps.

Make sure the basement is fully enclosed and the basement doors are insulated.
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Old 12-23-2015, 05:24 PM   #5
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20 degrees over night isn't all that bad. Multiple daytime temps at 20 needs a bit of prior planning for the coach and occupants comfort. Easy to find a rig to support your must haves. The installed propane furnace(s) will handle those temps just watch your propane usage. Best to top off the propane tank before settling in at a camp ground. A coach should have a heat duct running to the tank area to keep the temps up enough to prevent a hard freeze.

Dual pane windows will need to be on you must have list. Not just for cold but heat also. Heated tanks are always a plus. and easy to find. If your budget will support a coach with a aqua hot heating system or even floor radiant heat will work very well to hold back the outside temps.

Covering windows with reflective insulation will help a lot. Retracted slides will give you a better air seal and also decrease overall volume of air that needs to be heated. You can supplement with electric to help with the fuel burn rate but don't depend on it fully. You want the propane to kick in at some point to send warm air to the tank area in addition to the tank heaters.

Any good diesel rig should meet your needs concerning full timing and some adventures into cooler areas of the country at times. Good luck with your search. Also heated tanks are still necessary even when plugged it.
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Old 12-23-2015, 06:54 PM   #6
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I lived in my Newmar while the house was being built in a supposed warm area. Well, they had the worst cold weather and snow they have had for 100 years! The snow stayed around for over 2 weeks and there were mornings in the single digits. We were worried but we used less propane than anyone else in the park (asked the propane guy) and you could tell by the amount of snow on the roof that the roof is well insulated. It has double paned windows but it obviously has good insulation in all the walls and the roof. A long way of saying that I would look at a Newmar.
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Old 12-23-2015, 07:00 PM   #7
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x 2 on the dual pane windows! Also, if you have tank heaters, don't use them unless you have at least 1/4 tank in the grey and black tanks or you can cause some damage (according to the owners manual). Also, if you are using electric space heaters, be advised that they WILL NOT heat the water bay unless you put one of them actually in the bay!

Get a three way wireless thermometer. Place one sensor inside the living space of the coach, one in the water bay, and permanently mount one in the bay that has your propane tank.

If it get REALLY cold where you are, consider some type of skirting around the base of your motor home or camper. I am a firm proponent of straw bales if your campground will allow them. Straw, NOT Hay! Come Spring, donate to them to the campground for use when reseeding, or in damp areas.

Get those 4" thick fuzzy square "pillows" from any camping supply house, put in the vent fans wells, a lot of heat leaves through those!

Consider a dehumidifier if doing much propane cooking. In Summer, the Air Conditioning will dehumidify the coach, but in winter, you need to remove the water vapor some other way. You can purchase a good dehumidifier from any big box store for less than $200.00. An absolute must in my opinion. Good luck in your search!
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Old 12-24-2015, 08:16 AM   #8
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With so many mentions of dual pane windows - have you had any problems with the seal between the panes being damaged? When I was looking at a unit I was advised to not do double pane as the road travel can too easily damage the seal, resulting in moisture getting between the two panes. And being costly to fix. Dual panes always seemed to make sense to help maintain inside temps - heat and A/C. But what they said about the difference in shaking apart the seals in a moving vehicle also made sense. What is the real world experience, please. And thanks.

Diana
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Old 12-24-2015, 11:54 AM   #9
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cats aplenty

Yes there could be a problem with seals, some manufacturers worst then others. I remember looking at many Safari's with the seals actually sucked toward the center of the window. You can also find some coaches with the window's fogged.

But considering the number of rigs you see on the road, a very small percentage had problems.

I did have 3 front window's fogged, do not really know the reason. The front entry door, which is a none slider, the drivers side slider, and the passenger side small slider.

I removed them and fixed myself, cost me ~$75 to fix all 3, took me 2 days but could have probably done it in 1 day now that I know the tricks, There are several good posts on how to do this. Here is one that I did\

Don't wait too long
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Old 12-25-2015, 07:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cats_aplenty View Post
With so many mentions of dual pane windows - have you had any problems with the seal between the panes being damaged? When I was looking at a unit I was advised to not do double pane as the road travel can too easily damage the seal, resulting in moisture getting between the two panes. And being costly to fix. Dual panes always seemed to make sense to help maintain inside temps - heat and A/C. But what they said about the difference in shaking apart the seals in a moving vehicle also made sense. What is the real world experience, please. And thanks.

Diana

Our coach is all dual pane except for the front windshields. 15 years old, 119k miles, never had a single problem. Even if you do, as the previous poster stated, you can repair pretty reasonable. Wouldn't buy a coach without them!
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Old 12-25-2015, 08:38 AM   #11
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If you're looking at DP's, definitely look for one with a Aqua Hot, Hydro Hot, or Oasis diesel burner. Not only are they efficient at heating, they have a rather large supply of fuel to utilize without having to pick up and move to refill. You could even haul fuel with cans if necessary instead of moving, but you would have to stay somewhere a long time before that happens. They also include thermostat regulated heat exchangers in the wet areas and provide an endless supply of hot water.

Our Mountain Aire had 80% of the dual pane windows failed when we purchased it last year. Apparently there was a time frame where nearly all the dual pane windows they were using failed. We negotiated ALL NEW windows in our deal and have our fingers crossed. I think they are a must, if they remain viable.
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Old 12-25-2015, 09:02 AM   #12
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Canadians have a EEE triple E that has a nice floor plan in 40' with slides and they stay nice and warm since they are made for WAY UP NORTH USAGE
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Old 12-25-2015, 09:23 AM   #13
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Our 1999 National Tradewinds is very comfortable in the cold weather. With two furnaces the whole coach stays warm and we've never had a water freezing problem because the furnaces are vented to the storage bays where fresh and waste water are stored. I only have one comment about the furnaces, they aren't whisper quiet, but they don't keep us awake at night.
Dick

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Old 12-28-2015, 12:35 PM   #14
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We left our Single Pane window rig in the North Reno area for 3.5 months beginning in January several years ago.

The furnace was set to 50 degrees and the shore power plugged in when we were absent with no freezing problems.

Very comfortable during our weekend use in that time period.

It does seem to be very Windy there.
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