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Old 10-03-2011, 09:35 AM   #1
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Increasing r value

Alright so winter is right around the corner up here in Alaska and I'm noticing my older class c has it's heater coming on more and more. I fear that by the time winter really gets going my heater will run all the time burning power and propane. So I was wondering if any of you fine folks have experience in insulating older campers and could give me some tips. The windows seem like a big culprit as I can feel the cold come off them for quite a ways. There's not much for drafts in here as I filled all the cracks and seams earlier this year. The only thing I can really think of is the walls and floor are pretty thin so I think that could be an issue but I'm not too sure how to go about fixing that

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Old 10-03-2011, 10:42 AM   #2
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Adding insulation to walls would be difficult to impossible, even with major surgery. I did cover some of the walls of a mobile home with sheets of foam insulation then covered that with paneling. It helped a bit. The downside was increased weight and a slight loss of space. That was a minor disadvantge in the mobile home but could be a serious one in a camper.

You might be able to hire a company to spray foam, then coat the roof but that would be expensive and would create problems around A/C units unless you raised them on added curbs (same for roof vents). It would probably also look like heck. You could glue foam sheets to the ceiling, then recover them with paneling (the ceiling would have to be furred out to provide nailers for the paneling). Again, added weight and loss of head clearance could be a problem. It would be a tedious job because you would have to piece it all in, including inside cabinets closets, etc.

Dual pane windows are expensive and would probably cost more than your camper is worth. Cutting pieces of lexan to fit snugly inside window openings or, if there isn't room to put the lexan inside the openings, over the openings would act like storm windows. It wouldn't be as effective as dual pane windows but any improvement beats none, especially if it costs less.

I read of a guy who had a commercial outfit spray foam insulation under the floor and was very happy with the results. You would have to play dodgem with the tanks (or maybe even spray over them unless they are polyethylene), etc., but it is an option and the underside is far more easily accessed without looking like heck than anywhere else. Doing it properly is not really a DYI option. Piecing in foam sheets is an option but, again, would be very tedious and not as effective. Still, anything improvement is better than none.

If permanently (or fairly permanently) sited, skirting the bottom of the camper will keep the cold winds from sucking addition heat from underneath.

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Old 10-03-2011, 10:49 AM   #3
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This won't fix the r-value but you'll quit burning up propane as long as you have electricity- buy a small electric heater for aroung $60.00. They are very safe and I have not topped off my propane tank in over a year!
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Old 10-03-2011, 11:38 AM   #4
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Use plastic on the windows..

Straw bales around the lower perimeter as skirting..

Heat tape your pipes and hose, and heat pad your WH and water tanks.. Or use 100w bulbs..

Keep water in your tanks until you need to dump..

You need a dehumidifier..

If you can find them, concrete curing blankets are tough and can be used on the roof, strapped down. Just leave a vent free.. Can also be used underneath and as skirting if straw cant be used/found.. http://www.maxkatzbag.com/mkb/blankets.html

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Old 10-03-2011, 02:47 PM   #5
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Just to check back in on this thread, as far as the electricity thing goes I boondock it so I'm always on the move so skirting and heaters are out. Also, I live on a fairly remote island so my options for a professional job are pretty slim, it's going to have to be DIY.
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Old 10-04-2011, 09:49 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by AKwanderer View Post
Just to check back in on this thread, as far as the electricity thing goes I boondock it so I'm always on the move so skirting and heaters are out. Also, I live on a fairly remote island so my options for a professional job are pretty slim, it's going to have to be DIY.
i use reflectix to insulate my windshields. i attach it to the inside of the windows with velcro. it works well.
it is basically a plastic bubble sheet bonded to foil backing. it is very light weight. i spliced sheets together with foil tape.
i guess you could start with insulating your windows, then do the whole wall and ceiling if you wanted to.
i bought 2 rolls of single thickness reflextix at home depot for about $20 2 years ago.

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Old 10-04-2011, 10:12 PM   #7
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I think skirting would give you a big bang for the buck- and it doesn't have to be rigid, expensive, bulky, or hard to manage.
Winter weather where I camp in Eastern Washington is as cold as you're likely to see in Ketchikan, and I use "skirting" when I go over there in winter. It makes a big difference to have that dead air space under the little trailer I use for these solo trips.
In my case the skirting is just a grey tarp I cut into the appropriate shape/dimensions and added grommets to for fastening it to the trailer. The right combination of bungee cords completes the kit, although sometimes duct tape must come into play, too!
It takes about 5 minutes to "skirt" the trailer, and it all folds up into a neat bundle when I'm ready to move on.
It's not the prettiest sight in the world, but there are few neighbors to see, so who cares?

That's my two cents!

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Old 10-14-2011, 06:59 PM   #8
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AKwander, A friend complained for three years that he could not heat his class C. On a camping trip to some mountains the temps were 18* and that was the highs! I remembered the dash air and heat controls. I asked him to crank the motor and set the controls to OFF. this shut the fresh air inlet and he complained that the camper was too hot! We was amazed at the difference! We found out also he was parked facing into the wind and there was air blowing in through the vents at 18* and colder all day and night! Might be worth a try.

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