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Climate Package


freestoneangler

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A good many of the TT's we've been looking at have or can be purchased with "climate package". Is there any industry standard for this such as testing of the RV's water system, ability to maintain interior temp, etc. under controlled conditions? For instance, the StarCraft TT at the top of our list offers a "Climate Package" simply stating:

 

Our optional Climate Package extends your camping season and provides protection against frigid temperature with its insulated, heated and enclosed underbelly. For additional protection, the optional full-foil wrap boosts your R-values to R-24 in the floor, R-19 in the walls, and R-22 in the roof.

 

I found this video from Jayco and the testing they performed on their Eagle series RV's. Not knowing test conditions, like whether the water system was continuously cycling during the test to 0F or not, slides in or out, etc. leaves some questions as to just how effective these climate/4 season packages are.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VZxVHQStY4

 

I did not find any information as to an industry standard test (suspect there is not one). Certainly any additional insulation, increasing R-value helps, but by how much really and is it worth the cost? It would be interesting to see this same Jayco test on the same 5th wheel not having the climate package. I also did not find any information from StarCraft on similar tests -- plan to contact them and ask.

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Might be difficult to get the specs on the Jayco tests now they are part of the Thor juggernaut. The video was impressive though.

 

Probably your best bet, though a rather difficult one, is to research through the various accepted standards adopted or promulgated by the RVIA. It could be as obscure as a peripheral spec on a component.

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So-called "Climate" or "Arctic" packages tend to be more for advertising than real information. As far as I know, there is no industry wide standard concerning temperature testing. Two manufacturers can have nearly identical R-values for insulation in walls, ceiling and floors but one may take far greater care with the underbelly, tanks, water lines, etc., than the other. Since more than 80% of global RV production takes place within Elkhart County, IN, some folks find it very helpful to visit the plants of the models in which they are interested to see how things are done before the "skin goes over the guts."

 

Rob

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A question often asked when they refer to 4 seasons is "Where?" While all of those things mentioned will help, it just really depends on a lot of factors. Also, when the wind blows, how tightly the unit is put together really starts to matter as the tiniest gap can let in a lot of cold air as can cut outs not tightly sealed.

 

I was somewhat surprised that the gate on the sewer outlet had not frozen shut as we have had that happen a few times.

 

As long as the daytime temps are above freezing, we have had pretty good luck. When the daytime temp is not above freezing, that is when we have had to be "creative".

 

I don't know, 100 degrees sitting in the sun in an RV and being comfortable, sun shining on the windows, beating on the AC unit(s).............. We have been in the desert heat and just endured -9 at night. Easier to beat the -9 than the 100.

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While there are no industry standards or even standardized definitions, it generally means at least some protection of waste tanks from freezing weather, some extra insulation (R rating is what counts) and sometimes dual pane windows. Worse yet, the amount of outside air penetration varies widely and that can be as important as any of the other factors. About the only real effort to make some sort of leveling in order to allow prospective buyers to compare RVs on a fairly level field has been done by the RV Consumer Group with their ratings and classification of the different models. Some of the more reputable manufacturers cooperate with the RVCG, but those selling less quality usually also try to keep the RVCG as uninformed about their products as they can. The manufacturers have used their industry association, the RVIA to set a few standards in an effort to keep the federal highway safety rules at bay and to keep you from comparing across brand names.

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In my opinion any quality full time RV will include a "climate package" in all their RVs. A full time

unit will be in the sun and heat, will be in the wind, and will be in cold weather. If the RV use is

only for a summer vacation and holiday weekends a "climate package" will probably not be of concern. Greg

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Well, can we agree on what should be included for a cold weather package? I don't think there is a standard so such a list would be a good place to start. Things I would expect are:

 

1. Rvalues for, sidewalls and ceiling competitive with other brands advertising as cold weather

2. Double pane windows

3. enclosed underbelly around tanks and pipes with insulation

4. tank heating pads

5. as Kirk said, general fit preventing significant air infiltration

 

I think for a northern state the most you can expect is a 3 season without modifications not provided by a manufacturer.

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A question often asked when they refer to 4 seasons is "Where?"

 

 

 

That reminded me of a mobile home we once bought in Texas intending to move it to Minnesota after two years living in it. We asked and were assured it was fully insulated. Once in Minnesota we discovered "fully insulated" meant a thin layer of insulation went all the way around the unit. Getting sellers to define their terms is worth trying to do; touring the plant that manufacturers them is better.

 

Linda Sand

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Well, can we agree on what should be included for a cold weather package? I don't think there is a standard so such a list would be a good place to start. Things I would expect are:

 

1. Rvalues for, sidewalls and ceiling competitive with other brands advertising as cold weather

2. Double pane windows

3. enclosed underbelly around tanks and pipes with insulation

4. tank heating pads

5. as Kirk said, general fit preventing significant air infiltration

 

I think for a northern state the most you can expect is a 3 season without modifications not provided by a manufacturer.

FWIW - My past and present fifth wheels both feature enclosed underbellies and do a great job of keeping tanks, valves, and plumbing warm in sub-freezing weather. Neither included tank heating pads and I see no need for them in an insulated, heated, enclosed underbelly.

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. Neither included tank heating pads and I see no need for them in an insulated, heated, enclosed underbelly.

It just depends upon where you stay and how cold the outside temperature falls as well as how long it stays below freezing. Most higher rated "cold weather" packages do include some sort of heat source for plumbing and waste tank areas. Heat pads are one of those ways, while others have a small heat duct from the RV furnace to supply heat. No amount of insulation will provide any heat, but it slows the loss of whatever heat energy is in the liquid or space insulated. Cold is really not something that seeps into and area but it is the loss of any existing heat, without replacement. Of course, if air can penetrate into an area from outside, the heat loss process takes much less time. Most of us don't spend much time where it is extremely cold and so heat may not be vital to tanks and plumbing if well insulated.

 

Our waste tanks, plumbing and fresh water tank were all under the floor in space that was insulated and had a duct from the furnace, but we rarely used the propane furnace but heated mostly with electric and to insure our plumbing didn't freeze, I kept a 40 watt incandescent light bulb burning n the plumbing bay which was enough to keep the temperatures there above 40° where we wintered. Had we been skiers or serious cold weather people we probably would have needed more.

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Tank heating pads are a hype. What you really need to worry about are the plumbing lines. At 1/2" they will freeze a lot faster than the tanks. You can always add some Rv antifreeze to the tanks. Water tank is another issue. I don't believe there are normally electric pads on the water tank, may be wrong though. Heat tape and old fashioned incandescent light bulbs work great. Extra insulation may be helpful but for any extended length of time in sub freezing temps probably not that helpful.

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We do have the enclosed heated underbelly .We do use the furnace all the time as our only source of heat other than the Fireplace. It works well in moderately cold weather. We manage to keep ourselves in warm climates year round. There are other places water lines can freeze other than the underbelly. We have been in temps below freezing here in Florida a few times over the years with not a freeze problem in sub zero temps I would doubt one can prevent freezing water lines. We are not going to experiment.

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And what do they mean by a "foil wrap" around the underbelly? This does not sound like a good place to put foil because you have stones, sticks, cardboard boxes, tire refuse, etc. flying up and hitting the underside of your RV, assuming of course you are actually going to take it down a highway.

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The foil wrap on our HitchHiker looks like the plastic packaging wrap with small bubbles only it a

shiny metal foil. It's used to block wind and provide some additional insulation. It's placed under

the carpet on the wood floors and not exposed to the outside elements. Greg

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I too look at the R-values in the RV. It doesn't matter if you want to keep warm or cool, R-value is the defining factor. FWIW, nothing has been proven to be more effective(there's that R-value again)than dead-air space. That goes back to what Kirk said about eliminating air movement and sealing all holes/cracks.

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I have only found Highland Ridge Open Range RVs to show they have been tested in a specific environment. All the rest seem to just state they have an R value and Heated Underbelly's. My top ones I think would be good are Open Range, Northwood, Grand Design. I have found they seem to be the better ones for Climate Packages from my research so far.

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I also use the heat cord on my incoming water hose with the hose wrap, I leave the thermostat out side the wrap open to the air so when the air temp drops to freezing it comes on and warms the hose. I use them from the water source up inside to where it connects to the RV by doing this it keeps the water warm in the lines in my underbelly, which also is sealed with 14" of insulation between the frame rails.

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