Determining a Camper’s Insulation R-Value
Tuesday, December 3rd 2013 21:10:37
RV Lifestyle Consultant Randy Murray unfolds the mystery of the R-Value in relation to how well a camper is insulated on the Pete’s RV YouTube Channel.
When shopping for a new camper, the salesperson will usually sling around R-Values like they’re the next best thing since the black tank flush. The only problem is that these values hold little meaning to you other than the bigger the number the better the insulation.
R-Value is a measurement of thermal resistance. There is a scale and calculations surrounding R-Value, but as Randy points out, you can take a much less technical approach to determine how well an RV is insulated:
1. Look for visible proof of sound insulation construction practices such as a sealed underbelly, finished storage compartments, and the use thermal foil beneath the carpet in slideouts.
2. Request a breakaway view of the RV you are shopping. This allows you to see where and what type of insulating materials are used throughout the coach. Quite a few manufacturers provide breakaway views in their brochures and promotional materials. A salesperson that is on the ball can get you this information plus be at your service to point out all of the insulation features found in any camper that is on your buying radar.
3. Hints of a good R-Value is a camper with a published temperature rating. Nowadays, most campers come with a thermal package (i.e. “Arctic Package”). Manufacturers relate these packages with a degree rating (some are even third-party certified). Note here that while manufacturers push how well these coaches perform in cold weather, it is also a good indicator that they are equally effective keeping interiors cool in hot weather.
Per Randy’s mention on how helpful it is to see a breakaway view of an RV to determine who well it is insulated, Pete’s RV makes current year brochures available on our website for all of the brands we carry as well as owner’s manuals.
Basic parts and accessories to help improve your RV’s insulating performance in hot and cold weather are available in-store and online at Pete’s RV. You’ll find items such as joint sealants, hot water heater blankets, and window shades.
Video Transcript | How Do I Determine a Camper’s Insulation R-Value?
Randy: Hey guys Randy with Petes RV TV here today, another quick tip segment for you. Today Im going to talk about R-values and what they do for your camper and pretty much what they are. So an R-value is a way we measure our insulation value in the unit. You know R-value is a measurement of thermal resistance so how quickly heat passes through whatever we are trying to block it with pretty much. So in the RV world our values are often exploded, so they, they say that they are a lot better than they actually are.
So a really great thing to do if you want to educate yourself best on the product that you are purchasing is ask to see a breakdown of the unit. See where the insulation is in the unit. Some of our manufactures will supply us with things like this. This is actually a floor for a big horn this is a laminated floor, and this is a very well insulated floor. This is the roof of the same big horn unit; its a laminated roof.
Its going to take a while for heat to pass through that so this has got a pretty good R-value in it. Also in the RV world we are passing were adding things like this here foil wrap here to a floor, under a floor, which also creates some thermal protection for us as well. And that will add and stack a little bit of an R-value.
When we get in to our less expensive units our aluminum sided campers and things like that, they are going to have a little less R-value in it than we are going to see on say like a fiberglass sided camper just because of the insulation they are using, the thickness of the walls. A little bit less expensive unit were apt to see a little less insulation. Insulation is a little bit expensive. So another great way that you can find out how well a unit is insulated is some manufactures will put a degree rating on the unit.
You know, everybody will say oh my walls are a R11 and my floors are R27, what have you. What is that camper good down to? What has it been tested at? Not everybody does this but some of the big manufactures will do this when you look at like some of the Cougars. Theyre tested down to 20 degrees and some of these guys are even going a little bit further than [02:00] that when we get up into the Montanas and the big horns.
Were seeing a zero degree rated unit with the furnace on, so grab a brochure or go to a website or go to our website, petesrv.com. Weve got all our product on there with brochures and pdfs so you can see the breakdowns. On this Cougar here, if Josh will pan in on it, we can see that they have showed us how they have put the insulation in the roof and into the floor systems and things like that.
That way we can see what kind of insulation we are getting in the rig, if its going to work in our particular application. People are using these a lot further in the fall now, A lot earlier in the spring. Camp grounds are opening up a little bit more so here is another great example. Bullet from Keystones has actually done a great breakdown and shows us how they insulate their walls and their floors systems. So educate yourself on what you are getting and if its an important thing for you make sure that you know what you are talking about and your sales guy knows what you are talking about.
If you have any questions you can always give us a call. Wed be happy to educate you on it and talk about those degree ratings and how you are going to be using the unit, and if its not the perfect insulated unit for you, how you can achieve to use it in the circumstance that you want to use it and if youre going to be trying to use it in a little colder weather as well.
Another thing that people dont think about with R-values too is warm weather. When we have an air conditioner on inside and its really hot outside the R-values are going to help keep us cool as well. So if youre in a climate that has a little bit warmer and your down in the southwest or something like that, where we see lot longer heat days for more portion of the summer the R-values are going to be very important for you as well, too.
So make sure you know about R-values, make sure you know what you are getting, if you have any questions at all feel free to contact us. Check out the information. We try to provide as much as we can for you on our web site, also on our Facebook page as well.
So there it is in a nut shell, R-values. Thanks for watching Petes RV with Randy today.