Motorhome Insulation BS EN 1646-1

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by jonandshell, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,258
    Likes Received:
    7,875
    Location:
    West Norfolk
    Hi Funsters!

    After being bulls!*tted over the years by numerous salesmen about the insulation grades of motorhomes, we really would like to see a copy of the above standard so we can make up our own minds.
    The manufacturers are no better, for instance the new Elddis Aspire supposedly meets Grade 3 standards (quote- can maintain 20 degrees C inside and have an operable fresh water system whilst it is -15 degrees C outside) but this MH has external tanks! In fact a winter pack with tank heaters is £250 extra!
    The above quote makes no sense anyway. For instance, over what period is the temperature to be maintained and does it depend on the heating being on and, if it does, at what wattage?
    An accurate grading system of 'will it freeze or not at -15 degrees C with the heating on' would help buyers choose a lot more easily!

    You can see why we regard the whole sales pitch as just confusing bulls"^t and if anyone has a copy of the standard, and doesn't mind posting it on here for the benefit of all Funsters, it would be much appreciated!:Smile:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2007
    Messages:
    25,840
    Likes Received:
    76,144
    Location:
    Sutton on Sea
    We have only just got manufacturers to agree on using the same set of sums to acsertain payload. When you consider the importance and legalities of something as crucial as payload you might have thought they would have settled on a standard years ago:RollEyes: Bearing that in mind, I think the chance of us having a coherent winterised scale is a very cold zero:Smile:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Geo

    Geo Trader - Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2007
    Messages:
    9,508
    Likes Received:
    5,563
    Location:
    Mansfield,Notts
    I may be wrong
    But my understnding of the grading system ie 1/2/3 is not a winterising scale.
    I interpret it to be a thermal efficiancy scale, with 3 being the highest, a wintering pack is still required dependant on tank location etc and each pack will be differnt from maker to maker model to model
    No one in their right mind is going to print facts and figures like you need because of so many variants like wind chill for example
    You might jump up and down because you froze up and the temp gauge said -14 and your pack said -15
    the gauge can only measure the temp where it is situated, it could still be -25 under the van and around the tanks
    The best you can do is suck it and see:Doh:
    grade 3 with a winter pack and try it, they dont come any better otherise it would be a grade 4:Doh:
    Geo
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,258
    Likes Received:
    7,875
    Location:
    West Norfolk
    I think, in the absence of any sense from the trade, that a little common sense is needed from us buyers!
    For instance, because we are all-year users, we would never buy an MH with an external fresh tank. The waste is no great deal, so long as it has a good-sized discharge valve, because we can always let it run into a bucket when it's really chilly!
    We look for a good fall on the waste pipes to the waste tank too to ensure that waste water shoots through before it can freeze.
    Of course, all of our requirements are born from experience of what works in colder climes and an assessment of our needs.
    It doesn't help the new buyer about to blow their hard-earned cash who tends to rely on the information from the manufacturer and dealer to make their buying choices!
     
  5. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,258
    Likes Received:
    7,875
    Location:
    West Norfolk
    I thought I had better ressurect this one after reading some recent winterisation threads-

    From the Swift website-

    Grade 3 Thermal Insulation and Heating
    For 2014 all Swift Group Caravans and Motorhomes meet the Grade 3 standard for heating and thermal insulation making them suitable for all year round use.
    This means the interior warms up from minus 15°C to 20°C in under 4 hours and the water system still works. Crucially Swift Group proves this by using cold chamber testing, not just by mathematical calculation as many manufacturers do.
    For more details see Swift TV.

    http://www.swifttv.co.uk/video/swift-group-and-truma-heating-grade-3-test

    The above are VERY misleading. The water system is only filled at the end of the cold chamber test to achieve the standard. This fact is completely overlooked in the above marketing bull!:Angry:

    A more useful statement from the Swift site comes in a 2010 news bulletin-

    http://www.swiftgroup.co.uk/swift-g...ation-across-all-major-touring-caravan-ranges

    'Grade III classification confirms that all 2010 Swift Charisma, Challenger & Conqueror, Sterling Europa, Eccles & Elite caravans are capable of maintaining a comfortable internal temperature, even down to an external temperature of -15°C, to provide four season comfort.
    Note: The classification refers to internal temperatures, owners should remember that external water tanks and pipes can freeze at extremely low temperatures.'

    Now THAT is what potential buyers need to know! Thank you for the useful and honest advice Swift!:thumb:

    The NCC EN1645-1 Thermal Insulation & Heating – Grade III classification is NOT a real world test!
    Buyers beware! A grade 3 van can still freeze up!:Smile:
     
    • Like Like x 2
  6. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2013
    Messages:
    8,569
    Likes Received:
    11,547
    Location:
    Plympton, Devon
    My understanding of the test was they opened all the doors and windows of the vehicle so the interior also had the same temperature as the exterior. If they had left the water in the tank it would mostly certainly have frozen but no user would ever leave all the doors and windows open when it is freezing outside. They then closed all the windows and turned the heater on and found the interior reached the required temperature after 3 hours or so.

    They couldn't have filled the tank until the interior of the vehicle warmed up so that was the only time they could do it. The inference the sales folk want us to draw I suppose is if the internal temperature is correct the water system if it is all internal will continue to work which is a bit of a leap for me as pipes might be insulated but what if they run close to metalwork or near the vents for the 'fridge?

    I guess it is all down to the specification of the test. I was once involved in a cold chamber test of a vehicle and it was left in the cold chamber to "soak" for 48 hours to make sure everything was thoroughly frozen. The lowest temperature we tested was around -48C IIRC at which temperatures the oil was so thick the vehicle could only be started if the engine was disconnected from the automatic transmission - which was possible as the two were connected through a series of linking gears.

    A more realistic test for a motorhome would be to have the freshwater tank filled before it went into the cold chamber and then with the heater running see what external temperature the vehicle can survive but the test would have to be over a minimum of 24 hours and probably more like 48 hours so the residual heat in the structure of the vehicle has time to escape. This would add cost to the test and if the test spec doesn't call for it they ain't going to do it! The cold chamber we used at Millbrook was several thousands a day.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  7. TheDogMan

    TheDogMan Funster

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    Messages:
    655
    Likes Received:
    362
    Location:
    Rugby UK
    Errrrrrrrr buy a german fully winterised double floor van:driving2::coolthumb:
     
  8. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Messages:
    7,925
    Likes Received:
    13,976
    Location:
    UK
    That's the key I believe.

    I had a double floor Eura Mobil when I first went fulltiming. All the heating ducting was routed through the double floor from the boiler at the back to the vents all round the van. The under floor space wasn't "Warm" enough to live in but it was above 10C which prevented condensation and freezing of both the waste and fresh tanks.

    It also had the waste dump valve inside the under floor space so you opened a hatch to open the waste valve which therefore wasn't frozen either.

    When it comes to build quality I couldn't fault this manufacturer it appears they had thought of everything and design wise it had no niggles except for one.

    The towel rail was over the toilet and a bit too low so the bottom of the bath towels hit the toilet if not folded double. Compared to the Hymer I had and other vans I have seen it was as well designed as it could be and really warm down to -22C the one winter I lived in it.
     
  9. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    Messages:
    2,782
    Likes Received:
    1,857
    Location:
    Warwickshire
    Just to add my thoughts, a double-floor is definitely of benefit in designing a well-winterised van, but not absolutely essential. I think the real discriminator is whether it is German, or possibly French built. I am thinking of Eura-Mobil, N+B, Burstner, Carthago, Pilote, Rapido and, of course, Hymer.

    My Hymer (on a Sprinter chassis) has a single floor but is perfectly capable of sustained use at temperatures well below zero.
    In my case, the fresh water tank is internal but the waste tank is above the rear axle. It is fitted inside an insulated jacket which is heated by the Truma blown air. The hot air vent is fed into the housing of the waste dump valve, so that does not freeze, and then circulates around the tank. The result is that even after standing for several hours in sub-zero conditions, the waste water comes out steaming.

    The key aspects of a well-winterisd van are the quality of the insulation (of course), routing of all pipework, location of tanks, correct fitting and baffling of any vents (including the fridge which is often fitted incorrectly) etc.

    So yes, certainly put double-floored vans on the list, but they are not the only well-winterised models. For any newcomer considering purchase of a van for year-round use, I would say firstly, avoid British-built (unless you are prepared to do a lot of extra work), then look at where the pipes run and how the water system generally is heated / protected from frost. That often leads to the list of manufacturers that I have set out above (and probably a few more that I have forgotten).
     
    • Like Like x 2
  10. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,258
    Likes Received:
    7,875
    Location:
    West Norfolk
    Our Chausson is single floored with no claims made of its insulation.
    The only modification needed to survive 2 weeks at Europes highest ski resort?
    -A bucket under the waste tank slide valve.

    This is achieved with an internal fresh tank and EVERY run of pipework being followed by heater ducting.:thumb:
    Why can't British manifacturers do that instead of coming up with a nonsensical standard to confuse the buying public?:Angry:
     
    • Like Like x 2
  11. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2009
    Messages:
    10,132
    Likes Received:
    16,369
    Location:
    Liverpool.
    Motorhomes are generally made for the "average" user. Although some may want to use there motorhomes in sub zero temperatures the average UK motorhomer uses his vehicle during the summer months and does not go off skiing in Arctic conditions. The major manufacturers build motorhomes for the average customer, and are built to a price. There are custom builders out there, but would the average motorhomer want to pay the premium price for fully winterized motorhomes. Double floors, fully insulated tanks and pipework, Eberspacher diesel heaters, double glazed cab windows, and thick wall body insulation all come at a price, and would the average motorhomer be prepared to pay that price ?. I would have no hesitation in spending time in my van in sub zero temperatures as it was built for just that. Would I be prepared to pay the price for this when it was new....No way Herman, but am more than happy that someone was prepared to pay the price 23 years ago :Smile:
     
    • Like Like x 4
  12. joner8888

    joner8888 Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Messages:
    2,190
    Likes Received:
    1,971
    Location:
    somerset
    I don`t know about insulation but I am now starting to get ads squeezed in between the forum posting lines :Eek!:
    How did they get there:Eek!:
     
  13. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,258
    Likes Received:
    7,875
    Location:
    West Norfolk
    But when a manufacturer proudly proclaims their van is OK to use at -15 and it clearly isn't, there's a problem in my opinion.
    Our Chausson is not a premium product, in fact it's far cheaper than a similarly specced Brit van. I don't believe price is a factor when sensibly designing and building a 'four season' motorhome. Simple attention to detail and common sense prevail here.

    My chief gripe however is the false claims of manufacturers citing that irrelavent standard as proof your new van is OK for extreme low temperature use. They even show a snowflake on their Grade 3 logo for instance! The threads on here asking for advice on tank lagging and heaters in advance of ski trips is proof of that.

    Clearly, if that were the intended use, then the purchaser must have bought theirs using incorrect advice from the dealer or the salesman. We were once told a 2008 Swift Bolero with its underslung tanks was Class 3 and was OK for ski trips!!!!!!!:Eeek:

    £40k plus is a large amount to hand over for a product which is not fit for the purpose sold!:Angry:

    Rant over!!!!!!:BigGrin:
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2013
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Allanm

    Allanm Funster

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2013
    Messages:
    3,035
    Likes Received:
    4,106
    Location:
    Cotes d'armor, France
    Our Autosleeper, ( bought new in June this year) according to the handbook, is insulated to Grade 3 and goes on to say it is designed for use in temperate climates, but doesn't qualify what that means.
    According to the Met Office, the temperate climate refers to zones in a range of latitudes between 40° and 60/70°. Not as hot as the subtropical climate and milder than the polar climate, so theoretically, I should be able to fully use the van as it is, between Portugal and Iceland.
    So, maybe I don't need to lag the pipework and fit frost heaters to the external tanks! :Rofl1::Rofl1:

    Allan
     
    • Like Like x 2
  15. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,258
    Likes Received:
    7,875
    Location:
    West Norfolk
    I'm sure you'll sort it Alan, being savvy to the effects of weather through your career.
    I feel sorry for the couple we met in Val Thorens last year who had to bale out of their Grade 3 insulated Swift and book into a £4k per week hotel to complete their ski holiday!:Eeek:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Messages:
    29,461
    Likes Received:
    16,889
    Location:
    YO11 2BD
    the title of the EN 1646-1 is......
    'Leisure accommodation vehicles. Motor caravans Habitation requirements relating to health and safety'

    and covers......
    Caravans, Caravanettes, Road vehicles, Motor vehicles, Safety measures, Design, Grades (quality), Bunks, Beds, Strength of materials, Mechanical testing, Potable water, Water supply, Waste-water drainage, Ventilation, Heaters, Fire safety, Doors, Windows, Cooking appliances, Instructions for use, Handbooks

    no mention of thermal insulation qualities and at £154 a copy (hard or E) i doubt anyone will buy it as an impulse buy to check.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  17. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Messages:
    29,461
    Likes Received:
    16,889
    Location:
    YO11 2BD
    They even show a snowflake on their Grade 3 logo for instance!

    a snowflake can also symbolise frost...which is not necessarily cold enough to freeze, so thats pretty much meaningless as well.
     
Loading...

Share This Page