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athermic glass OR plastic double glazed windows - which is best ?


dream machine

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I am considering buying a van based motorhome fitted with the athermic glass windows - an Autosleeper model - but how do these windows compare to normal plastic double glazed windows ?

 

Are they as good for insulation hot / cold ? what about condensation being glass ?

 

I would value opinion from people who have experience of both types.

 

thanks

 

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I've never camped in freezing weather in an athermic glass windowed van but they work OK in temperate climates - spring, summer, autumn in Europe - with the wide variation of temperatures.

 

In my view of far greater importance in keeping heat in or out is the level of insulation in the van body, but if it were the layout I wanted at a decent price I would not worry about either.

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I have no experience of Athermic glass in practice compared to double glazed units but I do not like the Autosleepers window arrangement because there are no opening windows apart from maybe a couple of small sliding sections. This is a big no no for me as it significantly limits ventilation options.
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Based on previous forum discussions about the glass panes fitted to some Auto-Sleepers panel-van conversions, my understanding is that they are actually made of clear glass with an ‘athermic’ film stuck on.

 

They will definitely not be as effective for keeping heat in as double-glazed plastic windows, though might be pretty good for reflecting sunlight.

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dream machine - 2018-08-18 1:19 PM

 

 

 

I am considering buying a van based motorhome fitted with the athermic glass windows - an Autosleeper model - but how do these windows compare to normal plastic double glazed windows ?

 

Are they as good for insulation hot / cold ? what about condensation being glass ?

 

I would value opinion from people who have experience of both types.

 

thanks

Hi, this I do know about.....I have an original Autotrail V line of 2014 vintage, the Polyplastic tinted double glazed windows have failed 3 times, i am on the 4th set.!! When in the sun the double glazed 'bit' overheats, even with the 'grommets' removed, and the window goes concave, At first I thought they would return to shape when they 'cooled down'......but unfortunately they dont. Not desperate i 'thought' but as the center of the window goes concave the corners stick out into the slipstream and flap about dangerously in the wind.

SO fed up with the problem am I, AND with Autotrail that I am considering getting real glass single glazed windows fitted (at my own expense). Mainly because otherwise we LOVE our V line 600.

My opinion....go for the Autosleeper with real glass windows. ( my choice would be a Kemerton).

Good luck Ray.

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While the Polyplastic windows Auto-Trail fits to its V-Line models may be problematical, many panel-van converters fit a different make of double-glazed acrylic window.

 

Acrylic windows are the norm on coacbuilt motorhomes and, although the Polyplastic windows fitted to my 2005 Hobby occasionally ‘fogged’ temporarily in direct sunlight, during the 9 years I owned the Hobby the windows never deformed. The Hobby’s windows were ‘caravan’ type (ie. effective but cheap!) and I’ve never had problems with the panes of the more sophisticated acrylic Seitz windows that were fitted to my 1996-built Herald (8 years old when I sold it) and are on my current 2015 Rapido.

 

Comments on “athermic” windows are among the forum threads in the list on this link.

 

https://forums.outandaboutlive.co.uk/forums/search/query.asp?action=search&searchforumid=all&keywords=athermic&author=&days=&Submit=Search

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Derek,

Very strange as most of my failures were preceeded by 'fogging' in the double glazed section, before going concave. If 'most' plastic windows are fine ???? How come Polyplastic cannot solve the V Line window problem ? And they havent solved it ,check many new V lines on dealers forecourts, they are STILL going concave. Also look on the Wonky Windows Facebook page. If I buy another PVC it will HAVE to have solid glass windows.....once bitten.

 

I have been looking over past discussions on this subject, owners of Autosleepers with Athermic glass seem to like them. Good enough for me, especially with my present experience.

 

Probably worth the expense of retro fitting.

 

Thanks for the links, very helpful.

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colin - 2018-08-19 11:22 AM

 

As Derek says most vans have plastic 'double glazed' windows, as do caravans, I've never had a problem and I'm not sure I've heard of a generic problem such as you mention. So what are they doing wrong?

 

I wish I knew, would have saved me many miles driving to my Dealer, who in fairness have been VERY good and understanding (Continental leisure ). The Autotrail problem is well documented.Most of the original V lines were/are effected.It appears many of the newer 'tin roof' SE's are effected too, ? According to the Facebook V line site.

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I too have had many vans with acrylic plastic double glazed windows over the years and apart from a tendency to scratch easily I have never had a problem with any of them distorting. Being soft the window scratches can usually be polished out or at least reduced. As Derek says sometimes they can mist in between the panes but that clears.

 

I can only assume that the issue with Autotrail is specific to the type of window they use and you would have thought that once the fault had been identified Autotrail would have found a cure.

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Rayjsj - 2018-08-19 11:02 AM

 

...Probably worth the expense of retro fitting...

 

 

Have you confirmed that glass windows can be retro-fitted successfully to your Auto-Trail?

 

Auto-Sleepers buys Peugeot Boxer ‘window vans’ that are designed to be converted into people-carriers and that have pre-installed glass windows that have been bonded into apertures cut into the Boxer’s bodywork.

 

Auto-Trail (and most other panel-van converters) buys Fiat Ducato ‘white vans’, cuts apertures in their bodywork and then fits Polyplastic acrylic windows (as shown in attached photo).

 

Although it’s possible to obtain ‘kits’ to fit glass side and rear windows to Ducato panel vans (example advert here)

 

https://www.vanpimps.co.uk/product-category/fiat/fiat-ducato/fiat-ducato-windows/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIhK2mv5H53AIVb5PtCh0yBQeAEAAYAiAAEgIK_vD_BwE

 

those kits are aimed at people who wish to add windows to a panel van (see following video-clip)

 

https://www.vanpimps.co.uk/van-conversion-window-fitting-video/

 

and who will be sawing out apertures in the metal bodywork to suit the glass-window kit’s requirements.

 

What I getting at, is that - as Auto-Trail will have cut holes in the Ducato van to suit the Polyplastic windows - there’s no certainty that those holes would be appropriate for retro-fittable glass-windows.

 

On your own head be it - but if it’s a recognised problem with the Polyplastic windows fitted to the V-Line range, it’s really up to Auto-Trail and Polyplastic to resolve this. If V-Line owners made enough noise about it, perhaps that would encourage Auto-Trail to pressurise Polyplastic to do something positive.

756419884_2014V-line-620.jpg.c68902d0aca7a3f856e9668c5b3ebfde.jpg

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Several folk on the V line facebook page have already gone down the tinted real glass route, they, after 6 months use, seem very happy with the result.

The only downside is the loss of opening windows, which in the UK is not normally a problem...but would have been this year !

I still havent yet made up my mind, but the plastic versions are still not fitting very well with large gaps around the 'dummy' parts of the window large enough to slide a hand under, although the main double glazed part fits snuggly enough into the aperture.

Autotrail no loger make the original versions with the Fibre glass roof and double floor , the latest V lines are more conventional PVC's but have lost the 'Style' and innovation that attracted me to them in the first place....what other PVC has a double floor for all the services to run inboard ? Perhaps a bit too ambitious for a volume constructor ?

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many thanks for all your valuable info.

 

I have also looked on the AS owners forum and most people seem very pleased with the athermic glass - except possibly in the coldest winter weather.

 

I'm not in a rush to buy so will look into this further.

 

Winter is the only uncertainity so I shall also look into if it's possible to find a hire an AutoSleeper in the winter to see how it performs

thanks all.

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You might want to read the well-balanced comments in the 2nd posting in this 2012 thread

 

https://forums.outandaboutlive.co.uk/forums/Motorhomes/Motorhome-Matters/Athermic-glass/29461/

 

It now seems to be accepted that Auto-Sleepers (A-S) use of the term “athermic glass” for the windows fitted to their panel-van concersions is incorrect. ‘Genuine’ athermic glass (as used for some vehicle windscreens) has a thin metallic layer within the glass itself, whereas the windows in A-S ‘vans are ordinary glass with a plastic “Scotchtint” film stuck on their inner surface. This is referred to in the “Windows & Doors” section in this advert:

 

http://www.toddsmotorhomes.co.uk/motorhomes/used/auto-sleepers/auto-sleepers_peugeot_symbol_u7048.asp?VM=Features

 

On-line comments about the A-S ‘athermic’ windows indicate that formation of condensation on the windows’ inner surface in cold weather is unlikely to be a real problem. This is perhaps to be expected, as a piece of plastic (eg. a traditional road-tax licence-holder) stuck on the inside of a motorhome’s windscreen will inhibit condensation forming in the area covered by the plastic. As the A-S windows still have single-glazed panes, heat loss from within the motorhome’s interior will be higher than through plastic double-glazed panes, but that may not much matter to most A-S owners.

 

More comments on the C&MC forum

 

https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/club-together/discussions/welcome-hobby-talk/caravan-motorhome-chat/athermic-glass-or-plastic-windows-which-is-best/?p=1

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We had a 2012 Autosleeper panel van and although we hated the thing, this was a panel van in general problem not an Autosleeper one, never had any problems with the windows. The double glazing on motorhomes is not to great anyway and the heating system in the Autosleeper more than coped with some pretty cold weather.
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