By Tony Barthel
With summer and camping season closing in on our calendars, one of the things we all think about is air conditioning. Keeping our rigs cool and less humid is something we all think about – some more than others. In fact, Jim Phelan of AirSkirts™ thinks about the inside temperature of RVs quite a bit and now has a second product to help with this, the AirLight™.
The AirLight is a new product from AirSkirts, which we’ve looked at during winter when the inflatable barriers to protect the underside of an RV are most important. The AirLight is an inflatable air barrier that you insert into your skylights or high-performance ceiling fans. This helps keep the inside air and the outside air from commingling and reducing the effectiveness of either the heater or air conditioner.
Think about all the effort placed into making RV ceilings as insulated as possible. As some of us shop for RVs we look for the “R” value of the ceiling and do as much research as possible into how well-insulated the rig is. Then we ignore the fact that there are those skylights with their thin plastic covers, which significantly reduces the RV’s ability to keep heat or cool inside.
How does it work?
That’s where the AirLight comes in. Essentially this is an air barrier you insert into a skylight or high-performance fan to block air movement and provide additional insulation. It actually really makes a lot of sense.
Jim was kind enough to send me one of the AirLights to try out in my own trailer. I do a lot of camping all year-round, so I took it to a training class I was teaching and gave it a test.
I have a skylight right over the bed in our trailer and, when it’s cold, you can really feel the chill coming through that thin plastic piece.
Fitting the AirLight couldn’t be easier. You basically just inflate it properly and shove it into the opening to form a tight seal. Simple.
In the case of my own skylight, there’s a metal crank handle on it that I had to remove, which is a simple affair. I just unscrewed it and put it into my RV toolbox so I’d find it as the weather gets nicer and I want to open the skylight again.
When I first saw these products on AirSkirts’ website I envisioned something like a very small pool floatie. That image didn’t correlate with the pricing of the AirLight. But once I got it I could see why it’s not an inexpensive pool floatie.
Instead, the company has done an exceptional job with the valves of this device. It has an attachable Schrader valve that you can hook to your air compressor to inflate it. Inside, the top and bottom have strings and substantial reinforcements. Also, the plastic used for the outside is very thick and substantial.
The AirLight is especially useful for extreme temperatures
This would be an especially useful gadget if you lived where it got really cold or really hot. I could tell the difference with the AirLight in place.
One of the alternatives to the AirLight is shoving a pillow into the skylight or shoving some insulation into the hole. Of course, both of these also are viable options. But you have to figure out what to do with the insulation when you’re not using it. The AirLight simply deflates and packs away small.
At the present time, several sizes of AirLights are available for different skylight sizes.
My criteria for these gadgets are two-fold: Would I have bought one in the first place, and would I be pleased with the purchase?
The answer to the first case is yes, I would buy an AirLight to insulate the skylight. Would I have been happy with the purchase? Absolutely. I like when things are of even higher quality than you anticipate, which the AirLight absolutely is.
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