EPDM Coatings
Desert Valley RV Park
RV LED Bulbs offer Sponsored by Spotless Water Systems rvupgradestore.com Composet Products EVDO

Author Topic: Retrofitting roof escape hatch?  (Read 3520 times)

Frank B

  • ---
  • Posts: 468
Retrofitting roof escape hatch?
« on: January 21, 2006, 10:01:38 PM »
We have a 2000 23' 5th that has an escape window on the side of the front bedroom.  This limits ventilation in this non a/c trailer. I'd like to take it out and put in a standard, screened sliding window like the one on the other side of the bedroom.

Our previous older unit had an escape hatch, but it had a flat metal-covered roof.  This new unit has a trussed and slightly domed roof with rubber membrane over it.

Does anyone know if a large escape hatch is available for the domed-roof trailers?  I tried googling this, but came up with too many hits on 'trailers for sale' rather than suppliers of escape hatches.

If we do this right and have it installed in the right place, we may be able to make it serve double-duty as a skylight.  We love to watch the stars at night.

Thanks.

Frank.
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling Westwind 24' lightweight 5th

Steve, CDN

  • ---
  • Posts: 2411
  • VA3VH
    • The Pallys
Re: Retrofitting roof escape hatch?
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2006, 07:09:03 AM »
Frank,

Are you proposing eliminating your window escape and replacing it with a roof escape?

The consequences of this modification would be that in the event of a fire, for example caused by a faulty refrigerator ( not uncommon) or other propane appliance, might prevent you from getting our of your fifth wheel due to noxious smoke resulting from rapidly burning fiberglass.

A roof escape might be useful if you are in the fifth wheel when it flips on its side...perhaps a less likely scenario.

In practice sessions at rallies where emergency procedures are rehearsed, it's difficult enough to get out of an RV from the escape window, considering it's height from the ground, but if a fire broke out and your only escape was a roof opening, your life could be in peril.
Steve, Forum Moderator
Home Page
My Polar Bear Mural

Frank B

  • ---
  • Posts: 468
Re: Retrofitting roof escape hatch?
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2006, 09:05:01 AM »
Steve:

>In practice sessions at rallies where emergency procedures are rehearsed, it's difficult enough to get out of an RV from the escape window, considering it's height from the ground, but if a fire broke out and your only escape was a roof opening, your life could be in peril.<

Thanks for the reminder.  I appreciate your bringing it to my attention.

I've tried both.  You are probably thinking of the fifths that are made these days with full-height bedrooms.  It would be a challenge to get out of that without a ladder, I am sure.  However,  our fifth has a half-height bedroom.  I find the roof hatch a whole lot easier to get out of.  By just standing up on the bed, you are over half way out of the unit, and fully supported on your feet as you do so.  Getting out of a side-mounted escape window means scraping your belly on the rather sharp lip of the window as you dangle your feet in mid air, then fall over backwards once you do hit the ground.  One can always shove a blanket out over the edge first, and reduce the discomfort, but that takes time and presence of mind in an emergency.  It is also 'slippery' when trying to control the speed at which you exit.  :)  There is nothing to hang on to in order to control your descent.  You see, I have thought about it.  :)

The top of the escape window in this unit is 4"  from the roof.  I don't see 4" as making that much of a difference in height between a side-mounted escape window and a roof mounted hatch.  If I am wrong here, then let me know.  But, as I said, I've actually used both (though not in an actual fire, fortunately).  I really find the roof hatch is much easier to use, and you have much greater control when exiting.

In any case, there is nothing to prevent me from having both, I guess.  If my experience and reasong here are faulty and this is still an important issue, then I can leave the side-mounted escape window in place.  I still would like to have a roof-mounted escape hatch / ventilation cap / skylight combo in this trailer.  Do you know if such a thing is made for the greater thickness of the newer domed and trussed roofs?  If so, I might consider one for the rear of the trailer as well.  The lower bunk where my daughter sleeps has an escape window, but the upper bunk does  not.

Thanks.

Frank.
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling Westwind 24' lightweight 5th

Gary RV Roamer

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 44330
  • We're on the road again...
Re: Retrofitting roof escape hatch?
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2006, 09:08:51 AM »
Many RVs have escape windows that also open for ventilation. Some will simply push completely out of their mounting when a red emergency latch is opened. Others are big enough slding windows that they qualify as an emergency exit just by sliding open the window and screen. If yo ucould find one of these to fit your opening (or slightly larger), it would solve the problem and be more accessible than a roof hatch. Probably easier to retrofit, too.   Hehr is the supplier for most Rv window units and probably has one that would work.  You could also look around at other RVs til you found one that was the right size, then order that window as a replacement part through a dealer.
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
Homebase: Ocala National Forest, FL

Frank B

  • ---
  • Posts: 468
Re: Retrofitting roof escape hatch?
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2006, 09:51:47 AM »
Gary:

>Many RVs have escape windows that also open for ventilation. Some will simply push completely out of their mounting when a red emergency latch is opened.<

The top-hinged push out type is what we have now.  However, as the window pushes out, there is no screen on it, which is not a good idea in bug-infested summer months, the time that ventilation is needed most.  :)

> Hehr is the supplier for most Rv window units and probably has one that would work<

Right again!  That is who made our windows.

>You could also look around at other RVs til you found one that was the right size, then order that window as a replacement part through a dealer.<

That is probably what I'll end up doing.  Just thought I'd try here first, as there is such a breadth of knowledge here.  I'll go visit some of the RV dealers on Monday and see what they know.  Someone must have a catalog.  We really would like a skylight in the bedroom, however, so that we can watch the stars at night..  I thought the roof hatch / vent would be a good combination.

Thanks.

Frank.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2006, 09:55:08 AM by Frank B »
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling Westwind 24' lightweight 5th

Ron

  • Former Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 18115
Re: Retrofitting roof escape hatch?
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2006, 11:18:28 AM »
Then emergency exit window in our coach has two handles that allow opening the whole window outward.  However, other than being able to push the whole window outward the window is just like the one on the opposite side and has a sliding glass pane as well as a screen.  The attached photo shows the window with the sliding glass part way open.  Hope this helps.
Ron & Sam-home is where we park it. Currently located   HERE

Frank B

  • ---
  • Posts: 468
Re: Retrofitting roof escape hatch?
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2006, 01:49:09 PM »
Ron:

Yes, thanks for the picture.  That is a much smarter design.

It still doesn't give me a roof vent and a skylight, however.  :)

Frank.
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling Westwind 24' lightweight 5th

Gary RV Roamer

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 44330
  • We're on the road again...
Re: Retrofitting roof escape hatch?
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2006, 08:46:56 AM »
Quote
The top-hinged push out type is what we have now.  However, as the window pushes out, there is no screen on it, which is not a good idea in bug-infested summer months, the time that ventilation is needed most.  Smiley

By "top hinged" do you mean awning windows, the ones that have 2-3 panels that crank out? They should have a screen on the inside - maybe yours is missing?  finding or making a screen sounds easier than building an escape hatch...
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
Homebase: Ocala National Forest, FL

Frank B

  • ---
  • Posts: 468
Re: Retrofitting roof escape hatch?
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2006, 09:52:41 AM »
Gary:

No, I just mean that when you release the clips at the bottom, the single-panel glass window hinges out, and the hinge is across the top of the window.  No, sadly, there is nothing missing on this window.  It is just a cheap window.  :)

As to the roof escape hatch, not only do I want to consider that, but it will also give me additional venting, as well as a skylight over the bed.  I am looking at 'the total package' on this.  :)

Thanks.

Frank.
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling Westwind 24' lightweight 5th

Terry A. Brewer

  • ---
  • Posts: 1285
Re: Retrofitting roof escape hatch?
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2006, 08:48:09 PM »
Frank

LazyDaze a Class C manufacturer uses them on their RV's, you could try contacting them at www.lazydaze.com & ask who their supplier is.


Frank B

  • ---
  • Posts: 468
Re: Retrofitting roof escape hatch?
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2006, 09:12:11 PM »
Terry and others:

Thanks for your suggestions.  I checked with one of our local RV places today, and I can get a 26" x 26" vent / escape hatch for about $300 CDN, and they will install it for around $250.  This includes cutting one truss, and framing the ends to rest on the two on each side.  The guy in their service department said that most of these units come now with a long-reach kit so that they can be used on the newer units.  If not, they are more than happy to just panel the inside of the cavity for me for the same price.  Looks like this is probably what we will do.  Whether I ever replace the escape window now or just leave it there remains to be seen.  The vent may be enough on its own to ventilate the bedroom area, as we plan on putting in a Fantastic Fan in the other roof vent in the kitchen this Spring.

Thanks again all.

Frank.

Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling Westwind 24' lightweight 5th

PancakeBill

  • ---
  • Posts: 4865
  • Bill & Jolene/USA 97 Southwind 35P
    • WorKamping in Yellowstone
Re: Retrofitting roof escape hatch?
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2006, 09:30:59 AM »
I have a roof mount escape/vent/skylight over our bed.  Watch what you wish for, great loss of heat, seepage of cold in a colder climate, light comes in right about sun-up.  (strange!), and if you do need to escape, you are on the roof! 

I think mine is made by Vent_line
Bill & Jolene W & Koda

Old Faithful, Yellowstone Association Bookstore
1997 Southwind 35P
Toads: 1997 Honda Accord & 1986 Westfalia
FMCA F-401354
1995 OMI Dobro F-60
WA1RI

Ron

  • Former Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 18115
Re: Retrofitting roof escape hatch?
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2006, 07:24:00 PM »
I have a roof mount escape/vent/skylight over our bed.  Watch what you wish for, great loss of heat, seepage of cold in a colder climate, light comes in right about sun-up.  (strange!), and if you do need to escape, you are on the roof! 

I think mine is made by Vent_line

I hadn't thought of the loss of heat but now that you mentioned it I agree completely.  Thanks for pointing that out Bill
Ron & Sam-home is where we park it. Currently located   HERE

Frank B

  • ---
  • Posts: 468
Re: Retrofitting roof escape hatch?
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2006, 11:26:14 PM »
>I hadn't thought of the loss of heat but now that you mentioned it I agree completely. <

Isn't that the whole point of a roof vent?

Frank.
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling Westwind 24' lightweight 5th

Gary RV Roamer

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 44330
  • We're on the road again...
Re: Retrofitting roof escape hatch?
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2006, 10:36:56 AM »
We have 4 roof vents and they lose a LOT of heat on a cold night (and let in a lot of heat on a hot day). We use foam "pillows" to plug them whenever the temperaures move toward the extremes and it makes a huge difference in how often our a/c or heat cycles.  You can buy the 14x14 vent pillows at many Rv stores but we just bought some 2 inch foam at a fabric/craft store and cut our own to fit.
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
Homebase: Ocala National Forest, FL

Frank B

  • ---
  • Posts: 468
Re: Retrofitting roof escape hatch?
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2006, 01:32:57 PM »
Gary:

>we just bought some 2 inch foam at a fabric/craft store and cut our own to fit.<

Good solution.  Though we winter camp in the Canadian Rockies, heat loss in our previous unit with three roof vents was not an issue for us.  We stayed warm inside with the furnace going.  However, I had kind of thought of stuffing a piece of cardboard in them if it became an issue.  The foam idea is much better, however.  Foam will block drafts, as well as provide insulation.

Thanks.

Frank.
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling Westwind 24' lightweight 5th

PancakeBill

  • ---
  • Posts: 4865
  • Bill & Jolene/USA 97 Southwind 35P
    • WorKamping in Yellowstone
Re: Retrofitting roof escape hatch?
« Reply #16 on: January 30, 2006, 09:27:07 AM »
The roof escape vent is bigger than the 14x14 jobs.  We made a thermal cover for ours, use velcro tabs on the corners to hold in place.  also helps with eliminating sunrise until you want it. 

Yes, the vents are to let out heat, I guess that is the point, however, from my colder camping days in New England, I came to realize that it let more cold in.  Got to close it up a bit. 

Bill & Jolene W & Koda

Old Faithful, Yellowstone Association Bookstore
1997 Southwind 35P
Toads: 1997 Honda Accord & 1986 Westfalia
FMCA F-401354
1995 OMI Dobro F-60
WA1RI

Frank B

  • ---
  • Posts: 468
Re: Retrofitting roof escape hatch?
« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2006, 11:14:39 PM »
PancakeBill:

> however, from my colder camping days in New England, I came to realize that it let more cold in.  Got to close it up a bit.  <

We will likely do something to reduce heat loss, now that the idea has been brought to my attention.  You see, we winter camp in the Canadian Rockies, and with our previous unit, we had no problems with excessive heat loss through the three vents in our old 81 Okanagan 5er.  At  least, not enough that it got me thinking about preventing heat loss through them.  Just never occurred to me.  :)  I guess a person could even cut a piece of styrofoam insulation the right size, and stuff that in the vent hole if needed.  Problem is that this also blocks out the light that comes in through them.

Anyway, we'll see if it becomes an issue for us or not.

Thanks.

Frank.
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling Westwind 24' lightweight 5th