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Old 06-24-2018, 01:04 PM   #1
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Are Some Buses Already Insulated?

Hi!
Got my school bus from a large school bus company in southeastern Wisconsin. When we tap on the walls and ceiling, they don't sound hollow? (Without ripping them apart to find out due to time restraints). Do buses in the northern states already come slightly insulated? (In our school district we still have outdoor recess at school unless temps drop below freezing. I believe school is cancelled at -20F with wind chill. So kids are standing at bus stops in really cold weather.)
Thanks!
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Old 06-24-2018, 01:10 PM   #2
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Yes, they are all insulated. But they use a cheap batt type insulation like in your home walls. It's is not intended for the extremes we plan on being in and spending longer periods of time in it than a trip fro home to school. Yes kids are standing at bus stops in really cold weather, but they are usually wearing really warm clothing and don't need excess insulation in the bus for the 20-30 minute ride to school.
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Old 06-24-2018, 03:33 PM   #3
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They have a metal box with insulation inside. It's as useful for temperature control as a hollow ice cube.. AKA not useful at all. As long as you have metal roof connected to metal frame connected to metal ceiling, the stuff you put in the gaps is meaningless.
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Old 06-24-2018, 03:46 PM   #4
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They have a metal box with insulation inside. It's as useful for temperature control as a hollow ice cube.. AKA not useful at all. As long as you have metal roof connected to metal frame connected to metal ceiling, the stuff you put in the gaps is meaningless.
I don't agree with this. If you have 400q.in. of insulated surface and cut out a 2" swatch down the middle it does not render the rest of the insulation useless. Even though heat can transfer through the ribs the field covered in insulation would still cool that space. Your analogy says spray foaming a bus is useless because the metal roof is still connected to the ribs that are connected to the ceiling? Sure you don't want to rethink that?
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Old 06-24-2018, 03:52 PM   #5
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Here you can see a piece of the cheap insulation typically found in a bus. Also see the first one of my babies to check out her new home away from home.
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Old 06-24-2018, 04:59 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by brokedown View Post
They have a metal box with insulation inside. It's as useful for temperature control as a hollow ice cube.. AKA not useful at all. As long as you have metal roof connected to metal frame connected to metal ceiling, the stuff you put in the gaps is meaningless.
THIS^^

Josh would know- He and Hillary have lived in a metal tent for quite a while and for many a mile.
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Old 06-24-2018, 05:09 PM   #7
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I've weathered THREE Montana winters with only 1" added insulation on the walls.
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Old 06-24-2018, 05:35 PM   #8
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No, I don't want to rethink it. Heat flows almost as easily as electricity. You connect your wires and what goes in one side comes out the other and it doesn't matter what the wire is wrapped in. If you fill a metal box with insulation, the bottom of the box will be almost as hot as the top. Heat likes to go up but it will go down too and spread to all available surface area to radiate out.

If you fill the gap between your roof and ceiling with spray foam and bolt the metal back to the ribs, you've wasted a lot of money. The ribs were how the ceiling was getting hot before and will be how they're getting hot after. You need a thermal break to separate the roof from the ceiling, just stuffing foam in between doesn't do much.
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Old 06-24-2018, 05:51 PM   #9
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No, I don't want to rethink it. Heat flows almost as easily as electricity. You connect your wires and what goes in one side comes out the other and it doesn't matter what the wire is wrapped in. If you fill a metal box with insulation, the bottom of the box will be almost as hot as the top. Heat likes to go up but it will go down too and spread to all available surface area to radiate out.

If you fill the gap between your roof and ceiling with spray foam and bolt the metal back to the ribs, you've wasted a lot of money. The ribs were how the ceiling was getting hot before and will be how they're getting hot after. You need a thermal break to separate the roof from the ceiling, just stuffing foam in between doesn't do much.
The ceiling got hot from the ribs that got hot from the sun beating down on the roof metal. You can't tell me that insulting 99% of the roof it doesn't make a considerable difference inside, regardless of what you cover the ceiling with. Yes, wood, drywall, etc. would insulate better, but it's not useless to insulate and replace the metal panels.
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Old 06-24-2018, 06:13 PM   #10
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It's not 100% useless but aiming a fan at the roof would do nearly as much good. Filling the inner panel of the roof with foam doesn't stop the roof panel from getting hot, it resists heat transferring through the space the foam occupies. That was never how the majority of heat was reaching the inner panel, even if the pink fiberglass stuff hadn't been there. It didn't have to go that way because it has a direct metal to metal connection that is happy to conduct it way more efficiently.

You do have some heat losses along the way, the metal it passes through will radiate some off into the gap, whatever. It's hardly different than an old frying pan with a metal handle, that handle may be a good distance from the heat source but you're gonna regret grabbing it!

A lot of people don't insulate their buses at all and get by by avoiding hot/cold places. That's a great plan and I share it but here I am in sunny florida baking in the sun even with reflective ceiling paint and a large sum of spray insulation. The frame rails are still radiating considerable amounts of heat even though the foam is doing its thing.
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