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Old 07-19-2007, 01:27 PM   #11
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Re: designing floor plans do's and don'ts

Here's what I'm planning to do for my heated floors. I have a ball python (snake) at home. To heat his tank, I have a 1 foot piece of flex watt heat tape under the tank hooked up to a rheostat switch so I can control the temperature. This stuff is only .012" thick! That's like three sheets of paper. It's 11" wide and you can git it in any length you like. At full power, it takes 20 watts per foot to heat. So, if you ran a 20 foot strip down an aisle in your bus, it would only take 400 watts to power it. A regular RV air conditioner takes almost 5 times as much power.

So, in my bus, I'm laying some subflooring down on the metal floor. Lowes sells 4'x8'x7/16" sheets for less than $6 each. Then I'm going to do all of my building on top of that sub flooring. I'm saving the tile, carpet and wood flooring for last. So, once I have everything built, I'm going to lay my heat tape down the central aisle in my bus and stick it to the subflooring with some vinyl tile glue. After that, I'm going to lay my vinyl tile and vinyl wood flooring and carpet on top of that. This heat tape can take a LOT of weight. More than you'll ever put on it by walking on it. Then, I'll hook a rheostat switch up to the whole thing because you wouldn't want this at full power. 7 or 8 watts per foot would be plenty to keep your floor warm on a cold winter day. I don't know of anybody that has tried this yet, but I'm going to give it a shot. The price is around $3.50 per foot. I'm figuring that I'll need around 25 feet for my bus. Also, you can cut this stuff with scissors too. The wiring is really easy as well. You just solder the two ends to the metal strips on the sides of the tape. We'll see how it works out. Here's a picture of this stuff...
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Old 07-19-2007, 05:57 PM   #12
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Re: designing floor plans do's and don'ts

that is a really cool idea I think it will be in my plans if it works for you. Where is a good supplier for that heat tape
In my earlier post I was referring to wrapping all the plumbing with heat tape. even if the bus is sitting unusued I will have it on and plugged to the garage electricity to keep it from breaking. warm toes is always a plus too!
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Old 07-19-2007, 06:02 PM   #13
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Re: designing floor plans do's and don'ts

for my subflooring I am toying with idea of aluminum sound matt 1/4 foam sheets then plywood held with counter sunk bolts.
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Old 07-19-2007, 08:10 PM   #14
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Re: designing floor plans do's and don'ts

I'm planning on using the heat tape under my water tanks too. I'm going to do my tanks like VonSlatt did his. Big rectangular tanks held in with angle iron and sitting on some plywood. A little heat tape would keep things thawed. Of course, I'd have to figure a way to waterproof it.
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Old 07-19-2007, 09:48 PM   #15
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Re: designing floor plans do's and don'ts

I am good with fiberglass just had a thought about flex watt heat tape. I was going to make my water tanks out glass for several reason weight being the primary factor, can make any size any shape that I want and I can make them semi transparent, at least enough to visually see water level. I wonder how that tape would hold up under resin. inotherwords build the heat tape in between the layers of the tank would be water proof then
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Old 07-19-2007, 10:03 PM   #16
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Re: designing floor plans do's and don'ts

with your application, lightly grind metal on the tank so its clean and a little rough glue your heat tape down, cut a piece of fiberglass clothe not matt one layer will waterproof it. the clothe should be about 2 inches bigger than the heat tape panel. put clothe on big piece of cardboard mix hardner in resin. us an paint brush about a 2 inch. soak the clothe while its on the cardboard cover heat tape make sure power wires are exposed brush out all air bubbles using bristles of the brush to dabb air bubbles out with a tapping motion make sure there is enough hardner in resin, and in about 20 minutes should be hard wear gloves, and use thinner or mineral spirits for clean up. oh by the way saok clothe completely but mop out excese resin so it won't be so messy when you apply it. You really don't want to wear it. surgical gloves work the best.
and you will have a chemical reaction that creats heat, its normal
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Old 07-19-2007, 10:20 PM   #17
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Re: designing floor plans do's and don'ts

Yep. The Flexwatt heat tape definately has some good skoolie applications I think. I'm just thinking about safety. My plan was to coat any exposed metal with some sort of resin so water can't get to the electricity. I'm thinking that if I were to put it on some tanks under my bus, they might not only get wet from a leak in the tank, but from water on the road. I'm planning on getting my tanks from plastic-mart.com. You can get any size you want and the tanks are semi transparent. I'm going to get two 95 gallon tanks. But that place is in California and I'm in Oklahoma. So, I'm going to look around my area and see if anybody closer makes tanks so I can save a few hundred bucks on shipping! Inside the bus, I'll be able to use my dremel tool to route some grooves for wires to go in in my subflooring for the heat tape. Then I can lay the vinyl tiles on top and have a nice flat floor.
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Old 07-19-2007, 10:44 PM   #18
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Re: designing floor plans do's and don'ts

try putting two blades back to back on your skill saw screw a long 2/4 on the floor. set the depth on the cut as shallow as the wire. then rip along the 2/4 the you have a nice straight line as deep as long as you wish to run the wire quick and easy remove the 2/4 board and your temporary rip fench is gone
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Old 07-19-2007, 11:17 PM   #19
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Re: designing floor plans do's and don'ts

What we did that seems to work...been fulltiming for 1 year now:

*We put the sink and shower drains next to each other so they empty directly into the graywater tank. No exposed pipes. Also helps keep the cold & hot water runs short
*We kept the plumbing to one side of the bus.
*We kept the center aisle 36" wide. It feels very roomy (for what it is )
*Put in as many windows as possible. Daylight is good.
*A brighter interior helps offset the "enclosed space" feeling.
*We divided the 23' living space into 3 distict areas:
1. The front is the dining area, computer area, cooking area, and my office. Sort of the daytime area.
2. The center is the shower & bathroom
3. The aft area is for relaxing, reading, sleeping. That way we're not crossing over/through the sleeping area to use the potty or get a snack. Very important if your significant other values her sleep

See our website for more info on our conversion.

HTH
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Old 07-20-2007, 12:24 PM   #20
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Re: designing floor plans do's and don'ts

for floorplans I like to use 1/4 inch graph paper and templates from staedler or picket that have scale fixture and furnature outlines, layout your inside dimensions and obstacles under the bus, then overlay the outline with tracing paper, let the templates determine how things want to fit. to chance layouts just use another piece of tracing paper.

has anyone used a waterbed heater to keep tanks from freezing?
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