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Old 07-21-2017, 08:50 PM   #1
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Single Mom and Toddler - Winterizing??

Hey everybody! I am sooo happy to find out this website existed!! I have so much reading to do!

I have been thinking of going tiny for years now, and just opened my own business a few months ago. Finances are tight, and I'm sick of dumping $1000 a month into rent in the ghetto where I don't feel safe walking outside, and my car is broken into habitually. I want to raise my 1.5 year old toddler to appreciate nature and be as submerged in it as possible, and I want to teach him the values of giving back by giving as much of the profit from my business to charity (Once it's profitable).

I'm giving notice to move out of our one bedroom apartment, and my question is how impossible would it be to winterize a school bus with very little time? I would like to get into one before the winter, even if it's just the bare necessities. I realize this might be too much to take on by myself all at once, and I'm most likely going to rent a cottage for the winter. They tend to be cheap during the off-season. Generally cheaper then what I am paying for rent now which will let me potentially save more money.

Thank you so much for your input, and I live in Southern Ontario to give you an idea of the temperature here.
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Old 07-21-2017, 08:59 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by LovelyLittleFamily View Post
Hey everybody! I am sooo happy to find out this website existed!! I have so much reading to do!

I have been thinking of going tiny for years now, and just opened my own business a few months ago. Finances are tight, and I'm sick of dumping $1000 a month into rent in the ghetto where I don't feel safe walking outside, and my car is broken into habitually. I want to raise my 1.5 year old toddler to appreciate nature and be as submerged in it as possible, and I want to teach him the values of giving back by giving as much of the profit from my business to charity (Once it's profitable).

I'm giving notice to move out of our one bedroom apartment, and my question is how impossible would it be to winterize a school bus with very little time? I would like to get into one before the winter, even if it's just the bare necessities. I realize this might be too much to take on by myself all at once, and I'm most likely going to rent a cottage for the winter. They tend to be cheap during the off-season. Generally cheaper then what I am paying for rent now which will let me potentially save more money.

Thank you so much for your input, and I live in Southern Ontario to give you an idea of the temperature here.
If you are going to be living in it you're going to want to insulate for you will be paying exorbitant amounts of money for fuel to heat. Depending on your skill set (or the skill set of your friends lol), you can have a conversion done fairly quickly. The toughest part is finding the right bus for you and then getting the inside stripped out and insulated. Just barebones you're going to need someplace to sleep, someplace to cook, some place to potty, and someplace to shower.
The bed is fairly easy...
The shower is a little more complicated and requires an on-board water tank if you don't have hookups, and a grey water tank. A composting toilet is fairly easy to construct ( lots of YouTube vids and threads on here)
For cooking you can use a camp stove and oven.
Initially if you have someplace to plug in and hook up to water I think after the installation it would be fairly easy to do.
One consideration that some folks forget to take into account... If you're living full-time in the winter your water tanks have to be either in a climate-controlled space or heated.
You can lay the groundwork for electricity and use extension cords in the short-term. As long as you're willing to do it I don't see any reason why you can't.

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Old 07-21-2017, 09:05 PM   #3
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When you say winterize, are you meaning just preparing it to sit unused for a few months?

if so, there's just a few major points.

You need your cooling system to use an antifreeze capable of dealing with the temperatures of you area. If you have a gasoline engine, a winterizing fuel additive will help a lot. If it is diesel, your fuel will start to separate into wax and gel and that's pretty gross. Since you're in the Narth you might find that gas stations sell a winter diesel that can withstand lower temps. Either way, I'd say to have as little fuel as possible in the system that will still get you to a gas station, and try not to start it if its below freezing.

Your batteries would appreciate a trickle charger to keep them warm and full. 5 or 10 watts should be enough as long as you don't have any bonus power leak.

Sitting in one place can be bad for your tires as well. Just rolling a couple of feet every few weeks will go a long way towards preventing this damage.

Finally, starting the bus now and then when it's not stupid cold. Just let it run for a little bit, let the components warm up, move the fluids around, think of it as a nice mid-nap stretch.
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Old 07-21-2017, 09:46 PM   #4
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During winter in Canada on a whole, you'd have a hard time finding a place where the fuel isn't winterized.

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Old 07-21-2017, 09:46 PM   #5
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Sorry! I should have meant insulating!

No, I definitely meant insulating to live in for the winter. Bad wording there, sorry!

I have to be out of my apartment by October 1st, and I want to be able to live the winter in our bus. I have been perusing the local classifieds here, and I've actually been pleasantly surprised at the number of buses available for pretty cheap prices that have been partially insulated or at least had the seats taken out of already!
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Old 07-21-2017, 09:50 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by LovelyLittleFamily View Post
No, I definitely meant insulating to live in for the winter. Bad wording there, sorry!

I have to be out of my apartment by October 1st, and I want to be able to live the winter in our bus. I have been perusing the local classifieds here, and I've actually been pleasantly surprised at the number of buses available for pretty cheap prices that have been partially insulated or at least had the seats taken out of already!
If you can find one that you like with the seats already out it'll save you a bunch of time.

My wife and I have an 84 passenger bus and it took us the better part of 2 solid days to get all of the seats removed and that was with my dad's help for the last 10 at the back.

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Old 07-21-2017, 10:18 PM   #7
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Best way to winterise may be to head south, just saying. Hope that wasn't too un-constructive, sorry.
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Old 07-21-2017, 10:31 PM   #8
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Best way to winterise may be to head south, just saying. Hope that wasn't too un-constructive, sorry.
I think you missed the part where I said I just opened a business, not really possible to vanish for months lol. Thanks though! It would be a nice idea!!
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Old 07-21-2017, 10:38 PM   #9
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To prepare for an extremely northern area, it's going to be a large task to get it winterized for living. Not trying to discredit anything or anyone. Just speaking from experience where temps barely reach 32 F.

If I got into the teens last winter, I'd have needed to to plan B. Not to mention I was in an uninsulated shop building out of the rain, snow, ice, and most importantly the wind!
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Old 07-21-2017, 10:41 PM   #10
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I think you missed the part where I said I just opened a business, not really possible to vanish for months lol. Thanks though! It would be a nice idea!!

Is your new business a brick & mortar shop? Where Plan B could be to spend a few of the colder nights inside?

My plan B was to set up camp inside the shop/warehouse where I work, if needed.
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