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Old 12-28-2018, 12:02 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2018
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Is insulation necessary?

Hi All,
Iím converting a shorty with 10 windows. Will it really make a difference if I insulate the roof and walls? Given how blustery the windows are?

Thx for your feedback, community

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Old 12-28-2018, 12:18 PM   #2
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only you can answer the question of whether or not you need insulation.
If the windows are blustery I'd start with fixing that.

10 windows isn't exactly short.
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Old 12-28-2018, 12:31 PM   #3
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I would insulate, unless you're only camping, or chasing fair weather.

Side walls 2x 13x6 =156

Floor and ceiling 13x8 =104
End wall 6x8 = 48

308 square feet of wall

You've got
Side windows 2x 2.5x13
End windows 2.5x8
105 square feet of window

You can still get decent insulation on the 2/3rds of your bus that's not window. I didn't really calculate anything for the front end, and I'd guess that my size estimates are a bit small. A roll of bubble wrap and some magnets and you've even got some decent coverage on the windows without loosing light too.

Also keep in mind that your bus is one giant metal box - the inside surfaces have direct contact with the outside surfaces. That means that in the sun, all that interior sheet metal is directly conducting the heat through the roof ribs (and wall ribs) from the outside skin that's sitting baking all day long. I'd imagine it's worse in the cold - all that sheet metal is conducting the heat to the outside bus skin that wants to be whatever the outside temperature is.

If you'll always have access to shore power or generator power, to provide climate control, you might be okay not ripping the inside of your bus apart, but I wouldn't go that route - why do all the work to be teathered to an electrical outlet?
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Old 12-28-2018, 12:50 PM   #4
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Thanks Mark, your numbers are quite helpful,

I am west coast with a mini cub and propane heat..
solar for elect. I can always make my “tin box” warmer... It’s the heat I’m more worried about, as AC is not really compatible with Solar. I do have a mini swamp cooler I’ve used with Solar ... It will make 90 degrees 80 or so, But after 100 degrees it’s just about moving the air with fans and holding still to keep from melting... so... in this case..: will tearing apart the ceiling and walls REALLY take the edge off the heat? solar panels live on the roof. So parked in full sun.
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Old 12-28-2018, 02:25 PM   #5
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Radiant heat is amazing, both for good and for bad. In my opinion, in direct sun in the summer, being inside a bus as built by the factory is about the same as being outside in the sun on a still day. If instead that bus has the inner sheet metal removed and is well-insulated and has some air moving through, then it'll be more like sitting in the shade of a dense tree with a light breeze. Though the metal shell on the outside will be just as hot either way, those changes will reduce its ability to radiate that heat to the interior.

Like others said, only you can decide what you're comfortable with. Personally, I don't like feeling like a potato being baked in aluminum foil wrapping. My bus is going down the path of aggressive insulation because I want to be able to use it anywhere, any season, and not worry that it'll be unbearably uncomfortable inside.

Other people may have climates, seasons, and preferences/tolerances such that they'll be completely happy without the trouble of improving insulation.

Maybe a person could volunteer to help chaperone a school field trip, or to help clean buses at the end of the day, to form a realistic opinion about whether they'll be comfortable in an unmodified bus. Of course that doesn't answer the question "would insulating take the edge off?" The answer to that is a subjective "yes": one person might feel that just one inch of insulation takes the edge off, but another might feel that it takes 2-3 inches.
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Old 12-28-2018, 03:31 PM   #6
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Insulation is certainly a personal preference. I have been in my bus for over a year - but travel with the weather (for the most part).
Right now, it's 20 degrees out - with temperature ranges from 32 to 12 degrees.
I wish that I had better insulated the floor - but the walls and ceiling are factory insulation - which was in good shape for a 18 year old bus.

It is easy to keep the bus at a decent temperature for me when plugged in to shore power - I have two small $15 heaters that work great - but it's about 55 degrees at night when the temps drop below freezing. it is a little drafty near the doors and windows - but I cover the windows by the bed - and sleep soundly.

I have a propane Mr. Buddy Heater that will heat the bus in minutes and take the chill off.

My cubic mini wood stove really warms up the bus nicely - though it does not last through the night.

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Last Night was chilly - but the wood stove burned from about 6pm to 11pm.

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This morning the temperate in the bus was about 53 degrees (outside was 16) with the two electric heaters running all night on low. A few minutes after lighting up the wood stove it was very comfortable.

As I mentioned, I wish I would have better insulate my floor and doorway - other than that, I am comfortable as it came. In the summer - I can open the windows and run fans - it has rarely been uncomfortable - if it gets too hot out - and I am in direct sun, I use Reflectix on the outside of the windows in direct sun - and that makes all the difference.
Without AC - it is generally only a few degrees cooler than outside - or about the same - unless I am in the shade - but a small portable AC unit will help - the windows seem to be the biggest summer heater and winter cooler for my bus.

One day, I hope to get awnings to help in the summer. For now - Reflectix on the outside of windows in the summer sun - and inside of the some of the windows for cold winter nights.
- Roger (Dog.Rescuer)
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