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Old 09-29-2023, 04:16 PM   #1
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How to encase water holding tanks...

Hello everyone!


I am working on my plumbing system now. I have a professional local plumber who will install things sometime this fall, but I'm pretty sure he's not going to be doing any of the tank mounting. He'll install and connect the holding tanks, but I need to get them mounted. I've been looking into ways to mount the tanks, I need something strong/secure, easy/simple, and relatively cheap/affordable. I think I found something that would work for mounting the tanks, see pics I found, I plan to do something like that.


BUT, that still leaves ONE more thing: how will I ENCASE the tanks? This is a full time RV conversion I'm doing, so the tanks will be used in the winter. I can't leave them exposed to the outside air. Now, I'm not putting these tanks inside the bus, that's just not gonna happen, there's no room. I do plan to have a bus/RV skirt eventually, and I hope that helps. And I have tank heaters for the tanks. But I'd still like to have something else to insulate the tanks.


I have seen a lot of people use wood, and even some of these pictures have that. But wood rots, no matter how well I try to water seal it, it will rot eventually, costing me more time, effort, and money. Wood just won't work... will it? (If it did, that'd honestly be perfect, I can do wood.) Metal is heavy, expensive, and will be exposed to the outside air and could chill the tanks. My plumber suggested simply wrapping them in insulation, I'm assuming rigid foam, (which I would do anyway, whatever I ultimately encase the tanks in) but I wasn't sure that would really do the trick, since the insulation would be exposed to the air and elements. You can't just wrap them in insulation, can you? I was considering these Pipewarmer bags I found on Amazon - if they can insulate outdoor pipes in the winter, mb they can insulate my tanks too? Speaking of pipewarmers, I plan to use insulation tape, pipe insulation, and more insulation tape, on my exterior pipes, as well as more of those Pipewarmer bags.

Unless someone has a better idea? Any suggestions on how to encase/insulate my holding tanks under the bus?
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Old 09-29-2023, 04:27 PM   #2
Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamWeaverBus View Post
Hello everyone!


I am working on my plumbing system now. I have a professional local plumber who will install things sometime this fall, but I'm pretty sure he's not going to be doing any of the tank mounting. He'll install and connect the holding tanks, but I need to get them mounted. I've been looking into ways to mount the tanks, I need something strong/secure, easy/simple, and relatively cheap/affordable. I think I found something that would work for mounting the tanks, see pics I found, I plan to do something like that.


BUT, that still leaves ONE more thing: how will I ENCASE the tanks? This is a full time RV conversion I'm doing, so the tanks will be used in the winter. I can't leave them exposed to the outside air. Now, I'm not putting these tanks inside the bus, that's just not gonna happen, there's no room. I do plan to have a bus/RV skirt eventually, and I hope that helps. And I have tank heaters for the tanks. But I'd still like to have something else to insulate the tanks.


I have seen a lot of people use wood, and even some of these pictures have that. But wood rots, no matter how well I try to water seal it, it will rot eventually, costing me more time, effort, and money. Wood just won't work... will it? (If it did, that'd honestly be perfect, I can do wood.) Metal is heavy, expensive, and will be exposed to the outside air and could chill the tanks. My plumber suggested simply wrapping them in insulation, I'm assuming rigid foam, (which I would do anyway, whatever I ultimately encase the tanks in) but I wasn't sure that would really do the trick, since the insulation would be exposed to the air and elements. You can't just wrap them in insulation, can you? I was considering these Pipewarmer bags I found on Amazon - if they can insulate outdoor pipes in the winter, mb they can insulate my tanks too? Speaking of pipewarmers, I plan to use insulation tape, pipe insulation, and more insulation tape, on my exterior pipes, as well as more of those Pipewarmer bags.

Unless someone has a better idea? Any suggestions on how to encase/insulate my holding tanks under the bus?
How far did you go in your demo of the bus? Asking for materials sake.

I also plan to use my bus full time as well, and have had to think about this.
My current plan is to use tank warmers on the bottom, as well as 1/2in insulation on all sides, and then finally use the sheet metal from demoing the ceiling to wrap the insulation.
The sheet metal will protect the tanks and insulation. The insulation, while I know 1/2in is not a lot, will stop the heat from being directly lost to the metal skin through contact and hopefully reduce the cycle time of the heat pads as well.
My space is limited so I unfortunately I can't go larger than 1/2in insulation. But the more the better.
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Old 09-29-2023, 04:41 PM   #3
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Tanks external

A flat sheet of 14 ga on the bottom, then a sheet of 2 pink foam board the same size of the tank then tank heater mat. Then tank. 2 foam board on the sides, over lap foam board, glue and tape corners and sides. In essence when you are done you will have minimum of 2 pink foam board all around. Add a second layer, giving 4 all around for better protection, still use 14 ga steel sheet for the bottom.

William
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Old 09-29-2023, 05:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clouse House View Post
How far did you go in your demo of the bus? Asking for materials sake.

I also plan to use my bus full time as well, and have had to think about this.
My current plan is to use tank warmers on the bottom, as well as 1/2in insulation on all sides, and then finally use the sheet metal from demoing the ceiling to wrap the insulation.
The sheet metal will protect the tanks and insulation. The insulation, while I know 1/2in is not a lot, will stop the heat from being directly lost to the metal skin through contact and hopefully reduce the cycle time of the heat pads as well.
My space is limited so I unfortunately I can't go larger than 1/2in insulation. But the more the better.

I'm fairly far in, once I get my plumbing done, all I will need to have the bus 'officially' finished is new tires, batteries, and the legal paperwork. All the rest is gravy, like a rooftop A/C and such. I love your idea of reusing the sheet metal from the ceiling, but I already used all mine to delete the back half of my windows. But yeah, I like your idea as well of using the insulation to prevent direct contact with the cold metal. That's my plan whether I use metal or not. I wonder if I could go to a junkyard and get some sheet metal there, from another old bus... Unlike when I started my bus demo, though, I'll have no help to get it off the bus and back home. I could get smaller pieces tho, potentially...
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Old 09-29-2023, 05:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magnakansas View Post
A flat sheet of 14 ga on the bottom, then a sheet of 2 pink foam board the same size of the tank then tank heater mat. Then tank. 2 foam board on the sides, over lap foam board, glue and tape corners and sides. In essence when you are done you will have minimum of 2 pink foam board all around. Add a second layer, giving 4 all around for better protection, still use 14 ga steel sheet for the bottom.

William

So if I understand you correctly, you'll have a solid piece of metal on the bottom of your tank, followed by more insulation, the tank heater, then the tank, but the sides of the tank won't have metal around it, just insulation? Are you saying it's okay to have exposed insulation on the sides as long as it's thick enough? Because I think I could do that, if that's the case. 4 inches of insulation all around I could do. I still have some leftover rigid foam from before, but I could get more for this. It would technically be exposed, but all it would be facing would be the interior sides of the bus undercarriage. Probably not a lot of splashback from wet roads... And you think that would be enough to prevent my tanks from freezing? (Taking into account a good RV skirt?)
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Old 09-29-2023, 05:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamWeaverBus View Post
I'm fairly far in, once I get my plumbing done, all I will need to have the bus 'officially' finished is new tires, batteries, and the legal paperwork. All the rest is gravy, like a rooftop A/C and such. I love your idea of reusing the sheet metal from the ceiling, but I already used all mine to delete the back half of my windows. But yeah, I like your idea as well of using the insulation to prevent direct contact with the cold metal. That's my plan whether I use metal or not. I wonder if I could go to a junkyard and get some sheet metal there, from another old bus... Unlike when I started my bus demo, though, I'll have no help to get it off the bus and back home. I could get smaller pieces tho, potentially...
Getting them off the ceiling would be relatively easy by yourself. Gravity does most of the work. As far as carrying them after, I use this guy when I need to move around what I have stored for any reason:

Click image for larger version

Name:	610Y0YL8txL._AC_SL1500_.jpg
Views:	3
Size:	87.6 KB
ID:	74170
www.amazon.com

It's designed for carrying 4'x8' sheets up to 1in thick by yourself and it works really well for larger pieces of thin sheet metal too. Don't let the photo fool you, it's designed so the two sides are always parallel in use, so you get a good clamp on thin materials too.
Like I said, it's how I carry around my ceiling panels when I need to move them. Still heavy of course, but gives me an easy hand hold. They also roll up fairly easily to put in the back of a car/truck. Just need something to tie em up with so they don't come unrolled.
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Old 09-29-2023, 05:43 PM   #7
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Oooh, that's handy, thanks for sharing!
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Old 09-29-2023, 09:15 PM   #8
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I used a sheet of 14ga galvanized for a little road hazard protection and suspended with Unistrut and 1/2” all-thread every foot. I added some PEX to the all-thread as abrasion protection

Those done with plumbers tape look scary!
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Old 09-29-2023, 10:26 PM   #9
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I’m planning on using a material called durabond it’s a aluminum composite I’m going to wrap with durabond then insulate with foam boards inside of that.
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Old 09-30-2023, 01:36 PM   #10
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4" and tank heating pad

yes in most situations, 4" of foam and a heat source, the tank heating pad.

and yes. i think the foam exposed is okay. perhaps consider skinning with aluminum flashing- you can cut with good utility scissors.
use a spray glue safe for foam , ithink 77M is very common

william
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Old 10-02-2023, 02:50 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by magnakansas View Post
yes in most situations, 4" of foam and a heat source, the tank heating pad.

and yes. i think the foam exposed is okay. perhaps consider skinning with aluminum flashing- you can cut with good utility scissors.
use a spray glue safe for foam , ithink 77M is very common

william

Alright, that's excellent! Thank you so much! Knowing this, I can get this job done, hopefully before the weather turns cold this fall!
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Old 10-02-2023, 02:51 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Danjo View Post
I used a sheet of 14ga galvanized for a little road hazard protection and suspended with Unistrut and 1/2 all-thread every foot. I added some PEX to the all-thread as abrasion protection

Those done with plumbers tape look scary!

Adding PEX to the all threads is a great idea, I think I'll try that too!
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Old 10-02-2023, 02:51 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Hardknockskoold View Post
Im planning on using a material called durabond its a aluminum composite Im going to wrap with durabond then insulate with foam boards inside of that.

That's a good suggestion, I looked up Durabond, Thanks!
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Old 10-03-2023, 09:27 AM   #14
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Glad to help I use the stuff every day and it seems to hold up well to the elements.
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Old 10-04-2023, 10:36 PM   #15
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You dont want wood period unless you want to see it drop out. You dont need insulation. You do want a welded cage instead of swaying bolts and you want the sides of your tank supported. Check out this vid by a master builder.

https://youtu.be/7xIoBeAAe08?si=yr3RgurmsX2Hgp6S
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Old 10-05-2023, 10:35 AM   #16
Skoolie
 
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For mine (not used in the cold too much)
I put my only water tank (round steel water heater) above not under the floor. I did however insulate the wood box heavily. And I did use some steel threaded rods t attach firmly the box frame to the aluminum floor. After I unplug at home I have hot water for 6 days. (20 gal 110V residential heater)
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Old 10-05-2023, 11:16 AM   #17
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You got woodie

Ok I tried to post a link to a Chuck Cassidy vid on how to built a proper tank cage so ill post it again as i see people using wood which is the worst material to use.

One thing to remember is the weight of a full 46 gallon tank is about 380 lbs of moving back and forth water. Wood may seem ok while empty but I under weight it will move back and forth weakening the screws. Long threaded bolts that most people use can unthread. The thing you dont want is dropping a tank at 55mph or damaging the vehicles behind you. By making a welded cage is the best way to go for your personal well being.

Another is that RV water tanks require that the sides of the tank be supported, otherwise it will bulge out and crack especially in cold weather. Insulation isnt needed. A good sized heating will melt a frozen tank in a few hours so dont wasted your solar electricity keeping it on 24/7.

If you dont know how to weld you can learn after practicing your welds in a couple of days using a flux core welder 125. Best thing too is that you can customize your solar panel set up, build a galore of cargo boxes including propane cabinet and knowing its road sturdy.

https://youtu.be/7xIoBeAAe08?si=ImSizhC7emdfKKm6

Do it right or dont do it at all!
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