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Author Topic: How to insulate underneath coach?  (Read 4392 times)
Scott Bennett
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« on: September 30, 2012, 05:51:21 AM »

We are gritting our teeth and spending our first winter in the midwest in the coach. What are your best ideas for insulating underneath the coach? Some have said to set the coach down on a solid straw bale surface, but mold and mice are not my friends, so foam board wedged vertically all around the perimeter is my next plan. What sayest thou? I did use the search function and didn't find anything specific.


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« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2012, 06:02:20 AM »

Scott, I don't think I would use straw !! Think Cigarette Butt or anything that could ignite it. Use the foam board or the stuff they put around a mobile home. Stopping the air flow from under will greatly help.
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« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2012, 06:57:21 AM »

Another great argument against straw. Thanks Ed. Foam board seems to be the item of choice here.


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Scott & Heather
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« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2012, 07:26:30 AM »

Not that i am going to spend the winter in ND, but have been watching people build all kinds of elaborate insulation skirting type deals, on rvs, but what i been thinking if i got greedy enough to try and winter up here, is regular house type insulation roll it up like a log wrap in plastic and wedge under the bus, think it will work better than what i seen them building, and easy er to take out when you freeze up, get loaded on a landall and hauled south till you start thawing out. lol
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« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2012, 02:25:03 PM »

Home type Fiberglas batts get wet too easily if exposed to the weather and then they are worse than useless.

Be sure to put some rat/mouse poison inside the bottom enclosure before you close it off, they sure like dark warm places.
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« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2012, 02:49:59 PM »

I would use typar,tuck tape.You only want to stop the wind from getting in.The foam would be hard to use and the heat loss from the ground is large-----huge. Hear in muskoka we call it siding .( typar or tyvek )    dave
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« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2012, 09:34:04 PM »

Nice...like the idea of Tyvek. I assume I have to attach it to the underneath of the bus and then stake it to the ground? The fiberglass batting is an idea, but I'd have to be 100% sure it was encased in waterproof plastic...otherwise it's a mess. Seen it get wet before...yuck.
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Scott & Heather
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« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2012, 02:34:19 AM »

Plastic sheeting and ducktape, you be able to keep it dry
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« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2012, 07:19:13 AM »

Where are you at, Scott?

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« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2012, 07:49:45 AM »

Mt. Vernon, Ohio. We are originally from Michigan so we're used to below zero temps and lots of snow. But, again, we've never wintered in the coach. Ohio doesn't usually get as severe of a winter as Michigan...but the locals around here have shared some stories of some pretty wicked winters fairly recently within the last 6 years.
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Scott & Heather
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« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2012, 08:05:04 AM »

When it comes, the snow is your friend. If it doesn't pile up around your bottom enclosure, help it do so.

Insulates and seals.

happy coaching!
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« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2012, 06:50:34 PM »

Scott,

How about turn the key and drive south.

That'll keep the cold from sneaking in Smiley  Plus we may get a chance to catch up with you.  No way the Wifey would drive to Ohio in January.

-Sean

 
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« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2012, 07:39:11 PM »

Sean, I wish we could. Wintering in Florida last year was amazing! And another chance to hang with the herd would be most welcome!!


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Scott & Heather
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« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2012, 05:50:36 AM »

Scott we spent the winter in Montana, I went to home depot and bought sheet of silver backed insulation 1inch thick stuff. and the silver tape. Cut to fit all around the Bus and the wheel wells. Bought a heat tape fore the water hose and wrapped it in pipe insulation. bought a couple of those small heaters and put one in the water bay. and one in the two other bays. had one heater in the bedroom and one in the living room. It got down to 20 below that year and we did fine. At the time i did not have unsulation under the driver and passanger seat so that part of the bus was cold, so i just put a blanket up. it worked ok , we just used it at night. anyway it worked for us.
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« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2012, 11:15:50 AM »

Andy,

This is great info...was your water connection below ground? As in the spigot? The place we're at wants me to disconnect my hose and only connect it and turn the spigot on when filling my 100 gal tank, then disconnect and turn the spigot off. Apparently it has a below ground bladder that the water drains into to prevent freezing. Going to be a pain doing this but oh well. Also, what size electric heaters did you use for the luggage bays? Would love to hear more from you on this since you've done it all electrical.
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Scott & Heather
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« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2012, 02:20:07 PM »

Like Andy, I use small elect heaters on low for my water compartment and bathroom when my bus is sitting outside in winter. However, our winters are pretty mild here in the south.

Plastic sheeting on the ground won't insulate but it will keep out moisture.
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« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2012, 02:26:09 PM »

Thanks Gus...another good idea. I'll be getting some space heaters here next week.
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Scott & Heather
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Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
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« Reply #17 on: October 02, 2012, 03:28:53 PM »

Hi Scott,

For about 2K, you can purchace an RV tent. I had my coach in one for 4 winters

until the cover wore out. It would stay at 60 degrees during the day and drop down

to the 40's at night with no heat on in the coach. Outside temps were teen's at night

and 30's during the day.

Look up Shelter King. They make the 42 foot long enclosure and for what you put out

up front would save you in fuel/electric all winter.

I will look for some pics of mine tomorrow.

Nick-


I only found a pic of the frame on this comp. after the cover wore out..

I found one!!
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« Reply #18 on: October 02, 2012, 06:44:34 PM »

The underside of the bus is sprayed with foam and painted black (makes it really hard to find air leaks when all the lines are buried in spray foam). We use pipe insulation on the water hose with a heat wrap tape plugged into an outlet in the water bay. If the tap isn't a frost free type, wrap it with pipe insulation and heat tape also. Don't leave your grey tank open, it will freeze solid in the sewer hose. Dump both the black and grey tanks when necessary, dumping the black first so the grey flushes the line. We have propane catalytic heaters that are very economical and enough heat transfers down through the floor to keep the bays from freezing. We have been quite comfortable in cold climates without spending a fortune on heating.
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« Reply #19 on: October 02, 2012, 10:01:20 PM »

get line voltage thermostats for your cube heaters in your bays,set at 55-60 degrees, the t-stats on cubes never shut off.
add heat lamps...maybe 200 watt to use during milder cold.
drain your sewer line/use your tanks OR convert it to pvc/abs and heat tape it with good insulation.
be happy that they will let you have water w/o moving your coach.
fill your tanks,they are a heat bank.
buy a remote/radio wireless 3 channel temp gage...put a transmiter in each bay.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2012, 09:18:24 AM by eagle19952 » Logged

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« Reply #20 on: October 03, 2012, 04:10:05 AM »

Scott the water system did have a drain like what you explained, I will tell you that if you do what they are asking make sure you have your hose in a warm area when not using. even if youe drain it there is still water in the hose and it will freeze. One other concideration is your black water line, Ours is exposed and has water in it even after i empty it. So after each dump after maybe a week to ten days, we worked all day and were not in the Bus I would add a gallon of RV anti freeze to my black water tank.
The heaters I used were 1500 watt on a low setting. the little box ones. I'm on the road in Texas or I would sent you a picture of the Bus in all it's winter cloths lol. You can do this with little or no problems but i will tell you that Bus is going to get real Small by March  lol Good luck
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« Reply #21 on: October 03, 2012, 08:59:52 AM »

If your going to put heaters in the bays, you might see about adding insulation to the bay doors.  We did that for the tank bay by just cutting pieces of foam in one and fiberglass in the other side and working it into the doors.  I keep meaning to cover it with something to make it look purty but haven't yet.
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« Reply #22 on: October 03, 2012, 09:20:22 AM »

Nick, I thought so many times of tenting the coach too...I think it would work out great, but I don't have an ounce of room left anywhere to store the thing when we're done with it. Also, we don't pay for electric where we are parked. Not metered. So I am going to use all the electric I can and avoid propane as much as possible. I wish my bus were insulated under the luggage bays, but we're not there yet...sounds like that would help tremendously. Our air lines are in a chase beneath the floor, so it wouldn't cover up anything important.

eagle19952:, what exactly are those? The thermostat controlled plugs? I've seen them at Lowes. Looking for a weather station that can accept three sensors for the luggage bays....still looking as a matter of fact.

Andy and Lin, we are going to work on insulating the bay doors...going to be a pain, but we'll do it. Andy, I was planning on adding some softener salt and or RV antifreeze to the black tank after every dump just to be sure nothing froze in my sewer hose. We've been making some interior upgrades to help with the fact that we are going to be holed up in here all winter. One of those is a flat screen TV. Also installed double padded carpeting in the living room in place of the floor tile. Very nice...
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Scott & Heather
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« Reply #23 on: October 03, 2012, 10:51:36 AM »

Of all the things you do, you will probably appreciate the double padded carpeting more than any of the others  Grin
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« Reply #24 on: October 03, 2012, 11:16:18 AM »

Hi Scott,

I have a friend that owns La Crosse Technology and he has weather stations that have the capability of receiving 3 remote sensors. They have a large selection, from simple to elaborate.  He has an outlet store called "great BIG outlet". The web site is great BIG outlet.com. Or, you can call 608-782-2039. The order guy is Gary. If he doesn't answer, leave a message and he will call you back. If you can live with a few scratches the outlet store offers some real bargains.

I have no connection to the store other than being a friend of the owner and a satisfied customer.

Good luck, Sam
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« Reply #25 on: October 03, 2012, 07:05:54 PM »

Thanks to someone before me, all my water tanks are in the same insulated bay so are easy to heat in cold weather.

Of course this doesn't protect all lines and, especially the toilet flush valve - the first thing to freeze, but it is an excellent idea.
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« Reply #26 on: October 05, 2012, 05:56:04 AM »

How about plastic bags filled with foam packing peanuts?

I would use the heavy duty contractor bags.  You can often find the peanuts for nothing from stores or Craig's List.  DO NOT USE the biodegradable starch peanuts.
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« Reply #27 on: October 05, 2012, 07:47:39 AM »

Great idea on the peanuts....but once again, my paranoid mind envisions a bag getting torn open sometime during the winter and a cold wind spreading those peanuts far and wide. I'm parked at an exposed road frontage RV park in an academy our church owns. Beautiful campus, beautiful park, and really am trying to keep things looking nice and tidy while we are here...we're next to the entrance to the school and are literally the first impression.
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Scott & Heather
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« Reply #28 on: October 09, 2012, 04:50:58 PM »

We live in NE Ohio in what's referred to as the snow belt.(welcome to lake effect snow)(effect affect?) we did straw bails in large trash bags , yes it was a pain but it made a HUGE difference we tore the bails down to just effectively skirt the bus. Did nothing but a heat lamp bulb in the water bay....doing that right now as its been below freezing 2 nights in a row Wink Wind whipping under the bus is your worst enemy and will make you cold and Very Very miserable. On another note we've found the oil filled electrics to be most effective for heating a poorly or well insulated unit. Our transit we used 3 and had nothing but the roof insulated and currently in our skoolie we have 2 although we insulated to an extreme level. We'll have to meet up for coffee. You should be far south enough for a pretty uneventful winter though!


Have fun !

Eric
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« Reply #29 on: October 09, 2012, 06:02:56 PM »

Scott,

The couple times I was in cold,  Angry   I just added a large light bulb to my bays.
But, hey, I'm from Florida, what in the world would I know about cold.

Bill
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« Reply #30 on: October 09, 2012, 07:31:36 PM »

Yeah Bill...your kind of cold * oh my word, it's 60 outside! Turn on the hose heaters *

Eric, sometime we'll have to connect! Swap bus stories or something...or maybe we'll come live in your bus when ours freezes over.

UPDATE: We have had some 30 degree nights...soft freeze. Running a single 1500 watt space heater in the coach...and one in each of the two water bays...and we are staying toasty. Too toasty. The floors are really warm. That air is just heating the tiles from underneath and we are needing to turn down the heaters. So far so good...
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Scott & Heather
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« Reply #31 on: October 10, 2012, 06:56:39 PM »

30 degrees around here and your taking off a layer or 2 come January Wink


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Eric
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« Reply #32 on: October 10, 2012, 06:58:42 PM »

When you say cold, you mean anything below 70degs.  All my Florida friends understand that 60 is 10 degs below freezing.....    Grin

Bill
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« Reply #33 on: October 13, 2012, 07:30:14 PM »

True story. Had a hard frost last night. Stayed toasty. Floors are warm too with heaters in the luggage bays Smiley


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« Reply #34 on: October 14, 2012, 07:33:16 AM »

Bay doors; I drilled a 3/16 holes   on about a 6 inch grid on inside and let the foam in a can do the job.  Just wait till it raises to the next hole in grid then put in more. You may need to skip around bay door handles and trim out excess later. Trim off extra foam after if sets up. Just a idea.  Work around frame and I did not experience any outside warping.  Bob
« Last Edit: October 14, 2012, 07:36:12 AM by robertglines1 » Logged

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