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Full Version: Poll - How helpful is insulation?
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Assumptions:
1. You have white van or painted roof white
2. You plan to be a snowbird in winter
3. You will seek higher elevations (or head north) in summer
4. You have a fantastic vent/fan (or similar)

How much will insulating the van help?

Will help a lot
Will help some
Will help very little
Don't waste your money
Insulation defends against heat or cold, by keeping the interior temperature where it's at. Some heat or cold will still seep through, but it drastically improves your condition in hot or cold climates. That said, everyone should always insulate to the best of their abilities (or checkbook).
1. White roof and dark body, still radiates a lot of heat to interior.
2. It will occasionally still get cold in snowbird locations.
3. It still get hot in the north or at elevation in summer
4. Ventilation helps, no doubt, when hot, but need to block radiated heat with insulation.

I had a white roof with grey body for a number of years, the difference when painted all white was drastic.

I do not have much insulation, 1/2 inch foam board adhered to fiberglass roof with a 3/32" thick white plastic on that. On the walls just 1/8 inch carpet underlayment with same plastic over it. I was willing to lose little interior space to insulation.

My biggest heat source is the conversion van windows. They're black and are like 200 watt heat radiators, even with 1/2 inch thick panels in them.

Lighter interior colors radiate less heat to interior from exterior. Emissivity.

Condensation. I had an uninsulated van in NZ. I'd often wake up with condensation dripping on my head from the metal roof.

Good insulation cannot be understated if one is going to be spending time inside in unpleasant exterior conditions.
Having spent many years in construction, every dollar spent in the right place returns untold more. One house we built last year had 2x6 walls, and 10" of blown insulation in the rafters. The heating bill was $700 for a 1,500 sq ft 4br home last winter. (November through March.)

The next purchase will be a windshield shade / reflector. For $10, I will not only have privacy, but a much cooler van in the summer.

I painted my roof white when I took care of the rust. When I installed my Fantastic Vent, I found 2" of insulation on the ceiling of my factory conversion.
So far, no insulation for me. I'm staying minimal on expenditures for the van while I decide on future plans. Last winter it got down to 25° inside a few times but my Lil Buddy heater warmed it up quickly. I like cold anyway. Heat is more difficult to deal with, even with a white color and roof vent. Damn Al Gore for creating global warming! (I do like the internet that he invented though). I head to the coast or mountains when I can. Otherwise I can usually find shade and open the doors at sunset to cool things down. I'm real good at making do with the hand I'm dealt and finding the good in it.
I wouldn't be without insulation.
Bob
For cold weather, the main thing is a stocking cap, long underwear, and good sleeping bag.
I wonder how much insulation helps in hot weather when your van windows or doors are open and your fan is pushing the outside air through your van.

If you open all the windows and doors in a well insulated house isn't there an equilibrium between the inside and outside temperatures? The inside of the house would be the same temperature as sitting in the shade outside. Wouldn't this apply to a van?


I understand insulation in a house. You either run the AC or heat to establish a temperature difference between the inside and outside. The insulation then helps retain that temperature difference longer. I can see insulation helping a van in colder weather by retaining heat generated by a heater for a longer period of time. I don't see the benefit in hot weather with no AC, open windows and running a fan.

What am I missing?
It seems to me, an insulated van with the windows open is like standing in the shade. Without insulation, all of the sun's heat warms the metal and then continues to radiate into the van.

The goal with the insulation is to block the sheet metal from radiating.
(08-04-2014, 09:50 AM)rinella Wrote: [ -> ]It seems to me, an insulated van with the windows open is like standing in the shade. Without insulation, all of the sun's heat warms the metal and then continues to radiate into the van.

The goal with the insulation is to block the sheet metal from radiating.

I think this is the part I was missing. This makes sense. Thanks!
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