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Full Version: Whether to insulate and with what
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I am soon to purchase a 93' E250 ext w/ hi-top and it's going to take up most of the money I have saved. I need to move into my van next month so I'll be renovating it as I'm living in it and gaining amenities along the way. But it seems like insulating is important to lots of people and I can understand why; keeping out heat, holding in cold, and stopping outside noise from driving you crazy. I am trying to keep it light on the pocket as possible but also affective. I don't plan on being in cold weather at all, I'm going out west and they don't have cold like up north so I'm not worried about that and I only plan to use fans not a/c's so keeping cold in won't matter much. I need to keep heat and noise out mostly. My van unfortunately has lots of Windows all the way back so any Windows insulation tips would be great as well. I just want to get this step over with so I can panel the walls and get something to mount everything to. Thanks to anyone who can shed a little light for me.
Go to a hardware store and get a roll of reflective (house) window film and apply it to the windows behind the driver's seat. Insulate with foam insulation, especially the roof (more the merrier), since even with air conditioning radiant heating will still happen. ..Willy.
I am going with this stuff that I will use as a headliner and behind some thin paneling that is already installed.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Reflectix-4-f.../100052556

My thoughts are if I ever get out west near area 51 I will no longer need to make a hat from alum foil.
With my enclosed trailer, I am planning on using the foam insulation, and I have though about using it in the camper I am building for my truck. It seems like the foam insulation might work well in a van, but I have never used it in a van.
They say that having a lighter coloured vehicle reduces the heat inside by as much as 20%. If your van is not white or silver etc you might consider painting it... or at least the roof.
This was posted by Bob (our fearless leader) last Nov. :
I lived full-time in a box van in Anchorage, AK for 6 years quite comfortably, so it can be done. The bigger your space, the more comfortable you will be. However, I have a friend who lives full-time in his Ford Explorer in Denver, CO, so it can be done in a SUV. Here is what I recommend so that you can thrive instead of survive.

Buy a cargo van with as few windows as possible and bare metal walls. Get self-tapping sheet metal screws and run 1x2 inch rails at the top, bottom and middle of the walls, and the same with the roof. They will run from front to rear and you will screw into the vans ribs. At Home Depot buy 3/4 inch thick sheets of styrofoam insulation that are 4x8 feet wide and long.The 3/4 will bend to the curve of the walls. Put at least two layers on the walls and preferably more. Put at least 3 layers on the roof. The roof is most important. Cover the back doors with insulation. Build a wall with 2x2s between the back and driving area and cover it with plywood and styrofoam on the outside and reflectix on the inside by the living area. You will have to cut a door out of the plywood and use hinges to make it open and close. If that is more carpentry than you are up for, hang a heavy blanket on the drivers side and reflectix on the inside . The reflectic is a vapor barrier. On the floor I would just use a carpet pad and cheap carpeting. The floor will be cold, but there is no way to make it otherwise. Buy a tube of caulk and search out as many air leaks as you can find. That will keep heat into the van fairly well.

You want a true catalytic heater, they can be left running while you are asleep and nothing else can. In Alaska I used Olympian catalytic heaters. I turned them on in October and they ran 24/7 until May. I only turned them off to change the propane bottle. Buy an Olympian Wave 3 heater, a 20 lb propane bottle, a regulater, and a hose to connect the heater to the regulater. Follow the owners manual 100% and you will be totally safe. The main issues are the venting to let air in and the spaces around the heater. Follow those and you will be fine.

You will comfortable all winter with enough space to get a desk and really study. Bob

KinA
Ken, the poster of that just doesn't have a good grasp on the way things work. Sure, if you have bare metal walls cover them, but you want windows, the more the better. You want that ventilation whether you're living in the desert or in Iceland.

Mother Nature is going to equalize the indoor and the outdoor temperatures regardless of how much insulation you have. Playing cat and mouse with her is a losing battle, she will always win. If you want to successfully regulate your indoor temperatures, only heat, ventilation, and/or AC is going to accomplish that.

If we're talking non-electric (fuel burning) heat, ventilation is a much more important factor than insulation. In the heat, again ventilation and shade trumps insulation every time.

Windows were invented to aid in non-powered heating and cooling, glass was added later to enhance the heating effect and added the advantage of a view rather than a peep hole in wooden or cloth/hide covered windows.

True off gridders know that you insulate your body, not your living space. Not only is it cheaper, it is also much more effective, in both hot and cold climates, indoors or out.

"If your structure effectively blocks out the wind and the rain, then it is doing its job. If that structure is built properly, insulation is not going to enhance the effect of keeping said wind and rain at bay. You can not solve problems that do not exist by using the same kind of thinking that was used to create those problems in the first place. Profitability over practicality only works for those seeking to profit from it." ~ Albert Einstein

(excerpted from, Albert Einstein's Essay on Building Insulation,
http://buildinginsulation.insulationmanu...ein-essay/)
(05-12-2014, 03:03 AM)Off Grid 24/7 Wrote: [ -> ]Ken, the poster of that just doesn't have a good grasp on the way things work. Sure, if you have bare metal walls cover them, but you want windows, the more the better. You want that ventilation whether you're living in the desert or in Iceland.

Mother Nature is going to equalize the indoor and the outdoor temperatures regardless of how much insulation you have. Playing cat and mouse with her is a losing battle, she will always win. If you want to successfully regulate your indoor temperatures, only heat, ventilation, and/or AC is going to accomplish that.

If we're talking non-electric (fuel burning) heat, ventilation is a much more important factor than insulation. In the heat, again ventilation and shade trumps insulation every time.

Windows were invented to aid in non-powered heating and cooling, glass was added later to enhance the heating effect and added the advantage of a view rather than a peep hole in wooden or cloth/hide covered windows.

True off gridders know that you insulate your body, not your living space. Not only is it cheaper, it is also much more effective, in both hot and cold climates, indoors or out.

"If your structure effectively blocks out the wind and the rain, then it is doing its job. If that structure is built properly, insulation is not going to enhance the effect of keeping said wind and rain at bay. You can not solve problems that do not exist by using the same kind of thinking that was used to create those problems in the first place. Profitability over practicality only works for those seeking to profit from it." ~ Albert Einstein

(excerpted from, Albert Einstein's Essay on Building Insulation,
http://buildinginsulation.insulationmanu...ein-essay/)

So much wrong with that, and I type so slow, that I ain't gonna bother. Let somebody else argue it out.
I used 3/4" sterafoam that was coated with a reflective side I installed towards the inside,this product is used with vinyl siding and is usually put on the house between the battons, before installing the siding. I glued it on my walls, then glued the panelling over it and made the inside build in such a way that the cupboards, finish trim or counters mechanically held it in, this was on purpose to keep the weight down, same with the partition from front to rear I used 3/4x 3/4 framing and used the same insulation, I also built all my cupboards, beds and cabinets out of 3/4 x3/4 framing with 3/16 panelling glued and nailed, My roof was insulated when I got the van it has batten insulation between the roof and headliner. In retrospect, I might have put a second layer on the walls. I also insulated the floor from underneath with 11/2" blue sterefoam also pressure fit and glued. I have a unique floor that allowed me to this, likely would not work on most vans. I don't think I would be able to sit in my van in the heat without insulation and it sure makes it easier to heat when it gets cold good luck
well I agree with off grid about clothing, but at some point you want to get out of those clothes. insulation does not make anything warmer or cooler. what it does is slow down the transfer of heat or cold. this in turn means it takes less energy to make the inside of whatever(house, rv, tt, van) comfortable. highdesertranger
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