07 Dec How to Convert a Bus Ready for Winter
Are you wondering how to convert a bus ready for winter? It goes without saying that you have to gut the bus and add insulation with a great R-Factor. But you can’t stop there when you are thinking about living in your skoolie while seeking winter adventures. Check out 9 other tips on how to convert a bus ready for winter below.
How to Convert a Bus Ready for Winter Begins with the Gut
If you are planning on living in New England in the winter it is important that you remove the old insulation in the walls and ceilings. This mean completely gutting your skoolie.
Seal up the Bus
Before adding the insulation back in the bus, seal the roof, around the windows, and repair any holes in the bus floor. It is important that you are looking for the tiniest of holes to prevent the cold air from coming in and your heat from escaping.
Remove the Emergency Hatches
Removing the emergency hatches and replacing them with sheet metal ensures that you are sealing up the space. Even if you decide to use the hole in the future for an AC unit or skylight, it is best to go ahead and put the sheet metal down and seal around it really well.
Replace the school bus door
If you sit in the driver’s seat on a winter’s day with the door closed you are sure to feel colder than standing in the middle of the bus. In addition, you will see glimpse of light shinning in under and over the door. Any where you see light shinning in, you will have heat escaping. Replacing the original bus door with an insulated RV door will help keep the bus warmer in cold climates.
Reduce the amount of Windows
People love all the windows in a skoolie. Heck, I am right there with you!! Just remember when the windows are letting in all that glorious sunlight in the winter, they are also letting out the warm heat. School bus windows are single pane and sometimes difficult to keep tightly shut. Therefore, if you know you are going to live in Wyoming in the winter, layout your floor plan in such a way that you can reduce the amount of windows needed. There are several ways to cover up the windows. The best is to remove it and cover the space with sheet metal on the outside then insulate the space on the inside. The other option is to put reflectix over the window then sheet metal on the outside and insulate the inside. The final option is to leave the outside alone and cover the inside with a piece of lauan plywood painted black. Whichever way you choose, it will be better than leaving all the windows untouched.
Now to the remaining windows. Seal around them on the inside as well as on the outside. Check out 10 Tips For Living or Traveling In A Skoolie In Winter .
Heat the Floor
I have seen several skoolie owners lately that are using radiant floor heat. This seems like a great option but personally I don’t have any experience with this option. Check out Aimless Travels . (Also, we love their Instagram .)
If you decide to skip the radiant floor heat, the least you should do is insulate the floor before putting down the sub-floor.
Insulate, Insulate, Insulate
I can not say this enough. Insulate the ceiling, the walls and as mentioned the floor. At Skoolie Homes, we build the wall about 3 inches in depth to accommodate extra insulation.
Some bus conversion owners, even go under their bus and insulate in between the rails.
Insulate Plumbing system
Insulating your pipes and tanks during the converting stage will save you time and frustrations while you are enjoying cold weather activities. The first thing we recommend is to put your PEX tubing in split foam insulation. This insulation wraps around your pipe. Insulate ALL your pipes. Anywhere the insulation meets together, secure it with insulating tape.
Wrap your fresh water tank (leave a space to view the amount of water in your tank or cut a piece of the Reflectix so you can remove it and add it back. Up to you. Where the pieces of Reflectix join duct tape this together with insulating tape.
Consider building a box around your gray/black tank so that you can insulate inside the box. If this is not possible, wrap each tank like you did the fresh tank.
Use Reflectix and insulating tape to wrap all the plumbing under the skoolie. In the post 10 Tips For Living or Traveling In A Skoolie In Winter we talk more about how to prepare these pipes for cold weather.
Back Up Heating System
When traveling to colder climates, plan to have an emergency source of heat. You would not want to have only propane heat and run out of propane. Or only have electric heat and find yourself in a park where the power went out. When planning on how to covert a bus ready for winter it is extremely important to have a back up heat source.
Plan for excess moisture
When trying to keep the skoolie warm with freezing temperatures hanging around outside, the humidity will rise in the skoolie. To eliminate the moisture plan for a dehumidifier. Know where you are going to plug it in and where it will be stored when not in use.
Access the roof
Even if you are not going to have solar panels, plan to have a ladder to access the roof. When the snow starts piling up on the roof, you want a way to crawl up there and remove the snow.
If you have solar panels, keeping the snow off the panels is necessary to access the sun’s rays.
Hopefully, planning your conversion for extreme winter weather and implementing the plan will have you enjoying your cozy and comfortable skoolie.
Let me know in the comments below if you have any other tips on how to convert a bus ready for winter.