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Refrigerated Van???


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Trying to think about vans and keeping things above freezing in the winter with immersion heater elements and I had a thought. 

Has or does anyone use an old refrigerated van, obviously not to chill things but surely they are waterproofed and well insulated. So in winter they would be easy to keep from freezing.

Am I over thinking things but trying to work out how to ensure I can keep working during the winter as best as possible?

Any thoughts? 

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Cghwindowcleaning

You're overthinking it.

I use oil filled radiators.I would be surprised if I put it in more than 3 times last winter.

You could get away with nothing.If you don't have access to  power put an old duvet over the tank.

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Refrigeration vans have thick insulation so you will loose a lot of space inside.

This Berlingo is a perfect example of how much space you loose in the back;

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Citroen-Berlingo-van-Chiller-Refrigerated-Van/324237400867?hash=item4b7e0e1b23:g:5f8AAOSw2GpfEDlF

Most of the ones we sold back in the day had the side sliding door sealed up when converted. They will still have their cooling compressor and heat exchangers fitted which will have to be removed and the holes filled in.

As the conversion is very expensive vans tend to do high mileages before they are sold off and you will notice that they do command a higher price than their standard equivalents with lower mileage. They are nearly always sold on as fridge vans. To return them to standard spec isn't feasible.

Window cleaning vans tend to be maxed out when it comes to payload. The fridge van conversion is quite heavy so you will loose a lot of payload.

An insulated van will still need to be warmed in the 'dead of winter' although by much less than a standard van.

Any damage to rear body panels can't be repaired easily.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2008-Mercedes-Benz-Sprinter-311-CDI-2-2-HIGH-ROOF-MWB-FRIDGE-VAN-Panel-Van-Diese/254611236574?_trkparms=aid%3D888008%26algo%3DDISC.CARDS%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20200220090753%26meid%3D7d50ddbada7f453883502adc3ac288e4%26pid%3D100009%26rk%3D2%26rkt%3D2%26sd%3D324237400867%26itm%3D254611236574%26pmt%3D0%26noa%3D1%26pg%3D2047675%26algv%3DDiscV1&_trksid=p2047675.c100009.m1982

Look at the damage on the driver's side and look at the mileage.

If insulation is a major concern to you then you could add insulation like the camper vans do and then carpet the sides and roof with stretch fabric to finish it off.

Edited by spruce
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Winterising a van is pretty easy and cheap. I'd start from the bottom with a single rubber mat covering the whole floor, plus a thicker one on top of it under the tank. Be mindful of aiming to prevent the inevitable water spills and leaks from getting underneath and causing rust. Perhaps bring it 4 inches up the side and seal the edges, though leaving floor level spillage points at the doors. The sides of my van were ply lined when I bought it second hand. I insulated the roof with double sided foil and bubble wrap. This is glued to the roof with spray on carpet adhesive. As has been pointed out, you will need a heat source if it's freezing heavily.

If you have a 2kw immersion plugged in overnight it will provide enough heat to prevent the kit from freezing, even if you have the tank very well insulated, providing you've done a very good job on the van insulation. For sure if you have a good bulkhead. I personally wouldn't use carpet fabric. It will soak and hold any moisture, whereas rubber and foil/bubble wrap is cheap, easy and impervious to dampness.

As Spruce said, no need to complicate things by getting a fridge van. You don't need a warm van. 1 or 2 degrees C will prevent freezing. Before I fitted the immersion I used a small fan heater on a timer. I had tried a small radiator but it only prevented freezing in its immediate vicinity.

Edited by Davy G
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1 hour ago, Cghwindowcleaning said:

You're overthinking it.

I use oil filled radiators.I would be surprised if I put it in more than 3 times last winter.

You could get away with nothing.If you don't have access to  power put an old duvet over the tank.

I found it was the pumps, poles and reel hozes that froze first. I used to put a thick fleece blanket over them and put one or two insulated hot water bottles in it to release the heat as slowly as possible.

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29 minutes ago, Davy G said:

I found it was the pumps, poles and reel hozes that froze first. I used to put a thick fleece blanket over them and put one or two insulated hot water bottles in it to release the heat as slowly as possible.

Normally the further north you get the colder it is. The NE coast has a cold sea that actually keeps you warmer than 50 miles in land. We rarely get the -5 degrees that central England / Scotland get regularly. My best advice is leave it as late as possible to fill the van. Water will be circa 5 degrees so will warm the van, and keep small bore hoses close to the full tank.

As said previously, an overnight oil filled rad will keep everything liquid. However first job connect and have running water before you pull out.

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