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Thread: To insulate or not

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    St. Johns, Michigan
    Posts
    85

    Default To insulate or not

    This winter I am enclosing a 12' x 20' section of my lean to, this will house my evaporator, sink during the season and will be used for storage of filter press and other maple related equipment in the off season.

    I will wrap the outside then place the steel up, I do plan on finishing the inside with steel for easy clean up.

    My question is how many of you guys have insulated your sugar houses, I would think it could become too warm towards the end of the season.

    Thanks
    2020 - 225 taps bags and tubing, 45 gallons of syrup
    2019 - 180 taps buckets and bags, 50 gallons of syrup
    Lapierre 2x8 Classic with hood & preheater
    Leader Micro2 RO
    Wes Fab 7" short bank press

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Granville, PA
    Posts
    353

    Default

    I love having an insulated sugar shack, the concentrate setting for a day or more does not have to same affection for a warm work area. It is definitely more comfortable but makes concentrate turn roppy fast unless you are going to drain and cool it.
    Matt,
    Minehart Gap Maple

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    MI
    Posts
    8

    Default

    In the same boat at the moment, what would anyone think regarding what to use for insulation? Normal fiberglass, rockwool, foam board, bubble roll, or spray foam?

    I'm leaning towards spray foam, thinking it would be the least at risk of gathering mold and absorbing moisture, plus creating a house for mice and critters. Anyone have any experience or opinions?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Williston, VT
    Posts
    270

    Default

    There's a few things to consider.

    First, if you have a sink with plumbing then it sounds like you wonder insulation, and heat.

    Second, I would wait to insulate until next year then you'll have more time to think about it. Finish the enclosure for this year.

    Third, type of insulation will depend on the framing. If you use rough cut 2x6 studs then insulation bats won't naturally fit, especially if you space then at 24".

    Fourth, non insulated framing allows for lots of extra storage space.

    Fifth, it is costly to insulate especially if you consider insulation cost, internal wall board, fasteners, vapor barrier, etc.
    Ken & Sherry
    Williston, VT

    2017 - 13 gallons on 65 taps (12 buckets, rest 3/16), 2x4 flat bottom, modified cargo box sugarhouse
    2018 - 90 gallons on 418 taps (gravity lines), Leader 30"x10' Vortex Arch & Max Raised Flue with Rev Syrup Pan, New Sugarhouse
    2019 - Burned through alot more money: heated kitchen, 2x2,000 and 375 gal ss sap tanks, CDL1200 RO, Bauch Vac Pump, More taps, etc., etc., etc.
    https://www.facebook.com/pumpkinhillmaple/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Southern Ohio
    Posts
    1,098

    Default

    My shack is not insulated, but if it was I would do spray foam.
    125-150 taps
    Smokey Lakes Full pint Hybrid pan
    Modified half pint arch
    Air over fire
    All 3/16 tubing
    Southern Ohio

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Northeast Vermont
    Posts
    523

    Default

    my shack is not insulated but if i did insulate it i'd use Roxul (rockwool). best insulation on the market, hands down! won't absorb moisture... it's made out of ground up rocks/lava and never looses its R value like other insulation as the temps get real cold! works with rough cut and regular lumber. I find no need to insulate my shack, but if i did i would leave the sap storage area not insulated! i agree with tap tap tap... wait a season and decide for next year!
    Awfully thankful for an understanding wife!

    “The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.”
    - Vincent “Vince” Lombardi

    Good luck to all!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Wakefield,New Hampshire
    Posts
    317

    Default

    I insulated the walls and ceilings with 2" Poly iso foil faced foam board, then covered that with rough sawn T&G boards. It really makes it a more enjoyable experience when boiling on those cold nights and early mornings. I still haven't got around to doing the floor yet but that may happen this season. I plan to install a utility sink and a sprayer with on demand tankless hot water. Insulating will help keep that and the RO from freezing, and anything else liquid. It does make it a little hot in there during the late season boils, but i have double doors on both ends of my sugar house that really helps move the air.
    6th season solo sugar maker in a young sugar bush of mostly red maples
    260 taps
    2x6 self built arch, Flat pans w/ dividers
    New 12x16 sugar house

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2021
    Location
    Cayuga Ontario Canada
    Posts
    9

    Default

    ours is insulated and i prefer it that way. Spent many years in an uninsulated shack and its hard to keep guests warm. In the uninsulated shack we had a second stove running to try and keep warm. We boil are far many colder days than the few warm ones at the end of the year plus we have doors and windows to open if it gets too hot. One thing that happend by chance is our screen door opens from the top down. This is great to let the hot air out of the room. We have a suspended hood, not a cupola.
    THOR 20x68"
    2020 350 Buckets 375L Syrup
    2019 250 Buckets 270L Syrup

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Stirling ontario
    Posts
    135

    Default

    i use a new south facing lean to and I rarely boil unless it's above zero. I can sit outside in the sun when boiling
    or in the shade, and it's never cold when my arch is operating. I've never boiled inside a building.I don't think I
    would ever close it in and insulate.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Center, Underhill Ctr, VT
    Posts
    5,381

    Default

    A warm sugarhouse is probably the biggest advantage of a wood arch. High efficiency oil-fired arches can sure make for a cold sugarhouse at times.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    https://mapleresearch.org
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

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