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Insulating fish room


Jimmy
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I need some insulation advice for my 8x8 fish room I’m framing into my garage.

when it comes to insulating the walls will it matter if the insulation is faced or not? Additionally I understand heat rises so the emphasis should be on managing the insulation in the ceiling but should I over shoot the recommendation for my area on the R value on the walls or would I be wasting my money?

For the ceiling I have the same question, faced or not? Would I be making a mistake in finishing the room with foam board rather than drywall to effectively increase my r value. 1/2 inch foam board has 4 times the r value and is much easier to work with. I understand this Isn’t code but I’m trying to have as much forethought before I start building. 
 

if i was to finish the room with foam board would that stop my room from allowing moisture to escape? I plan on having a tight lid with only a hole drilled for each aquarium and running a dehumidifier. I don’t want to rot my room .

any feedback would be great, please help me with my ignorance. Thanks!

 

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There are million variables. I would build with drywall. Do what you can to conserve heater and moisture. 100% air tight room wouldn't be good, nor would one with no insulation. Factors like, average temps, how long will it be setup, cost of materials etc all play a part. In general, if you build it like someone was going to put a bedroom in there, it will serve you just fine.

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On 8/4/2021 at 10:53 AM, Cory said:

There are million variables. I would build with drywall. Do what you can to conserve heater and moisture. 100% air tight room wouldn't be good, nor would one with no insulation. Factors like, average temps, how long will it be setup, cost of materials etc all play a part. In general, if you build it like someone was going to put a bedroom in there, it will serve you just fine.

Thanks for the response and everything you do to advance the hobby Cory. Huge fan.

I’ve leaned heavy on the community here on a few aspects of this build so I don’t want to leave any questions out. I intend on documenting heavily and starting a active and close to real times build thread. Maybe it will help someone else or inspire. I’m so fortunate that this was my wife’s idea.

 

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Small addition, if I remember correctly the facing has to do with building code... a quick search (and multiple sources) indicate that facing acts as a vapor inhibitor (hunker/insulation). It seems that having facing on any exterior walls would be beneficial (plus they are easier to install from personal experience 😉). Good luck on the build!

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On 8/4/2021 at 11:51 AM, Dancing Matt said:

Small addition, if I remember correctly the facing has to do with building code... a quick search (and multiple sources) indicate that facing acts as a vapor inhibitor (hunker/insulation). It seems that having facing on any exterior walls would be beneficial (plus they are easier to install from personal experience 😉). Good luck on the build!

I really appreciate the feedback and everyone’s patience. The facing should be facing out from the interior of the room? I don’t need it pointing inwards to protect it from the humidity?

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On 8/4/2021 at 3:00 PM, Jimmy said:

I really appreciate the feedback and everyone’s patience. The facing should be facing out from the interior of the room? I don’t need it pointing inwards to protect it from the humidity?

you want the facing towards where your moisture concern is. in a fish room, the moisture concern is in the room itself, so the facing should be towards the inside of the room.

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On 8/4/2021 at 1:40 PM, Jimmy said:

I need some insulation advice for my 8x8 fish room I’m framing into my garage.

If you're not dealing with a basement and concrete walls, I would take Cory's advice and just frame and insulate it how one would normally frame and insulate a regular room.

I'd go with faced insulation in the walls and ceiling  because its much easier to install. Then sheetrock, tape, spackle, etc. as you normally would. Maybe go with a moisture resistant sheetrock like one would use in a bathroom. Maybe, if you want overkill, put a moisture barrier between the sheetrock and insulation, but you probably don't even need that.

In the end, I'd not over think it cause in my experience building stuff, overthinking  leads to overspending and complications during the build that you probably don't need the hassle of dealing with. The amount of extra effort and work doesn't always  pay the same dividends in the efficiency you might later realize.

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I'm curious how permanent this will be as well as what kind of temperature swings you see in the garage space throughout a year (I'm not sure where you're located). If you see large variations then it's hard to argue against additional insulation. In that case, I could see having your (fiberglass roll) insulation between studs as typical, then mounting the foam board and lastly your drywall/gypsum that would be mud/taped. Or, if you're not planning to drywall the outer, garage facing portion of the walls the foam board could be mounted there. The longer-term you want to have this up, the more I'd give thought to overshooting whatever current insulating recommendations are for your area. The planet isn't approaching an ice age at present, after all. (insert sad panda noises)

A thought - a ceiling vent in case excess heat has potential to be a problem. Can also make for a less costly way to dehumidify for parts of the year where the dehumidifier may not make sense. 

For the wiring, consider surface mounting your boxes and using flex conduit for running your lines. If you decide to reconfigure your room later on down the line, need to add additional circuits, etc, this will save you having to fish wires, drill holes in studs, and cut your nicely finished drywall. 

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On 8/4/2021 at 2:03 PM, tolstoy21 said:

If you're not dealing with a basement and concrete walls, I would take Cory's advice and just frame and insulate it how one would normally frame and insulate a regular room.

I'd go with faced insulation in the walls and ceiling  because its much easier to install. Then sheetrock, tape, spackle, etc. as you normally would. Maybe go with a moisture resistant sheetrock like one would use in a bathroom. Maybe, if you want overkill, put a moisture barrier between the sheetrock and insulation, but you probably don't even need that.

In the end, I'd not over think it cause in my experience building stuff, overthinking  leads to overspending and complications during the build that you probably don't need the hassle of dealing with. The amount of extra effort and work doesn't always  pay the same dividends in the efficiency you might later realize.

This makes a lot of sense thank you.

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On 8/4/2021 at 3:14 PM, ArchwayAquatics said:

I'm curious how permanent this will be as well as what kind of temperature swings you see in the garage space throughout a year (I'm not sure where you're located). If you see large variations then it's hard to argue against additional insulation. In that case, I could see having your (fiberglass roll) insulation between studs as typical, then mounting the foam board and lastly your drywall/gypsum that would be mud/taped. Or, if you're not planning to drywall the outer, garage facing portion of the walls the foam board could be mounted there. The longer-term you want to have this up, the more I'd give thought to overshooting whatever current insulating recommendations are for your area. The planet isn't approaching an ice age at present, after all. (insert sad panda noises)

A thought - a ceiling vent in case excess heat has potential to be a problem. Can also make for a less costly way to dehumidify for parts of the year where the dehumidifier may not make sense. 

For the wiring, consider surface mounting your boxes and using flex conduit for running your lines. If you decide to reconfigure your room later on down the line, need to add additional circuits, etc, this will save you having to fish wires, drill holes in studs, and cut your nicely finished drywall. 

I live in the PNW it’s pretty mild. 85~ in the summer and winter lows where I live rarely go below 20 but you can expect the most cold days are more like 25.

 

i thought about having an exhaust fan on a controller if the temp gets too high in the room. Probably close it up in the winter.

it’s a 20 amp circuit I’m probably going to have 8~ outs and maybe one light switch but realistically my layout is minimal and probably won’t use more than 10 amps peak. I have a 100 watt service so minimizing my set up was key to not over load my panel 

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On 8/4/2021 at 1:49 PM, gjcarew said:

I would do this one to code. When you're mixing water and all the electronics that go in to a fish room, I would want it fireproof, so Gypsum board serves a valuable purpose there. I'd also go with GFCI outlets, everything on drip loops, etc.

I plan on having the outlets in the ceiling and only running a linear piston air pump so the lines will run down from the ceiling also. I’m doing all the wiring but honestly I haven’t looked into gcfi and don’t have any knowledge as to the difficulty comparatively to a normal outlet. I’m putting some thought into where the outlets will go to be the most considerate of safety. My wall with a work bench will have outlets on the wall high up and additionally the heater will be on that wall. 
If I have careful planning it’s it a necessity for gcfi?

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On 8/4/2021 at 3:29 PM, Jimmy said:

I plan on having the outlets in the ceiling and only running a linear piston air pump so the lines will run down from the ceiling also. I’m doing all the wiring but honestly I haven’t looked into gcfi and don’t have any knowledge as to the difficulty comparatively to a normal outlet. I’m putting some thought into where the outlets will go to be the most considerate of safety. My wall with a work bench will have outlets on the wall high up and additionally the heater will be on that wall. 
If I have careful planning it’s it a necessity for gcfi?

Let's say you have to run an extension cord to a wet vac or fan after spilling water. If you don't have a GFCI outlet and the extension cord falls into a tank that you're working in, it could kill you. 

GFCI outlets are incredibly cheap for a life-saving device, barely more than a regular outlet. If you are planning carefully, a GFCI outlet is a no-brainer. You can run power strips off them as well. If you wire it correctly, you should only need one for the entire room.

National Electric Code requires GFCI outlets to be used in garages regardless of whether they are fish rooms. When it comes time to sell your house, you'll likely have to do it anyways.

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On 8/4/2021 at 5:21 PM, gjcarew said:

Let's say you have to run an extension cord to a wet vac or fan after spilling water. If you don't have a GFCI outlet and the extension cord falls into a tank that you're working in, it could kill you. 

GFCI outlets are incredibly cheap for a life-saving device, barely more than a regular outlet. If you are planning carefully, a GFCI outlet is a no-brainer. You can run power strips off them as well. If you wire it correctly, you should only need one for the entire room.

National Electric Code requires GFCI outlets to be used in garages regardless of whether they are fish rooms. When it comes time to sell your house, you'll likely have to do it anyways.

Thank you for the feedback. I will do my research I don’t want to die. It’s all on one circuit so maybe that will simplify it? I’m going to do the rough in for the room and have someone who is more experienced make sure it gets buttoned up correctly 

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gjcarew is right, correctly done you only need one, and for the cost and functional purpose it really shouldn't be foregone. 

The 100 amp overall service does cramp things a little. A dedicated 20 amp circuit for the fish room will get you started for your initial load. Two years and 200+ gallons additional tanks from now...? 🤣

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On 8/4/2021 at 8:46 PM, ArchwayAquatics said:

gjcarew is right, correctly done you only need one, and for the cost and functional purpose it really shouldn't be foregone. 

The 100 amp overall service does cramp things a little. A dedicated 20 amp circuit for the fish room will get you started for your initial load. Two years and 200+ gallons additional tanks from now...? 🤣

It’s going to run at 8~ amps maybe 10 peak. It’s being carefully planned out. Worst case scenario I will have to pay an electrician to upgrade my panel and run new wire to pole. I have the money but I’m designing it around this hurdle.

 

8x8 room with only 2 racks in a L shape. One wall for work table and the other will have door and 400w heater. It’s going to being about 30 aquariums mostly 10 gallons and a bunch of 20 longs.

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On 8/4/2021 at 10:45 PM, Jimmy said:

Thank you for the feedback. I will do my research I don’t want to die. It’s all on one circuit so maybe that will simplify it? I’m going to do the rough in for the room and have someone who is more experienced make sure it gets buttoned up correctly 

all on one circuit run in series, you will only need the first one in the string to be a gfci.

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