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Old 03-16-2011, 12:49 AM   #1
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Default my spray foam insulation wont expand?

Okay so I got the old yellow igloo 10 gal cooler with the red hollow lid for a mash tun to batch sparge in. After a 1 hr mash I loose about 6 F even after i preheat for 20 min with a blanket on the top. When im done mashing everything is cool to the touch except for the lid which is very warm so I am assuming thats is where i am losing all my temperature.

Easiest fix Spray foam insulation in the lid... or so i thought. I bought 1 can of general "Great Stuff" and sparyed it through 4 holes drilled in the top but never got any expansion. I didnt shake it very well so I assumed that it didnt expand cause of this. So I went and got another can of great stuff and shook the hell out of it and sparyed it in 6 new holes and BAM! filled the lid nicely and had thick foam shooting out of all the holes. I let it sit over night to harden and figured i would cut away the foam that oozed out the next day. To my surprise i broke away the excess foam to find the foam in the lid is gone! I stuck a screw driver in the lid and there is no more foam just a very thin layer of slime on the bottom. What am I doing wrong? I'm stumped, Im about to cut a 2"X2" square and just pack it with something.

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Old 03-16-2011, 03:10 AM   #2
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Can't help you with the foam BUT what I did was a little different. I bought a sheet of pink styrofoam, cut out a circle so it would fit in the cooler, wrapped it in foil, poked 3 holes in it, used 2 hole to thread a zip - tie through, loop the zip-tie to make a little pull tab and used the 3rd hole for my long stem thermometer. Now you have a height adjustable mash tun. You'll be able to push the foam right down to the top of the mash and eliminate any headroom issues. I loose zero degrees over the course of an hour with mine.

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Old 03-16-2011, 03:30 AM   #3
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Man, Thats a great Idea. I think I am going to have to try that out on my Rubbermaid 10 gallon. Thanks!

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Old 03-16-2011, 03:50 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ekjohns View Post
Okay so I got the old yellow igloo 10 gal cooler with the red hollow lid for a mash tun to batch sparge in. After a 1 hr mash I loose about 6 F even after i preheat for 20 min with a blanket on the top. When im done mashing everything is cool to the touch except for the lid which is very warm so I am assuming thats is where i am losing all my temperature.

Easiest fix Spray foam insulation in the lid... or so i thought. I bought 1 can of general "Great Stuff" and sparyed it through 4 holes drilled in the top but never got any expansion. I didnt shake it very well so I assumed that it didnt expand cause of this. So I went and got another can of great stuff and shook the hell out of it and sparyed it in 6 new holes and BAM! filled the lid nicely and had thick foam shooting out of all the holes. I let it sit over night to harden and figured i would cut away the foam that oozed out the next day. To my surprise i broke away the excess foam to find the foam in the lid is gone! I stuck a screw driver in the lid and there is no more foam just a very thin layer of slime on the bottom. What am I doing wrong? I'm stumped, Im about to cut a 2"X2" square and just pack it with something.
if there was foam originally in the lid the great stuff may have reacted with it, and degraded it, especialy if your original can didnt expand. also there is a low/no expanding spray foam too so you have to be careful what your buying. If there was moisture in the lid, that might have been an issue to. a lot of foam products dont stand up well to water. if there was moisture in the lid it may have prevented curing. I like the 2nd poster's idea of styrofaom wrapped in reflectix. Make sure you use the water resistant foam in that application though.
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Old 03-16-2011, 01:37 PM   #5
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I might try that as well since I do 5 gal batches in a 10 gal cooler it should help.

Smashing how tight does your circle fit. I assume its good enough to hold its position but not too tight to break the foam. Also do still put the cooler lid on after the foam?

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Old 03-16-2011, 01:40 PM   #6
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kegtoe - the foam i used both times was the original high expanding foam. The only thing I can think is i added almost the whole can each time and that may be so much foam in such a little space that it cant get a good mix with the air and colapses under its own weight/pressure. The moisture should actually help since it says on the can to spray it with water to help harden it. Ill give it one more go with my last can (donated by a friend) and spray much less to see if i can get a good expansion that will hold. In the mean time im also gonna try and macromade myself an adjustable lid.

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Old 03-16-2011, 02:18 PM   #7
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Something is causing your foam to collapse (oil?). Clean out the inside of the lid as best as you can, let it dry (get all the moisture out, as water acts as a blowing agent and will throw off the density). Don't waste your last can until the inside is clean.

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Old 03-16-2011, 03:23 PM   #8
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ill try and clean it but its going to be tough through those small holes and that colapsed foam is like super thick honey and water insoluable. Im afraid of putting in organic solvents with the risk of melting the plastic

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Old 03-16-2011, 03:32 PM   #9
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Acetone will melt the plastic. Isopropyl Alcohol should be safe. Swish it around in there for a few minutes, drain, and do it again. If the second wash comes out clean just let it dry, otherwise wash, rinse, repeat until the IPA comes out clear.

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Old 03-16-2011, 05:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smashing View Post
Can't help you with the foam BUT what I did was a little different. I bought a sheet of pink styrofoam, cut out a circle so it would fit in the cooler, wrapped it in foil, poked 3 holes in it, used 2 hole to thread a zip - tie through, loop the zip-tie to make a little pull tab and used the 3rd hole for my long stem thermometer. Now you have a height adjustable mash tun. You'll be able to push the foam right down to the top of the mash and eliminate any headroom issues. I loose zero degrees over the course of an hour with mine.
This is exactly what I do, works great. I have no heat loss over an hour.

All I do to preheat is add a gallon or so of hot water from tap while the strike water heats.
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