basement cold storage winter ventilation problem

hotrunDecember 19, 2007

We just moved into a new home and we have a large storage room at the back of our finished basement. The storage room is not insulated and the walls exterior walls of the room is the block foundation. When we moved in there was no ventilation in the room and it was very musty and damp. We put in a vent at each side of the room to get air circulating and it seemed to solve the problem in the summer and fall. Now that its winter and below freezing I'm not sure if I should close the vents or leave them open. I was worried about our sump pump freezing (its in the storage room) and cold air escaping into the finished basement because it is in the room so I put some insulation in the vents but I'm now getting condensation on my ceiling in the cold storage area. Should I leave the vents open and allow all the cold air in or is there another solution so I don't get mould building. Any help would be appreciated.

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I would do a search on "insulating crawlspace", etc., since your issues sound similar.

If you can separate the cold room completely (air tight) from the rest of the basement, that would help. Any conditioned (warm) air from the finished basement contains moisture that will condense when that air gets to the cold room, so you probably need to separate them (air tight), if possible.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 11:14AM
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BTW, one way to separate the two areas would be to install an exterior door with proper weatherstripping and threshold, etc. and seal off all the remaining gaps.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 11:17AM
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Warm air from the finished basement is hitting the cold block, resulting in condensation. Follow the advice above. If that doesn't do the trick, insulate the room with at least a half-inch of XPS and cover with fireproofing material.

I'm not sure why we have "cold rooms" anyway. It seems based on the assumption that some huge percentage of the population needs a place to hang homemade sausages and the like. Got wine? Get a proper cooler.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 11:42PM
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worthy and homebound thanks for the advice and will be properly insulating the doors anc ceiling over the holidays..cheers.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2007 at 10:48AM
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To follow up my last thought, if you don't need cold storage, consider sealing the vents and fully insulating the room to the standard of the rest of your basement. You'll save the cost of buying an exterior insulated door. For best results, use spray foam or EPS or XPS insulation followed by a fire resistant covering.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2007 at 10:28PM
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What else in this storage area...the furnace, hot water heater, etc. If so, I would not seal that room off.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 10:34AM
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