Building a cold storage room

amberm145_gwJuly 27, 2014

We are building a new house, not yet started. I have planned to put a cold storage room in the basement, but I'm confused about the need for ventilation.
Won't the vent cause the room to freeze when it drops to -40 degrees outside? I'm thinking we need some kind of insulation in the vent for the winter? Does there need to be a fan? Or just a hole? Should I be concerned about moisture and critters getting in through this vent?

Do I even need a vent? I live in a very dry climate. We do get snow and rain, and it seeps into the ground, so the basement walls will be waterproofed. But the air is quite dry. Houses all have humidifiers to keep the air breathable, and to keep our indoor woods from cracking.

Having too much humidity in our cold room won't be an issue. If anything, our cold room might even be drier that we would ideally want it to be.

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HOMESWEETHOME1

Hi -

I think a lot of the answers to your questions depend on what you'd like to store. The house in which I was raised had a cold storage room in the basement, but we used it primarily for canned goods. If that's what you're thinking of doing, then I don't imagine you need any special ventilation. If, on the other hand, you're planning to store any true perishables, you might be better off in the long run considering something like a small walk-in. Nor-Lake makes a line of these that seem pretty easy to assemble, with an easily-accessible external condenser unit and a fan to keep the air moving - I'm including a link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Nor-Lake Step-In Cooler

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 9:33PM
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amberm145_gw

Thanks, HomeSweetHome. We will store canned goods, inexpensive wine, and apples and potatoes. So, a mix of perishable, and somewhat perishable.

We're trying to build an eco-friendly house. So a walk in fridge doesn't really fit with that idea.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 9:48PM
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HOMESWEETHOME1

Hmmm...what are you planning to use as your heating system? If you're going with something like geothermal, maybe there's a way to cool the room with the ground water before it gets to the heat pump? If you installed radiant coils in the floor of the storage room on the way to the heat pump, I imagine that would keep things pretty regular no matter what the weather outside was doing.

As for air circulation, I don't think it would be necessary for you to vent to the outside, particularly if you live in a dry climate. An opening to a larger source of air in the basement and a small fan should be plenty. Sounds as though you'll be using this pretty much the same way we used ours - as a cool pantry. Provided you don't need to maintain any single consistent temp, a set-up like this should keep things cool enough.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 1:40AM
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pixie_lou

Both potatoes and apples need about 90% relative humidity for long term cold storage. And adequate air circulation is important. Apples prefer to be kept in the lower 30s. Potatoes in lower 40s.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 2:59AM
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