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  • TorontoJoe
    replied
    Vladimir - Here it is

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    This works for salumi curing or a basic root cellar but is a perfect solution for storing container fig trees.

    The two vents create a siphon effect that lets you regulate the flow of cold outside air into the insulated cellar room, allowing the temperature to remain near freezing through the winter months. As you custom-cut your wall studs to length, make them short enough to leave an eighth- to a quarter-inch gap between the top of the wall and the joists above when combined with the top and bottom plates. Basement floors are often damp, so use a barrier between the floor and the bottom wall plate.


    It’s a good idea to consider using rigid sheets of foam instead of traditional fibreglass batts. The most important is moisture resistance. Also working with fibreglass isn’t fun.

    Traditionally, this cold room was an underground space built under or near the home, insulated by the ground and vented so cold air could flow in and warm air out in the fall. Then when winter temperatures arrived, the vents were closed, and the cellar stayed cold but not freezing.

    Most modern basements are too warm for long-term winter storage, but you can create an indoor version of the cellars by walling off a basement corner and adding the vents, as shown in the drawing above. The two vents create a siphon effect that lets you regulate the flow of cold outside air into the insulated cellar room, allowing the temperature to remain near freezing through the winter months.

    You’ll need to watch the temperature to be sure you open or close the vents during major temperature shifts.

    Some things to consider...... The first is location. Because you’ll need access to the outdoors for fresh air, choose a cellar position that includes a window if possible. If not it’s possible to bore holes through a basement wall for the 3- or 4-inch vent pipes you’ll need to install, but it’s a whole lot easier to simply remove the glass from a window, replace it with plywood and then run your pipes through holes in the wood. In cold regions, you can create an insulated panel to replace window glass.

    Laminating a layer of half-inch-thick exterior-grade plywood on each side of a piece of thick extruded polystyrene foam is a terrific way to make an insulated panel for vent pipe access. Polyurethane construction adhesive is perfect for holding the foam-and-wood sandwich together.

    When it comes to any basement cellar, the exterior walls create ideal interior temperatures. This is what delivers the cooling action, and the more masonry surface you’ve got, the better. That’s why you’ll want to choose a corner location for your installation if you can. This offers maximum exposure to exterior walls while minimizing the need to build and insulate interior walls. And if you’ve got a choice, select a spot with the highest soil height outside. Does one of your possible options include northern exposure? Terrific! That’s great if you can get it.

    After you’ve picked your cellar location and replaced the window glass with a solid panel that accommodates the vent pipes, turn your attention to the walls. Find yourself a helper, grab a sheet or two of plywood or wafer board, and get ready to use your imagination. It’s amazing how temporarily propping up sheet materials can help you imagine the floor plan of a new room, leading you to better finished results. How long should your cellar be? How wide? Is a 3-foot-wide door big enough? These kinds of questions are much easier to answer when you’ve got something to hold up, look at, move around and tweak.

    With the footprint and door location of your cellar finalized, mark the relevant outlines on the floor with a big felt-tipped marker. Although you’ll need to build some kind of wood frame for the wall and doorway, it needn’t be as beefy as a typical load-bearing wall for a house. You can extend stud spacing beyond 24 inches on centre if you need to economise, but regardless of the wall design, you’ll have to secure it at the top and bottom.

    Basement floors are often damp, so consider using barrier between the floor and bottom wall plate.

    Insulated doors can be expensive. You can substitute with a regular interior door to which you've glued a sheet of rigid insulation.

    Insulation is your next challenge, and good reasons exist to consider using rigid sheets of foam instead of traditional fibreglass batts. The most important is moisture resistance. Any basement is likely to get damp from time to time, and fibreglass has almost no ability to resist mold growth and deterioration when water is present. Foam, on the other hand, tolerates moisture much better. It’s also easier to use than fibreglass, and it’s non-irritating. Extruded polystyrene is especially good in this regard. It’s also a highly effective thermal insulator. Just be aware that some jurisdictions require foam to be covered with a fire-resistant sheet to meet code specifications. As you plan your insulation strategy, be sure to include the ceiling of your cellar. Warmth coming down from heated areas above could raise cellar temperatures too high for the food.

    A key feature of the basement cellar is the two-vent design. To function optimally, space the interior ends of the intake and exhaust pipes as far apart as possible. Also, you’ll need to plan your shelf layout to allow as much top-to-bottom air movement as you can achieve. This is where ceiling-mounted shelves can really help. The best idea is to use hanging metal wire frames that support shelves made of 2-by-12-inch lumber you cut yourself. Cover the vent openings with screen to keep out insects and mice.

    I
    you want to really cool the room down quickly, add a little exhaust fan to supplement the natural flow of cool air down into the room. A small DC fan will allow you to flow in either direction by reversing the poles.

    Leave a comment:


  • TorontoJoe
    replied
    Vladimir - The air duct idea is an excellent one. It’ll give you both cool air intake and ventilation. This is the exact method that so many Italian old timers use to keep their basement cantinas cool enough in winter to maintain temp and air flow to hang their Salumi. You’ll want to insulate walls between heated and unheated areas so you’re not chilling the home. I have specs on this somewhere. I will look.

    Leave a comment:


  • BC BYRON
    commented on 's reply
    This is the best method. You will also save energy by not introducing cold air into your structure.

  • ginamcd
    replied
    Agreed. There won't always be colder air available outside -- not unheard of for us to see a stretch of 60's and 70's in January... And bringing in outside air still won't eliminate the danger of an early wake up come March/April when outside temps usually start to climb.

    My goal would be stabilizing the temp in the room with insulation on the interior walls and sealing the door gaps, or building a box out of insulation for three walls and putting it against the foundation wall as FigTreeJunkie suggested.

    Last spring when outside temps were on their usual New England rollercoaster ride, the temp in my insulated part of the shed barely moved, even on days that the sun was shining on it all day.

    Leave a comment:


  • FigTreeJunkie
    replied
    I have some of my figs in a "shed". What used to be a garage was made into living space in the 60s. It was extended out beyond a hill adding a section that is half above grade and the rest is in the hill. It is uninsulated but has heated living space above. Copying ginamcd, it has a 20/30 thermocube in case the temperature drops... which hasn't been needed so far. The wireless temperature sensor has shown a steady temperature around 40F (38-43) this entire winter. Almost perfect for the figs.

    In my opinion, adding cold air from the exterior of the house would make for a fun project, but may not be needed. It may be simpler, less expensive, and more environmentally friendly to leverage the stable temperature of the ground.

    Leave a comment:


  • Thorntorn
    replied
    Vladimir,

    I think your own proposed method is the best and easiest. A vent pipe from the window of an adjacent room, with an attached, thermostatically controlled fan to bring in cold air, vented into the above ceiling space, by removing a section of ceiling panel, makes sense. The ceiling air space getting too cold and affecting the warmth of living quarters above it, is my only concern. If this occurs, close up the panel and just leave the door slightly ajar. The rest of the basement being cooler may be acceptable. Also, if your fig storage room door is 30" wide, and its lower clearance is 1/4", the space is equivalent to a 2.5" diameter vent pipe...maybe sufficient for venting as is, under the storage room's door's bottom gap?

    Thorntorn

    Leave a comment:


  • nycfig
    commented on 's reply
    Box trailer. It's a two-day process, loading on one, unloading on the other. The worst part is arriving with a foot of snow on the ground.

  • davej
    replied
    I have been pondering a fig storage area, however I am still unsure what the best approach would be. During very cold periods I worry that my attached garage may get too cold in the pre-dawn hours. Alternately during warm periods I worry that my garage may get too warm in the late afternoons! Maybe the best compromise would be to insulate the garage and then set up a loud temperature alarm. If the temperature gets below 25F or gets above 50F the alarm starts beeping.

    Leave a comment:


  • ginamcd
    commented on 's reply
    Well that's now two votes for this method, and both from "neighbors." 😁

  • FigTreeJunkie
    replied
    My suggestion is to use foam board insulation around your plants on the non-foundation sides. You want to block the heat from your house while encouraging the temperature to sync with the ground temp.
    I've never tried this, but it's an idea.

    Leave a comment:


  • VicD NJ7A
    commented on 's reply
    Wow. How do you guys transport everything upstate?

  • nycfig
    replied
    We grow in USDA Zone 7b, NYC but store the entire collection in the basement of our old farmhouse upstate, NY in USDA Zone 5a. When it's -20F outside the temp in the basement stays at 50F. The trees stay asleep until we take them out in the early spring. We don't cover the windows in the basement either. Have you had trouble with the trees waking early in the basement in the past?

    Leave a comment:


  • Johnson1
    replied
    cepeders suggestion of both a cold air supply duct originating outside and a return duct exiting outside is my preference. A weatherstrip at the bottom of the entry door will help minimize air intrusion into the adjacent area and house. I suggest running insulated ducts to minimize heat loss and condensation. At least insulated in the area outside of the fig room.

    A thermostat will be needed for the inline fan. The fan is likely more effective in the exhaust line, also allows for a exterior vent cover. The outside cold air supply should have screening to keep out pests like mice.

    Regarding the window, either open and frame in plywood or remove the glass and replace with plywood. You can try 2 circular cuts in the glass although I don't recommend it.

    An alternate method would be to use a bathroom exhaust fan, same basic configuration. The exhaust side is 4".

    Keep an eye on condensation in the 'cold room'.

    A wildcard is opening and closing the supply line.

    Leave a comment:


  • Vladimir
    commented on 's reply
    I would like to keep them dormant but am interested in your method. How much light do you provide.

  • ginamcd
    replied
    If you know it'll stay at 50F (or below) you'll probably be okay until late March/early April. At that point with your venting plan you'll be bringing in warmer outside air.

    Maybe try insulating the walls and sealing up the gap under/around the door to see if it'll stabilize at it's current 50F. You can purchase an inexpensive blue tooth temperature sensors so you can track it without ever having to open the door/let heat in. My insulated "room" in the shed stays pretty stable regardless of how much temps fluctuate outside.

    Leave a comment:


  • Otis
    replied
    Isn't dormancy brought on and maintained by the number of chill hrs available as well as a combination of temp and light length?

    Leave a comment:


  • cepeders
    replied
    You could put two ducts and fans in, one inlet and one outlet. Placing the Inlet on one side of the room and the outlet on the opposite side would help too. This way you are also not forcing cold air into your house.

    Also might want to manually or automatically check the outside temperature and not run the system when that temp is above your desired temperature

    Leave a comment:


  • stealthmayhem
    replied
    I believe that he wants to cool the room down by sucking cold air in from a window in an adjacent room. I have Fig trees in a room with 4 huge skylights that normally hovers around 45-50F all winter long. Light dormancy, if you will.

    Leave a comment:


  • betterforlife
    replied
    Its not clear what your goal is. Are you trying to keep your fig trees dormant, or do you want them do be actively growing? I have been able to keep small fig trees in a semi-dormant state at 65 F with moderate lighting until warm weather comes.

    Leave a comment:


  • Vladimir
    started a topic Need ideas for my basement fig storage room

    Need ideas for my basement fig storage room

    My fig storage room has an insulated ceiling and is closed off from the rest of the basement. Problem is that it only has gone down to about 50F and I know the fig trees will wake up too early (like in mid March).
    The room has no windows that I could open. I am thinking about running a
    4 inch dia. semi-rigid flexible aluminum dryer vent duct from a window in the adjacent room into the fig room. The duct would have a fan mounted in it that on a thermostat that would turn the fan on when room temp reached 45 F. The only exhaust out of the fig room is about a 1/4 inch space under the door. If necessary, I could add exhaust space by removing insulation between the ceiling joists above the wall that separates the fig room from the adjacent room.
    I would greatly appreciate any suggestions.
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