Thursday, January 21, 2010

basement cold rooms

Way back in the days of old before the advent of modern grocery stores every home had a root cellar or something similar to store their crops in through the winter months. If they didnt have a good food supply put back then they were going to go hungry part of the year as there was not a grocery store on every corner. Even in the deep south cold storage areas are very important. Even though they cant normally keep the food at optimum storage temperatures, it will keep the food 20 or so degrees cooler than the out door temps therefore increasing the span of edibility.

In many places in modern times, digging an old time root cellar simply cant be done but there are alternative solutions that work just as well. In this thread we shall explore basement cold rooms or cellars. Most tutorials and plans for the basement cold rooms tend to be all about the same.

This first plan is from an ol feller on another board. Heis  a cantankerous grumpy bugger but he has some very nice tutorials on his site. Maneuvering the site however is an issue so I will post his words with a link to the pictures detailing what he did

Cold Room in Basement. 30 August 2009 Cold Room Construction

Cold room construction in the utility room in the basement. Purpose is for storing garden produce. Potatoes, carrots, brussels sprouts, beets, etc.

This is the cold room built in my basement. Space was at a premium so I did the the best with what was available.

The floor space is 18 square feet, and 80 inches in height. A four inch outside air vent was installed. The hole was cut with a rental tool. The one plug in the room is split and the light is switched from outside. Paneling was construction grade spruce 5/8 plywood. Insulation of the inside wall is R14, and a vapor barrier was installed on top of this insulation, then covered with5/8 plywood. The roof was insulated in the same manner.

Tables are plastic, the same as I use in my greenhouse. Vegetables will be stored in the common plastic milk containers. The air inlet will be controlled by stuffing a rag in the inlet if it get too cold. The exhaust went is four inches diameter, and is in the roof of the structure. Humidity will be controlled with a pan of water, if necessary.

Time to build about 48 man hours. Started 25 August and finished on 30 August 2009.Cost $565.42 I had some help for about 16 hours.

Here are the pics of how he organized it

Keep Produce Fresh In Cold, Moist Air
If you live in an area where fall and winter temperatures remain near freezing and fluctuate very little, you can store root vegetables, apples, and pears in a wide variety of insulated structures and containers. These range from a simple mound in the garden to a full-fledged root cellar. In each case, the storage unit must maintain temperatures in the 30 degrees F to 40 degrees F range with humidity between 80 and 90 percent. The high moisture content of the air prevents shriveling due to loss of water by evaporation. An old-fashioned, unheated basement is an ideal spot for a root cellar, but a modern basement can be used if a northerly corner is available.
Different vegetables can be stored together in a single container, but fruits should never be stored with vegetables nor should different fruits be stored together.

An 8-foot by 10-foot root cellar will accommodate 60 bushels of produce. Indoor root cellars are the most convenient to use and easiest to build. Try to use a northeast or northwest corner of your basement that has at least one outside wall and id as far as possible from your oil burner or other heat source. One north-facing window is desirable for ventilation. The interior walls of the root cellar should be constructed of wood, and if the basement is heated, they should be insulated. The precise amount of insulation needed depends on the average basement temperature, but standard 4-inch-thick fiberglass batting with a foil or plastic vapor barrier should be more than adequate. Install the insulation with the barrier against the wood. Add an insulated door and fit the window with shades to block out light. To keep humidity high, spread 3 inches of gravel on the floor and sprinkle it occasionally with water. You can also maintain humidity by storing the produce in a closed container, such as a metal can lined with paper.

This text and picture were taken from a 1981 edition of a Reader's Digest book, Back To Basics.


following are a few more links to basement cold cellars. ... ellar.html ... ellar.aspx


  1. I sent you an award if you are interested in playing along.

  2. Great article, thanks. I can see how the insulation levels must be specfic from house to house and will vary based on each's specifics.

  3. It is a good idea to have a cold room for homes in cold climate areas, the countryside, or semi-isolated places, in the basement or in any other parts of the house. In places like these, there will always be a part of the year when food is a little scarce. It may be because of the very cold weather or lack of supply in that area. It’s always best to be prepared.

  4. Hi there! glad to drop by your page and found these very interesting and informative stuff. Thanks for sharing, keep it up!
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  6. It's good ideas to share with all , temperature variations of up to three degrees from room to room are not uncommon, but in many cases, one or several rooms and uncomfortably warm or cold.If you hire cold room solution

  7. Links don't seem to be working. I did finally find the right one, use this: