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ckoropeski 11-04-2011 05:16 PM

Cellar insulation in cold climate
I live in a region where -40C is completely normal during January.

Unfortunately, with our current cold cellar set up, we risk having everything freeze. Last winter we had -10C in the room at one point. I was wondering if anyone had suggestion on how we could keep the room warmer, but not so warm (or dry) that our vegetables spoil.

The cellar itself is about 8 x 6. All 4 walls, including the wall separating it from the rest of the basement, and the floor are poured concrete. The ceiling, wood joists, is currently uninsulated, as we don't actively heat the porch that sits directly above the cellar. (although we will be insulating this region as upcoming renovations will turn the porch into a heated space). There are 2 vents about 12 inches from the ceiling and the current door has a 1 inch gap at the bottom, but otherwise is a good seal.

I have read many different options from "leave it as is" (which doesn't work, it's too cold), to "insulate it completely" (which isn't favourable as we do store a lot of perishable harvest items.

Would insulating just the walls, leaving the floor to control moisture and temperature, be sufficient? That's the "plan" I have at this point based on what I have read in other posts...

any information is very much appreciated.

gregzoll 11-04-2011 05:27 PM

There is a reason that cold rooms are supposed to be cold. You can use XPS foam to insulate the walls & ceiling, but keep in mind, that if the vents are open, it would serve no purpose.

Ron6519 11-05-2011 07:20 AM

I'd insulate the exterior walls, all the way up to the rim joists for a start. How thick you need it is another matter. You might need to take a step by step plan for this as you want to raise the temps, but only to a certain level.
After the insulation, maybe reduce the vent size or as Greg said, eliminate it all together. I know I close my vents in the crawl space this time of year. Well actually, they close by themselves in cold weather.

ckoropeski 11-06-2011 10:56 AM

I forgot to mention that I have the ability to open and close the vents, and I need to keep them because of the humidity levels in the summer time. without ventilation, mold would quickly become a serious issue.

but thanks guys for the confirmation of what I wasn't 100% sure about.

insulating the walls will control the temperature a bit better and will allow the heat transfer through the door vent to "keep up" and prevent the room from freezing.


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