Wet root cellar

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by silosounds, Nov 21, 2004.

  1. silosounds

    silosounds Well-Known Member

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    our root cellar is a great place to store things in the winter.and provides great protection from the spring storms we have here in Kansas It was built in 1920 of concrete and has a wooden door on the outside and a wooden screen door that has a removable pane of glass down below . We have a real problem with condesation on the walls and makes eveything rust and mildew it roughts the canning bands off the jars in one season thisseems to only occures in the warmer months.we have tried many things to correct the problem,I see that we have termites making tunnles all over the walls and the wooden shelfs are becoming dinner does anyone know an easy solution that doesnt include an electric dehumidification unit or chemicals that suckthe moisture from the air I do know how to deal with the termites but the moisture has me stumpped.
     
  2. farmmaid

    farmmaid Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You need a pipe at floor level going into the cellar to get fresh air and another one venting out toward the ceiling to vent air out. Set these pipes even with the insides of the cellar (very important) and the shelves need to have air space. So do not have the shelves back against the wall and the shelves need to be made of narrow pieces. Each shelf say made up of 4 narrow pieces with space between them. By not making the shelves out of one solid board and leaving space for air flow against the back wall the air will not be stagnet. The placement of the pipes to vent out is important and make sure that they are cut off even with the inside wall and stick outside enought to be able to draw the inside air out....Joan ;)
     

  3. silosounds

    silosounds Well-Known Member

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    could you tell me how big the pipes have be? the cellar is 10'X12' and has one pipe on the far end in the cieling its 6" round but for some reason reduced to 2' coming out and is only 24' above the ground should this be bigger and taller?
    Terry
     
  4. Silosounds, Farmmaid has a good point there. the pipes should be of the same size. Approximately 2" in diameter but there should already be air vents installed. In the rootcellar of my grandparents there pipes were in the ceiling and stuck down just below the roof. There's was always damp also. If yours is like this what you need to do is extend one of the pipe all the way down to the floor and if possible to the opposite side of the room. This will create a more even air flow across the room for excess moisture evaporation.
     
  5. farmmaid

    farmmaid Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Does the pipe go out the ceiling so there are no elbows in it? A 6" pipe is excellent but the reduction to 2" is probably not getting a good draw (just like a fireplace. If it is coming out the top are there trees etc. around that could also be decreasing the draw? I would say that 4' above the ground would be better, all 6" pipe. Make SURE that the pipe in the inside is NOT sticking out into the room, as I stated before, needs to be even with the walls (ceiling). You also need a pipe coming into the bottom of the cellar as I stated. Let me know...Joan
     
  6. silosounds

    silosounds Well-Known Member

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    I understand know what has to happen I need to supply air from a outside to interior and vent out stagnent air from cieling of cellar and need to get rid of the solid shelfing. their is a potato bin built in from a long time ago thats slatted in the back and front should the bootom be revamped or are the sides enough?
    Terry
     
  7. farmmaid

    farmmaid Well-Known Member Supporter

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    No...I would take all out of the cellar and start with new shelves as explained and fix the pipe going out and add another pipe floor level. Just a reminder that potatoes can not be stored in the same space as fruit...Joan :)
     
  8. farmmaid

    farmmaid Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Forgot: Several smaller slotted boxed for whatever are better than one or to big ones. You also need to check all weekly and dispose of those veggies/fruits going bad. People make the mistake of always taking what is going bad to eat. NO...always eat the good and critters eat the rest. You can keep "ahead" of the spoiled if you think about it...Joan :haha:
     
  9. silosounds

    silosounds Well-Known Member

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    I guess I knew you would say that it hard for me to get rid of old things that were made so long ago but if they dont work then whats the point I want to make this work thanks for the info terry
     
  10. BeeFree

    BeeFree Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My storm cellar does the same thing. It is always damp except for the very hot summer months.

    I had to take all my canned stuff out as it rusted the lids. I even thought about dipping the lids in paraffin to see if that would keep them from rusting. Finally just stored them in the house.

    The wooded shelf rotted, so replaced it with a metal one. So far it is doing pretty good. Does have a little rust on the legs. If I do store stuff in there, I started putting it in those plastic containers that you can buy at the dollar store. They seem to keep fine in them.

    Mine has a 2 in air pipe in the ceiling and a 2 in pipe in the floor. It also has a door that can be opened for air, but that doesn't seem to help that much. I was wondering what some of the paint they use for basements would do if I painted the walls.
     
  11. farmmaid

    farmmaid Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Take the old lumber and make something. An old "pie safe" with screening or garden bench for a porch come to mind...Joan :rolleyes:
     
  12. silosounds

    silosounds Well-Known Member

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    I checked into the paint but the directions say to wash the surface and let dry before painting it on mine never gets dry but if I can get it dry im going to try that too . my son wants to use it in the barn to store his wood shavings for the goats so my potato bin will get recycled . but the shelfing has termites so into the burnpile it goes. I have a saw mill so Im going to mill up some slats from native red cedar should make it smell better . :)
     
  13. farmmaid

    farmmaid Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you are going to be hanging anything in there to age, cheese, meat etc., I would not use cedar..do not want the smell (paint too) perminating the food...Joan
     
  14. silosounds

    silosounds Well-Known Member

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  15. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    Farmmaid can you explain your statement about fruit and potatoes in more detail please?

    My family stored sacks of potatoes and bushels of apples just inches apart for decades without problems. The potatoes lasted until the last were used or springtime, and the apples lasted until used.

    Except for the roof, steps, and doors our cellar was earthen. Simply an eight foot wide trench or so dug out of the clay soil. The roof was wooden with the dirt out of the trench placed on top. Earth floor, earth walls. Lasted for decades until the roof caved in. We then dug and poured a new concrete unit. We put a 6" vent pipe in the ceiling. It was chilly down there, but it never did freeze. Once again the dirt from the hole was placed over the poured roof.
     
  16. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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    Most experts recommend keeping stored apples and potatoes separate, because apples give off ethylene gas, which promotes ripening, maturation, and, in the case of potatoes, sprouting. It's not always possible or practical to segregate potatoes from apples. We find ventilation is the answer. In a well-ventilated root cellar, the ethylene gas fumes are carried off by air currents instead of settling down around the potatoes.

    I also wanted to mention that you should never store your home-canned goods with the band on, even in your pantry. Lids alone usually don't rust, unless the band is left on.
     
  17. silosounds

    silosounds Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the info Terry in ks.
     
  18. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Perhaps I missed something already posted. Did you say whether you had electricity in the root cellar?

    Also, is the entry on flat ground or into the side of a hill?

    The ventilation ideas will help a little, but won't really solve the problem. If the floor is also made of cement, it may be the only simple thing you can do. If you have electricity, you could add a fan to promote more air movement, but at some point you will diminish the performance of the structure.

    The most effective solution would be a french drain. This may not be practical, but it would drastically reduce the moisture in the ground against the concrete walls. A sump pump would a good accomplice to the drain. If the floor is dirt, you could put the drain and sump hole inside.

    Don't try to paint or finish the concrete walls, as this will trap moisture in the concrete and increase the mold/mildew problems. It could make the air inside dangerous.
     
  19. silosounds

    silosounds Well-Known Member

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    The cellar is on flat ground and a old wash house sits on top the entrance is to the back of the old wash house it has a wooden door with asphalt shingles and the entire cellar is made of concrete the floor is fairly cracked but is cement as well. we did use white wash to paint the inside that we made ourselves that was recommended by a nice old guy down the road he said the lime in the white wash would cut down the amount of mildew but we didnt see that happen its about the same. the french drain has crossed my mind and wouldnt be all that impractical if it helps the problem I have my own trencher and some drain left over from a remodel job. and we may get a metal door that fits tighter to keep out the rodents.
     
  20. farmmaid

    farmmaid Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Suggestion: We are building our retirement home and the new root cellar is going to store some "survival" things too. VACUUM PACK a blanket, heavy sweater, socks, flashlight with extra batteries (and bulb), old cell phone that can just dial 911 (batteries) and food. Have other sealed food and water with a folding chair that can be hung on the wall...this will be provided for each person. Our new root cellar will be 2 rooms connected with separate pipes in each part. The total will be 6"x16' and is not only going to be for food storage but will be our "safe space". The door into the cellar will be in the attached garage and the cellar will jet out so 3 sides will be in the ground. We will have electricity and a vacuumed pack battery/electric radio. We wanted a place in case of weather and "people" problems as we are going to be tucked up in the woods...Joan :)