Insulating the 'barrel room'

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BarrelMonkey

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Hi all,

First time posting here! I am planning to make my own wine for the first time this year (though have made wine at home with a neighbor for several years, and I also work as cellarmaster at a small winery). There is a small resin shed which we inherited when we bought our property, and it's just big enough to fit a couple of barrels. (I'm only planning to make 1 barrel-worth of wine; the other is for racking). I'd appreciate any suggestions as to how to insulate the shed. As the picture shows, it has tree cover, but it can get to 100+ degrees F here in the summer (N. California), so I want to try and keep it as cool as I can. Longer term I'd prefer to have a larger 'winery', but since I'll be investing in winemaking equipment this year I'd rather push off that cost until later...

barrelroom_small.jpg
barrelroom_inside_small.jpg
 

Johnd

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To keep that cool, you’ll need to insulate similar to a home. Since you’re trying to do it cost effectively, I’d suggest using either insulation board or batt insulation on the exterior walls and ceiling, sufficient to achieve R-13. The floor should be ok without since it’s sitting on the ground. If you use batt insulation, hold it in place with poultry mesh.

A small thru-wall a/c unit (window unit) will suffice for cooling, a small electric ceramic type heater with thermostat will suffice for heating in the winter. Keep it constant year round in the upper 50’s, low 60’s. Both will run off of an extension cord if you don’t have power run to the shed.
 
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BarrelMonkey

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Thanks for the input Johnd - I was thinking to use insulation board rather than the pink batting since I'm not sure how watertight the structure is. Not sure I need heating in the winter - it's relatively mild here and although there are some nights when it gets below freezing, it's only for a relatively short time. Getting permanent power to the structure may be challenging, though it's close enough to civilization that I will be able to run my transfer pump for racking.
 
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Johnd

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Thanks for the input Johnd - I was thinking to use insulation board rather than the pink batting since I'm not sure how watertight the structure is. Not sure I need heating in the winter - it's relatively mild here and although there are some nights when it gets below freezing, it's only for a relatively short time. Getting permanent power to the structure may be challenging, though it's close enough to civilization that I will be able to run my transfer pump for racking.
Fluctuating temps are not at all good for your wine, and it’s bad for the barrel as well. If it’s too far for an extension cord, can you move it closer?
 

BarrelMonkey

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Fluctuating temps are not at all good for your wine, and it’s bad for the barrel as well. If it’s too far for an extension cord, can you move it closer?
I should probably collect some data on just how much the temperature varies. An extension cord is certainly possible (and may even help in the summer if I can hook up a fan to circulate air), though I was hoping that with added insulation I would reduce the fluctuation to a tolerable level in both winter and summer.
 

Johnd

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I should probably collect some data on just how much the temperature varies. An extension cord is certainly possible (and may even help in the summer if I can hook up a fan to circulate air), though I was hoping that with added insulation I would reduce the fluctuation to a tolerable level in both winter and summer.
The “Holy Grail” temperature goal of wine aging / storage is 55°F - 58°F, with little to no fluctuation. Wine can be ruined in a few hours in the 80’s pretty quickly. A fan in 100°F is akin to bringing a peashooter to a gunfight, your wine will cook in the barrel. No amount of insulation will create cool air during hot spells. I believe that your wine will be in jeopardy without supplemental heating / cooling means.
 

hounddawg

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when i posted i took it you was going to use a tiny AC unit, and a small heater, therefore it will keep what's cold IE (window unit ) and what's hot IE (heater ) depending where you live, Styrofoam will greatly reduce heating and cooling,, by putting a barrier between inside and out side, there is no closer insulation than Styrofoam compared to fiberglass batten roll out insulation, and keeping price down , Material cheap,,, utility bill's are from here on out, till you go bigger, at no time did i infer that the Styrofoam by it's self keep any temp with out what's cold (window unit & tiny heater).. other wise your eclectic/propane/gas bill cost every month period,
Dawg
 

Dennis Griffith

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Ok, I'll add my 2 cents worth as well. Do you have a garage? Since it is only one barrel, can you find room for it in your house or garage? Also, for heating and cooling, I use one of these in a 12'x22' crush and storage space that I divided off of an existing barn. It is from Black and Decker and does both heating and cooling. It will keep your room in the desired temp range.
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ibglowin

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All good advice here. For sure you will need both insulation and some source of cooling for the hot Summer months. I use a walled off portion of my garage that I added 12" attic blanket insulation in the ceiling. I use a small window unit in Summer months that keeps me around 64 but its 55 in there at least 6 months a year compliments of Mother Nature. The main thing you want to achieve is temp stability while shooting for the magic 55 degree number. You don't want the temp inside to be 60 in the AM and then 80 in the PM each day in the Summer. You may want to think about building a larger wooden structure (Tuff Shed etc.) that you could work in a little easier. I guarantee you will need more space sooner rather than later!

And welcome to WMT!
 
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When running extension cords, do pay attention to the amperage of what ever you're powering and the length of the run. Size your extension cord accordingly so as to not burn out your equipment. Voltage drop tables are readily available online. On a longer distance you may find it advantageous to use direct burial UF wire. It should be buried at least 24", but do what you can. Lay electrical caution tape 6" over the wire as you backfill. It should also be GFCI protected for your safety. Foam insulations are not effected by humidity changes. The more masonry the better to moderate short term temperature swings. Maybe a brick floor? Dig it a couple of feet into the ground and build it back up with cinder blocks? If you want to go a little higher tech, lookup Bio PCM. Products – ENRG Blanket – Phase Change Solutions Cool stuff. Moderates daily temperature swings by melting and solidifying engineered waxes.
 
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This thread got me thinking.. Has anyone used a glass lined hot water heater for an aging tank? It's a readily available 20-120 gallon ceramic lined steel tank. Stainless tanks are available. Plenty of fittings. Insulated. Some have internal stainless steel or copper coils for heating or chilling the contents.
 

BarrelMonkey

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It looks like the consensus is that this isn't really going to work... rather than invest in modifying this shed I will try to come up with a more permanent solution. I do have a cool basement space, but no way of getting a full size barrel in there - so a standalone shed with access to mains power looks like the best option. Thanks to everyone for your input!
 

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