Vacant mobile home wine room...

Discussion in 'Wine Cellar & Storage Forum' started by Intheswamp, Sep 19, 2019.

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  1. Sep 19, 2019 #1

    Intheswamp

    Intheswamp

    Intheswamp

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    I'm a rank newbie and really won't be making a great amount of wine (so I say<grin>). Being located in south Alabama it is hot and humid down here. Winters are usually not that cold with subfreezing temperatures usually only at night and might be consecutive night time freezing for 2-3 day sin a row. We don't have a "frost line", so to speak. Our main foe is HEAT...and it does get hot. We run a/c down here probably six months out of the year. Spring and autumn can be a crapshoot on nice temperatures...usually it seems we transition from winter to summer and summer to winter without much of a spring or autumn. Most of the time, winters are "nice"...it's the summers that are killers. Anyhow...

    I have a roughly 10x12 (I need to measure) bedroom in a vacant trailer on our property where I'm planning (hopefully) to do *both* my fermenting and aging/storage. The trailer has central heating and cooling but rather than running the central unit I'm planning on a small 5000btu window-mount a/c to keep the room cool. The trailer gets HOT without the central unit running so in an attempt to $ave electricity, I will be focusing on cooling this single room in the hot structure.

    I purchased an Inkbird 308 temp-controller which can control the small a/c and a small electric heater. From what I've been reading the Inkbirds are good controllers (fingers crossed!). I'm hoping this setup will keep the room in the 65-70F degree range. I'm not sure whether the a/c I have can be modded to bypass it's thermostat, we will see. If it can be modified like this I will let the Inkbird handle the thermostat function and possibly get the temperature down to the low 60F range. I'm considering adding some rigid foam insulation to the interior walls and door to enhance it's insulation. I know that it's better to be down in the mid-50F range for wine storage, but, I've gotta make do with what I've got and this looks about as good as it'll get. From what I understand a stable temperature is more important than a low temperature in regards to storage.

    Fruit wines will be my predominant wines with maybe some muscadine wine. I really don't expect to ferment any grape wine, but you never know. I probably will be using Lalvin 71b yeast most of the time. Lalvin states that 71b's temperature range is between 59-86F. If I can hit temperatures down in the low-60's will that still be warm enough for good fermentation? I guess I could always place the primary fermenting vessels outside of the room and run the main central heating-cooling unit for a few days and then when the primary fermentation is over I could move it into the cooler room and rack to a secondary vessel.

    Well, that about sums up what's on my mind. I guess I wanted to verbalize(?) my ideas and if someone wants to give me some feedback, well, I'm all ears!!! Thanks!

    Ed
     
  2. Sep 21, 2019 #2

    Intheswamp

    Intheswamp

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  3. Sep 27, 2019 #3

    Intheswamp

    Intheswamp

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    Ah well... :)

    I made a little progress on the room yesterday. I got the small 5000btu a/c installed in the window and some foil-backed foam insulation sandwiched in between the panes of the window and storm window. I also added some of the foam board on the room-side of the "accordian" window filler on either side of the a/c unit. The goal here is to make this little 9x12 room as insulated as possible. I'm not so sure how well the interior walls are insulated, though, and the rest of the trailer will be hot in the summer and cold in the winter...most of the time. I may end up buying some more foam-board and covering the interior walls.

    The high-nap carpet still needs removing but I'm thinking it is giving a little insulating help, so not sure whether to just poly-seal the plywood floor or go over it with some cheap linoleum...I'm leaning towards the linoleum.

    Yesterday it was in the mid-90F degrees and the room eventually got down to 67F...this was with me going in and out of the room a good bit and also with the large gap at the bottom of the door unsealed. I don't think this will ever get to "proper" wine cellar temperatures but hopefully will be better than 80F^ temperatures...it should be good fermenting temps.

    Currently I have the Inkbird 308 plugged in the wall, a Kil-A-Watt meter plugged into it, and the a/c plugged into the meter. I'm trying to get an idea of how much electricity this setup is going to use. I'm shooting for the lowest feasible but economical low temperature that I can get it down to. Winter-time won't be a big issue, but the oppressing heat in south Alabama summers can be a challenge...this summer is extreme.

    The old trailer isn't in the greatest shape and it really hasn't been cleaned out since my MIL passed on, so I've got a lot of cleaning to do. It's mostly been closed up for around five years. I'm kind of going easy with cleaning stuff out but nothing really personal of my MIL (good lady of the Greatest Generation!), I'll leave that to my wife. I turned the water back on (had turned it off since we haven't been using the trailer). Water seems good. I may or may not turn the hot-water heater on. Went through replacing old incandescent and CFL light-bulbs with LEDs...turn the odd one on all along to give the trailer the "someone's there" look.

    That little room has good acoustics, too! My little Anker Boost Bluetooth speaker sounds really good...REO Speedwagon, Nazareth, and a few others were were in concert yesterday evening. ;)

    Anyhow, that's an update on the "The Room", FWIW.
     
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  4. Oct 19, 2019 #4

    beano

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    Mmm...this "old trailer" sounds like the makings of a wine making man cave. Stove, refrigerator, TV, wine tasting table etc.
    :db
     
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  5. Oct 20, 2019 #5

    Intheswamp

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    Oh I'm having my ups and downs with getting it cleared and cleaned. dealing with rodents and musty smell. I'm gaining ground on it but it gets discouraging at times. I about decided to just build an 8x8 door room and be done with. But, that's a nice structure to give up on so I'll keep at it!
     
  6. Oct 23, 2019 #6

    Arne

    Arne

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    Get that foam on the ceiling too. Put the shiny side against the ceiling to reflect the radiant heat. Should make a world of difference. Good luck with it, Arne.
     
  7. Oct 23, 2019 #7

    Intheswamp

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    Thanks Arne. Yep, shiny side out! And, I'll throw some on the ceiling. The judge is still out regarding the trailer...the cleaning/airing of it is beginning to wear me down. Now, I've got a war going on with rats/mice.<sigh> That little 8x8 shed is sounding better and better. But, whichever route I end up going in, insulation is a prime part of it! If I go the shed-route I'll probably go with 2x6 framing for added insulation thickness.
     
  8. Oct 25, 2019 #8

    Rice_Guy

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    Sounds like a fun project. Also sounds like you are collecting toys and aren’t a newbie any more. :h

    in Houston I ran a product storage shed, basically 4” foam sandwiched between metal with AC. No windows, 4” door with gaskets.
    * humidity is limiting on the AC, as long as it defrosts you should be ok.
    * I would not bother with heat, a well insulated room will hold it’s own down south, fermentation is heat producing, At worst a primary will become inactive as the temp drops (to 35 or 40) and pick back up where it was the next day. In the Midwest we have examples of garage wineries that freeze.
    * there will be heat gain off the floor.
    * I am a big fan of short power cords. Consider running conduit at table height with an outlet every 6 feet
     
  9. Oct 25, 2019 #9

    Intheswamp

    Intheswamp

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    Thanks, Rice_Guy. Yeah, I've picked up a few toys tools...gotta have things to work with. ;)

    The freeze aspect down our way isn't the 800-pound elephant in the room...rather, it's the HOT spring, summer, and fall weather that we have. Even if we get a hard freeze at night (into the upper teen's to lower 20F's for our area) it warms on up above freezing the next day. Seldom do we have 24 consecutive hours of sub-freezing temperatures and very, very rarely do we have 48 hours of it. With a well insulated shed/room a 100-watt incandescent bulb would keep things from freezing...a small electric heater would keep fermentation going quiet nicely. Heating definitely isn't the issue that cooling and it can be dealt with easily. Depending on whether the shed is built on a slab or piers will determine the heat gain from the ground...a slab "sounds" better in that regards...piers sound better for sugar-ant control (LOTS of'em in south Alabama<sigh>). I actually thought about a four-post pole shed...small, elevated, simple. But, then there's the 16'x80' "shed" next door....we'll see.

    The jury is still out on whether the wine room/area will be in the old trailer or some type of a shed. I need to get the old trailer in better shape, anyhow, so I'm not wasting time at it. Just not sure about fermenting there. I feel better about it at times...then I uncover another issue.

    The little A/C unit that I bought seems to handle things pretty good in regards to humidity. During the end of the hot weather it never showed any problem with humidity/icing. BUT, I haven't bypassed the thermostat, yet, either. I'll be sure to keep an eye on it. Thanks for mentioning it.
     

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