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ChuckD

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Thanks. I guess I could seal the interior with a concrete sealer to help control the humidity. I think I’ll just monitor the situation for now while I get the temperature up where it belongs. I don’t want to be doing any painting until I can open it up and crank up some fans. We will see what summer brings.
 

bstnh1

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I got my temp/humidity gauge today and put it in the cellar. After 6 hours of acclimation the temperature is 46 degrees with a relative humidity of 83%. I'm still increasing the temperature slowly with the heater (shooting for two degrees per day or less) so we will see where the humidity is when I hit 55 degrees.

For now, I'm just going to add a small fan to circulate the air. Once I get the temperature up, I'll try playing with opening the vent a little to let some of the moist air out. I could add vapor barrier to the floor but I sure as hell won't be digging up the cellar to add vapor barrier to the walls. A dehumidifier would work in the winter because I could actually use the heat they generate. In the summer it might create too much heat. Either way, I would rather not spend the $200.
$200 is just the beginning when you buy a dehumidifier. The cost of running it will soon dwarf what you paid for it!
 

ChuckD

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$200 is just the beginning when you buy a dehumidifier. The cost of running it will soon dwarf what you paid for it!
I have been looking at some of the desiccant dehumidifiers. Do you have any experience with them? I was wondering about added heat and operating costs. This is a very small space (6’x10’x7’high)
 

MisterEd

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Thoroseal is an excellent concrete sealer. I used it my well cistern and also have it on the walls of my converted 1000 gallon buried storage tank/wine cellar. It stops all moisture migration and has been applied for over 15 years with no failure or problems.

The dehumidifier would be a good winter solution as it provides the heat output as well.
 

ChuckD

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I have the temp up to 52 and the humidity is pretty stable at 90%. I have the roof vent pipe open and I’m going to put a small adjustable vent in the door to let some colder dry air in. At least my corks won’t dry out 😂.

I will put a vapor barrier on the floor and start sealing walls this summer. Does anyone have experience with the small thermoelectric dehumidifiers? Most of them are rated for a pint or two a day. Just wondering about how much heat they put out.
 

ChuckD

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I have had the oil filled heater in the cellar for a month now. I have it set at 60 degrees and the cellar is holding at 55 degrees. RH has leveled out at 74%. I had two wines bulk aging in the wine room (aka basement bathroom) at 62 degrees but I had to up the temperature to restart a stuck fermentation so I transferred the apple and an elderberry wine to the cellar.
B2D29209-D783-470B-92FD-76FAE6EB6476.jpeg

this spring I plan to put a vapor barrier paint on the walls and waterproof the floor to control humidity.
 

ChuckD

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Just an update on the cellar. I got the temperature up to 55 where it is holding very steady with continuous heat set at 60. The humidity was very high but is falling now that the cold winter air is here
68BD2F76-1CFC-4DF5-93D5-8639CDECFB07.png
I’m sure I will need to address humidity this summer. I also think I can keep the temps up a little easier next year. When I was remodeling the cellar I left the door open for at least a week and let the temperature plummet to 42. I was thinking at the time that, like veggies, just above freezing was good.
 
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Just an update on the cellar. I got the temperature up to 55 where it is holding very steady with continuous heat set at 60. The humidity was very high but is falling now that the cold winter air is here
View attachment 82986
I’m sure I will need to address humidity this summer. I also think I can keep the temps up a little easier next year. When I was remodeling the cellar I left the door open for at least a week and let the temperature plummet to 42. I was thinking at the time that, like veggies, just above freezing was good.

Hopefully you will level off to 60-65% which would be ideal. Even 55% wouldn't be hateful. I keep mine at 62-65%
 

Rice_Guy

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A caution if you plan to ferment inside the cellar, OR another reason to actively use the roof vent > yeast produce CO2!

Oscar Meyer uses CO2 to put hogs asleep as they are conveyed to the kill floor
In the old days of tall dairy silos the CO2 build up from fermenting silage would take out a farmer once and a while

IF you ferment in glass or plastic low humidity doesn’t matter.
 

ChuckD

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A caution if you plan to ferment inside the cellar, OR another reason to actively use the roof vent > yeast produce CO2!
No fermenting. I plan on using the cellar for bulk aging and wine storage. I also keep totes of empties in there. I’ll shoot for 55 degrees in the winter. It tends to get into the mid 60’s in the summer. I wouldn’t have guessed that a few 5 gallon batches of wine could produce lethal levels of CO2.
 

Ohio Bob

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Not sure what I can add here to some well placed advice you’ve already received. I’m in northern Ohio and my wine cellar was built when the house was built. Concrete floor, insulated walls to keep the rest of the basement from heating it up, placed on the northeast corner of the house. My cellar is 55F in winter, 65F in summer, which is good enough for making wine from buckets of juice. If I had access to fresh California juice I might think differently.

I strongly agree with previous posts about keeping wood out of the cellar. Humidity will continue to foster mold on those surfaces. Your vent pipe might be the trick to get power in but also to transfer the air. Air has little thermal capacity compared to the cellar because it has no mass. Refreshing the air volume may have little effect on the temperature of the cellar. Or at least something you can live with.
 

ChuckD

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Not sure what I can add here to some well placed advice you’ve already received. I’m in northern Ohio and my wine cellar was built when the house was built. Concrete floor, insulated walls to keep the rest of the basement from heating it up, placed on the northeast corner of the house. My cellar is 55F in winter, 65F in summer, which is good enough for making wine from buckets of juice. If I had access to fresh California juice I might think differently.

I strongly agree with previous posts about keeping wood out of the cellar. Humidity will continue to foster mold on those surfaces. Your vent pipe might be the trick to get power in but also to transfer the air. Air has little thermal capacity compared to the cellar because it has no mass. Refreshing the air volume may have little effect on the temperature of the cellar. Or at least something you can live with.
I’m building an addition on the house this year and the basement wall will be within a foot or two of the cellar so it will expose that wall. I’ll take advantage of that and insulate the block from the outside. I also plan on putting a door through from the new basement where I’m planning a wine making area. Another two feet of fill over the roof of the cellar when I’m all done should help keep the temperature stable.
 

pproctorga

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As for CO2 I ferment in my cellar and was concerned about high levels. I have ventilation fans I can turn on so I put an O2 sensor in to ensure proper air quality. As an example I just finished 3 five gallon batches and the O2 never got below 20%. The cellar has a tight seal with concrete floor and walls and foam above. I never have to run the fans. I really thought I’d see the O2 levels vary more.
 

ChuckD

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Cellar Update:
Well as soon as the frost went out of the ground the relative humidity shot right up to 90%. The gravel floor is wet but no standing water. There is minimal moisture on the walls. I have the door cracked now and a fan inside to get some air circulation. Outdoor temps are still in the 30’s at night and around 50 in the day.

This fall I’ll cover the gravel with a heavy rubber roof material then pour concrete. I think I’ll add a small sump pit so I can pump out any water that might accumulate. I’ll also be sealing the walls with the thoroseal.
 

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