Author Topic: Root cellar conversion  (Read 360 times)

Offline ArnaudForestier

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Root cellar conversion
« on: July 12, 2014, 07:02:12 PM »
Hey all, just a small chronicle of my new child, a root cellar.  We recently moved, and have a nice, big basement with two separate, open areas and a root cellar.  We're renting and I do not expect to live here more than 2-3 years (after, it's my plan for us to move and open our farm creamery, anywhere from SW WI to SE MN, the "Driftless Region" at large).  Anyway, early shots.

Left side.  The shelving will hold an anticipated 16-20 wheels of my Abondance, 20 lb wheel form factors.   The white-covered wall to the left of the natural shelving-area will house my AC and coolbot.  Per some discussions with pav, I will be drawing in fresh air through a flex pipe, using a small fan, and will exit air through a small flex pipe.  The fan and AC will work at odd angles, to enable turbulent flow at low airspeed.



Right side.  You can see the concrete wall at rear.  Wood and this wall will get whitewashed, and I'm relegated to using mere vapor barrier plastic on the ceiling, due to construction constraints:



I'm working closely on incorporating alpine botanicals, breed, and make techniques to develop a very forward Abondance-form cheese, desiring good, green, summer aromatics from the forage, the milk of Tarentaise and a few Abondance in the mix, and animal, buttery, hazelnut/nutty and other notes from the selection of rennet (have an import source of dried calf vells, but looking to make my own from freshly killed calves) and make techniques. 

- Paul

Offline Anonymous

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Re: Root cellar conversion
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2014, 10:47:40 PM »
Looks like you have a nice project ahead of you, Paul! Keep us posted on the project.

Offline ArnaudForestier

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Re: Root cellar conversion
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2014, 10:45:49 AM »
Thanks a bunch, Eric, I sure will!
- Paul

Offline jwalker

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Re: Root cellar conversion
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2014, 08:41:07 AM »
Right on Paul , you should be very happy with it.

Is that an old farmhouse you're renting ?

have you taken any temp readings , does it keep at a pretty stable temperature.

Humidity ?

The whitewash is a good idea , we used to do our old root cellar every few years and it sure does keep the critters out.

Can't wait to see it full of cheese. ;D
No..........I'm not a professional CheeseMaker , but I play one on TV.

Offline ArnaudForestier

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Re: Root cellar conversion
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2014, 06:55:39 AM »
Hey Jwalker, sorry for the seriously tardy reply, son was out of country and lots of other things, haven't been on in quite awhile.  Apologies. 

This is essentially a copy from another post, updating info.  Also, apologies for the doubleposting, hopefully in two relevant threads.  No, not a farmhouse, just a home with a good basement.  Here goes:



I'm using a coolbot.  Not a fan of trying to add humidity with a standard AC, but of all the things I've considered for this situation (small room, and we rent, we don't own), this seemed the least intrusive, least costly, and most portable method of all the things I've considered.  The hole seen was from my initial window AC - one left behind when we moved in.  It was clearly undersized for this room, which is about 6'x6'x6'.  I've bought a GE 14,250 BTU AC, guided by the coolbot company recommendations. 

Also, unhappy with the velocity output from the AC, I put together a ductwork system - a jury-rigged housing over the AC outlet, 2" PVC rise to 2"x 4' PVC run along the ceiling, holes drilled into the pipe and a fabric air-sock, after a fashion.  Air nicely slowed and evenly distributed. 

Humidity is particularly frustrating.  My digital evaporative humidifier, controllable to 90% RH, is no longer made.  It worked very well in my refrigerator-caves, but it's undersized here.  I did try to add a couple ultrasonic humidifiers, but they didn't do anything.  I believe they, too, were undersized.  Some good guidance by Pav led me to think on adding in two more for a total of 4, but the cost of acquiring daily distilled or RO water in the quantity I'd need is $4-5 daily, not something I want to do. 

There is an atomizing unit, the "Hermmidifier", recommended by Peter Dixon in his materials.  It's a perfect solution - particularly intrigued by teeing into my duct/air sock line, another great suggestion provided by Pav (thanks, buddy).  But the unit requires hard plumbing and electrical that is likely beyond what I can do in our rented house.

I bought this and will likely just control a large evaporative, wick-based whole house humidifier.  I've had some durability issues with this type of sensor so will likely commit to a serious, ceramic sensor, once recommended by Francois.  Fingers crossed.

- Paul