Root Cellar Idea... Will it work??

Discussion in 'General Food and Foraging Discussion' started by brighteyesLC7, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. brighteyesLC7

    brighteyesLC7 Member

    I just had a crazy idea. I am looking to build a root cellar, but I have a huge pantry (walk in closet size) in my 1st floor kitchen. Do you think if I insulated the door and drilled a hole straight through to the outside for a vent system it would stay cold enough in the winter? I have looked at plans, but I don't know if having it outside the basement will work. The pantry is always a little cooler than the kitchen anyway, but not root cellar cold. Has anyone heard of this being done??
  2. Dove150

    Dove150 Well-Known Member

    Living down here in the South I don't have experience with root cellars, but if you have a basement wouldn't it be easier to just open a window down there instead of cutting a hole in the wall?

  3. ZoomZoom

    ZoomZoom Rookie Prepper

    "Do you think if I insulated the door and drilled a hole straight through to the outside for a vent system it would stay cold enough in the winter?"
    What kind of "vent system" are you considering? I wouldn't want just a hole as it's too hard to maintain temp. I'd probably have a thermostatically controlled fan as well as a 2nd hole to maintain equal air pressure (cold air return). I would also have it where the cold air coming in is near the top and let it settle to avoid cold spots or direct movement of air onto your cache.
  4. Turtle

    Turtle Well-Known Member

    Yikes. Sounds like an open invitation to a rodent infestation, to me.

    Even if you seal up the interior door really well, mice and bugs would still be able to get through the interior walls.
  5. crazychickenlady

    crazychickenlady Well-Known Member

    I have seen some plans for letting cold air into a root cellar in the basement...but they don't just drill a hole. They have a little vent pipe for allowing the cold air in and one to let warm air out, with screen to prevent rodents, etc from coming they have to be positioned correctly.

    The idea of using a basement is that it prevents temp extremes because it is below ground level. If you have a chance to read 'Root Cellaring' by Martin and Nancy Bubel, it is a good read. They also go into other places to store goods, like closets, attics, etc.

    I think that you could potentially use your pantry, but I would do some more reading before you reach for the drill. You could probably find lots of info online too.
  6. JustCliff

    JustCliff Supporting Member

    Good thinking on your feet. Would I do it? Maybe. Maybe not.
    How many Cubic feet is your pantry? Food storage is measured in cubic area not square area. By the time you spend the money for insulation, venting. and the door. you may be able to have the same or greater storage in a root cellar. In That case I would go with the root cellar even if it was the same cubic ft measure.
    A root cellar could be used year round for storage of food or even a storm shelter whereas the pantry wouldn't stay cool during the summer months without the added expence of electric or water powered cooling and it's still in the house so it's vulnerable to natural disaster moreso then the cellar.

    And if it gets just too dang hot there like it has been here, you can always throw a cot in there and have a cool place to talk a nap or sleep for the night without running the A/C

    Ok. Thats my rambling 2 cents
  7. brighteyesLC7

    brighteyesLC7 Member


    Thanks for the help... still not sure about it. I think I could work up a vent system (what I meant by drilling holes) but the idea of having a root cellar year round is probably smarter... we will see :)
  8. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

    You could put 1/2" hardware screen over your vent hole(s) to keep out rodents. Or aluminum screening if you think insects would be a problem.

    If you plan to use this primarily to store food for winter use it should work okay. You wouldn't have much cool air coming in on summer days, which is where a basement or root cellar are better because the earth keeps them cooler. In the old days people ate up the stuff in their storage cellars, then cleaned them out good at the beginning of the summer.

    Good luck!
  9. Tirediron

    Tirediron RockyMountainCanadian

    If you insulate the room well enough you can use the passive cooling of the night sky (see mostly post 12 )
    IF the room is on the north side things will be a lot easier .you could also pass the intake pipe thru a tank of water buried deep enough to take advantage of the cooler stable ground temperature during all seasons.
  10. Back in the late '70's I received a magazine called "Organic Gardening". One book I purchased was on storage. I am like Dove150, heat is a killer here, and if you dig down two feet you get a new fish pond.
    The book suggested the body of an old milk delivery truck (did I just tell my age?). Well, and insulated truck body anyway. Set on the ground with dirt pushed over and around it for insulation. Vent out the top.
    I still think about that and how it would work well anywhere.
    Just a thought to throw out there, hope it helps in a small way.
  11. HozayBuck

    HozayBuck Well-Known Member

    I built a home back in 80

    I built a "cold room" in the finished basement I had it framed in with 6" studs and completely insulated from the rest of the basement, insulated steel door.. I heated the whole house with a big wood burner and even in the winter with that stove 15 feet away a coke off the shelf was cold enough to drink... no outside venting.. 2 concrete walls radiating cold into the worked..
  12. goshengirl

    goshengirl Supporting Member

    Hozay, that's good to know. I've been wanting to section off a corner of our unfinished basement (cement floor/walls) for cold storage.