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Discussion Starter #1
Here's my dilemma. Recently had to relocate back to the Southland (SoCal) to take care of elderly parents. In doing so we left behind a full size basement in a much cooler climate and now have to figure out how best to store our preps in the space we now have available...i.e. a garage, and a small one at that. We've gone from having plenty of room in a perfectly controlled climatic conditions to a tiny space and an uninsulated garage. UGH!:headshake:

I'd like to know is how others here have dealt with keeping their above ground/garage storage temps within the proper limits? I've pretty much resolved that I'm probably going to have to build a well insulated separate room within the garage but will that be enough? Super insulate? How much insulation would be necessary?

I've even considered installing a small window A/C unit for the hottest months. Last year we were several months in the high 90's and low 100's, with much higher humidity that I remember when I grew up here, which is not good for long term stored foods.

Any and all ideas and suggestions, what works and especially what doesn't work would be much appreciated.

THANKS!
 

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Peas and Carrots!
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I can't give you insulation details but to create a coolish environment for our storage, we super-insulated a separate shop building and run an a/c 24/7/365. We have humidity problems year round and heat problems about 300 days out of the year. :) One thing is don't oversize (or undersize) the window a/c for the best efficiency.

It does work and if you insulate enough it doesn't impact the power bill that badly.

I do remember there was insulation board (the silver stuff) and pink insulation mats involved. My husband was "blessed" with getting to do the insulation work. :) Also, don't forget the ceiling. Either drop an insulated ceiling in or super insulate the attic area.
 

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We live in a similar (summer HOT) climate to yours. We also have a similar storage situation!

We have a typical aluminum garage door that faces west and gets HOT from the afternoon sun. This heats up the garage to well over 100 on the hottest days. This is also a strain on the A/C because the rooms above the garage are also the hottest ones in the house.

This year we're insulating the garage door using foam board insulation like this:

http://tinyurl.com/cktkqnl

http://youtu.be/jyZH5X_O0Dg

We have high hopes that this will cut down on the temperature problems both in the garage and in the rooms above.
 

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Capability, not scenarios
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Mels beat me to it. Superinsulate a room, air-condition it, limit entry to that area to as few times a month as you can, and you're there.

When I say superinsulation, I'm talking about something around R30+ in the walls, R11-13 in the floor (yeah, a 2x4 floor w/ fiberglass batts--you'll be stepping up into it), and R40+ in the ceiling.

Make sure the space is *tight*--air infiltration is a huge enemy of energy efficiency, and humid air carries a lot of heat energy in it. Have a vapor barrier between the warm side and the cool side of the insulation. If what's warm and cool varies by season, have a vapor barrier on both sides.

If you do that, you electrical costs will be manageable.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hmmmm I've always been a little confused as to where to put the vapor barrier? Especially with the way the weather has changed over the last twenty years here in SoCal. It's a lot more humid than ever before and we have many more days in the triple digits. Never had to worry about humidity when I was growing up. A lot has changed since then.:confused:
 

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If you are keeping so much stuff in it that you can't get a car inside, it shouldn't be a garage.

I converted my garage into an office/bedroom, handicapped bathroom, and extra-large walk-in closet.
 

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On sizing the window AC keep in mind that they tell you how many sq/ft they are for, however you will have less sq/ft if its full of boxes and such, most rooms in homes are full of mostly empty space.
 

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Capability, not scenarios
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Hmmmm I've always been a little confused as to where to put the vapor barrier? Especially with the way the weather has changed over the last twenty years here in SoCal. It's a lot more humid than ever before and we have many more days in the triple digits. Never had to worry about humidity when I was growing up. A lot has changed since then.:confused:
You normally put a vapor barrier on the "hot" side of insulation.

A quick primer: the key here is dew point, the point at which moisture will condense out of the air. If you've ever seen dew on grass or on a car, that's the effect.

Unless stopped by a vapor barrier, moisture will move through insulation that is permeable, like fiberglass batts, blown-in fiberglass or cellulose insulation.

The problem is that if at any point in that insulation the temperature drops to the dew point, that moisture will condense out, making the insulation wet and thus ineffective, and potentially creating either structural damage or mold/mildew--or both.

So to prevent that, a vapor barrier is put on the hot side of the insulation. This prevents moisture from moving into the insulation and condensing at the point where the temp drops to the dew point.

In some respects this is easier to explain as it works here in Wisconsin. In the winter, if it's, say, zero degrees outside, the temperature in a wall's insulation ranges from room temperature at the inside edge (where the inside wall is) to about zero degrees at the outside edge. Somewhere in that range, from zero degrees to room temperature, is the dew point for warm, moist air that might move from inside to outside. And thus, condensation.

So, to combat that, a vapor barrier is used to cover the insulation on the inside side. That prevents the moisture-laden air from the inside moving into the insulation, condensing, and causing all manner of problems.


Your situation is different for two reasons. First, the "cold" side is on the inside, not outside, so the vapor barrier would be on the outside edge of the insulation, to prevent moisture from warm, moist air from moving into the insulation and condensing next to or near the cool inside edge.

Second, and this depends on where you are, if it ever gets fairly cold (as in probably 30s or less), then you'll have the reverse situation, the "warm" on the inside of your room, cold outside. If there's moisture in your room, it'll migrate into the insulation, condensing at or near the cold side. If you have this, then you may want a vapor barrier on both sides.

There are different ways to create a vapor barrier. Sprayed-on insulation is its own vapor barrier--it's impervious to moisture so adding a separate vapor barrier is unnecessary. Other similar types--foam board, R-Board and the like, also don't have that issue.

But if you're using fiberglas or cellulose, you should have one. In my house, we used large rolls of plastic, stapled to the stud walls and ceiling before we put up drywall. You can also get batts or rolls of fiberglass insulation which have a kraft-faced asphalt-impregnated paper layer on one side, which acts as a vapor barrier.
 

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Being in a hot climate myself, I actually installed a wall mounted evaporative cooler on my garage. It's dry here so evaporative works fine. My garage was already insulated. It keeps a fairly decent temperature in there.

It's kinda odd because I don't use a cooler for the rest of the house. So while the house might be miserably hot in summer, the garage is comfortably cool! :D:
 

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Dont Touch It!!!!!!
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We have our house for sale and I was considering buying a enclosed trailer and putting our stores in it but Im afraid with temps in summer getting well over a 100 that it will just be too difficult to stay cool. Thought of insulating like crazy but then will need ac....Guess will just keep in house until moving time
 

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Discussion Starter #11
THANKS Goose! For that very clear and understandable explanation. I totally understand how that works now. Much appreciated.:thumb:

Where we now live has a micro-climate that very very rarely ever has any frost at all in even the coolest part of the year. We actually could grow bananas here and just about every type of tropical fruit. The only time I'm really concerned about stored goods out in the garage is during the late spring through summer and early fall. September is typically our hottest month, so my cooling needs are probably less than half of the year. The rest of the time temps are in the 50's to 70's even in the dead of winter.

So taking into consideration Goose's explanation I would put the vapor barrier on the outside walls and insulation inside of that. With a small A/C unit the air within the pantry would be considerably drier and cooler. OK. I think I've got it now. Awesome!!
 
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