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Why a "cold room" in basement?

PatchogPhil's picture

I was watching 'Holmes on Homes' over the weekend on TV (for those who do not know,  he's a Canadian contractor who fixes other contractors mistakes and/or negligence)....


Anywho,  in the newer home that he was fixing some foundation leaks,  had what he called a "cold room" in the basement.  It seemed to be located outside the house footprint "proper" area and under the outside brick stairs leading to the front door.  It had the same cement foundation wallson 3 sides, a cement "ceiling" and was isolated from the rest of the basement by an insulated framing wall with a door.


What is the purpose of these "cold rooms"?  There was not anything in there to give me a clue.

 

Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?

(post #100270, reply #1 of 20)

Food storage.

New millieum version of a "root cellar".


Edited 1/23/2006 11:57 am by BillHartmann

. William the Geezer, the sequel to Billy the Kid - Shoe

(post #100270, reply #2 of 20)

No,  seriously. 


Besides,  the room would not be cold in summer.  Besides too far from stairs usually.


 

 

Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?

(post #100270, reply #5 of 20)

Since the ground (below two feet or so) stays fairly cool all year, the room will be cool in summer, though perhaps not as cool as in winter.


If ignorance is bliss why aren't more people
happy?


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #100270, reply #6 of 20)

Seriously.

My folks have one under the front steps of their house and even in the hot and humid summers, the room stays amazingly cool.

(post #100270, reply #3 of 20)

Yep, quite useful, really. In a modern home the regular basement is heated and no longer good for storing potatoes, wine, flower bulbs, etc. The "cold room" provides the proverbial "cool, dark place" described in the gardening articles.

Also quite handy for pre-chilling beer and pop, storing the overflow from Thanksgiving dinner, etc.

Often the space can be had nearly for free by placing it under a stoop or other outside area that needs a foundation anyway. Even walling off a corner of the basement would work fairly well, if insulated from surrounding areas.

(I've often thought that there's an opportunity for someone to design a "cool, dark place" into a piece of furniture like a hope chest, for apartment dwellers. A silent solid-state refrigeration unit could be used.)


If ignorance is bliss why aren't more people
happy?


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #100270, reply #10 of 20)

Yes,  basements are cool in temp.  But not cold enough to store food that needs refrigeration.


I like the locked vault room idea for valuables.


 

 

Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?

(post #100270, reply #16 of 20)

Yes,  basements are cool in temp.  But not cold enough to store food that needs refrigeration.


Here in the midwest, there are still a few root cellers in existance.  Cold rooms, root cellers...et al... they were pre-refrigeration refrigeration.  Granted, it won't keep milk fresh, but as other people have mentioned, it is good for storing other stuff that dont' HAVE to be stored in a fridge.  Things you might store in a basket in the kitchen would last longer in the 'cold' room.  "Cold" is really an exageration..it is usually just cooler, not cold. 


The root celler in the house where I grew up would stay a humid 66 degrees (or so) all summer long (+100 outside).  In the 'old' days, that is where you'd keep your canned items (as in the Bell jars of stuff you canned in the summer), where you stored your potatoes/onions/apples/plant-bulbs, and it was also where you ran when the tornado hit.


I think as grocery stores stocked more and more stuff, the 'cold' room slowly died off.  When you could go to the store and buy apples year round... or potatoes or anything else...  there wasn't as much incentive to store stuff long-term in the cold room.


 


jt8


"The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly, is to fill the world with fools."  -- Herbert Spencer

jt8

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-- Carl Sandburg

(post #100270, reply #17 of 20)

Many things -- fruit, root veggies, wine, etc -- keep better in "coolish" temps than in either room temp or a refrigerator.


If ignorance is bliss why aren't more people
happy?


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #100270, reply #20 of 20)

 A lot of the old houses around here had wells in the basement  . In the well they would hang a bucket with food and drink that they wanted to be "cold " . The well water would be about 55-58 degrees in the mid summer.

(post #100270, reply #4 of 20)

We did one of these a few years ago. The homeowners use was a little different.  We did this room under the front porch. It had concrete walls on 4 sides, the floor, and the ceiling. He had an old fireproof bank vault door for the entrance to the room. Uses the room to store valuables, files, and for a storm shelter.

John


J.R. Lazaro Builders, Inc.


Indianapolis, In.


 

John

J.R. Lazaro Builders, Inc.

Indianapolis, In.

“You can either wait for the storm to pass, or you can learn to dance in the rain.”

"I'll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office."—Washington, D.C., May 12, 2008

(post #100270, reply #12 of 20)

My "Spec House From Hell" has a similar setup, and I think it's great. Didn't cost much more since the walls and porch were there already.

They're fairly popular around here. Most of the ones I see are set up to allow for a regular 3/0 for access.

I did one house where the guy was a bit of a paranoid anti-government freak. It had a browning vault door on it, and a complete bathroom in it. It was big enough I suspect he could have kept plenty of food and water stored in it too, as it was rather large.

"It's hard to be brave," said Piglet, sniffing slightly, "when you're only a Very Small Animal."

(post #100270, reply #19 of 20)

I'd seen a few done before as wine cellars, but had never done one. This was actually kind of fun. Basement guys did the walls and we formed and poured the ceiling. Same house also had an elevator shaft that I had to form the pit and drill the hole for the hydraulic cylinder. The house had a walk out basement that we drove a Bobcat in over the rear wall, drilled a 24" (I think) diameter hole about 10' deep using the bit plus a 4' extension and sleeved it with a piece of SDR35 sewer pipe 20"(I think). The homeowner had an old elevator that he'd pulled out of an old building that was being demo-ed downtown.

John


J.R. Lazaro Builders, Inc.


Indianapolis, In.


 

John

J.R. Lazaro Builders, Inc.

Indianapolis, In.

“You can either wait for the storm to pass, or you can learn to dance in the rain.”

"I'll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office."—Washington, D.C., May 12, 2008

(post #100270, reply #13 of 20)

concrete on 4 walls and vault door? I wouldn't go in there to be safe from a storm...how the hell they gonna breath!?

Justin Fink - FHB Editorial

Justin Fink - FHB Editorial

(post #100270, reply #18 of 20)

Actually had HVAC supplied to the room with a fire damper. Damper shut in the event of fire.

John


J.R. Lazaro Builders, Inc.


Indianapolis, In.


 

John

J.R. Lazaro Builders, Inc.

Indianapolis, In.

“You can either wait for the storm to pass, or you can learn to dance in the rain.”

"I'll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office."—Washington, D.C., May 12, 2008

(post #100270, reply #7 of 20)

Where else ya gonna hide the bodies?


BTW, that guy is a bit pompous in his manner, but is usually pretty good to the HO ..I wonder who foots the bill for his fixes..that basement job was NOT cheap.


I'd like him and his crew here for a spell...now THAT would be " real " TV!!!!!



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(post #100270, reply #8 of 20)

I'm with you.  At first I thought it was going to be a bash the contractor show, but it's not really.  It's more like bash the mcmansion builder show.  Holmes is a little over the top about some of  the problems, but it's watchable.


It seems he gets most of his jobs through some type of new home warranty company.  Probably, an insurance company of some sort, that pays for everything.



--------------------------


It's only satisfying if you eat it.


Edited 1/23/2006 12:34 pm ET by dustinf

It's not too late, it's never too late.

(post #100270, reply #9 of 20)

I do not know if it is acurate,  but online I read that many of the building materials and the other trade contractors are donating time/labor for advertising.  Many of the fix-it shows are like that.


Over the top?  In my opinion,  not too much.  From what I read he has the background and experience to back it all up.  He does fix what other contractors have screwed up.  And some of the stuff is just from bad work,  some of it is down right life threatening.


I gather that Canada has a mandatory 2 year warranty program on new homes.  Not sure if it is for all work?

 

Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?

(post #100270, reply #11 of 20)

Now,  I am recalling a situation that happened to a friend of mine.  He and crew were replacing the steps/stoop and walkway of a house.  They used a small bobcat to remove the old brick and cement steps.  Little did they know,  but a hunk of concrete fell off from the ceiling of the "cold room" under the stairs,  chopping the copper oil line clean off the bottom of the 500 gallon fuel oil tank.  Had to have the basement slab removed and a bunch of dirt,  HAZMATted away and all replaced.  His liability insurance covered the bill.


The area under the stairs wasn't walled off at all.  Just was a corner of the rectangular basement,  the outside steps/stoop was kind of inset into the corner of the rest of the house.


The homeowner was not even mad at him.  My friend sent the owner and family to a hotel (insurance paid for that too) while cleanup was done.  Even had him do more work outside...  new paver driveway in addition to the stoop and walkway. 


 


Edited 1/23/2006 1:20 pm ET by PatchogPhil


Edited 1/23/2006 1:21 pm ET by PatchogPhil

 

Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?

(post #100270, reply #14 of 20)

Grew up with such a room. Place for potatoes, onions, canned products, and so on. Dark, fairly constant temp, worked well for its purpose.

(post #100270, reply #15 of 20)

don't forget the hard cider and homemade wine............