Author Topic: Will My Food Survive the Winter in the Garage?  (Read 11328 times)

Offline Black November

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Will My Food Survive the Winter in the Garage?
« on: October 18, 2011, 05:23:50 PM »
Here in WA state, the outside temperature gets down to about 13 degrees in the winter. I recently expanded my preps into the garage, and I am concerned that cold temperatures could harm my food or even freeze my water storage tank. Specifically jars of pasta sauce, pressure canned food and things that could potentially freeze and break open.

My garage was build only a few years ago and should have fairly good insulation. However, the garage door is only standard uninsulated sheet metal. It is a townhome with an adjoining wall and there is also a second story above the garage providing additional insulation. Is it worth getting that garage door insulation from Lowe's or home depot? The garage door and the wall next to the workbench are the only walls exposed to the outdoor element.

Below is a diagram of my garage layout. [There are no windows]


I will try to determine the indoor/outdoor variance in temperature when I get home for work, but I though some of you guys who live in much colder places could give me some tips.

« Last Edit: October 18, 2011, 05:29:32 PM by Black November »

Offline Polar Bear

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Re: Will My Food Survive the Winter in the Garage?
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2011, 07:44:31 PM »
What are the shelves made out of?  Are they metal, plastic, or wood?  The metal could lower the temp a degree or two and during a really cold night, that could be bad.

The uninsulated garage door will act as a refridgerator during the winter, but it will also act as an oven during the summer.  I don't know how expensive garage door insulation is.  I thought of using blue or pink insulation board (matting) but just read that it also acts as a vapor barrier which could cause the garage door to rust. :-\  If you want to go cheap, find an old king sized quilt or heavy blanket at the Salvation Army or thrift store and hang it up against the door to block the cold from radiating towards the food.

I do have one trick for you that we use on plants in winter when in danger of frosts and freezes.  Wrap old fashioned christmas lights (not LEDs) around the shelves.  Up the beams and across.  They give off enough heat to up the temps a degree or two.

Hope this helps.

Offline Nicodemus

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Re: Will My Food Survive the Winter in the Garage?
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2011, 09:19:18 PM »
It sounds like you have a pretty good buffer on 5 of the 6 sides of your garage space. The most problematic side is the garage door, of course. The bonus is that it doesn't appear as if you have to go through the garage door much. The only real problem I see in your case is that you keep the garbage and recycling in the garage.

The first thing I'd do is try and add as much makeshift insulation in front of the garage door as possible, just as Polar Bear mentioned. We had to do this at a friend's home, which has a very similar layout to the diagram you've shown. The free solution we came up with was to go to a couple of grocery stores and ask for as many cardboard boxes as they could give us. We then put out a call to family members and friends asking for packing peanuts, styrofoam packing pieces, and anything like styrofoam coolers that they wanted to get rid of. We filled up the cardboard boxes with packing peanuts, styrofoam and insulation and stacked them against the garage door wall. Any space we had left over was plugged with garbage bags filled with enough packing peanuts in them to squeeze into the gaps. It wasn't pretty, but it worked quite well. He was able to keep his garage pretty warm just by putting a fan in the doorway to blow heat from the house down into the garage. As a backup, just in case the temperature dropped too far he had a couple of high power work lights he'd turn on for a bit to add additional heat.

The wall could be pulled down easily in case of an emergency and in fact would pretty much tumble over when he activated the garage door opener, but it's not anything I would want to have to deal with on a regular basis like a weekly trip to the curb with the garbage.

The problem with that solution or any solution regarding adding insulation to that wall is having access to the garage door.

You might want to look into getting a shop heater of some sort.

You might also want to change out the food that is closest to the garage door with the items on the utility shelves.

Offline Truik

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Re: Will My Food Survive the Winter in the Garage?
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2011, 09:56:29 PM »
My garage was build only a few years ago and should have fairly good insulation.

I'm in Texas and have no idea how our garages would compare, however, I am told that many places where the garage is not climate controlled, the outside walls and the space above the ceiling are not insulated. (Especially the ceiling above the garage as, in the summer time, any insulation above the garage would actually keep excess heat from escaping.)

In other words, if your garage is not air conditioned or heated by your central air unit, you may have little or no insulation in your garage attic or exterior walls. I only mention this because you say it should have fairly good insulation.

It may be worth looking into. Any effort to heat your garage without some decent insulation all around the space may end up costing you a lot of energy and money.


Offline archer

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Re: Will My Food Survive the Winter in the Garage?
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2011, 10:56:51 PM »
maybe hang a few 60 watt incandescent bulbs near the shelves to provide a little heat to keep things warmer? or a oil based heater on a timer?

Offline Illini Warrior

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Re: Will My Food Survive the Winter in the Garage?
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2011, 09:11:38 AM »
you are going to have a mess to clean up next spring ...... all that glassed food are going to freeze and break ..... cans freezing and thawing is not good practice either ....... in regard to your water tank, depends on construction .... wouldn't count on using the water during the winter ...... outlet faucet probably wouldn't drain .......

Offline Black November

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Re: Will My Food Survive the Winter in the Garage?
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2011, 11:08:39 AM »
My attempt of a group response:

The shelves are wire racks, but I plan to lay some boards on them to help insulate the food from the metal. In regards to the garage door, I am looking for a more permanent solution that would allow me to occasionally open my garage door without having to reassemble a cardboard box barrier. I will probably insulate the individual door panels with the stuff from Home Depot or Lowes and may even consider a heater on a timer. Additionally I may drape some heavy blankets over each rack.

My waterheater has a large heater duct coming off of it, could I some how splice some kind of vent into it? Or would that ruin the heat to the rest of the house.

Maybe should get something like THIS if it is not too expensive to run.



 
« Last Edit: October 19, 2011, 11:16:22 AM by Black November »

Offline Taylor3006

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Re: Will My Food Survive the Winter in the Garage?
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2011, 11:15:15 AM »
If you are worried about freezing, just use a good space heater to keep it above freezing in the garage. My house is unheated (I live in Texas where it is cold only a couple months out of the year) and I run one in the kitchen when its cold, keeps everything from freezing solid and only adds a few dollars a month to the electric bill.

Offline Truik

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Re: Will My Food Survive the Winter in the Garage?
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2011, 12:34:56 PM »
...I may drape some heavy blankets over each rack.

Maybe should get something like THIS

I'm sure you already know this but I'm going to post it anyway: Don't set up a space heater next to a draped blanket and let it run unattended.  ::)

My waterheater has a large heater duct coming off of it, could I some how splice some kind of vent into it? Or would that ruin the heat to the rest of the house.

I'd be wary of venting any heat off of your water heater to warm the room for making your water heater run excessively.

Does heated air actually come out of this duct? I'm not familiar with anything like that on a water heater. (Just tryin' ta learn.)  :)


Offline Bolomark

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Re: Will My Food Survive the Winter in the Garage?
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2011, 03:52:50 PM »
plastic dust wall like this made out of thin mill plastic http://toolguyd.com/2010/04/zipwall-zippole-quick-easy-dust-barrier/
.with light bulb or small ceramic heater on timer to run at night.
the dust wall keeps the air from moving around. if not warm enough make it double thickness with dead air space between.
keep it simple.

Offline Black November

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Re: Will My Food Survive the Winter in the Garage?
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2011, 03:47:54 PM »
Updates:

My next door neighbor recently installed one of the Lowes garage door insulation kits (R8). He was expecting to find pre-cut panels in the kit, but instead just found regular rolls which had to be cut to size. The kit also came with cheap plastic hangers and double sided tape. The tape is not strong enough to hold the insulation, and he is constantly fixing fallen panels. For the amount of money he spent, it was a total rip-off. 

Having learned from hist misfortune, I bought one roll of R13  3-1/2" 24" x 96" (10 panels) from Home Depot for $55.00. It cut 8 of the 10 panels in half and fasten them to my door with some sheet metal screws/bailing wire. The whole thing took me about 2 hours, and now my garage is noticably warmer. I am closely monitoring my thermometer to see if additional actions are needed. 




Offline Medicineball

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Re: Will My Food Survive the Winter in the Garage?
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2011, 09:16:19 PM »
Looks really good - thanks for sharing!

Offline Carl

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Re: Will My Food Survive the Winter in the Garage?
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2016, 03:14:46 AM »
I would use a thermal plug :

http://www.amazon.com/Farm-Innovators-TC-3-Thermostatically-Controlled/dp/B0006U2HD2?ie=UTF8&keywords=thermal%20plug&qid=1465463159&ref_=sr_1_1&s=hi&sr=1-1

and some infrared (two is one( heat lamps to effectively heat the supply and not just heat the air.

http://www.amazon.com/Philips-415836-250-Watt-Flood-Light/dp/B0066L0YJE?ie=UTF8&keywords=infrared%20lamp&qid=1465463460&ref_=sr_1_2&s=hi&sr=1-2

and I would locate the thermal plug central to the storage area rather than on the floor or wall.
Low power consumpsion when compared to a typical heater and more directed heat.

Offline Black November

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Re: Will My Food Survive the Winter in the Garage?
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2016, 02:20:53 PM »
I would use a thermal plug :

http://www.amazon.com/Farm-Innovators-TC-3-Thermostatically-Controlled/dp/B0006U2HD2?ie=UTF8&keywords=thermal%20plug&qid=1465463159&ref_=sr_1_1&s=hi&sr=1-1

and some infrared (two is one( heat lamps to effectively heat the supply and not just heat the air.

http://www.amazon.com/Philips-415836-250-Watt-Flood-Light/dp/B0066L0YJE?ie=UTF8&keywords=infrared%20lamp&qid=1465463460&ref_=sr_1_2&s=hi&sr=1-2

and I would locate the thermal plug central to the storage area rather than on the floor or wall.
Low power consumpsion when compared to a typical heater and more directed heat.

Almost 5 years later, freezing has not been an issue. But thanks for posting the thermal plug. There are many other applications I could use this. 
« Last Edit: June 09, 2016, 02:49:48 PM by Black November »

Offline Carl

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Re: Will My Food Survive the Winter in the Garage?
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2016, 02:24:07 PM »
Freezing has n
Almost 5 years later, freezing has not been an issue. But thanks for posting the thermal plug. There are many other applications I could use this.

II guess I should have checked the date....still...an ice age may happen...with zombies and mutant wolves... :zombie: :rofl:

Offline Carl

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Re: Will My Food Survive the Winter in the Garage?
« Reply #15 on: December 23, 2017, 04:10:05 AM »
  Looks like spam and an insecure site ,so I would visit only with shields set to highest level.