Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics > Food Storage

Will My Food Survive the Winter in the Garage?

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Black November:
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.

Polar Bear:
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.

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.


--- Quote from: Black November on October 18, 2011, 05:23:50 PM ---My garage was build only a few years ago and should have fairly good insulation.
--- End quote ---

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.

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?


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