By Michaela Sorenson. Wine Cellar Types. Published at Thursday, May 31st, 2018 - 05:33:03 AM.
The general rule when building is, the thicker the walls the better the insulation factor, the better the cellar maintains a consistent temperature. A vapor barrier and insulation is required. 6-mil plastic sheeting should be applied to the hot side of the cellar walls & ceiling. If it is impossible to apply to the outside walls then apply the vapor barrier from within the cellar. Wrap the entire cellar, walls and ceilings, in plastic, leaving it loose in-between the stud cavity so the insulation can be placed easily. Recommended MINIMUM R Factor: Walls: R 11 Ceilings: R 19
Airflow and ventilation: Since wine thrives best in cooler temperatures (and ages more slowly), the importance of adequate airflow and ventilation in an underground wine cellar cannot be over-emphasised. Maintaining good airflow to your cellar will keep it free from any persistent odours and will ensure a healthy and long-life for your wines. The room adjoining your wine cellar is known as the exhaust room and if you want your cellar space to stay at a cool and constant temperature, the exhaust room will require a cooling unit. A cooling unit will blow cool air into the cellar at a 45-degree angle, which then pushes warm air to the ceiling. This warm air is then brought into the unit and passes into the exhaust room – helping to regulate the temperature in the wine cellar.
Sub Floor Wine Cellar: The major (very major) disadvantage of below ground cellars is water, water leaking into the cellar. If you are on high ground, it is less of a problem, but not eliminated entirely. The best advice is three words: waterproof, waterproof and waterproof. And do not believe your architect or contractor when they tell you that the waterproofing they have provided is the industrial standard. Do like the airlines. Operate on a 200 percent safety factor. For below ground cellars, a dumb waiter (50 kg load sufficient) may be a luxury but is an enormous help. Carrying a heavy case of wine up the stairs is not easy.
A dumb waiter saves your back, and with advancing age this is solid medical advice! Industrial strength insulation is essential, even for below ground cellars. The standard material used is four to six inch thick polystyrene or polyurethane sheets, aluminum clad on both sides. Insulate all six surfaces, meaning four walls, ceiling and floor, even if your cellar rests on solid earth. The cold room contractor who advises that it is not necessary to insulate the floor because it rests on solid earth does not know what he is talking about and should be avoided. Heat absorbed by the ground during the day goes through the earth and rises through the floor.
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