Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The Problem with Moisture

When we built our wonderful little house we also decided to build a of basement root cellar underneath it. We had a few reasons for doing so.

1. We were hoping it would be cold enough to be our refrigerator.
2. We wanted a cold room to store root vegetables and canning.

Both great ideas and we thought they might just be implementable. Especially the storage for canning and root vegetables. I had grown up with a root cellar which kept our produce (potato's, carrots, ect.) nice and fresh all winter long so thought it would work. We also did a fair amount of research on the topic. It seemed feasible...

The land when we moved here was so dry, not the top soil, that was fine, but the water level. We had a backhoe dig down 16 feet without hitting water all around our house. Wow! Not so good for a well but great in that we could dig a small basement cellar without any problems. So we dug our cellar. We wrapped the whole thing in something called blue skin just in-case there were any moisture problems in the future and thought we were safe.

We discovered after a time that while it was nice and cool down there it was in no way cold enough to be a refrigerator but that was OK. As long as we had storage for our root veggies and canned goods we were happy.

It wasn't that simple. Oh, it worked alright for the first two years but then we had a wet year and we were flooded out. I do mean flooded. The small city we drive to, which is about 45 minutes away even had a few streets totally flooded and many basements, houses and businesses ruined. Here the water table was so high you could probably have dug down six inches or less to hit water. So, our cold room flooded. Nothing has been the same since. Now we have a problem with mold as well and nothing seems to work.

So, what to do? This was a very expensive lesson, one I hope no one else will repeat. I really need a cold storage room! There is no way I want to grow all of our nice veggies and not have someplace to store them. One of the things we've been looking into now is possibly building an above ground but under ground cold storage area like the one I had growing up. However, it was dug into the side of a small hill but, alas, we have no hills.

After quite a bit of research I found a website which has given me a lot of information and hopefully this time we will get it right.

This picture is courtesy of a fellow blogger at Survival Spot which has great articles and ideas for building cold storage as well as many links to other sites on the same topic.

Root Cellar

Now, what are we going to do with our moldy basement? Well.... that is something we will have to decide another day.


  1. If you were able to vanquish the mold, would you consider re-trying your original root cellar idea?

    1. Not sure, if that year was just a fluke, maybe, but it could happen again.

  2. Glo,
    Be very careful when dealing with mold. Mold can be extremely dangerous to your health. I have heard of this product that can be sprayed on the exterior of the basement, it's called polymer modified asphalt exterior foundation waterproofing. As for the mold, I remember as a kid my parents used bleach mixed with water and brooms to remove the mold. Make sure to ventilate your basement well when using bleach. I have a website I found that maybe helpful. Good Luck, it's goning to be a big job.

  3. Just control moisture levels at home. Make use of dehumidifiers and other restoration tools like moisture meters to detect the level of moisture.

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  5. If you were able to wet basementvanquish the mold would you consider re-trying your original root cellar idea?Be very careful when dealing with mold. Mold can be extremely dangerous to your health.


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