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Spaced Out

Warm Room v Telescope Storage

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Hi All

The boss recently gave me the green light to convert our little old shed into a warm room (with the addition of a concrete pier nearby). I’ve used leftovers from other projects and recycled various bits to cobble together a low cost fully insulated shed. A week’s work and it’s slowly taking shape.  It’s not perfect but apart from a sheet of plywood, 2 sheets of kingspan and some armoured cable it hasn’t cost me much.

So far I’ve blocked the windows out, added 2 small passive air vents, re-enforced the floor and doors, fully insulated with kingspan, lined it all with various bits of plywood I had lying around, covered the floor with some old laminate and undergrounded (is that a word ?!) some cables to and from the pier location.

Anyway, my question/concern........ As well as using this shed as a warm room I also want to store my gear (including 2 reflectors) in there because it’s taking up too much space in our tiny house. So, I have decided to build a cupboard at one end of the shed to store stuff in, this will be insulated and sealed (no air vents) and I was planning on running a low wattage heater (puppy pad or bulb) to try and maintain a fairly steady temperature in there. One of my telescopes will be stored in a zipped geoptic telescope bag and the other in a sealed plastic box and I will add silica gel to these. My other gubbins will be kept in a plastic toolbox.

My concern is that when I start to use the shed as a warm room I will be heating it up and then cooling it down when I’ve finished, I will try to isolate the storage area the best I can but I guess some temperature fluctuation will be inevitable ? Will this cause problems with my stored optics ?

Is keeping this storage area well insulated and sealed the right thing to do ? I was worried that adding air vents to the storage area might that just allow moist air to flow in from outside and perhaps allow greater temperature fluctuations too ?

Any advice would be most welcome at this stage.

PS - I’m on a tight budget for this so I don’t really want to fork out on a dehumidifier if can I help it !

 

 

 

 

 

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Edited by Spaced Out
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That looks amazing considering it is just a conversion and not starting from scratch.

Regarding sealing to stop moisture ingress I am no expert on these matters but I would put some sort of ventilation for the actual shed / warm room rather than trying to seal it from any moisture entering. The problem is you just can't stop moist air entering without spending a fortune sealing everywhere, and then I doubt that the air inside would be any drier than the outside, so I think better to have air circulating.  Just make sure you stop any wind swept rain entering.

And if I understand this is what you have already done.

Whether you can keep the storage area any drier than the rest of the interior I am not sure but without a dehumidifier personally I doubt it. I also suspect that it would take a huge amount of silica gel to keep th storage boxes dry for any length of time. You can get small moisture meters for a round £3 each so you could buy a couple and put them in the boxes and see the percentage moisture in the box. If it does work it will then tell you when you need to replenish or re-generate the silica gel.

How big are the scopes? You can get some fairly big zip lock bags that would help the silica gel to last longer.

Just my thoughts, as said I am no expert and often only testing will tell.

Steve

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Yes as has been said, the secret to no condensation is not to make it airtight and warm, but to have an air flow and let it stay at ambient temp. Many people seal there obsy completely and then have issues with condensation, you need a good airflow in and out of the shed, it needs to be watertight, and it will stay perfectly dry for years, no dehumidifier needed, at the end of the day stop the condensation starting rather than trying to deal with it once there with a dehumidifier... :)

I use an old shed that’s full of air gaps  and fitting overlap panels but it’s water tight and dry as a bone, there are metal tools in there and never been wet or any sign of rust, I would keep my Telescope in there no problem...

Airflow airflow airflow all the way plenty of ventilation it doesn’t matter If the air coming is moist, as it will flow in and out and be fine....dont whatever you do seal it up as it will ruin your kit

 

Edited by LightBucket
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Looking at the storage you are creating you will have issues as it looks as if it’s going to have no airflow or ventilation.....like you say with warming up and then cooling down with no ventilation it’s a prime area for condensation the killer for your kit....

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first rate shed!

I am thinking along similar lines to Steve.

When you are in the warm room, you are breathing out moist air.

I run a dehumidifier in my obsy when doing things with the roof on, as well as after open use.

A nice side effect of a dehumidifier is that it throws out a bit of heat - for me.

Temperature cycling scopes is not a problem. But warm and moist encourages mould.

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4 minutes ago, Carbon Brush said:

first rate shed!

I am thinking along similar lines to Steve.

When you are in the warm room, you are breathing out moist air.

I run a dehumidifier in my obsy when doing things with the roof on, as well as after open use.

A nice side effect of a dehumidifier is that it throws out a bit of heat - for me.

Temperature cycling scopes is not a problem. But warm and moist encourages mould.

It doesnt matter about breathing out warm air as long as there is airflow and ventilation that is my point, you dont need a dehumidifier if you build it properly in the first place, so many people don’t realise this....and just buy a dehumidifier....you are just treating the symptoms and not the root cause... :)

And if you Have heat in There too, then you are asking for trouble without ventilation....

Edited by LightBucket
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Following this thread with interest, as it's very similar to the question I posed several days ago in my thread "warm room ventilation".  The replies I received were suggesting using a dehumidifier, but I'm tempted to agree that keeping a flow of air is probably better than sealing the room and then having to deal with trapped moisture. I think the bigger problem may be the moisture you put into the warm room yourself through breathing, rather than moisture entering from outside.

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20 minutes ago, teoria_del_big_bang said:

Regarding sealing to stop moisture ingress I am no expert on these matters but I would put some sort of ventilation for the actual shed / warm room rather than trying to seal it from any moisture entering.

Thanks for replying. Yes I have put some small passive vents in the warm room part but the storage bit doesn't have any vents fitted at this time.

It's was a flimsy old shed without any vents and it used to get a bit of condensation in there. To counter this I have insulated it all, blocked out the windows and added a few small passive vents, I hope that this will reduce temperature fluctuations and also allow air to circulate better. So far there has been zero condensation but it's very early days yet !

I am concerned about what to do with the storage bit, if I am using the rest as a warm room then it will get hot and then cold and then hot again, and so on ! Not sure how to best manage this in the little storage area I’m creating ? I'm guessing insulating it and keeping it shut with a low watt heater is the best I can do ? But what about vents, is that a good idea or not ?  

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OK, just read all of your replies, thank you !

So, as well as vents in the warm room part which I have already fitted, it seems like some vents in the storage corner/cupboard are definitely recommended then ! Luckily I have 2 more vents spare so I can fit these tomorrow to ensure some airflow through that part too.  👍

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3 minutes ago, Spaced Out said:

Thanks for replying. Yes I have put some small passive vents in the warm room part but the storage bit doesn't have any vents fitted at this time.

It's was a flimsy old shed without any vents and it used to get a bit of condensation in there. To counter this I have insulated it all, blocked out the windows and added a few small passive vents, I hope that this will reduce temperature fluctuations and also allow air to circulate better. So far there has been zero condensation but it's very early days yet !

I am concerned about what to do with the storage bit, if I am using the rest as a warm room then it will get hot and then cold and then hot again, and so on ! Not sure how to best manage this in the little storage area I’m creating ? I'm guessing insulating it and keeping it shut with a low watt heater is the best I can do ? But what about vents, is that a good idea or not ?  

Insulating an already condensation Hungary shed is the worse thing you can do unless  you really get some airflow in and out, as the warm air will be trapped and produce condensation on metal and glass...and you don’t want that.. :)

And if you Ha eva heater on too, the warm air will rise to the colder roof area and condense and run down the walls....it’s really not a good idea for heat in an enclosed area with Telescope kit, but rather that just take out the wet air with a dehumidifier, stop it forming at all...

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Just now, Spaced Out said:

OK, just read all of your replies, thank you !

So, as well as vents in the warm room part which I have already fitted, it seems like some vents in the storage corner/cupboard are definitely recommended then ! Luckily I have 2 more vents spare so I can fit these tomorrow to ensure some airflow through that part too.  👍

Top and bottom you need them... :)

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1 minute ago, LightBucket said:

Top and bottom you need them... :)

Thanks, yep this is what I have done already in the other half 👍

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I am only guessing here but I do tend to think trying to keep moisture out is almost impossible in a wooden shed without a dehumidifier, but as LightBucket says air flow to stop condensation is the key.

I do a lot of 3D printing and it is essential to keep the plastic filament dry when stored for any length of time. I seal the rolls in those supposedly air tight sealed plastic bags that you pump the air out (vacuum bags) and also put a few silica gel bags in there that change colour when they have absorbed water. It works but even with all that effort the silica gel is completely saturated after a month or two and you would think no other moisture would enter other than that trapped in there to begin with. But it does. So I just think you will never keep the area dry as in no moisture in there. So keeping the air flowing at least means you can prevent this moisture condensing which is the best you will achieve. Moisture in the air should not be a major issue but if it condenses on your equipment then it will.

Steve

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33 minutes ago, LightBucket said:

Airflow airflow airflow all the way plenty of ventilation it doesn’t matter If the air coming is moist, as it will flow in and out and be fine....dont whatever you do seal it up as it will ruin your kit

 

Got it ! Thanks 👍

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29 minutes ago, Carbon Brush said:

I run a dehumidifier in my obsy when doing things with the roof on, as well as after open use.

 

My mate has just offered me a free dehumidifier that would fit in my storage corner too ! I hope with some more vents added and this sitting in reserve my gear should survive . 😀   

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42 minutes ago, teoria_del_big_bang said:

I am only guessing here but I do tend to think trying to keep moisture out is almost impossible in a wooden shed without a dehumidifier, but as LightBucket says air flow to stop condensation is the key.

Correct, it is impossible.

Having air flow isn't the definitive answer, my pulsar dome has a full perimeter gap that air blows in from and the observing slit also has loads of flow along with added lower floor vents for up flow yet condensation is a problem for fibreglass so for me a dehumid was the answer. Personally if you have electronics in an outside building with or without air flow then moisture will always be present, another reason a dehumid is the answer, if you don't house tech gear then i agree despite how you "build it properly" then good air flow will suffice.

Like everything there is no one rule for all. 

That said, I'm not saying a dehumid is the definitive answer but for me, my gear, my obsy and the way I built it, then it is 😋 👍 😁

I guess the question you need to ask yourself Spaced Out is will you be leaving electronics in this warm room 24/7 ? If so then you need to find a way of keeping the RH at a safe level, if not then vents are your friend 😁

Edited by LeeRich
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My observatory is well ventilated - both rooms and only suffers from damp after an all night imaging session with a heavy dew then the closed scope room is dehumidified down to 60%RH.  The dehumidifier doesn't stay on for long and never seems to com on at any other time.

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2 hours ago, LeeRich said:

Correct, it is impossible.

Having air flow isn't the definitive answer, my pulsar dome has a full perimeter gap that air blows in from and the observing slit also has loads of flow along with added lower floor vents for up flow yet condensation is a problem for fibreglass so for me a dehumid was the answer. Personally if you have electronics in an outside building with or without air flow then moisture will always be present, another reason a dehumid is the answer, if you don't house tech gear then i agree despite how you "build it properly" then good air flow will suffice.

Like everything there is no one rule for all. 

That said, I'm not saying a dehumid is the definitive answer but for me, my gear, my obsy and the way I built it, then it is 😋 👍 😁

I guess the question you need to ask yourself Spaced Out is will you be leaving electronics in this warm room 24/7 ? If so then you need to find a way of keeping the RH at a safe level, if not then vents are your friend 😁

It is not impossible at all, if the design is right, BUT fibreglass does seem to create a lot  of condensation.

My obsy is full of electronics and also full of ventilation and I have no dehumidifier and never have, but mine is wood, during a session it obviously gets cold in there, but I just close up after open all vents and in the AM all is as dry as a bone....but like I have said a few small vents here and there are not going g to do it, my shed also has a full slit all the way round where the roof meets the sides, plus vents at the bottom, I don’t think people realise  how much ventilation is needed to move air around and create airflow even in a small space... :)

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21 minutes ago, LightBucket said:

It is not impossible at all, if the design is right.

I think if you elaborate on what this "right design" is you will be saving everyone a headache 😉

Just out of interest what are your daily RH levels ? I keep mine at around a constant RH50 to protect my electronics longevity. As condensation is an obvious thing to see humidity isnt and that's the tech killer, maybe not today or tomorrow but circuit boards and fluctuating moisture don't mix well and will eventually fail.

Another factor to consider when it comes to all things of a moist nature is location.

I live not too far from the sea so my air will most likely be more susceptible to high levels of humidity perhaps ? Just a thought, where other locations could be naturally drier ? 🤔👍

Edited by LeeRich
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12 minutes ago, LeeRich said:

I think if you elaborate on what this "right design" is you will be saving everyone a headache 😉

Just out of interest what are your daily RH levels ? I keep mine at around a constant RH50 to protect my electronics longevity. As condensation is an obvious thing to see humidity isnt and that's the tech killer, maybe not today or tomorrow but circuit boards and fluctuating moisture don't mix well and will eventually fail.

Like I have said as much ventilation as sensibly possible, works fine in a wooden scope shed, I don’t have any heat or dehumidifiers, it’s just a shed with plenty of air gaps, no fancy lining inside or waterproof membrane on the frame just a bog standard garden shed with all the air gaps that come with. £200 shed... :) my scope and computer has been In there for four years, without issues, no damp no condensation no rust on anything....so that’s my perfect design, an off the shelf unmodified WATERTIGHT garden shed as it comes...simples..

Edited by LightBucket
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1 minute ago, LightBucket said:

it’s just a shed with plenty of air gaps, no fancy lining inside or waterproof membrane on the frame just a bog standard garden shed with all the air gaps that come with. £200 shed... :) 

Lol I too didn't buy into all that membrane and lining route. I see the OP has used kingspan which in my opinion was the right move as rock/glass wools are notorious for internal mildew rot but I have to agree with you that ultimately air flow is a great idea and a must for sure but for me, my situation is a little different as I have both fibreglass and a heated warm room so a dehumid was a safe and easy fix addition above all else.

👍

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1 minute ago, LeeRich said:

Lol I too didn't buy into all that membrane and lining route. I see the OP has used kingspan which in my opinion was the right move as rock/glass wools are notorious for internal mildew rot but I have to agree with you that ultimately air flow is a great idea and a must for sure but for me, my situation is a little different as I have both fibreglass and a heated warm room so a dehumid was a safe and easy fix addition above all else.

👍

Yes, your situation is different, and by the way a superb construction :), I have heard they the FG domes are notorious for condensation, but not really sure why, and with heat from your warm room then escaping into the dome, once shut up will create a bigger problem so yes, a dehumidifier is probably your only option..... one day I hope to have a build like yours,  when I am in my forever home, which is not this one... :)

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48 minutes ago, LightBucket said:

one day I hope to have a build like yours,  when I am in my forever home, which is not this one... :)

Thanks for the appreciative comments. 👍😁

Edited by LeeRich
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