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My pantry doesn't have air conditioning, and recently I noticed (using a cheap wall-mounted liquid thermometer) that the pantry itself got up to 85°f degrees (it was >100°f outdoors). I don't know what temperature it got within the cabinets, but it got high enough to melt some home-made lard.

I'm guessing the fluctuating heat in there isn't good for long-term food storage. Is there something I can do that'll magically make the cabinets cooler than the rest of the room? Maybe some kind of insulating interior liner, or a special interior paint? The cabinet doors aren't airtight.

Currently they are regular kitchen cabinetry, though I coincidentally am tearing out those cabinets and putting in home-made floor to ceiling cabinets next month (mostly so I can re-purpose the kitchen cabinets in the kitchen itself), so if the "fix" happens to require more intensive work on the cabinets, well, now's the perfect time.

(I wanted to tag this question 'pantry' but that tag isn't available and I lack the rep to create it)

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There is no magic; you are fighting thermodynamics.

You may be able to cool individual containers somewhat by wrapping damp cloth around them so evaporation takes away some of the heat. You could arrange some sort of drip or pump to keep those moist, and a fan to improve the evaporation and heat removal... And you'd basically have reinvented the "swamp cooler".

Or you could insulate thoroughly and reinvent the icebox (assuming you have a source for ice). Or insulate and run an air conditioner, reinventing the refrigerator.

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  • I think I'll use an approach of: Insulate the cabinets semi-better (when I rebuild them), though not airtight or anything. And I realized the wall it's on connects to a room that is airconditioned, so I'll cut a little vent at the top of each cabinet, and maybe that'll be sufficient (though it won't get much airflow...). I don't want to run an AC vent directly to the cabinets, because those same vents carry the heating during winter, and I don't want to blow hot air into the pantry. =) – Jamin Grey Jul 27 '16 at 14:38
  • Wall passthroughs at the top AND bottom of the cabinets, into the AC'd bathroom, would be better, but that's not possible because of the bathrub and wall tiling that goes almost up to the ceiling... Maybe I can cut a hole at the bottom of the FRONT of the cabinets, in the overly warm pantry, and also at the top of the BACK of the cabinets, in the AC'd bathroom... though that might pull air from the wrong room... – Jamin Grey Jul 27 '16 at 14:43
  • "And I realized the wall it's on connects to a room that is airconditioned, . ." That seems strange to me. Is any part of the pantry on an exterior wall? – Aww_Geez Mar 20 at 18:57
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I did this for my pantry, which also houses my home entertainment devices. Temps would like to 100's; with this fix, they only get to mid-80's.

Hot air rises to the ceiling; you need to get that hot air out. I did this by using two small computer fans to pull air out of the pantry. I cut a hole in the drywall, then made a simple wooden box to fit in the hole. This wood enabled mounting of the fans.

The fans are powered by DC current. I reuse phone chargers for this type of stuff all the time. Some soldering after some math and you are good to go. Just make sure the fans are not pulling more amps than the charger is supplying.

If you want pics, I can snap some.

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  • +1 I was going to suggest the general idea of venting the pantry. It would be nice to know how tight the door is and what the surrounding temp is inside the house. – Aww_Geez Mar 20 at 18:53
  • Most doors should have a gap at the bottom to allow intake. – Evil Elf Mar 24 at 2:24
  • Sounds like a good idea. I ended up, after a kitchen/pantry remodel, moving all food to a different room which became the pantry. It likely still gets too hot in there at the peak of summer, but I intend to install a full-house fan in that room sometime down the road. – Jamin Grey Mar 26 at 4:40
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I put two home made DIY olla clay pots with water in my pantry and it cooled the air in the room considerably. I was very surprised. If your olla pot is sealed good, it is sufficient to put the pot in a bowl to catch up the bit of water that seeps through the unbaked clay very slowly each day.

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  • Kind of like a Swamp Cooler. – Evil Elf Mar 20 at 13:11

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