Cold room, Bad for equipment?

I'm a very fortunate guy in as much as I've recently finished transforming a gutted detached garage into my dedicated listening room.After 1.5 years and hundreds of personal man- hours I am putting the finishing acoustic panel touches and tweaks and finally enjoying the music. It is extremely well insulated with R-13 insulation between the studs and a layer of both 5/8" drywall over 1/2" quiet rock all around, except for the ceiling which is only 1 layer of 5/8" and the R-13. Floor is carpet over laminate over Dri-core, so that's not a problem either but I live in NY and due to the added complexity of an HVAC system, I have not added any heat to the room.With winter temps dropping to less than freezing I'm wondering what is considered a minimum temp I should try to be maintaining through the use of portable space heaters in order not to be harmful to my equipment. This includes a mix of some units in stand-by mode (my tubed pre-amp with low voltages keeping them warm) as well as CD transport, Dac, and self-powered sub woofer which are always left on. Amps are left off of course, both a big solid state Classe monster as well as a tube amp.My in-room thermometer has read as low as 50 F tonight and the space heater brought it up to 60... Obviously the amps will warm things up a bit while playing but the big question is how low can I let that temp go without doing any possible harm to anything???Note there is 1 30"x60" window with blinds and a 3/8" piece of sheetrock pressed up against it (from the inside), effectively sealing it closed. The one door is a standard"outside" door with a separate glass storm door outside of it. The original 'car' garage door has been sealed and a new internal framed wall (sheetrocked as the others) is in its place. Thanks in advance.
Get a direct vent space heater and a have a propane company deliver a 100 gallon tank. Set the heater at 40-45 unoccupied. Nothing wrecks a finished space faster than no heat. Ever notice how abandoned buidings go deteriorate so quickly? The heater is under $1,000 and the 80 gallons of propane will cost you $2.30/gallon. Turn up the heat half an hour before use and enjoy.
The cooler,the worse I'd think.When you turn on cold equipment,it will most likely have more inrush current,shock, and condensation. Also,if you have natural gas in your house,maybe you can have an extra gas line run to your garage.Then use the above mentioned type heater.When you go in there,everything will start to get condensation,like your car windows.Mold too? Check the owners manuals for operating temps and humidity also.Hope you get something done to enjoy it.♫
Very large swings in temperatures aren't the optimum way for most anything to endure.

Having 'a pocket' to trap out the immediate impact of varying temp changes will help. In those pockets the use of insulation affects the conductance of cold and heat. Temp or insulated windows for ex. have a pocket of air trapped between two panes of glass, and do not touch each other. Not using such a plan allows for quicker transconductance of the energy... be it cold or hot.

Cooler is better than warmer usually, with electronics. Avoiding measures which prevent llarge swings of temps is not a good idea. Glass for ex (like tubes for instance) break far easier when ice cold. Condensation is the result of the difference between two areas or surfaces by their own temps. Like a glass of ice tea sitting outside on a warm day... water will bead up on it's surface. you don't want that happening with your gear.

So two things have to be addressed. Humidity and temperature. Optimumly, keeping both of these at steady states is best. Naturally, keeping the temps lower is better too. Too a point.

But consistency with each will provide the better result.

For the most part insuring the inside temp is kept steady, between 60 & 70 degrees all should be well. Ice cold is great for ACs... but not for electronics... especially if the components are not being left on routinely.

i'll put it all this way... IF I could afford to keep my equipment room at 55-60 degrees F, and I had no worries of abrupt power outages and restarts, I'd leave much, if not all, of my gear on all the time.

Using NOS tubes gives me some pause in this regard... they're getting more and more expensive and in some cases... extinct... leaving them on all the time is kind of like waving goodbye to them faster than I want too.
I’d also not wish to energize tube gear from ice cold as a rule. The filaments can apply heat too rapidly and cause frozen or very cold glass to fracture as they are being warmed up to quickly. That’s not a good thing… as they are no longer vacuum tubes at that point and become only trash.

As your gear and you are both in the same room there’s that being comfortable while listening/viewing thing too. I heard once sometime bback, acoustic instruments and speakers are like people. Keeping them in likewise moderate temperatures is always best. If it’s not comfortable for you, it’s not comfortable for it/them.

When or if you exercise, you want to reach an optimum steady state temp… not range back and forth from extremes to extremes. Gear is the same way. You’ll run farther when it’s low humidity and cool than you will when it’s hot and humid… so will your system. Avoid extremes… and extreme changes… you’ll be fine.
.....I've recently finished transforming a gutted detached garage into my dedicated listening room.

It is extremely well insulated with R-13 insulation between the studs and a layer of both 5/8" drywall over 1/2" quiet rock all around, except for the ceiling which is only 1 layer of 5/8" and the R-13.
The space above the ceiling should have at least an R-30 insulation rating, R-40 being better yet. Most of your heat in the room is going up through the roof.
Perhaps you could buy an audio system specially designed for a meat locker? ;^
There are several issues at stake here. One: cold shock is the real danger for glass objects. Rapid cooling creates tensile forces in the outer layer causing micro cracks and scratches to grow catastrophically. Heating the outer surface is much safer because the exterior glass surface is in compression. Unless the room is cooled very rapidly by opening doors and windows damage is unlikely to happen to the glass objects. Two: R-13 insulation is below recommended values for NY's climate zone. This will result in higher heating bills than necessary. The amount of time at the various temperatures and the expected time of building ownership and heating cost can be used to calculate the time necessary to break even on any insulation improvements being considered. Three: humidity and the various surfaces where it can condense as liquid water is the real problem. The Dew Point of the air in the room will tell you at what temperature the surfaces in the room will condense. It can be used to determine the humidity that may need to be lowered by a dehumidifier to avoid the moisture problem. Fourth:the Delta T or amount of temperature difference from cold to warm will most likely not often be a problem . [if operating temperature of the equipment is 150 degrees the Delta T from 50 is 100, from 65 is 85] This can be minimised by stacking equipment so thet the units left on are below the off ons so that their heat can prevent much chilling.
How much energy does it take to maintain it at 50 or 55 degrees with your space heater? I don't consider that temperature to be exteme cold, nor do I think the "swing" up to 68 to be to dramatic, especially from 55. If the room is really well insulated, and your space heater can maintain 55 with little effort, I don't see a problem, except the wait you have to endure to get it up to a comfortable temperature for listening.
I agree with more insulation.You're kinda stuck now with whats in the walls but you can easily add more in the ceiling.You did build a scudder hole in the ceiling,didn't you?I don't understand why you spent all that time and money and did not install a seperate HVAC system,especially with the temps you get in NY.HVAC systems are not that complicated,trust me,I installed my own and I am certainly not an HVAC mechanic!!I know you are concerned about your equipment,rightly so,but what about your comfort.I can't imagine trying to enjoy music,being bundled up,in a room that cold.Oh well,just some of my crazy thoughts.Good luck and enjoy your room.
One thing worth mentioning in an audio room is choosing a heating method that doesn't make much noise. Something with a blower, to me, is unacceptable. Blowers are fine to room up the room beforehand, but not to maintain it while listening.
Condensation would seem to be the #1 enemy. People exhale lots of moisture. Bring 4 or 5 people into a cold room and than turn on the heat? Pre-heat is recommended as is some for of humidity control, especially in the summer.

As for glass stress fractures. Sure, heating too rapidly could be a problem.

But my question is this. How hot does the tube envelop get? I suspect all tubes in class 'a' stuff stay hot all the time when on. But for all other gear, what is the temp diff between a 60f room or a 75f room and operating temp? Any scratches in the envelop will drastically shorten tube life. I also suspect handling with oily or contaminated hands will also shorten tube life.

As for insulation, go with Tpreaves and Elwood on this. Double glazed or better windows, good seals around the doors and R-30 in the overhead.

You should also be thinking about summer. Too hot is potentially as bad or worse than too cold. How hot do summers get?
Thank you all for the excellent responses. I first need to clarify a bit more which will address much of your input. What I didn't expect was quite this degree of info. so let me add to my original post.
*The entire project was built with one ever-present mindset during the entire process: In order to keep the sound from getting out (I did not want anyone knowing music was playing inside) I was going to build the entire room like a with absolutely no leaks whatsoever, and this is exactly what I did.
* The detached garage was built in approximately 1946 using what appears to be a very solid 3/4" hardwood (don't know the type but it IS a HARD wood...) mounted onto 2"x4"@ 24" on center studs with diagonal cross-bracing between each stud. The roof is also this 3/4" wood. It all sits on some type of poured cement foundation. 10 years ago it was vinyl sided (as was the house) and I had a new roof put on when I began the re-modeling which included the removal of the previous roof tiles, repair/replacement of any questionable original wood, then the addition of fresh tar-paper and new roof shingles.
*Original interior LxWxH was 19'x13'5"x9'with the 9' @ center of a peaked roof, (sidewalls @7').
*The 4" studs are what forced me to use the R-13 @3.5" thick as compared to an R-19 or R-30 which were 6" thick,(it was actually R-16 I believe, as I'll explain in a minute).
* Wall insulation was a type of recycled cotton denim, it was either "Ultratouch" or a similar competing brand (can't remember at the moment) touted for its ease of use, all natural fibers, and superior noise suppression characteristics.I believe it was actually rated an R-16..,
* Acoustic Sciences Corp. "Wall Damp" strips were applied to each stud before 1/2" QuietRock 510 was screwed to them.
*The same ASC "Wall Damp" material was then applied onto the Quietrock ( called "Wall Damp Squares")before the standard 5/8" sheetrock was attached next, thus providing a thin "air barrier" between drywall sheets. This was done to both opposing 'long walls' (the 19's).A type of special "Quiet Seal" caulking was used around the entire perimeter of both walls, plus additional extra tubes of silicone caulking "For good measure" to ensure no sound leaks...
* The short walls (13') were done more extensively because I felt I could spare a little room length.. The aft wall had R-13 between studs, followed by 2 layers of 1/4" particle-board(I had a whole bunch of it laying around so I pressed it into the insulation and bent nails on both sides to hold it in place). Followed by 5/8" sheetrock. I then found a few rolls of tar paper and completely covered it with that. THEN I framed out a new 2"x4"@24" on center based interior wall which I screwed another layer of 5/8" sheetrock to on the OUTSIDE of it (What a job that was getting it all screwed together and raised up). Once that was up it was another application of regular Owens Corning R-13 insulation. Final interior sheetrock was another layer of 5/8" sheetrock. This makes for a total # of layers from the outside inward as: Vinyl Siding, 3/4" [original]outside wood, R-13, 1/2" of particle boards, 5/8" drywall, tarpaper, a 1/2" air-gap, 5/8" drywall, R-13, 5/8" drywall.
* The front garage door wall was replaced with a new garage door (insulated) and bolted into place. A 5/8" sheetrock was screwed to its inside face. 1/2" air-gap and a new interior 2"x4' @24" on center framed-out wall with[again] a layer of 5/8" sheetrock screwed to its OUTSIDE facing side. O.C. R-13 between studs. 2 layers of 1/4" each particle board (same as the other end), another 5/8" sheetrock, a layer of "Quiet Glue" (a competing product to the famous "Green Glue"), and then an interior layer of 1/2" "Quiet Rock 510" as the interior wall.
I guess the "weak link" in all this is the roof @ only R-13, covered by regular 5/8" drywall on 3/4" firring strips,but when I go outside with the music on LOUD... it certainly can't be heard if some of it is actually going up...
Wpines: if the winter really gets brutal and my 2 oil filled space heaters really can't keep up, those heating units might be a great choice as a retrofit. Thanks for the tip.
Hifitime: I'm not ready to run a gas line out just yet, but in the big picture if winters become consistently raw, it's also worth a look. I'm on Long Island and the proximity to the ocean keeps temps here a bit more moderated than inland so it's usually not as bad as other areas of the state.
Blindjim, thanks for all the thought... you're right that extremes should obviously be avoided and fortunately I don't think it will ever get too extreme... if the interior ever gets much less than 50 or so I'll be out there with both heaters getting it back to at least 60 (one unit can pretty much do that alone). Besides, it is nice not to wear a jacket while listening of course (I haven't had to yet). I have no concerns about power outages or restarts I have paid A LOT of attention to the dedicated power I'm running out to it (but that would be another post).
Jea48: I'm sure you're right... oh well. Do you think the textured finish I added to the ceiling paint thickened things up a tiny bit to help??!?
Elwood: thanks for the thorough evaluation. I do have a hygrometer in my room [in addition to the thermometer] for monitoring humidity. It has been at the dry end of the normal zone (about 40%) ever since I first powered everything up (late October) and it is something I will absolutely be monitoring at all times, especially summer. I will resort to a window based A/C unit which I'll "pre-cool" the room with while equipment initially warms up (I usually give it all a solid 1/2 hr before listening), then take occasional listening breaks as needed to turn it back on for re-cooling... I don't need the noise of it during listening and I have 2 ceiling fans which are quiet enough for actual listening.
Peter_s: I don't think it really takes too much juice to heat it up from the low 50's to the low 60's with the portables... Maybe it really does?? I'll find out when my winter electric bills start coming in... uh-oh?? And you're right: if I do get another 'real' heating system, quiet IS a MUST.
Tpreaves: HVAC system was certainly in my mind during construction. I figured one of those wall mounted ductless systems could always be added later if absolutely necessary once I've been through a full year of hot and cold weather. I hate to admit that $$$ was a deciding factor in this department... a decent ductless unit with both heating and A/C would run between $1500-2500 and I thought the window A/C unit and a couple of space heaters was worth a shot for something like $300 total... Also, a dehumidifier if needed (though the A/C unit helps)I'll know by this time next year if I played it right or not.Thanks.
Magfan: Window is double pane, plus I bought some lexan from my local H.D. and cut it to fit the window. I added silicone around the edges and pre-drilled then screwed it to the perimeter of the window as an extra layer. Inside, just below the glass, I built a full width "Ledge", 5/8" deep, with matching window trim which I use to support 2 sheets of 3/8" drywall that are 'Quiet glued' and screwed together, then trimmed with a thin layer of O.C. insulation (against the actual window trim) then secured on top with a latch to keep it snug against the window area. This provides more soundproofing and a certain degree of insulation as well. (There are vertical blinds in between too). Only problem is I'll have to build another one for the summer with the window A/C unit cut out for it.Temps can see high 80's to low 90'sF in the summers here at times.
This was all very helpful and a big thanks to everyone. Any other input is always welcome and I promise never to make another post this long. Happy Lissn'n
When not in use, laying some thick bath towles over the tube gear should help avoid condensation issues. 20-30 min after listening just lay them over the gear. I do it to prevent or try to prevent dust accumulation inside the equipment.

Humidity is key... if you are very comfortable in there, can't see your own breath when exhaling, not needing heaters, sweaters, drinks, AC or fans, the gear should be comfortable enough too.

Do look at those tubes surfaces though, from time to time before start up... just to get an idea.

Good luck.
When not in use, laying some thick bath towles over the tube gear should help avoid condensation issues. 20-30 min after listening just lay them over the gear.
12-14-09: Blindjim
Not sure that would be a good idea. It may actually do more harm than good. I would think it would be best to let the hot then warming air, as the equipment cools down, to rise and dissipate in the cooler air of the room.

Food for thought.... late 1950s and earlier car radios used tubes.
It sounds like you did put a lot of effort and hard labor in your garage.I understand what hard work is because I finished all the interior of my three floor home by myself.
Judging by your description and if my understanding is correct,I would of done things a litle different ,for example I could add a 2x6 on the side of every existing stud (sister studs)to allow R21 insulation installation,then 6mil poly for vapor barrier,plus 5/8 fire rated gypsum board or double it up.A more expensive alternative would be spray foam on all cavities by a company that specializes in that.
Thanks again guys, The towel idea is interesting...I'll think about it but honestly...unless I'm away for more than a day (not likely upcoming) I'll be out there every day/night cranking the heater back up from never less (hopefully) than 50, up to 60+, all the time. Even with a fairly cold spell a few days ago, I have yet to see it go below 50. Trust me, I WILL be monitoring it always. My main question was really just a better ballpark of how cold could it get before I should really be concerned (assuming I WASN't watching it).
Yioryos: Thanks for the kind words... the 2"x6" were the first thing that crossed my mind and an excellent idea but I immediately decided against it due to the reduced width the room would have... I was convinced that my speakers (and most speakers in general) prefer a reasonably wide room, as much as, if not more than length and I just felt that extra 4+" was something I didn't want to sacrifice. Right choice or wrong...who can say... but I'm pretty pleased so far with the results.
Thanks again everyone.

If I understand correctly the ceiling in the room is the bottom of the 2x4 roof rafters? Vaulted ceiling, is that correct?

Did you install some type of ties from outside wall to outside wall along the eve side of the two long walls at least every 4ft so a heavy snow on the roof will not push the side walls out.

Or maybe did you install a structural ridge support beam down the center of the peak of the roof rafters to support the roof? The beam supported by support columns at each gable end?
Hello Jea48: Yes,you understand correctly...the vaulted ceiling is the bottom of the 2"x4" roof rafters and there were 2"x4"x approx 13' or so ties (I call them cross beams) tieing the outside long walls along the eves to each other... just before I began the project I had a good friend of mine who is a GC come in and assess the structure. He declared it quite sound except that he noticed a slight bowing along the centerline of the roof ( you really had to look hard to notice it)... so what we did was take a heavy duty floor jack and a big 4"x4" x 8'ish and at the midpoint we gently raised it back up to level while a few of his workers took 3 big 2"x6"s and installed them in place of the old ones. They were nailed and then through-bolted (w/ 5/8" bolts) to really keep it all well locked in nice and tight again. I removed 4 of the original 5 which were redundant/not doing much/if anything and the roof is good and secure again. With roofers all over it after that it was completely fine and I'm sure any snow accumulation shouldn't be a problem. Obviously to maintain ceiling height I simply painted these exposed beams the same ceiling color ("Chalk white" from Ben Moore) and they look pretty great.
I'll be updating my system pics soon, and show the new room... the one there on my "system link" now is my last room(in an apt.). I appreciate your obvious insights into the "big picture" of all the fine details . Thanks again.
Just another follow-up. It was 25F last night/this morning and only 35 all day. I've been putting the heater on for a few hours each afternoon and it's never been lower than 50 when I walk in (before I turn it on). After heating it rises to low-mid 60's, then repeats this cycle pretty much every day/night. So, a 10-15 degree swing in that range and I think I should be OK for the winter season.[I'll keep track if it really drops to the teens or single digits, but so far, so good]. Thanks for all the input, everyone... and happy Lissn'n. I'll be posting new pics asap, and I'll mention it. Best regards.
Please continue to watch out for condensation.
This is the #1 enemy of fine electronics under your conditions. People exhale lots of moisture and it will 'migrate' to cold places.

If you are where the weather is bad/major snow, you guys are getting creamed.
It's funny but I have indeed seen the effects of condensation on the window of my exterior storm door windows... as they tend to "cloud up" when I open/close the main outside door... otherwise I am pretty pleased with the hygrometer's reading of low humidity...Temps are remaining above 50F and therefore I'm hoping are OK for overall equipment usage. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Thanks
Sorry, I don't know the limits, but feel strongly that humidity and low, condensing temps are a bad mix with fine electronics.

I grew up in the midwest and winter was static electricity season. I think we also had a humidifier since there was little natural humidity in cold weather. It was also a pretty large, 3000ft/sq house of 2 floors. My ma used to keep a kettle on the stove and would turn it on periodically.

Did you wrap your new construction with Tyvek?
Hi Magfan, I wasn't living here when the vinyl siding was done to the house and my detached garage (the room we're discussing) so I can't be sure if Tyvek was used under the siding or not... whatever is considered "standard procedure" with vinyl siding I guess was done? Whatever that is... I agree no one wants any mention of condensation going on around good electronics... it is staying dry in the room: the hygrometer usually reads around 35-45% whenever I look at it, which is still in the 'normal' range of the scale. BTW, its been quite cold lately (teens into 20's) and I'm still managing the low 50's to mid 60'sF range in the room. We also just got dumped with 15" of snow last night. All's still well... Thanks for your input.