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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Is my chest freezer about to die on me?
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Old 06-03-2013, 07:38 PM   #1
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Default Is my chest freezer about to die on me?

I'll just say it up front: I know nothing about refrigerator/freezer technology, so any help is greatly appreciated.

I bought a chest freezer off of craigslist a year and a half ago. It's biiiig. I haven't measured, but it's probably bigger than 20 cubic ft. It'll hold ten 5 gallon carboys at once. Anyway, lately it's taking significantly longer to bring my beer temps down. It's still getting cold, and ice still builds up on the wall when it's cooling for more than an hour. So it's working for now...but the problem is that if I put a carboy of wort in at, say, 70 degrees it takes almost 8 hours to get it down to 64.

I have my Ranco set at a 1 degree range. The freezer used to be able to knock that one degree back down in 10 minutes. Now it takes 20-30. And it sounds a little funny. It still has it's normal hum, but it also kind of sounds like there's running water in there or something. It's hard to describe.

So, is it dying? Should I be looking for a new unit? Or is it just losing efficiency with age? I really don't want to buy a new one because I know that I'll never find another one this big for a decent price, but I'm not going back to swamp cooling!

Thanks in advance for any help or advice.

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Old 06-03-2013, 07:53 PM   #2
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Mine did the same thing...right before it died. It sucks but it will probably cost more to have repaired than to replace.

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Old 06-03-2013, 07:58 PM   #3
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Not what I was hoping to hear!

I kind of assumed there was something wrong. I wonder if it's a good idea to attach an AC unit to the freezer. Just keep the shell, since it's such a good insulator.

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Old 06-03-2013, 08:00 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ICWiener
Not what I was hoping to hear!

I kind of assumed there was something wrong. I wonder if it's a good idea to attach an AC unit to the freezer. Just keep the shell, since it's such a good insulator.
Maybe one of those free standing units they make now? Never thought of that.
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Old 06-03-2013, 08:02 PM   #5
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Maybe one of those free standing units they make now? Never thought of that.
Yeah. I was thinking, why not just drill a hole in the wall of the freezer and feed a hose into it, straight from the AC. It would be cheaper than buying another freezer. A new 24 cubic ft unit costs more than $1,000!
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Old 06-03-2013, 09:02 PM   #6
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Yeah. I was thinking, why not just drill a hole in the wall of the freezer and feed a hose into it, straight from the AC. It would be cheaper than buying another freezer. A new 24 cubic ft unit costs more than $1,000!
I bought a 5.3 CF at the local grocery store for$170. It came with $170 worth of food coupons too. It is big enough to keep 2 corny kegs without a collar. I am go an put a 2X10 collar on it so I can get another keg in on the hump.
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Old 06-03-2013, 09:16 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by ICWiener View Post
Not what I was hoping to hear!

I kind of assumed there was something wrong. I wonder if it's a good idea to attach an AC unit to the freezer. Just keep the shell, since it's such a good insulator.
If you end up drilling, make sure you don't puncture the refrigerant piping. It might not be safe, especially with a very old freezer...
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Old 06-03-2013, 09:24 PM   #8
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If you end up drilling, make sure you don't puncture the refrigerant piping. It might not be safe, especially with a very old freezer...
I suppose that could be a problem! I know that the coolant runs across the front wall of the unit. That's where the ice builds up when it's running. It might be safe to drill through one of the sides. Wonder if there's any way to tell?
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Old 06-03-2013, 10:09 PM   #9
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Okay, so I've been doing some reading. Looks like drilling through the wall of a chest freezer is a very bad idea. Not only are there condenser coils, but also evaporator coils. Seems like you'd be bound to hit something.

Hmmmm....I wonder if drilling through the lid would work?

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Old 06-03-2013, 11:31 PM   #10
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I have my Ranco set at a 1 degree range. The freezer used to be able to knock that one degree back down in 10 minutes. Now it takes 20-30.
That 1 degree differential is probably what did it in, they don't like to be cycled like that.
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