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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Window A/C Fermentation Chamber in basement
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Old 08-12-2009, 04:29 PM   #1
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Default Window A/C Fermentation Chamber in basement

Is anyone using a window A/C unit to cool a fermentation chamber in their basement without venting out a window well? A new 5000BTU unit can be had for around $100 and I think would provide more cooling power plus built-in air circulation versus a small refrigerator.

I am worried about the noise level and the amount of heat exhausted by the unit into the basement if not vented outside via a window. A condensation collection system would also be needed (i.e a bucket )

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Old 08-12-2009, 06:49 PM   #2
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I can understand your concern for it making too much noise but I would not worry too much about it causing a lot of heat in other parts of the basement. Essentially all you will be doing is removing the heat from the relatively small space in your chamber outside in the basement. This can't be a ton of thermal mass and it will spread throughout the rest of the basement. The AC unit will throw off some heat as well but again not too much in my opinion. Just my 2 cents.

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Old 08-12-2009, 07:17 PM   #3
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The term heat exhaust was misleading. I am concerned about how much the heat the A/C unit would generate during operation. I know little about refrigeration principles but I do know air blown off from my central A/C compressor outside is pretty warm. To make something cold, the heat must be shed somewhere else.

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Old 08-12-2009, 07:23 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcrabb22 View Post
The term heat exhaust was misleading. I am concerned about how much the heat the A/C unit would generate during operation. I know little about refrigeration principles but I do know air blown off from my central A/C compressor outside is pretty warm. To make something cold, the heat must be shed somewhere else.
That was his point. The heat your AC puts out is only the heat it removes from the cold side, plus a little bit from the electricity that operates it. Assuming you're not pushing the temperature inside the box too low or are otherwise not wasting the work of the AC, the amount of heat it will put off is probably not enough to worry about.

An AC is a heat engine run in reverse. Go here and look at the heat engine diagram, but reverse the direction of the arrows.
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Old 08-12-2009, 07:52 PM   #5
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Think about it this way. Let's say your chamber is 2x2x3, or 12 cu ft, and your basement is 22x34x8, or 5984 cu ft. Then the thermal mass of the air in your basement is (5984/12=) 498.6 times as much as your chamber (and this doesn't include the thermal mass of anything that's in you basement, which in total is probably much higher that the air anyway).

Bottom line, if you want the AC to cool the air in the chamber by 20 degrees, the increase in temp in your basement is several hundred times less (assuming perfect efficiency). I don't notice any significant increase in temp in my basement from my AC.

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Old 08-12-2009, 07:53 PM   #6
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You can also think about it this way...

If you put a new refrigerator in your basement, would you be worried about it overheating the basement? The mechanism by which an AC generates cold air is the same as a refrigerator.

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Old 08-12-2009, 08:01 PM   #7
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Thanks, I'm feeling better about the heat. I was comparing a central AC unit to a much smaller window unit. My bad.

I guess my only concern now is how loud the unit would be. I have a dehumidifier running down there now and that is not that bad. Given half the A/C unit would be in a insulated box I wonder if noise level would be similar?

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Old 08-12-2009, 08:14 PM   #8
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what's the worry with the noise?

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Old 08-12-2009, 08:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcrabb22 View Post
Thanks, I'm feeling better about the heat. I was comparing a central AC unit to a much smaller window unit. My bad.

I guess my only concern now is how loud the unit would be. I have a dehumidifier running down there now and that is not that bad. Given half the A/C unit would be in a insulated box I wonder if noise level would be similar?
I think the noise issue could only be answered by you. I know to get to my basement there are no doors and therefore no way to really keep the sound from traveling up into the living room etc. So this completely depends on the setup of your house. I would say the size of AC unit that you are talking about would be equivalent to a box fan running on medium as far as sound intensity and pitch.
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Old 08-12-2009, 09:56 PM   #10
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what's the worry with the noise?
I work from home a few days a week and my office "space" is in the basement too. I can learn to tune it out but I join conference calls on speakerphone. A headset mic picks up background noise as well.
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