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-   -   Portable AC unit for fermenting/aging wine & beer (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f25/portable-ac-unit-fermenting-aging-wine-beer-33150/)

madrean 07-03-2007 01:14 PM

Portable AC unit for fermenting/aging wine & beer
i've been tossing around the idea of getting a portable AC unit from home depot. the one i've been looking at runs about $400 and is rated for around 8-10,000 BTUs. i'm planning on sticking it in the laundry room as i'd be able to tie the drain into the washing machine drain and the exhaust with the dryer exhaust.

please keep in mind that i live in victoria, tx and it's damn hot here. there's no way i can afford to run the AC all day at 80 degrees much less 68!!!

i figure i can see how it goes having the portable AC unit in the laundry room. otherwise, i figure there's no way i can homebrew wine or beer due to the high temp AND constant temp fluctuations.

i've got a $130 box of estate selection waiting to be fermented...

any comments?


(i posted this at the winemaking site too, but there seems to be more traffic here. maybe this little snippet will create some traffic over there. check it out.-- www.winemakingtalk.com)

anthrobe 07-03-2007 01:16 PM

Sounds like it would work but you will be cooling to whole room. I would probably invest in a temp controller and pick up an old fridge off of craigslist or something. Should cost you half as much.

the_Roqk 07-03-2007 01:46 PM

I know what you mean about hot temps. Why not consider making a fermentation chamber. It's in the project locator. I made one and it works great at keeping temps at or near 60 F. But it's only big enough for one carboy. Just gotta keep those jugs of ice changed out.

Or, if you are going to spend around $400, then go ahead and buy a used upright freezer and get a temp controller. That way you won't have to worry about the ice change out. It will also work out for lagering. You'll save some dough buying used anyway, and there are some good one's in the classified. Needless to say that's also on my get list.

david_42 07-03-2007 01:51 PM

If cooling the laundry room doesn't work, you can build an insulated closet and use the A/C unit to cool that. Depending on how the room is constructed, you could even line it with insulating board.

Lounge Lizard 07-03-2007 02:31 PM

One of the benefits of cooling a whole room, is that you will also need a cool place to store the wine after it is made.

Evan! 07-03-2007 02:35 PM

You could get a sizeable NEW chest freezer for $400. Add a johnson temp controller and you're set. It would be MUCH more efficient than trying to cool your entire laundry room, and you could control the temperature much better.

bpcsatx 07-03-2007 03:06 PM

Here is what I recommend. I live in San Antonio and the first issue my brother and I tackled was the temperature issue. We wanted a single receptacle for fermenting and a larger one for storage. We ended up buying a small, approx, 6 cu.ft. chest freezer and a larger 18 cu.ft chest freezer. We then purchased two temp controllers from a local electronics warehouse. We replaced the stripping insulation and added insulation where we found possible leaks on both units before putting them to work. The small unit holds a carboy and has a shelf for yeast starters as well. The large unit stays at 38 degrees for the corny kegs. The freezers are in the garage that is air conditioned only when we are brewing. My brother’s electric bill jumped $17.00 per month only. The key to the freezers not constantly running is to ensure the door is properly sealed and the installation was adequate. Check out the difference between upright frig freezers and chest freezers with regard to energy efficiency.

The freezers were purchased locally using craiglist.org for $170.00. The temp controllers were $80 for each. Total investment $330.00! We could not be happier with the set-up and never have any concerns with the 100+ degree summer approaching.

madrean 07-03-2007 09:11 PM

wow! a lot of replies. seems like the concensus is to use a used freezer. the only problem with that is i'm renting this house and if i buy a freezer, it's just one more thing i've gotta move.

i was thinking about trying out the portable unit and if it totally sucks, take it back. it's hard to imagine a freezer in the garage (120 degrees?) being more efficient than running a portable unit in a small laundry room that would normally be kept around 80...

is there such a thing where you plug in an electrical device and it tells you how much current is being pulled?

watts = volts * current ?

bpcsatx 07-03-2007 10:45 PM

Chest freezers that are properly insulated are very efficient. There is truly no comparison between a space or room air conditioner and a correctly insulated freezer. I am sure you can due a energy usage comparison on-line (Google).

Good luck on what ever decision you make.

madrean 07-03-2007 11:19 PM

you know, when you put it in those words, i know you are so right.

i guess i'm just looking for the easy way out.


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