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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Kegerators and Keezers > Mini Walk In Cooler Plans
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Old 07-20-2012, 01:00 AM   #1
tealio
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Default Mini Walk In Cooler Plans

I currently have temp control for about (3) 6.5 gal carboys, and need much more room. I'm not brewing more than my "limit" a year, but would like to have a decent place to store finished bottles, ferment 8+ carboys, and have room for cider, mead, etc. longterm.

I have a good working fridge, and garage space. I enjoy building, and craigslist here in Dallas/Fort Worth is a treasure trove for materials, tools, etc.

I have located 5 inch thick, foam board insulation on craigslist for $10 a 4x8 sheet. This is an amazing price, as big box stores charge $10 a sheet for 1/2" foam board thats only R3. I could not afford to make this as planned with cost like that! The seller says the 5" insulation is R6 per inch, so I am estimating to cover all walls, floor, ceiling, etc with an approx R-Value of 30+. Google says a chest freezer has an R-Value of approx 15, so I am hoping to have double the insulation of a chest freezer. Reasoning is for two things-

1. Sheer size of volume to be cooled to fermentation temps. It would be nice to do lagers, but personally I buy lagers, and make ales so no worries if it cannot hold lager temps.

2. Garage temps in Texas will swing from 110F down to close to freezing.

First photo below shows my base. I plan to base it on a full 4x8 sheet of plywood, built similar to a floor of a house. I will insulate the base to the full 5 inches or more. The fridge will have the door(s) removed, and will be attached to the rest of the space, and all gaps will be sealed. Similar to the rest of the worlds fermentation chambers, just LARGER.




The first bit of feedback I would like if possible-

What cause/effect would there be of removing BOTH freezer and fridge door?

I plan to use a temp controller to the fridge, which I'm guessing would run both freezer and fridge cooling at the same time with the doors removed. Would this cause moisture issues? Kill the fridge?

Here is one option- ferm chamber with freezer door closed. It would be kind of short, I would have to crawl or crouch to get stuff in, but it could work. This would be easier to cool with much less volume due to the shorter space.



I believe this is an internal volume of approx 116,014 cub inch + fridge OR about 67 cubic feet + fridge ( I don't have my fridge dimensions at work with me)

What I would LIKE though would be the full height of the fridge, that way I can walk down the center and not crouch, and have the additional possibility of a conical on wheels down the line.

So below is what I HOPE to do, as long as feedback does not cause me to change my plans.



This one I believe has an internal volume of about 97 cu ft + fridge and freezer volume.

Of course both of these designs will have doors on the open end in the plans, I'm thinking I might just move the fridge and freezer doors to the end OR shop on craigslist for a nice freezer door rather than try and build my own.

Please let me know what you think! And please don't make fun of my sketch up skills, I used my Mac's preview application for the arrows and text.

I'll add more if I forgot anything, I know this was a long post!

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Old 07-20-2012, 02:26 AM   #2
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The cooling system of a fridge is really designed to keep it's designed volume of air cool, but I don't know how it's going to deal with over 3x the volume.

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Old 07-20-2012, 02:47 AM   #3
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Yeah, I know it is a much larger volume. I'm not home and don't know the size exactly, but seems 18 cubic feet is average. So I would be hoping to cool 5x the original volume.

If it isn't possible / does not work / kills my garage fridge (a new one is practically nothing on craigslist)... I'll probably just fill the fridge hole in and place a window a/c unit there, as many people have cooler larger and less insulated space before that way.

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Old 07-20-2012, 05:27 AM   #4
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Multiple ac units to cool the space with brew belts or some other type of per fermentation vessel heating seems like it would be a better run.

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Old 07-20-2012, 03:41 PM   #5
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I would def opt for the full height plans, think you would get sick of having to crouch down and wrestle full carboys in and out of there. And yes, I think I would go with a/c window unit too, with more substantial chamber framing, since the a/c unit is designed to cool what ever size space you build (with appropriate btu's). And one a/c unit (in a well insulated chamber) would keep it plenty cool for ale ferm temps.

Check out captainL's thread on his build. It's nice.

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Old 07-20-2012, 03:51 PM   #6
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did you think about putting the doors on the long side so you can access things easier?

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Old 07-21-2012, 03:44 AM   #7
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Yes, I think I might move the door to the side, haven't decided on a door design yet.

Anyone have a recommended size of ac unit for about 100 cubic feet with r30 value insulation?

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Old 07-21-2012, 04:26 AM   #8
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My mongering found a good link today-

http://www.franklinbrew.org/wp/?page_id=745

Good Stuff.

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Old 08-16-2012, 07:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tealio View Post
My mongering found a good link today-

http://www.franklinbrew.org/wp/?page_id=745

Good Stuff.
wow thats an awesome walk in cooler for $600 bucks !!..

makes me think to just build that instead of paying and extra $3000 for jacketed fermenters..
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Old 08-16-2012, 07:32 PM   #10
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Now I plan on doing wiring outside of the cool bot, but if you don't want to void your a/c's warranty then you might want to check the cool bot out. My personal goal will be to have a cold room no later than next spring/summer. I have a couple things in front of this project but have began my research.

Good luck

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