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Old 09-09-2008, 04:09 PM   #1
HarvInSTL
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Default Fermentation Chamber 1.0

I've had a 5000btu A/C unit sitting around since last summer, along with a 15gal plastic conical since January 2008. Now that we bought a house a few months ago I finally have room for all of my brewing stuff.

It is now time to build a cabinet to house my fermenting beer so that I can maintain the temps.

Below is my first draft, it is still missing the following:

Sides & fronts w/ doors
Ventilation from the upper chamber to the lower chamber
(Including fans)

Now I do have a couple of questions. Is the 2" insulating foam required or could I get away with use the 1"? I'd rather purchase 3 sheets of $11 foam rather than purchase 3 sheets of $25 foam.

Here a couple pictures of what is to come.

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Old 09-09-2008, 07:35 PM   #2
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I have been looking into building a ferm chamber as well and what I have found is that the 2" rigid insulation has a higher R value those making it more efficient and requiring less from the AC unit. I am assuming that you could use the 1" but you have to accept the drop in R value. Not sure what that would be though.

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Old 09-09-2008, 07:38 PM   #3
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Nice Sketch Up model by the way. This is the one that I have been playing around with, much smaller though.

fermentation-chamber-perspective-3.jpg  
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Old 09-09-2008, 07:40 PM   #4
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Some additional pictures

fermentation-chamber-perspective-2.jpg   fermentation-chamber-perspective-4.jpg  
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Old 09-09-2008, 07:45 PM   #5
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You guys and your "blueprints"... real DIY'ers just go "do", they don't design... heh

Err, excuse my inner EAC.

off-topic alert! Harv, I heart your avatar.

I would really suggest using as much insulation as you can to help compensate for any weak areas such as the door(s) and the A/C itself. I reckon most of the cold air in my walk-in is lost through the A/C...

I believe what i used was a 3/4" R5 value board, that I found at Lowes, and layer it. This gave me the most R-value per inch of insulation of all the combinations of insulation I had readily available for purchase in my area.

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Old 09-10-2008, 06:05 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Beere View Post
You guys and your "blueprints"... real DIY'ers just go "do", they don't design... heh

Err, excuse my inner EAC.

off-topic alert! Harv, I heart your avatar.

I would really suggest using as much insulation as you can to help compensate for any weak areas such as the door(s) and the A/C itself. I reckon most of the cold air in my walk-in is lost through the A/C...

I believe what i used was a 3/4" R5 value board, that I found at Lowes, and layer it. This gave me the most R-value per inch of insulation of all the combinations of insulation I had readily available for purchase in my area.
I do over plan/engineer some of my projects, but I place that blame on my former employer. It became a standard occurance for us to say "We don't have time to do it right, but we have time to do it over".

So I take my time and design, design and design to make sure that I don't have to do it twice!

I might go the rolled fiberglass insulation route. $20 should cover both sides and the rear w/ 3.5" R13 insulation. Cost wiser I would save almost $50 going this route, but that still leaves me with insulating the doors, which would most likely be the pink foam insulation.

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Nice Sketch Up model by the way. This is the one that I have been playing around with, much smaller though.
Thanks, Sketch Up has been interesting to use. I haven't used Acad/Cadkey/3ds Max for almost 11 years so I've got some relearning to do.
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Old 09-10-2008, 01:08 PM   #7
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If you go with fiberglass, build a double wall. Otherwise it's a great home for all sorts of nasties, and near-impossible to clean. MHO, it's also not really equivalent (ie, I think the R-value comparison is not quite what the numbers would make it seem, with fiberglass be somewhat less effective). If space (ie, outside dimensions of cabinet/closet) is not a huge issue, build a double wall and fill with the cheapest of fiberglass, vermiculite or cellulose.

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Old 09-10-2008, 01:39 PM   #8
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Spend the extra up front on the better insulation. You're energy bill will thank you for it later.

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Old 09-10-2008, 06:22 PM   #9
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+1 I agree, Look at whatever hardware stores you have in the area and figure out which rigid insulation will give you the highest insualtion (r) rating that falls within your budget and the amount of space you want to use

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Old 09-10-2008, 06:59 PM   #10
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Hey Harv! I am in a similar boat. Designing a plywood-based stand-alone ferm cabinet/walk-in. Question for ya: What temp are you shooting for???

I ask because the other walk-in's I've seen (JBeere's, and Cape Brewing's, specifically) are used as refrigerators that run around 37-42*F.... But... I just want to ferment in mine. So I might turn it as low as 50*F if I brew a lager, but MOST of the time It's just going to be holding 65*F.

I ask that particular question because... I am curious if there is a cost-benefit tradeoff point in terms of temperature delta from room temp. For example, if the room my cooler is housed in will never go over 75*F and I only want to cool to 65*F routinely and 50*F seldomly, is high R value insulation even WORTH the extra cost, or is a low/common R value more than fine, at that point?

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