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Old 05-10-2009, 04:48 PM   #1
Matt Up North
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Default 120 garage, how to keep cold?

I am moving into a new place and even on a 60* day the uninsulated garage gets up to a screaming hellish inferno of a place. I am going to have a refrigerator in there for the beers and whatnot, but I am thinking that I might want to make something a little bit larger that I can store larger quantities in.

My thinking is that I have an additional a/c unit that could get put to good use. I have enough space that I could make a little box that is about 5x7 or 5x10 or so. The two problems are that it is a rental and I am not about to put any holes in the wall, so it will have to be a free standing box and then I have want to be able to move it when the time comes, so it can't be overly bulky.

I am thinking that I will frame something out with some 1x4 or maybe 2x4 in the corner. Use 4 studs on the short wall and about 8 on the longer walls. Insulate with sheet insulation and strap some kind of thin sheeting on the outside for rigidity. Then I will place the a/c unit in the upper half of the door area and tap handles on a section. Maybe on the floor plate I could put some rubber stripping to keep the air inside and help seal it. This will be placed on a large concrete garage floor.

I am not looking at this as a refrigerator, but rather a cooler section. If it gets to as low as the a/c unit goes then I should be fine. I plan to store wine and beer in here and possibly even do some fermenting of something in there. More though, it is for storage of colder things (ie...basement for those of you with that luxury).

Am I freaking crazy or should this be a fairly simple build? Am I crazy to think that I will be able to move this at a later date? Anyone have any suggestions for making this actually work. Any other thoughts that I might be overlooking?

I have seen other peoples cold box ideas, but this is the first one that I could find that will be taken down in a year or so (or moved if possible).

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Old 05-10-2009, 04:54 PM   #2
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I think it's a fine idea! When you build it, take pics and post 'em up so we can see your progress. What kind of a/c unit is this? Is it one of the newer models with digital thermostat. What's the output? I don't think you'll have a problem with taking this down, as long as you use screws in place of any nails during construction. Hopefully, you'll be pleasently surprised at the outcome. Good luck!!!

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Old 05-10-2009, 06:45 PM   #3
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You might want to look into structural insulated panels. These are two sheets of OSB with foam bonded in-between. With a little effort, you could build something that that can be disassembled and moved. Granted, they will seem to be expensive, but compared to the total cost of stick-built they aren't bad. A nominal 4x8x8 structure would only take 6 4x8 panels, leaving one end for the door.

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Old 05-10-2009, 07:53 PM   #4
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You might want to consider making something like Big Bertha: Cold Storage Box. I modified an existing corner cabinet in my garage to so something simliar. Insulate the heck out of it, and you should be OK.

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Old 05-10-2009, 08:42 PM   #5
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I like that big bertha, but I don't like the height. I have enough trouble lifting 5 gallons onto my countertop, let alone above my head. I don't know whether or not an a/c unit would be able to get it cold enough or if I need to get a more industrial refrigeration unit in order to get it down to the low 50's.

What kind of R value am I looking to get here... I will search this also, but I am seeing sheeting at different sizes. There are 2", 1" and then smaller. If I get the 2"x8'x4' with an R-Value of 4.17 is that overkill, or am I right on? How thick does a refrigerator use?

I noticed the Big Bertha used 5/8"

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Old 05-10-2009, 09:45 PM   #6
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Hia Matt,

It's a fine idea. I made a duck-in cooler that keeps about 25° F below ambient temperature without special controllers.

Midnight Hour Brew-blog: cooler

--Dean

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Old 05-10-2009, 10:31 PM   #7
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Somewhat unrelated to your cold box, but is your garage attic vented? Maybe even consider installing an attic fan. It shouldn't get that hot.

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Old 05-11-2009, 11:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HomebrewJeff View Post
You might want to consider making something like Big Bertha: Cold Storage Box. I modified an existing corner cabinet in my garage to so something simliar. Insulate the heck out of it, and you should be OK.
was about to post this link as well. this is something i have been thinking about doing since i thought about brewing.
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Old 05-11-2009, 11:55 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Up North View Post
I like that big bertha, but I don't like the height. I have enough trouble lifting 5 gallons onto my countertop, let alone above my head. I don't know whether or not an a/c unit would be able to get it cold enough or if I need to get a more industrial refrigeration unit in order to get it down to the low 50's.

What kind of R value am I looking to get here... I will search this also, but I am seeing sheeting at different sizes. There are 2", 1" and then smaller. If I get the 2"x8'x4' with an R-Value of 4.17 is that overkill, or am I right on? How thick does a refrigerator use?

I noticed the Big Bertha used 5/8"
an ac unit will keep it cold enough. your in sac. this guy is in houston. different heat yes but same problems with garages. i remember the heat of sac growing up. but an ac will be able to do this. though this unit is big. you dont need to lift high use the floor for fermenting and the top for storage.

you also have a couple more options though besides this monster cabinet. check out the side by side fridge conversion as well as the other dorm fridge conversions and consider something like that.

sorry didnt notice the coments about the insulation.

2" is not over kill. id use 2" make sure you use a 1/2" airgap between the insuation and the outside wall of the cabinet. you can also use some r15 or r30 fiberglass but the walls would need to be much thicker. dont forget to wrap the cabinet just like you see them wrap a house.
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Old 05-11-2009, 04:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Somewhat unrelated to your cold box, but is your garage attic vented? Maybe even consider installing an attic fan. It shouldn't get that hot.
It is vented, but not adequately. All of the neighbors leave their garage door open during the day in order to vent it.
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