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Old 06-11-2010, 12:09 PM   #1
yobata
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Default Evaporative Air Cooler - for Walk In Fridge

I am thinking of making a section of my garage a walk-in fridge/cooler. I have read (and re-read) John Beere's excellent post on insulating and making a walk-in. However, since my house (and garage) are concrete block, I don't think I will be able to use a window-style A/C unit (dont want to punch holes in the concrete block)... I've found some portable Evaporative Air Coolers that only need a 2" or 3" hose to be run outside (for the air exchange I guess). I could run that hose through the roof instead of the block... I was wondering if something like that would work? Any experiences with Evap Air Coolers? Any suggestions as to alternatives? Thanks in advance for any replies and many thanks to all that post on HBT as valuable info is peppered throughout this site!!

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Old 06-11-2010, 12:25 PM   #2
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What temperature do you want your room to be?

An evaporative cooler only works if the air and hot and most importantly DRY. These are typically used somewhere like Arizona. They also will not make your room cold.

Most likely you are going to need some sort of split system. The evaporator will be in your fridge and the condenser will be outside. You will only have to run refrigerant lines, so no need for a big hole in your wall.

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Old 06-11-2010, 12:35 PM   #3
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You could pass the window AC unit through an interior wall, and duct the hot side to an insulated vent to the roof...

Just a thought.

Another option (Though it would cost more than $100) - I saw a central air unit on CL for $50 the other day... Of course that would have to be charged with coolant, and probably installed by a pro. But, if it was installed, you wouldn't necessarily need a furnace. Just put a fan on the evaporator A-frame and control the whole thing with a Ranco or something.

How about an RV air conditioner? That could be mounted on the roof They are going for around $400 on eBay

Found one here:
"This unit comes COMPLETE with a manual control ceiling assembly, so installation is extremely easy. With a little effort and your 110v. connection you will be enjoying the quiet comfort Dometic/Duotherm has been known for, for 30 years. This A/C can also be used on a ducted system with a different ceiling assembly and electronic package to fit your needs."

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Originally Posted by Ecnerwal View Post
What does the primary pressure gauge on the tank tell us? That's right, the temperature. Put it on a scale if you want to know how much is in it...
Put some duct tape over the gauge - Or better yet - Replace the high pressure gauge with a plug - High pressure gauges are useless!

Last edited by SweetSounds; 06-11-2010 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 06-11-2010, 12:56 PM   #4
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Since I live in Florida and our air is VERY humid, the evap cooler probably wont work... The RV air conditioner sounds like a good idea!!!

Another thought - I have an older mini fridge that has a working compressor... Is there a way to use the compressor and maybe couple it with some radiator fins or something along those lines to create a "custom fridge" of sorts?? In reading John Beere's post, it appears that with enough insulation, the cooling does not have to be so powerful, so maybe a mini-fridge compressor would work??

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Old 06-11-2010, 01:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yobata View Post
Since I live in Florida and our air is VERY humid, the evap cooler probably wont work... The RV air conditioner sounds like a good idea!!!

Another thought - I have an older mini fridge that has a working compressor... Is there a way to use the compressor and maybe couple it with some radiator fins or something along those lines to create a "custom fridge" of sorts?? In reading John Beere's post, it appears that with enough insulation, the cooling does not have to be so powerful, so maybe a mini-fridge compressor would work??
I don't know... I wouldn't think a mini fridge compressor would be able to hold down something the size of a walk in. Ferm chamber, yea. but you're talking about maybe 12 cubes there. A 6' x 4' x 8' walk-in (Don't know your planned size, so I'm just using that as an example) is 192 cubic feet! That's a loooooong way off from 4 cubes
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Originally Posted by Ecnerwal View Post
What does the primary pressure gauge on the tank tell us? That's right, the temperature. Put it on a scale if you want to know how much is in it...
Put some duct tape over the gauge - Or better yet - Replace the high pressure gauge with a plug - High pressure gauges are useless!
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Old 06-11-2010, 01:53 PM   #6
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It does make sense that a swamp cooler wouldnt' work well in high humidity environments, but I distinctly recall Walt Disney World in Orlando (actually EPCOT, I believe) had floor-to-ceiling swamp coolers that seemed to be very effective at cooling their greenhouses filled with plants. Not sure how low you could get the temperature, but I remember the relief of walking in there after being out in the sun.

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Old 06-11-2010, 02:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tallybrewer View Post
It does make sense that a swamp cooler wouldnt' work well in high humidity environments, but I distinctly recall Walt Disney World in Orlando (actually EPCOT, I believe) had floor-to-ceiling swamp coolers that seemed to be very effective at cooling their greenhouses filled with plants. Not sure how low you could get the temperature, but I remember the relief of walking in there after being out in the sun.
I can see it working for a greenhouse, which would get very hot without some sort of cooling, however, when it comes to a walk-in cooler, a swamp cooler has a fundamental flaw - you can't re-use air that has already been cooled. Swamp coolers work by adding moisture to hot, dry air. When the hot air absorbes the moisture, it's temperature goes down but it's humidity level goes up. This humid air cannot be cooled again because it will hardly be able to absorb more moisture. Thus you need to constantly bring in fresh air which is well above the temperature you want your cooler to be. Your cooler can only be about 20 degrees below the outdoor air temperature. So if it's 95 degrees outside, your fridge will be 75 degrees at best.
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Old 06-11-2010, 02:18 PM   #8
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I just had an idea- If you are building a couple walls to box in your cooler, why not just frame out an opening for a through-wall AC in one of those walls? It will spit out warm air into your garage, but who really cares? Just a thought.

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Old 06-11-2010, 02:53 PM   #9
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Brett - hot air in the garage is no big deal (its hot in there anyways...) i just didn't know if there was any problem with not being able to vent that air properly (i assumed that window units were exhausting that air OUTSIDE for a reason other than simply warm air...)

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Old 06-11-2010, 03:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yobata View Post
Brett - hot air in the garage is no big deal (its hot in there anyways...) i just didn't know if there was any problem with not being able to vent that air properly (i assumed that window units were exhausting that air OUTSIDE for a reason other than simply warm air...)
Nope - It's electric, so there's no emissions to worry about other than the hot air, and condensation...

It's just an electric heat exchanger
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Originally Posted by Ecnerwal View Post
What does the primary pressure gauge on the tank tell us? That's right, the temperature. Put it on a scale if you want to know how much is in it...
Put some duct tape over the gauge - Or better yet - Replace the high pressure gauge with a plug - High pressure gauges are useless!
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