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Old 02-21-2011, 08:13 PM   #1
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Default Fermentation Chamber Build

I'm considering converting my current TV stand into a fermentation chamber when SWMBO allows me to buy a new TV stand.

I've got the design pretty much laid out (pic below) but have a couple of options for the cooling. Initially I was going to go with a 5000 BTU window AC with a Love controller but my friend just gave me a 1.7 cu ft mini fridge, which I was able to remove the cooling unit from.

So my current line of thought is to install this with a fan or two to blow over the coils and get the cold air flow circulating and see if it can keep up with the fermentation of few ales.

Question is, if during the fridge deconstruction one of the lines developed a slow leak, is there any health risk to me or my family? We plan on putting this in the living room. I know there isn't a fast leak or anything because I tested the unit outside for about 10 minutes and the coils developed frost/condensation.

Model of the Fermentation Chamber (the blue thing is a window AC):

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Old 02-21-2011, 09:52 PM   #2
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I used a refrigerator to make both my kegerator and fermentation chamber. If you can find a fridge for cheap(or free) go on line and look for the Ranco ETC 111000. It will cost you about 65 for the temp. controller and all you need is the end from a new extension cord to wire it for power(they charge extra to wire it for you). Plug your fridge into it and put the sensor inside through a 1/4" hole and viola: a fermenter that will hold up to 20 gallons of fermenting wort at any temperature from -30 to +220 obviously limited by the cooling power of you fridge..

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Old 02-21-2011, 10:41 PM   #3
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I used a refrigerator to make both my kegerator and fermentation chamber.
I would LOVE to have the space for that, but SWMBO says I can't have a guest room for the brewery...So I'm stuck trying to use the 31" x 18" space in the living room. "And what [I] put there has to match the decor."
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Old 02-21-2011, 10:59 PM   #4
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my chest freezer that I just converted to a keezer is only 23.5 x 23.5, a little larger then your 18" side but smaller then your 31" side. with a controller it worked great as a fermentation chamber. Now, it's about ready to house 4 kegs. It might be an easier option and you can always doll it up to match whatever you need it to.

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Old 02-22-2011, 05:26 PM   #5
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I told my woman the refrigerators would get all the stuff out of the house and into the garage which is where I do all my brewing. Would that be an option?

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Old 02-22-2011, 08:44 PM   #6
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I told my woman the refrigerators would get all the stuff out of the house and into the garage which is where I do all my brewing. Would that be an option?
Tried and failed...problem is with the 2 motorcycles already in the garage as well as my truck and tools and home brew equip, there's not a lot of room left to play with. She already "made" me buy a turkey fryer to move everything out of the house.
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Old 02-23-2011, 03:08 PM   #7
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So I did something I should have done before posting here...I called the manufacturer of the fridge and asked if there was any exposure risk to running a mini-fridge with a pin hole leak.

There isn't any risk (which I expected but was still relieved to hear). I think once I get the go ahead from SWMBO, I'm going to try to convert a TV stand into a fermentation chamber...mostly because I want to know if I actually can.

So being new to HBT, is there anything I should do to close the thread or should I just let it "go gently into that good night"?

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Old 02-23-2011, 03:17 PM   #8
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What u have a leak in the system and they told you it was safe? If it is leaking gas(r14a or watever the refridgerators use) it is most certainly not ok for you or your family. That is why there are laws against venting it into the atmosphere. and if it gets on your skin it does not feel good(trust me I know)

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Old 02-23-2011, 03:22 PM   #9
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What u have a leak in the system and they told you it was safe? If it is leaking gas(r14a or watever the refridgerators use) it is most certainly not ok for you or your family. That is why there are laws against venting it into the atmosphere. and if it gets on your skin it does not feel good(trust me I know)
I don't know if I have a leak or not (if I do it's small enough to not affect the system after 10 min.), but I called the fridge manufacturer and they did say it was safe...I haven't tested for longer than 10 min and I haven't done anything inside. I wanted to know what the risks were prior to accepting them.
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Old 02-23-2011, 03:31 PM   #10
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I would think if it's leaking coolent it will be useless for use as a fermentation chamber. It won't get cold after the coolent is gone.

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