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Old 04-21-2011, 01:32 AM   #1
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Default Fermentation chamber: window ac vs minifridge

I'm planning on building a fermentation chamber to live in my garage, which can get above 90 degrees in the summer. I've seen plenty of examples of people building chambers with window unit ACs as the cooling source, but I've also seen one with a minifridge with its door removed and an insulated box built around it (though I lost the link to it). I've considered using a deep freeze, but I'm thinking I might want to expand the chamber in the future and be able to put a conical or two in it. Right now I just need it big enough for a bucket and a couple of carboys.

I think the window ac unit would be the best solution, but my wife is leaving her job and will be bringing home the tiny minifridge that we bought last summer. It's only 2 cubic feet I think, so it wouldnt really work as a kegerator. Any thoughts on using the minifridge, or should I just buy a window unit and keep bottles in the minifridge?

Any examples of similar builds would also be appreciated.

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Old 04-21-2011, 01:39 AM   #2
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I'm planning on building a fermentation chamber to live in my garage, which can get above 90 degrees in the summer. I've seen plenty of examples of people building chambers with window unit ACs as the cooling source, but I've also seen one with a minifridge with its door removed and an insulated box built around it (though I lost the link to it). I've considered using a deep freeze, but I'm thinking I might want to expand the chamber in the future and be able to put a conical or two in it. Right now I just need it big enough for a bucket and a couple of carboys.

I think the window ac unit would be the best solution, but my wife is leaving her job and will be bringing home the tiny minifridge that we bought last summer. It's only 2 cubic feet I think, so it wouldnt really work as a kegerator. Any thoughts on using the minifridge, or should I just buy a window unit and keep bottles in the minifridge?

Any examples of similar builds would also be appreciated.
If you want to use the mini fridge, you have a couple options:

1. You can gut it, and all the cooling coils and such out of it and buid a chamber to suit.

2. You can integrate the entire fridge into a chamber per your explanation.

Many use a window A/C unit because they have a higher BTU rating, can cool quicker, and are proabably suited for more extreme environments.

A couple thiings on them though:

1. Newer units can be difficult to wire controllers to.

2. They require more energy.

3. They are louder than a mini-fridge.

4. There will be an additional cost to you, and you siad you are getting a free, or at least already paid for unit.

I'm sure there are a ton more pros and cons, but that is what came off the top of my head in the 60 seconds it took to type this!

I say go mini-fridge, build it right, and it will serve you well.

FWIW, I just finished my mini-fridge fermentation chamber about a month ago, it uses a ~4cu mini fridge (not a cube, but a vounter height).

img_2587.jpg
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Old 04-21-2011, 02:12 AM   #3
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Oh wow, yours is the chamber I was talking about! Id love to see some more pics if you have them. What kind of insulation material is that?

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Old 04-21-2011, 02:29 AM   #4
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The insulation material is r-max polyiso it has an "r" rating of 9.5 in the 1.5" thickness.

Here are some build pics:

img_2384.jpg

img_2513.jpg

img_2535.jpg

img_2536.jpg

img_2577.jpg

...and you saw the finished product.

If you have any questions about the build in particular feel free to PM me.

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Old 04-21-2011, 02:54 AM   #5
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Schnitz thats an awesome looking chamber, did you make a build thread? I like how you have have the front and side panels even. I think you could add same beaad board or other thin wood facing and really class that thing up for about 15 bucks. Not that it looks bad as is. you chould just hide the foil tape and insulation.

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Old 04-21-2011, 04:56 AM   #6
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Schnitz thats an awesome looking chamber, did you make a build thread? I like how you have have the front and side panels even. I think you could add same beaad board or other thin wood facing and really class that thing up for about 15 bucks. Not that it looks bad as is. you chould just hide the foil tape and insulation.
Yeah, I have thought about using whiteboard, or chalkboard on it, I do have a build thread on my blog. Click the follow me@BrokenGlassBrewery link in my sig, and you'll find it.

However, beadboard would class it up!
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Old 04-21-2011, 05:41 PM   #7
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How come you chose to use a Love controller over a much simpler Johnson/Ranco unit? Was it cheaper? Does it work better? Was it based on appearance? Is it just that you are more used to the Love controllers?

I've been trying to figure out which way to go and the only real advantage of the Love controller that I see for my purposes is that the instalation may look cleaner.

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Old 04-21-2011, 06:17 PM   #8
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my question is how to you get the carboys out when they are full and weight soo much?

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Old 04-21-2011, 06:20 PM   #9
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I had a decent experience with the one I installed on my Kegerator.

The blue LED was a major selling point for me, silly, I know, but I think it looks really cool.

They are made for heating and refrigeration purposes

I wanted to direct wire it into my unit.

It is much smaller than a Ranco unit, low profileand small, takes little space to install it.

I already had experience with it from my kegerator build.

Ranco has "rank" in it, lol, just messin'.

Love controllers look nice and are easy to use.

That is my rationale.

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Old 04-21-2011, 11:00 PM   #10
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However, beadboard would class it up!
was that smiley face meant as sarcasm? i like the way my keezer turned out.

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