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Schecter 09-11-2012 09:19 AM

Fermentation Room Cooling Unit (Not AC?)
Hello HBT,

Looking for an insight from all you smart guys and gals out there. I'm looking to turn my under-the-stairs "closet" in my basement into a nice little fermentation room.

Obvious method would be to use an AC, but its in the dead center of my basement and it isn't as easy as popping one in a window.

I could get away with a 5,000 BTU unit cooling the entire space (it really isn't that big), but I am afraid the exhaust would be a no-no. An alternative to this would to just set up the ventilation to one of the windows (which I'm sure SWMBO wouldn't like, but maybe she won't notice...)

I've toyed with a few ideas, but figured it was all just ignorant conjecture seeing I'm not anywhere near this field.

Yes, I searched all the threads and Google is my friend. I just couldn't find an adequate answer :mad:

So, whaddaya think? Pretty open to any suggestion at this point.


jet35a 09-11-2012 10:24 AM

2 Attachment(s)
I used a small ac unit, split with cool side in hot side out (duh). It doesn’t run that often or for very long. The amount of heat generated inside is negligible, the noise is more noticeable but I’ve had no complaints. The chamber is very well insulated, 3.5” glass and 2” foam board, spray foam insulation where needed to seal, large enough to hold 4 carboys.

My basement stays relatively cool in the summer and cold in the winter, unfinished. Were it finished, I would be setup in the garage.

For heating I use an aquarium ceramic heater.

A fan kicks on anytime heat or cool is on, for circulation.

I can not heat and cool at the same time. Standard electrical switch to switch modes and I replaced the jumper in the Johnson controller with a small switch to switch from heat to cool.

Huaco 11-28-2012 10:40 PM

How cold will this (split AC) chamber get? Can you Lager in it?
I am VERY interested in how you did this. Do you have a write-up?
I just came into access of 15-16 4x8x3" sheets of blue foam board insulation for free! The wheels upstairs are spinning.

jet35a 11-28-2012 11:50 PM


How cold will this (split AC) chamber get? Can you Lager in it?
I don't know, have never lowered it below 62, sorry.


I am VERY interested in how you did this. Do you have a write-up?
sorry no. The Johnson controller uses a jumper to determine if it is to be heating or cooling. I simply removed the jumper and soldered a small 2 pole switch in its place. A common light switch provides power from the controller output to either the a/c or heater.

Huaco 11-29-2012 12:01 AM

Right... I already have a 2-stage temp controller I am using in my fridge fermentation chamber. I heat with a light bulb in an unused paint can.

I was more asking
-how you split the AC unit.
-how you built the structure
-how you joined the walls
-how you made the door

starman 11-29-2012 12:05 AM


Originally Posted by Huaco (Post 4630671)
How cold will this (split AC) chamber get? Can you Lager in it?
I am VERY interested in how you did this. Do you have a write-up?
I just came into access to 15-16 4x8x3" sheets of blue foam board insulation. The wheels upstairs are spinning.

Its definitely possible to hit lager temps with decent insulation and airtight construction. People use a glorified STC-1000 controller called cool-bot to use window AC units for walk in coolers with great success. Most problems I've read on diy build threads have been caused by the coil freezing.

15- 16 sheets of 3" will make one heck of a lager room. Seal it up tight and lap those corners

Huaco 11-29-2012 12:10 AM

Just don't know if I can/want to sacrifice that much garage space... I may build a 4x8x4 chamber and build one for my buddy too.

limulus 03-19-2013 02:46 AM

I'm thinking about doing this too. I could do it in my garage or my basement. I have the unfinished space under the stairs in my basement. There is even a floor drain in that space. I don't know where the hell it goes, but there is a drain that I suppose I could use for AC condensation and yes, there is an outlet in that room. I also have another small storage area in the utilities room of the basement that I could do the same thing. There is no floor drain there but the HVAC systems for the basement and the main level are in this room and they have condensation pumps. I could simply run a drain to one of those pumps.

Has anyone else done this yet?

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