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John Beere 07-22-2006 09:28 PM

My Latest Project - Walk-in Cooler
 
So I've started my latest project - a walk-in cooler. It will be roughly 5' X 5' X 7' and will be located in our utility closet / laundry room in the garage and take up slightly more than half of the room. I am going to insulate the walls with R30 insulation (the heaviest I can find) and then 2 layers of this insulated foam board I found at Lowes which is 2" thick and listed as R15. I've picked out a frigidare 12k BTU window AC combined with a Ranco controller to cool it. My goal is to keep the entire cooler between 35 and 37 degrees year round.

I am also considering creating a fermentation cooler that is external to the cooler but is fed cold air on demand from a hole in the side of the cooler. It will have its own temperature controller which will power two fans (one push, one pull) and baffles to exchange cold air as necessary to maintain whatever my target fermentation temperature is.

I will update this post as I make progress but it will be a little slow going as I am pretty busy with work right now. I also plan on detailing the entire process on my website www.johnbeere.com when I get it setup as there is very limited information on this type project on the net - but from the info I've found (mainly on this forum), I am confident in the results.

Here are three photos of the room as it stands today:

http://johnbeere.com/images/cooler/before_1.jpg

http://johnbeere.com/images/cooler/before_2.jpg

http://johnbeere.com/images/cooler/before_3.jpg

drost 07-22-2006 09:56 PM

That is awesome. It's exactly what I want to do. I can't wait to see how yours turns out!

the_bird 07-22-2006 09:59 PM

That's very cool. From what I have read, assuming you insulate it well (and it sounds like you are), you can have a pretty big cooler that doesn't cost much more to run that a smaller one. What I'm saying is - if there's a way to make it bigger that 5x5, I would think about it.

david_42 07-22-2006 10:37 PM

You might want to start out by putting the reflectorized bubble insulation between the studs on all of the outside walls. It doesn't take up much room and is very good at reflecting the infrared from warm brick walls. Just leave a 1/4 inch space between the walls and the pack.

John Beere 07-22-2006 11:44 PM

Thanks for the tip. I'll look for it on my next trip to Lowes. I am actually looking for something to line the brick walls with under the insulation as there are large gaps at the top where the room is vented - sounds like that might work perfectly.

If anyone else has any tips, please feel free to share...

mbreen01 07-23-2006 05:17 AM

When trying to refridgerate the area (esp against a brick wall) you're bound to have moisture/condensation problems. So I'd use a vapor barrier like Tyvek for sure. Moisture and mold go hand in hand; so be careful.
Plus this will help keep the air layer static.

Keep us posted.

Marc.

alemonkey 07-24-2006 02:40 AM

Is the window going to be part of the insulated room or will it stop short of that? I could see that causing problems.

Looks like a sweet project - I'm jealous. I asked my wife about it as soon as I saw your pics. Needless to say I got shot down.

Edit:

Never mind, I reread the original post about the window a/c. :)

John Beere 07-24-2006 04:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alemonkey
Is the window going to be part of the insulated room or will it stop short of that? I could see that causing problems.

Looks like a sweet project - I'm jealous. I asked my wife about it as soon as I saw your pics. Needless to say I got shot down.

Edit:

Never mind, I reread the original post about the window a/c. :)

Try using your bedroom as beer storage for awhile - it will quickly change your wife's mind... heh

Yeah, the window will be inside the cooler. I am still thinking through the details of insulating it properly, but it will at least have 4" of insulated board as well as a layer of reflectix foil insulating it.

John Beere 07-24-2006 04:27 AM

I made some progress today... bought 5 rolls of Reflectix 24" wide foil insulation at Lowes and got it installed on the two brick walls. I was able to put it between the brick and the joists due the to way the room was originally constructed. They recommend airspace of at least 1/2"... I don't think I ended up with that much overall but there is some airspace due to the crap mortaring on the inside of the wall. I'm going to end up pushing it closer to the wall when I lay the insulation as that R30 stuff is thick stuff... still better than nothing right? I also used expanding foam and duct tape to begin closing all the gaps... gotta go get more tape tomorrow. Here are two photos:

http://johnbeere.com/images/cooler/progress_1.jpg

http://johnbeere.com/images/cooler/progress_2.jpg

sirsloop 07-24-2006 04:47 AM

should be pretty awesome... I dont want to see your electric bill though!! heh hhe....


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