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Old 12-09-2012, 11:46 PM   #1
tamorgan
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Default Question about an old freezer

Greetings-

Apologies if I make no sense, it has been a long day!

I came across an old stand up freezer and was happy to be able to use it (as a fermentation chamber or kegerator, what have you) until I discovered a problem.

It seems to be a very old freezer. I am young enough to have not known this style freezer even existed.

The shelves themselves are the freezing elements and cannot be moved. They look to all be connected as one long metal tube that wind around and form the shelves as a continuous loop. (apologies, no pictures ATM).

It appears to me I could cut the metal tube and reconnect in such a way that it bypasses a shelf allowing me to remove it and create the space I need. I wouldn't know the best way to go about doing this.

I also don't want to simply try forcing the shelf to bend out of the way, risking a break in the metal tubing.

Any ideas? If pictures are needed I could get some up soon. Thanks in advance for any help!

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Old 12-10-2012, 01:23 AM   #2
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Pictures would definitely help to see if there may be a workaround. The "elements" in the shelves appear to be the evaporator coils so do not cut them. There may be a way to separate them or bend them to the back of the chest......?

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Old 12-10-2012, 03:54 AM   #3
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Don't cut the tubing, it will release the freon and the freezer will be junk. You can't move the shelves in these units, I wouldn't recommend trying to bend them as the tubing will most likely kink and crack. Assuming this unit still works it would make a great food freezer. I'm trying to talk the wife into getting one of these for food, yes the still make them like this, and letting me have the chest freezer for brewing.

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Old 12-10-2012, 12:02 PM   #4
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Don't cut the tubes! Bad for you, bad for the environment, bad for the fridge - generally bad news. You have a great freezer, but not a great keezer. If you don't want a freezer... try to sell it and buy something else. If that option doesn't work for you, then try GENTLY bending the tubes (when it's not frozen). Best case - you can sorta use it but it won't look great. Worst case - see my sentance about the bad news.
-Kevin

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5gal Scottish Wee Heavy
5gal Saison
15gal American Pale Ale
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Keg 1: Apfelwein
Keg 2: Belgian Wit (Failure)
Keg 3: American Pale Ale
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Old 12-10-2012, 01:43 PM   #5
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I'll echo what has been said.

Don't cut the tubes, they contain the refrigerant gas under pressure. If you cut then it will escape and the unit will be worthless. Also, they are not good for you to breath.

Even if it has the ability to be recharged, if it is old it probably uses a phased out refrigerant.

If it is as old as you seem to think it is, it probably will add a significant amount to your power bill.

Edit: if you are attached to this unit you *might* be able to bend the shelves out of the way. I had a co-worker who bent the refrigerant line section of a mini-fridge out of the way for his kegerator. I cannot offer any advise on how to do it, just that it *may* be a possibility. If it doesn't work you will be left with a bent shelf that cannot be used and kegs/fermentors that do not fit or a gas leak and a dead unit.

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Old 12-10-2012, 02:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToV View Post
I'll echo what has been said.

Don't cut the tubes, they contain the refrigerant gas under pressure. If you cut then it will escape and the unit will be worthless. Also, they are not good for you to breath.

Even if it has the ability to be recharged, if it is old it probably uses a phased out refrigerant.

If it is as old as you seem to think it is, it probably will add a significant amount to your power bill.

Edit: if you are attached to this unit you *might* be able to bend the shelves out of the way. I had a co-worker who bent the refrigerant line section of a mini-fridge out of the way for his kegerator. I cannot offer any advise on how to do it, just that it *may* be a possibility. If it doesn't work you will be left with a bent shelf that cannot be used and kegs/fermentors that do not fit or a gas leak and a dead unit.
You are correct with the end result that it cant hurt (much) to try, but just because a refrigerant isn't used anymore in production does not mean it cant be had. If a line gets kinked or ruptured and needs to be repaired and the system recharged, it would most likely be cost prohibitive to repair.

A word of CAUTION: there is a chance, depending of the age of the unit, that it is an ammonia based system. You DO NOT want to breath that into your lungs!
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Old 12-10-2012, 03:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 501irishred View Post
You are correct with the end result that it cant hurt (much) to try, but just because a refrigerant isn't used anymore in production does not mean it cant be had. If a line gets kinked or ruptured and needs to be repaired and the system recharged, it would most likely be cost prohibitive to repair.

A word of CAUTION: there is a chance, depending of the age of the unit, that it is an ammonia based system. You DO NOT want to breath that into your lungs!
I was under the impression that certain refrigerants had been banned both in manufacture and import. If that is the case it, unless there is a direct replacement, it is going to be a problem.

Of course all this assumes it is rechargeable and not a closed system.
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToV View Post
I was under the impression that certain refrigerants had been banned both in manufacture and import. If that is the case it, unless there is a direct replacement, it is going to be a problem.

Of course all this assumes it is rechargeable and not a closed system.
Nah, you can get refrigerant for any (at least the 99.9%) residential unit ever sold in the US. Those "rumors" come about because some of my brethren in the HVACR world take the easy road out when talking to customers. Easier to say "sorry it can't be done due to government restriction" than to let them know it will cost 3 times what the fridge is worth, risk having them ask you to write up a quote that you KNOW there not going to accept. Sad but true. This statement is of course is from a national prospective, but of course individual states have the right to increase standards and locally some refrigerants may not be available for purchase.
IMO a residential refrigerator/freezer that needs evacuated, have a service valve added (majority do not come with one installed), a vacuum pulled, and recharged - with no other parts needed, your still going to be paying someone damn near what a new units going to cost or at least a good down payment (of course excludes some high end models).
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