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Old 11-14-2012, 01:17 PM   #1
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Default Wood paneling for keezer

I'm planning my keezer build and I've heard mixed opinions from various people about using wood to cover the walls of a chest freezer. I'd like to build something similar to this: http://wardiesworld.wordpress.com/category/brewing/keezer/page/2/ (this guy has more woodworking skill than I do, but I think I can build something similar).

I've heard from several people that covering the walls of a chest freezer with wood prevents necessary air flow and will over work the freezer's compresssor thus shortening its lifespan. Is that a valid concern? Are there any other problems this could cause?

An alternative build I've been considering is to frame the outside of the freezer walls and paint the rest of the areas with appliance or chalk paint, something like this: http://imgur.com/a/5nF7c#0.

What are your thoughts from a functionality standpoint? I don't want to go through the effort of building a wood facade for the freezer just to burn out the freezer's motor prematurely. Thank you in advance.



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Old 11-14-2012, 09:03 PM   #2
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I've heard people say you will burn out the compressor. Personally, I don't buy it. I have yet to see a post with someone saying, "Oh no! My compressor died!" In some post long ago somebody had a friend who was an HVAC guy who said it would be a problem. It soon became gospel.

The compressor does not use the walls of your freezer for cooling. The walls of your freezer have the evaporator coils and insulation. If anything, I would think putting a sheet of wood on the skin of the freezer would insulate the freezer better and HELP the compressor by making it run less.

If anything, I would look for any obvious air vents on your freezer and try not to cover those.



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Old 11-14-2012, 09:20 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phyrst View Post
I've heard people say you will burn out the compressor. Personally, I don't buy it. I have yet to see a post with someone saying, "Oh no! My compressor died!" In some post long ago somebody had a friend who was an HVAC guy who said it would be a problem. It soon became gospel.

The compressor does not use the walls of your freezer for cooling. The walls of your freezer have the evaporator coils and insulation. If anything, I would think putting a sheet of wood on the skin of the freezer would insulate the freezer better and HELP the compressor by making it run less.

If anything, I would look for any obvious air vents on your freezer and try not to cover those.
The compressor does use the walls of the freezer for dissipating the heat from the coils. If you insulate the outside of the freezer, you force the heat back into the freezer and it will run much longer / more often.

Will this kill the freezer prematurely? Of course it will.
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Old 11-14-2012, 10:18 PM   #4
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The concern is that you need a space around the outside walls of the freezer to allow for air flow because the walls dissipate the heat that the freezer builds up.

One way around this is to use some spacer blocks on the corners that will allow for an air flow space between the wood of the Keezer veneer and the Keezer walls. Practically, this is a 2 x 4 frame that sits between the Keezer and the veneer walls. The veneer is attached to the frame. Some of the builds also have computer fans near the bottom that would circulate air in the space between the veneer and the wall of the freezer.

This option would make for a nice furniture-grade keezer. However, I opted for the appliance paint and painted my freezer black to contrast with the wood collar.

I hope that this helps.

Mark

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Old 11-14-2012, 11:20 PM   #5
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Yes, as mentioned above, the freezer needs to shed heat from the exterior walls to function properly, so covering them with an insulative material will cause it to work harder. This is why the instruction manual for every chest freezer specifically tells you not to install it against walls or other appliances, and specifically tells you the minimum air gap required (typically 3" on all sides).

There are a few ways to cover a freezer without significantly impacting its performance. The first, as mentioned above, is to build a frame so that there's an air gap between the freezer and the paneling. If the air gap will be smaller than what the freezer manual suggests as a minimum, fans can be installed to carry the warm air away from the freezer. The other solution is to use a very thin material with a very low R value, and mount it directly to the freezer walls. If you do this, make sure that there's no air gap between the freezer and the covering, as a small air gap will trap heat and act as an insulator.

What I did was make a wooden frame out of thin wood, and secure thin copper sheet to it. The copper is flush against the freezer, and if anything acts like a heat sink to improve heat transfer. The wood frame doesn't cover much of the freezer, and is relatively thin.

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Old 11-14-2012, 11:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phyrst View Post
The compressor does not use the walls of your freezer for cooling. The walls of your freezer have the evaporator coils and insulation. If anything, I would think putting a sheet of wood on the skin of the freezer would insulate the freezer better and HELP the compressor by making it run less.
Feel the sides of your freezer, they are warm because the skin acts as a heat sink to draw heat from the coils.

If you cover the sides you will keep it from cooling properly. You can still put a box around the freezer with paneling but you need to have a gap and use fans to move the air around.
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Old 11-15-2012, 07:21 PM   #7
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Some people have skinned their keezers, but most shy away from it because of the reasons stated in the posts above. Give yourself an air gap and don't worry about it.



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