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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Fermenters > Using old A/C unit for Fermentation unit?
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Old 07-15-2009, 05:56 PM   #1
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Default Using old A/C unit for Fermentation unit?

I have an old AC window unit that I do not use anymore but is just sitting around. If I build an insulated box around it (so that it would hook onto the side as if it were in a window) would it make a good fermentation chamber? I think I can set for as low as 58F, which is at least good enough to make reliable ale temperatures.

Thoughts? Waste of time?


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Old 07-15-2009, 05:58 PM   #2
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Make that box big enough to not cycle the compressor too much and I think you'll be happy. Otherwise, I think you'll likely toast the compressor in short time.


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Old 07-15-2009, 06:05 PM   #3
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I'm in process of doing a similar thing (I'm setting up a 10X6 room in the garage) and going to use a window ac to keep it at 65, and from what I've read is that if the AC unit is an older analog type, like a Jonson controller, you can move the the stop point on the thermostat to a lower position, and get the AC to cool to lower temps.
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Old 07-15-2009, 06:06 PM   #4
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Caspio has done this exact same thing, and his chamber has been up and running for a few months now with no problems. A nice thing about this setup is the AC unit is built for circulating the air well, as opposed to a fridge which hardly circulates at all. I highly recommend putting your temperature control sensor in a container with some sort of liquid so that the compressor doesn't cycle on/off too much. I'll post back when I find his build log for the chamber.

Cheers!

EDIT: Here we go...build log: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/ferm...ler-v2-106440/
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Old 07-15-2009, 06:56 PM   #5
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Thats awesome and it seems fairly simple - it will have to be something I build later on though because im still in flipping grad school and it would just be too big...great reference though.
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Old 07-15-2009, 07:11 PM   #6
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Bsquared,
I have a 6X6 room in my shop that I put a lager chamber (refrigerator with a cabinet attached) in. The rest of the room, I use for an ale room. Since it is so small, I put a 5200 BTU unit in it (it is supposed to be able to handle a 10X10 room). I also insulated the bajeebus out of it. The outside temp has been around 100F for the last couple of weeks. The AC will keep the temp right at 68 - 70 during the hottest part of the day. All of this to say, make sure you get a big enough AC to get the job done. Good Luck - Dwain
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Old 07-15-2009, 07:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GilaMinumBeer View Post
Make that box big enough to not cycle the compressor too much and I think you'll be happy. Otherwise, I think you'll likely toast the compressor in short time.
Why would the box being smaller cycle the compressor too much? I would think a well insulated small-ish box would only kick on the AC unit 5-6 times a day and for a short time at that. I was thinking of doing this with a cabinet about 20 cu.ft.
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Old 07-15-2009, 10:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gremlyn1 View Post
Why would the box being smaller cycle the compressor too much? I would think a well insulated small-ish box would only kick on the AC unit 5-6 times a day and for a short time at that. I was thinking of doing this with a cabinet about 20 cu.ft.
I was actually thinking the same thing, smaller the better. right?
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Old 07-20-2009, 02:29 AM   #9
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Meant to pop into this thread a few days ago, I'm too forgetful. THB, thanks for pimping my setup

Just a side note: I built the ferm chamber over several weeks in feb. and march. After a week or two of operation, I got around to hooking up a kill-a-watt, and it has remained hooked up for the intervening months. This has covered quite a range of weather, from several weeks where ambient was colder than I wanted the chamber to be, to our current run of 100+ degree temps. I'm scared to know what the temp inside my garage gets to.

Over this time period, the kill-a-watt tells me I'm averaging 25 cents per day of operation costs. So far I've spent $20 to keep things running, with an estimated cost of $100/year. So far, I'm super happy with things. I just need to stop being lazy and keg the 20 gallons of kolsch and IPA I have in there, so I can get on to brewing the next batch
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Old 07-21-2009, 03:41 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dwain View Post
Bsquared,
I have a 6X6 room in my shop that I put a lager chamber (refrigerator with a cabinet attached) in. The rest of the room, I use for an ale room. Since it is so small, I put a 5200 BTU unit in it (it is supposed to be able to handle a 10X10 room). I also insulated the bajeebus out of it. The outside temp has been around 100F for the last couple of weeks. The AC will keep the temp right at 68 - 70 during the hottest part of the day. All of this to say, make sure you get a big enough AC to get the job done. Good Luck - Dwain
Thanks thanks for the info, I make sure I get at least 5200 btu, we have been having a heat wave down here, I think it got up to 88F , but my garage probably gets up to 95 or so, I only get sun in the AM on it, so I'm planing on insulating the garage door too. I'll see how it goes.


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