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Old 06-18-2010, 02:15 PM   #1
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Default Fridge or freezer for ferm chamber?

I am looking on craigslist for a used fridge or freezer to make into a ferm chamber. I found an upright fridge for $5. The guys says it was still running after 24 hours of being plugged in, so he wasn't sure if the thermostat was working. Not a big deal to me

However I am undecided if I want a fridge or not. A chest freezer almost seems better in some way.

Do you think I could fit 2 buckets/carboys in a fridge? That is likely the most I'd have in it at any given time anyway. The price is right, and I'd like not having that much more floor space being taken up too.

Just not sure if I can put a shelf in there for a second fermenter...

For sale is a GE gold-colored refrigerator: Model number: TB14SSF. 64" high, 30 1/2" wide, 27" deep

http://grandrapids.craigslist.org/app/1794720958.html

I am emailing to see if it's still for sale. I will be going down for Founders Fest and could pick it up tomorrow. There is no shortage of reasonable fridges and freezers on craigslist. Many under $100


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Old 06-18-2010, 03:36 PM   #2
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I myself use a stand up fridge. Not sure what size it is but it is full size one. I fit two carboys in it with no problems at all. With a fridge you don't have to lift a heavy carboy/bucket over the side. I built a shelf using one of the racks that came with the fridge and some treated lumber I had laying around the garage. I took the brackets that hold the other shelves to make shelves for my garage.


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Old 06-18-2010, 04:17 PM   #3
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I think fitting more than 2 into the fridge at a time would be hard to do. I have a freezerless fridge for mine and 4 7 gal buckets is all she'll hold.

I think the pros and cons on the fridge vs freezer debate are..

fridge
pros:
easy to get in and out of
less floor space
dime a dozen used

cons:
less efficient
limited fermenters

freezer
pros:
more efficient
more room for fermenters

cons:
lots of awkward lifting
more floor space
a little more expensive used.
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Old 06-18-2010, 04:48 PM   #4
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This is mine:



Currently $519 at Sears. It took about an hour to replace the existing thermostat/temp control with a Love controller. Easily fits four carboys, and perhaps could hold six cornies, if you ferment in them.

Sure, it's more expensive than a used one, but the compressor should last a wee bit longer, and it's perfect for the task. My best excuse for it is that I would have needed to buy a lot more tools to build a fermentation chamber, so this was the "cheap" way out. YMMV with your SWMBO.
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Old 06-18-2010, 06:12 PM   #5
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I'm not at all interested in spending any more money than I have to. I already have a ferm chamber build going on, but frankly, if I can get a fridge of freezer for $50 or less, I dont' have to mess with the project and insulating and all that jazz. And I KNOW a fridge or freezer will be more efficient than what I had in mind.

My only question was whether there was an advantage to one over the other, something I had not thought of. So far, I will be looking to get the $5 fridge if it's still available. If not, then whatever unit comes along cheap will suffice.

I have too many projects to want to spend more time and money than I have to on this. I want to get back to my Mustang restoration, and there are a couple of other brewing projects that I want to work on as well, not to mention the usual household stuff.

My wife is happy if I am happy, but she'd be even happier if what I wanted to do made sense and cost less. Plus she wants me to get back into the car project (I think the notices that my brewing has actually started to consume most of my time...)
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Old 06-18-2010, 06:19 PM   #6
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I just found a chest freezer for $20 locally. I brew with a buddy and we often have several 10 gallon batches going. I can fit 6 primary buckets in the chest freezer. If I didn't need that much space, I would opt for the fridge. That freezer does take up a big footprint in the shop.
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Old 06-18-2010, 06:25 PM   #7
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Don't forget about upright freezers - they look like JPC's fridge, but can get colder. I think thats what I'm going to use when I put one together.
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Old 06-18-2010, 06:40 PM   #8
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I have an upright freezer that we are going to replace. But it's got shelf/coils, and I don't think I can manage to get them out of the way without breaking it. Plus, I answered a craigslist ad for a woman who is asking for a free one.

I'm leaning more towards a small chest freezer or a fridge. I just don't see ever putting more than 2 fermenters in there, and I dont' want to take up anymore space than necessary.

The fridge might actually work better, cause you know how flat surfaces collect crap on them. First it's "I'll only set this here for a second or two." Then before you know it, "I have to clean the freezer off before I can check on my chocolate stout..."
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Old 06-18-2010, 06:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Homercidal View Post
cause you know how flat surfaces collect crap on them. First it's "I'll only set this here for a second or two." Then before you know it, "I have to clean the freezer off before I can check on my chocolate stout..."
I just moved mine into position a few days ago and this is already an issue! Especially since I used to have a workbench there.
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Old 06-18-2010, 06:46 PM   #10
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I think chest freezers are the way to go if you can find one in your price range. I have 2 big ones that I have temp controlled so I can ferm at a specific temp but also cold crash and they have no problem getting to very low temps...


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