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Old 09-30-2011, 05:04 PM   #11
Aug 2011
Chicago, IL
Posts: 17

Originally Posted by ilikethetrees View Post
Greetings from Chicago!

I highly recommend going with an AC unit if you want to build something to purpose for multiple temperature zones. Especially if you're talking about using one compressor to cool two separate areas, I'd expect that an AC unit would do the job best because it has a big ol' fan in it pushing the cool air around. You'll need the fan in the AC unit plus some extra fans to move cold air from one zone to another. Besides, a 5,000 BTU AC unit can be had for next to nothing compared to a freezer.

Naturally, you won't have to build anything if you buy a freezer, but if you expect to be dealing with 50 gallons of brew in carboys and buckets or similar fermentation vessels, the dimensions of most commercially available chest and upright freezers and refrigerators won't be optimal. The space might seem sufficient, but the problem is how the space is laid out in most of them.

Here's something prrriiide did that really fits the bill:
Planning stages:

Building stages:

If you decided to go with refrigerators or chest freezers, it would probably be a lot easier to buy two and just set them for different temperatures.

Just my .02. Building a whole new refrigerator from scratch is for factories. Foam insulation sheets are relatively inexpensive and do just fine insulating.
Yea I kind of bailed on the idea because of the freezer I found that I mentioned above. I got the measurements and I think it should fit 16 six gallon carboys so it should be more than enough. I agree with your assessment though. It seems like the A/C unit would be the easiest route from everything I was reading. However, it would require more space which is tough to come by in Chicago.

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Old 10-01-2011, 02:47 PM   #12
Sep 2010
Chicago, IL
Posts: 96
Liked 3 Times on 2 Posts

16! Wow, that really puts mine to shame. Great find! : )

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Old 10-02-2011, 03:10 AM   #13
Oct 2009
Northbrook, Illinois
Posts: 600
Liked 14 Times on 11 Posts

Someone posted a commercial fridge like that with glass doors in fon du lac wisconsin....I think price was 300. Don't quote me, check classifieds here.

EDIT: here is thread....

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Old 10-02-2011, 01:57 PM   #14
jet35a's Avatar
Sep 2009
Posts: 49
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

An AC unit works well. I split mine and ran only the coolant lines into the fermentation chamber, instead of constructing a “window” in the chamber.

The small fan runs only when the heat/cool system is powered, to move the air around. Would like to put it on a delay but I don’t currently have the technology.

Heat provided with a terrarium lizard heater.

The controller is switched for heating and cooling operations. The unit is set for heat or cool but not able to do both as everything runs off the same controller.
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Old 10-02-2011, 02:43 PM   #15
Apr 2011
McDonough, GA
Posts: 78

I bought a large chest freezer on sale at Best Buy and got a digital temp controller online for around $50. Hooked it up and set for 65 degrees. Maintains from 64 - 66 like a dream.

Rick near Atlanta

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Old 10-04-2011, 01:57 AM   #16
Feb 2007
Posts: 468
Liked 27 Times on 23 Posts

Here's the fermenter fridge that I'm building. I brew with conical's, so I went with a glycol system, but if you wanted air cooling, it would have been easy to put the evaporator in the top half. For what it's worth, the old fridge has a 1500btu/hr capacity, and I've currently got it in the garage fermenting a lager @ 52 degrees.....with no door. (liquid cooled not air cooled)

I plan on getting the door done soon, then adding some form of radiator+fan to allow the air temp in the box to be cooled as well (if needed)

might give you some ideas

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