kegerator in un-insulated garage having issues

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kegtoe

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So i went to pour a beer from my kegerator tonight and the lines were semi-froze from both taps. The kegerator sits in a garage (not insulated). I live in Northern minnesota and it has been below zero the lat 2 nights. Anyone else have issues wiht this? Is there anything i can do? SHouldnt the fridge be well insulated enough where this shouldnt happen??
 

Mista_Sparkle

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if its below freezing where your fridge is and it isn't heated, its going to freeze sooner or later. Insulation will do nothing other than slow down the heat transfer between your fridge and outside.

perhaps you could get some sort of heater for your fridge, otherwise i would be careful to avoid bursting and move your stuff inside
 

half_full

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Same situation here. Actually born and raised in MN. Live in MI now. I know of the cold temps in I Falls! So, last year I ordered a temp controller and set up a light bulb in a cage inside the fridge. I used a 40 watt bulb and never had a frozen line. You may need to get more wattage up there. A sun lamp? Just kidding.
 

half_full

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I cut a small notch in the seal of the fridge door to feed the wire and temp sensor inside. Held the wires in place with a small piece of stick on foam insulation to fill the void. It's an old fridge that I got for free so no worries on long term issues.
 

tomwirsing

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I'm in Cleveland, it's not the Icebox of the Nation, but it does get cold enough to freeze beer. I'm going into my first winter with a kegerator in the garage and was faced with the same issue.

My solution was simpler, but probably a bit more wateful of energy. I took advantage of the light that is already in there. I pulled out the switch that turns on the 40 watt bulb in the back. I was able to pop the switch out. Then I trimmed some plastic to give me a little slack wire so I could get it into the fridge and out of the way of the door. Finally, I duct taped it to the ceiling of the fridge. One of the adavantages of having a kegerator that's a rusty POS somebody on Craig's List was giving away is you don't mind cutting it up a little bit or having eelectrical wiring duct taped to the ceiling.

I think this is going to prove to be a very simple and effective solution. 40 watts seems like it should be plenty to keep a very well insulated box above 29 degrees or so. I'd guess it's actually more than I need.
 

half_full

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yep, the 40W bulb does the job. It was a very cold winter last year and the temp controller did turn the bulb on and off. The reason I went with a temp controller was to try to maintain temp as best I could. I'm still pretty new to kegging but reviewing the carb chart shows how temp affects carbonation.
 

tomwirsing

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yep, the 40W bulb does the job. It was a very cold winter last year and the temp controller did turn the bulb on and off. The reason I went with a temp controller was to try to maintain temp as best I could. I'm still pretty new to kegging but reviewing the carb chart shows how temp affects carbonation.
I'm also using a temperature controller. It's the one the Whirlpool factory installed. When the light bulb heats up the fridge too much, the fridge kicks on and cools it down. I know it would be more energy efficient to use a temp controller on the light, and I may add one, but I was working with what I had on hand.
 
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Would i even need to have teh fridge plugged in?? Say i buy a light (heater) and hook it up to an xternal temperature controller taht would heat the fridge up when it gets to cold, why then would i need to plug my fridge in?? It is already way colder than what it needs ot be.
 

tomwirsing

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Would i even need to have teh fridge plugged in?? Say i buy a light (heater) and hook it up to an xternal temperature controller taht would heat the fridge up when it gets to cold, why then would i need to plug my fridge in?? It is already way colder than what it needs ot be.
You wouldn't need to leave the fridge plugged in when it's too cold, but you'd need to plug it back in as it gets too warm. If you have a temp control on the light, you should have a system you could leave untouched year round. When the air around your fridge is too cold, the fridge won't kick on and the light will take care of things. When the air around your fridge is too warm, the light won't kick on and the fridge will take care of things.

There doesn't seem to be much reason to unplug the fridge. It isn't really consuming electricity if it doesn't cycle on at all.
 

rsmith179

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There doesn't seem to be much reason to unplug the fridge. It isn't really consuming electricity if it doesn't cycle on at all.
Only reason I can think of is that he only has one temperature controller, or it is not a two-stage controller. Kinda the same boat I'm in. Have a Ranco controller but it only controls on/off for one device. If I'm going to be using a lamp, I can't plug into the freezer and vice versa.
 
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kegtoe

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i saw that little heater thing in anohter post. However i think the source of my freezing is coming form the taps are getting too cold and the freezing happens there.

I have a few cans of beer in the fridge and they're not freezing. Its only the lines.
 

tomwirsing

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Only reason I can think of is that he only has one temperature controller, or it is not a two-stage controller. Kinda the same boat I'm in. Have a Ranco controller but it only controls on/off for one device. If I'm going to be using a lamp, I can't plug into the freezer and vice versa.
He doesn't ned a separate controller for the fridge. It has one built in, albeit it isn't as precise.
 

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I'm in Cleveland, it's not the Icebox of the Nation, but it does get cold enough to freeze beer. I'm going into my first winter with a kegerator in the garage and was faced with the same issue.

My solution was simpler, but probably a bit more wateful of energy. I took advantage of the light that is already in there. I pulled out the switch that turns on the 40 watt bulb in the back. I was able to pop the switch out. Then I trimmed some plastic to give me a little slack wire so I could get it into the fridge and out of the way of the door. Finally, I duct taped it to the ceiling of the fridge. One of the adavantages of having a kegerator that's a rusty POS somebody on Craig's List was giving away is you don't mind cutting it up a little bit or having eelectrical wiring duct taped to the ceiling.

I think this is going to prove to be a very simple and effective solution. 40 watts seems like it should be plenty to keep a very well insulated box above 29 degrees or so. I'd guess it's actually more than I need.
Good! I checked my fridge this am (Also in MN, also below 0), and it was at 28 degrees. I have a feeling I'll have beer slushies shortly. I don't have the scratch for a temp controller right now, so I was gonna do the same thing you described...short the switch so the light is always on.

Glad to hear that will work for me!
 
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kegtoe

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Hey shorty, thats what i did - and i have a 40 watt bulb. Its still not enough to keep teh lines from freezing. I think the taps are causing the lines to freeze. The taps are excellent conductor of cold.
 

shortyjacobs

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Hey shorty, thats what i did - and i have a 40 watt bulb. Its still not enough to keep teh lines from freezing. I think the taps are causing the lines to freeze. The taps are excellent conductor of cold.
Luckily I'm still poor to afford 5 taps/shanks/etc., so it's only picnic taps. Thanks for the warning though! :mug:
 
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ok, here is what i did. I removed the swithc for the light without breaking it. Then i took my brew belt and folded it on itself twice making 3 tight revolutions and put that on my taps. No more frozen beer
 

shortyjacobs

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ok, here is what i did. I removed the swithc for the light without breaking it. Then i took my brew belt and folded it on itself twice making 3 tight revolutions and put that on my taps. No more frozen beer
Yup, my fridge is now holding much warmer with that little light on, (yay). I don't have the tap problem, but I've heard that if you don't want to tie up (or don't own) your brewbelt, you can buy "heat tape" at the hardware store and wrap that around for cheap.

Searched amazon, found these...they have built in thermostats. I've heard of people wrapping these around their taps. Not sure if you'd face foaming issues, but I bet not, this stuff never gets "HOT" , (these are links for 3', 6' and 9'....they have it all the way up into the 100s of feet)

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0000DGADE/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0006VAMTW/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00002N6MB/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20
 
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glad i found this thread, my taps have icicles hanging from them right now! thanks for the ideas.
 

theck

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I'm in Cleveland, it's not the Icebox of the Nation, but it does get cold enough to freeze beer. I'm going into my first winter with a kegerator in the garage and was faced with the same issue.

My solution was simpler, but probably a bit more wateful of energy. I took advantage of the light that is already in there. I pulled out the switch that turns on the 40 watt bulb in the back. I was able to pop the switch out. Then I trimmed some plastic to give me a little slack wire so I could get it into the fridge and out of the way of the door. Finally, I duct taped it to the ceiling of the fridge. One of the adavantages of having a kegerator that's a rusty POS somebody on Craig's List was giving away is you don't mind cutting it up a little bit or having eelectrical wiring duct taped to the ceiling.

I think this is going to prove to be a very simple and effective solution. 40 watts seems like it should be plenty to keep a very well insulated box above 29 degrees or so. I'd guess it's actually more than I need.
Old post but I live in CLeveland area as well, did the 40 watt bulb work all winter? I got my fridge out there now and the 40 going strong, hoping it holds out well.
 

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