Walkin Cooler TX Build

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Phischy

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Lost 3 weekends of work due to the floods. My house was fine but man, it was a mess and traffic still won't go back to normal for another 3 weeks.

In the meantime we got the custom gaskets in and I installed them. Of course they interfere with the door insulation so cutting that back. This is all trial and error. Frankly, we probably should have made the door a bit thicker so the gasket could be installed there. And all of this may be moot as I'm now going to chill my conicals with glycol and nix the cooled forced air idea. But it'll all be insulated anyway.

https://m.flickr.com/#/photos/billjohnn/2226925977/in/set-72157601706400311/

Going to follow this guy's build. But I found a place that will slightly flatten 3/8th copper tubing which will increase efficiency. Waiting to get a quote back.

Shortly I'll be finishing the wiring, and we bought and installed shelving units so now I have places to store beer in the cold room and also all my brewing crap outside. So very close! The goal by Sunday is to turn the cold room on.
 
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Phischy

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All these rains and then catching up on regular house projects have put me way behind on this.

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Spent a lot of damn time working on this, then while repainting the door which got dinged/dented pretty well in transit (it fell out of my dad's truck) I primered it, then 1 can of red paint. Ran out, so same brand with a 2nd can and the nozzel was screwed up, didn't realize the massive mist it was putting off until I stood back. I attempted to clean it, but you can see clearly where I had paper down. *sigh* now I have to repoxy about 200sq ft.

9 taps, inside is 6x8'.

Cabinet on the right is glassware. And behind them are fermenting chambers for my conicals.

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Currently working on the CO2, just got the keg shelving in today and that caused me to change my plans. Trying to put as few holes into the walls as possible. Then I have to figure out the glycol reservoir since there's not as much room as I had intended. In my head I have that mostly figured out.

And of course wrapping the conicals in cooling tubes. Getting closer, I just need it to stop bloody raining.
 
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Phischy

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Today got the CO2 side done. The big issue is remembering where we had the studs and I really didn't want to put any more holes in the wall than necessary. So, got the idea to just mount all the distro bars to the shelving itself.

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So 2 setups for lo/hi pressure. Should give me all the options for serving different styles, plus the CO2 tank has a 2 stage regulator on it, so I have another line there for anything else.

Finally got the lights up.

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There's an arch piece going up yet, and of course bulbs would be nice. Going with some antique bulbs just for display. No idea where we're going to put the tap list yet. Going to have a keg underneath to catch the drip tray runnings. I have one I bought really cheap because it was missing a lot of parts. Will do that in cedar as well.

And my pop made the lower shelf for my sink.

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We've been tearing through all that old teak I picked up at a boat shop back in SD. This shelf isn't for anything heavy, but it keeps all the hydrometers out of the way. Sink is now done.

Very productive day.
 
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Phischy

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Having had this in use now for 5 years I've learned a few things and here are some of my take away's.

If I were to build this again, I'd do it differently as I'm sure my vapor barrier must be leaking due to some symptoms.

1. I would build the walks in place and spray in place. Moving the pieces in as complete units was not a great idea as it may have caused things to shift.
2. Vapor barrier, instead of just using the sealant, I would have taped them as well. Maybe even double hung the plastic sheeting. This remains my biggest concern. By hanging the sheeting, taping it and building the walls in place may have resulted in a better seal and less chance of any tearing/abrasion. This is more true for the ceiling. Then you just put the exterior wall up, and spray from the inside. This will result in a better wall of insulation against the exterior.
3. I used fiber board, which when it soaked up moisture it expanded and caused problems.

Now, I did abandon and tore out the insulated 'conical housings' and instead installed a 40gal water tank which I ran plumbing and control wires out to the conicals that I then wrapped in soft coper, this works amazingly well for holding temps for ales. Can't really cold crash them though as the room is only 40F. In the winter I can hold lager temps around 55F. But it's just easier to roll the FV into the cold room where it's insulated with a heat wrap and I can maintain any temp there. I'm pretty sure this is where the moisture from the tank inside the cold room is coming from. The tank doesn't seal closed, it just has a lid that sits down on top and I have weight on it but it's far from perfect.

Lastly, where ever you plan to put holes through your walls (taps, coolant lines etc...) box that out and use rigid insulation instead of blown in. The blown in crumbles easily when tools are used. I'm pretty sure my tap wall is a big issue and this winter when it's cold I may disassemble, box it out, install rigid insulation and use a hole saw to re-install the shanks. I'm more convinced this is a point of failure.

Otherwise, I have really enjoyed it. I expected the first AC to last about 5 years and now that we're out of the heat of the summer I hope it'll last until next June. But I fully expect it to fail at some point now.
 

JeffersonStateBrewing

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Having had this in use now for 5 years I've learned a few things and here are some of my take away's.

If I were to build this again, I'd do it differently as I'm sure my vapor barrier must be leaking due to some symptoms.

1. I would build the walks in place and spray in place. Moving the pieces in as complete units was not a great idea as it may have caused things to shift.
2. Vapor barrier, instead of just using the sealant, I would have taped them as well. Maybe even double hung the plastic sheeting. This remains my biggest concern. By hanging the sheeting, taping it and building the walls in place may have resulted in a better seal and less chance of any tearing/abrasion. This is more true for the ceiling. Then you just put the exterior wall up, and spray from the inside. This will result in a better wall of insulation against the exterior.
3. I used fiber board, which when it soaked up moisture it expanded and caused problems.

Now, I did abandon and tore out the insulated 'conical housings' and instead installed a 40gal water tank which I ran plumbing and control wires out to the conicals that I then wrapped in soft coper, this works amazingly well for holding temps for ales. Can't really cold crash them though as the room is only 40F. In the winter I can hold lager temps around 55F. But it's just easier to roll the FV into the cold room where it's insulated with a heat wrap and I can maintain any temp there. I'm pretty sure this is where the moisture from the tank inside the cold room is coming from. The tank doesn't seal closed, it just has a lid that sits down on top and I have weight on it but it's far from perfect.

Lastly, where ever you plan to put holes through your walls (taps, coolant lines etc...) box that out and use rigid insulation instead of blown in. The blown in crumbles easily when tools are used. I'm pretty sure my tap wall is a big issue and this winter when it's cold I may disassemble, box it out, install rigid insulation and use a hole saw to re-install the shanks. I'm more convinced this is a point of failure.

Otherwise, I have really enjoyed it. I expected the first AC to last about 5 years and now that we're out of the heat of the summer I hope it'll last until next June. But I fully expect it to fail at some point now.

Thanks for the update! I have not had hours to search the forums for walk in cooler stuff yet, but I am planning a cost build myself. 12x10 foot. Your build is inspiring and your follow up is very helpful. I honestly had not considered spray in insulation. Something else to consider, yay.
 
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Phischy

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Thanks for the update! I have not had hours to search the forums for walk in cooler stuff yet, but I am planning a cost build myself. 12x10 foot. Your build is inspiring and your follow up is very helpful. I honestly had not considered spray in insulation. Something else to consider, yay.
Which way you go should really depend on the R factor you want and how much space you have for 6-8" thick walls and what the building material cost is. If you have more space, then rigid insulation is probably a better way to go. I had space constraints so I was trying to hit my R factor with the least amount of wall thickness. I'd have also done the floor different, I used 1" thick floor plywood and epoxied it to save $$, I should have gone with tile because it would be easier to clean up. I guess I can always go back and fix this, but what a pain to haul everything out.
 

orono

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I built a walk-in-cooler a couple years ago. Mine is 4 x 8 x 7 (outside dimensions) on wheels. I used rigid (5.5") insulation with spray foam in the gaps. I sandwiched the insulation between 2x6's for framing and 3/4" plywood for the wall/floor/ceiling sheathing. It is very airtight and I use a CoolBot and a 8000BTU window AC for cooling. I could get the temp below freezing if I needed to. I am planning on either selling this walk-in or adding on to it for my taproom and brewery I am hoping to build at my house. I would build this way again in the future. I have a couple issues that I'd change in a new build: because of the size of my conicals, I'd make it a couple inches wider for moving them around inside; I'd try to get the AC to vent outside. It works fantastic but it can be somewhat noisy in the building if you're trying to carry on a conversation.
 
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