DIY walk in cooler

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Wintergrower_OH, Mar 26, 2011.

  1. Wintergrower_OH

    Wintergrower_OH Well-Known Member

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    I know it possible to build your own walk in cooler . Is it better than making your own root cellar ? Any advice on DIY walk in cooler .
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Neighbor grows veggies for market and has a homemade cooler using an air conditioned metal room. Works for him but his veggies prodce money to pay for the power. Maybe it doesn't cost that much I never asked, it isn't a huge room more like 12x12x7
     

  3. NewGround

    NewGround Single Hillbilly

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  4. Johnny Dolittle

    Johnny Dolittle Outstanding in my field

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  5. Wintergrower_OH

    Wintergrower_OH Well-Known Member

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    Since it will be in basement . Thought of hybrid walk in freezer / root cellar . Let winter cool it for 4 -5 months . Not sure how much insulation would allow for the use of root cellar to last longer until spring or summer kicks in .
     
  6. English Oliver

    English Oliver Well-Known Member

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    I saw an Ice house the other day at an Amish community. It was in an old broiler house, and they said they could keep it cool through October. They get the ice from a pond and from molds they fill with water during the Winter.

    "O"
     
  7. Johnny Dolittle

    Johnny Dolittle Outstanding in my field

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    Now that's an idear !

    BTW what do you grow in winter and do you use any heat?
     
  8. Johnny Dolittle

    Johnny Dolittle Outstanding in my field

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    We have an Amish grower who also has a pond and ice house. They grow organic and have a decent size operation
     
  9. The Paw

    The Paw Well-Known Member

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    Building the insulated space is easy. There are two potential challenges. One is to deal with moisture/humidity levels, the other is to correctly size your compressor/air conditioner to the space.

    I looked into this a number of years ago, and there is a local company here that will sell a freezer or cooler door in a frame, complete with thermometer, display you can read from outside the unit. The sizing of the compressor is a little more complicated, as you have to match not only the space you are cooling and the temperature you are maintaining, but also the volume of stuff that will typically be in the cooler. I imagine there are on-line calculators for this, but I don't have a link for you...
     
  10. TnAndy

    TnAndy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Use a window AC to cool your walkin, along with construction tips and size of AC you need for the room size:

    http://www.storeitcold.com/
     
  11. kan-green

    kan-green Well-Known Member

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    Check out that store it cold link. I did a lot of research on it awhile back and its what I'm going to do for my berries.
     
  12. Johnny Dolittle

    Johnny Dolittle Outstanding in my field

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    Wow... now that is cool

    Thanks
     
  13. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You will need a COOLBOT (do a search on Ebay) to keep the A/C from freezing up.
     
  14. ryanthomas

    ryanthomas Well-Known Member

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    The link TnAndy gave is for the CoolBot. You can do it cheaper if you're willing to modify the wiring in the A/C unit, but that will likely void the warranty, so CoolBot is a good option because you don't have to modify anything. I'm planning to build one this summer if I have time.
     
  15. TnAndy

    TnAndy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I built a 6x6 for hanging meat we kill on the farm.

    12,000BTU AC ( which is larger than called for, but what I found on Craig's List ) keeps it at 35 degrees easily for under 2kw/hrs/day......about 20 cents/day here.

    I used 4" of polycyanurate foam board ( best R per inch ) in the walls, and over head ( plus 10" of blow in fiberglass over head along with the rest of the room the cooler is in ) and tile on concrete ( no insulation ) in the floor. ( Only plan to use the cooler few weeks at a time to age beef or hang pork just prior to cutting.

    I would insulate the floor IF it was a longer term use kinda thing.

    Door was a used door ( also CL ) off a commercial cooler/freezer.
     
  16. Wintergrower_OH

    Wintergrower_OH Well-Known Member

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    I'm looking at using ICF blocks for the new addition foundation . Expanding the basement to fit the freezer . ICF Block gives me R35 . Not sure about the floor or ceiling .
     
  17. SolarGary

    SolarGary Well-Known Member

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    Hi,
    Sounds like a good idea, but I don't think that ICFs are good for R35.

    The studies I've read say that they are only good for the insulating R value of the rigid foam, which is R4 per inch, so 4 inches of foam(?) gives about R16.

    Two papers on measured R values for ICFs:
    http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/SolarHomes/constructionps.htm#ICF
    The ORNL paper shows some benefit over the straight R value of the foam depending on your climate, the other study (which is an actual measurement on an ICF building) shows no excess R value over what just the foam alone would give.


    Gary
     
  18. Wintergrower_OH

    Wintergrower_OH Well-Known Member

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    " Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) with Insulation on the Exterior "
    The claim for ICF construction has always been a wall with a high effective R value due to the built in thermal mass of the concrete. The ICF products listed just below put all or most of the the insulation on the exterior. This allows the thermal mass of the concrete to be used more effectively. These products are more likely to actually deliver on the ICF industry claims of high effective R value. Some of the products also offer very high R value versions by adding to the thickness of the exterior side insulation."

    This goes a long what i read . And the reason why ICF seems to be the best solution for foundation . I knew the builditsolar was where i wanted to go , but couldn't locate the section on ICF's .