use a chest freezer as a fridge?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Paul Wheaton, Dec 21, 2004.

  1. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    I always thought that the way a fridge works is less than efficient. Whne you open the door, doesn't all the cold air pour out? The chest style seems smarter. I wonder if one could just get a chest freezer and set the thermostat to be a bit warmer ....
     
  2. melinda

    melinda Well-Known Member

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    in my quest for a fridge that only cools to 60, I did see chest refrigerators - there is literature out there about them - they would be much more efficient, but you do have to change the way you use a refrigerator! In other words, you'd have to get used to not having it all as accessible. Here's a link to a sun danzer:

    http://www.affordable-solar.com/1107.html
     

  3. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    We have a chest freezer we modified to become a beer cooler. Got to keep the homebrew at 50* for the best flavor (alright, so now you know my priorities).

    What you need to do is track down an Electronic Temperature Control (mine is made by Ranco). Basically, you plug the freezer into the external temperature control and it overrides the internal thermostat. Set the electronic thermastat to whatever temperature you want.

    The electronic temp. controlers are sold at a lot of homebrew stores. I think Homebrew Heaven even sells them online. Expect to pay $70 for the gizmo.

    We've been using this setup for a couple of years and it doesn't seem to have hurt the chest freezer at all.
     
  4. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Backwoods solar has the external thermostat to use a chest freezer for a fridge.
     
  5. FrankTheTank

    FrankTheTank Well-Known Member

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    I didn't know you could do such a thing...thanks for the heads up..
     
  6. melinda

    melinda Well-Known Member

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    well, this also answers my question about warming up a fridge!! here's a link I found:

    http://ceisites.com/9025.html

    Now I wonder how it will affect the amount of electricity it eats up... meaning, will it use a lot less than the freezer?? seems like it would be...

    THANKS JEN H!! you may have solved my dilemma too!
     
  7. dave98

    dave98 Member

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    Hey,

    I've got a digital temp controler for my deep freeze, used for beer as well.

    Go to www.morebeer.com they have these temp controlers. I would suggest getting the one that is digital with the flexable temp probe. I have both and the analog one with the metal bulb works well but I like the flexibility of the digital one.

    Dave
     
  8. ed/IL

    ed/IL Well-Known Member

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    When you open the fridge the cold air does come out but everthing in there holds it temp. so the recovery time is low. A chest freezer would be a pain to go in several times a day looking for something you need. If it was worth it someone would be selling them. Why not set up a vent and pipe in some winter cold. Turn fridge off in winter and use the free cold. A easy way to save a little electrity would be to freeze some water in soda bottles outside and put in fridge. It would cycle less.
     
  9. Bruce in NE

    Bruce in NE Well-Known Member

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    How do you place the probe inside the freezer? Do you have to drill a hole in the side?
     
  10. melinda

    melinda Well-Known Member

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    Have you done any kind of test to see what kind of energy use you are getting? I mean, does it draw less power to keep the temp stable?

    thanks for the link! and the good advice!
     
  11. whodunit

    whodunit Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Not completely on topic, but friends of ours have a freezer that he converted into a refrigerator. They do not have grid power, so they run the generator one a day for a short time to get the freezer (refrigerator) cold. Apparently a freezer is better insulated that a refrigerator, so it holds the cold better.

    Not sure what exactly he did to modify it.
     
  12. FrankTheTank

    FrankTheTank Well-Known Member

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    Ed good point...If anyone needs anything frozen, just drive into the midwest...:)

    Maybe I'll throw a couple of frozen cubes in the refrigerator...The old days they would be cutting big blocks out of the rivers and lakes for use later on in the year...
     
  13. edjewcollins

    edjewcollins Well-Known Member

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    This isn't completely on topic but thought I'd share. I was watching a show a few years ago about a bunch of scientists and builders and materials manufacturers who got together to build a tremendously energy efficient home. One of the areas they created huge energy savings in was the refrigerator and freezer. They built in a custom made fridge/ freezer into the wall. The fridge was on the bottom and the freezer on top, but the compressor and stuff was ABOVE the freezer not below like on a store bought fridge. They vented the heat from the compressor out through the roof of the house. The whole thing was huge. Probably 40 sq feet of storage with two side by side fridge doors and 2 side by side freezer doors. They used 6" of foam board for insulation all around and 2" on the doors. They said this unit only used a third of the energy of a standard 26' side by side because of the six inch foam and locating the compressor above the unit and venting the heat out of the house instead of having it waft up and around the unit like on a store bought fridge. Imagine having a 40 cubic foot fridge freezer that uses 1/3 the energy of a 26' side by side!

    Ed
     
  14. unixguy

    unixguy Member

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    ... Is the route that we took.

    We are 10 miles from the nearest town, thru twisty mountain roads, and there is no going to town for a couple of beers after working on the place all day, So our priority was also beer. I converted a 25 CF Chest freezer into a kegerator, and I didn't like the external controllers, just plain inelegant.

    Instead, we yanked the built-in cold control ( thermostat ) from the base of the
    chest freezer ( there will be a small tube where the cold control snakes into the guts of the freezer ). We just pulled it out. Then I got hold a variable cold-
    control from a local appliance store for $35.00.

    You can't just shove the new control up where the old one came from, it won't work properly. So instead I took apart the lid of the freezer, drilled a hole thru the back of the lid to run the wires, and installed the new control where the light bulb in the lid is. There is a dial that is used to set the on/off temperature, which took some experimentation to calibrate properly, but works great when all is said and done.

    Now the beer can stay cold, but not too cold, and I can turn it back into a freezer just by turning the dial down. It looks stock, there are no messy cables to come unplugged, or an ugly box to mount, and the wiring was very simple.
    Not to mention that keg beer is Much cheaper than bottles, which you also don't have to displose of. Even The Wife is happy.

    Just let me know if you need part numbers or anything else,

    Unixguy.