Walk-In Cooler Project

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by pointer_hunter, Nov 28, 2004.

  1. pointer_hunter

    pointer_hunter Well-Known Member

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    I've found some plans on the web for building a walk-in cooler. They used their's for beer, but I want to use mine to hang meat in before processing. For the cooling unit, they had a window type air conditioner. It got to about 40 without the coils freezing up. Anything lower and the a/c ran constantly. I'm just wondering how cold I need to have it so that I can safely store meat without it going bad?
     
  2. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    I've seen people use an old dairy truck body with the refrigeration unit still on it. They run on diesel and also can be plugged in. They are already insulated and seal u
     

  3. Tana Mc

    Tana Mc Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I had friend who turned a room in their barn into a storage cooler. They hung meat and kept apples in there. They also used an air conditioner. I remember it being so cold in there that my nose was freezing after just a few minutes! They used very thick sheets of insulation-- looked like styrofoam -- on the walls and maybe even the floor. It was about 3 inches thick. I do not remember all the details.
    Where on the net are these plans? I am also in need of a place to hang meat as well as age cheese.
    Tana Mc
     
  4. TennOC

    TennOC Member

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    A regular home refrigerator runs about 40-42ºF so the unit you were planning on might work. Keep us posted, please.
     
  5. ratherbefishin

    ratherbefishin Well-Known Member

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    the key to it working is probably more in having it properly insulated.I'd go with at least 6'' between stud walls then a layer of styrofoam over that.Make sure the door is insulated as well.
     
  6. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    I have friends that would butcher two full sized beef at a time. Their chill room therefore was fairly large and they used two room air-conditioner units to chill with. They are all still alive and kicking so the units must have been cool enough.

    I can't really answer your question but thought you might like to know of others that have been doing it for a couple of decades.
     
  7. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    What will be the length of time before processing starts? If you are wanting to age the meat the temperature needs to be between 34 and 37 degrees. At this temperature the meat can be left for up to 14 days. I use an old convenience/grocery store two door freezer with the thermostat modified.
     
  8. Darren

    Darren Still an :censored:

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    I second the suggestion of truck unit. I know of a unit that a company uses for storing ice cream. The truck is an early 70's era which doesn't run. The refrigeration unit runs fine. They recently had to tow the truck because of potential high water. It's back in place now and still working.

    I've seen the bodies go for $500 or less depending on who has them. I wouldn't be surprised if the cost ended up being less than a room air conditioner over time because a lot of new cheaply made air conditioners aren't going to be working for many years. The truck units go below 32 degrees to store meat for longer periods (try that with an air conditioner). You're also covered if the power goes off for an extended time. You can run them on off-road diesel or heating oil which may be cheaper than electricity. Some units are dual power in that you can power them with either electricity or diesel.

    I've seen restaurants use them too. If you're going to store a lot of meat, you could probably find a 28' pup trailer that a food service company dumped because it was fully depreciated. I doubt you'll get one of those for $500 though.
     
  9. Pointer_Hunter, just how many deer will you be hanging at one time? If you will only be hanging one deer at a time then all you will need is a spare refrigerator. Which can be bought at a auction, flea market, or yard sale and at a lot cheaper price. Remove all shelves and replace the top shelve with a couple of heavy dow rods cut to fit. Buy you a few S shaped meat hooks ( www.alliedkenco.com ) to hook onto the quartered deer and hook onto the dow rods. Before processing let hang for at least 3 days but 7 to 10 will best.

    Also cut a little flat spot on the ends of the dow rods so they will not roll.
     
  10. I'm sorry, you said you "want to hang meat in". You didn't specify what kind of meat. If it is to be beef, or elk, moose, then you may want something bigger than a spare refrigerator.
     
  11. LizMovingNorth

    LizMovingNorth Member

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    I can't answer the meat temp question, but I've seen plans on the web for using heat tape on the coils of the AC for a few minutes out of every hour (using a timer I think) to thaw them. This lets the temp in the cooler get lower than it would without the heat tape. I can't find the plans I'm thinking of right now, but here's a link to to something the USDA does that is similar:
    http://www.agnr.umd.edu/users/bioreng/portacooler3.htm

    Liz