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Side by Side Fridge and Freezer Questions

Discussion in 'Gear and Equipment' started by Moshall, 14/2/17.

 

  1. Moshall

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    Posted 14/2/17
    Hi everyone,

    I have recently moved to a house that is significantly hotter that my old place, and I'm worried about the temperature in the garage and the impacts that will have while fermenting. I already have a two tap kegerator, and rather than add another fridge to the mix, figure i'd like to move towards a side by side fridge/freezer set up. I've done some research on this, but have a couple of questions that I've not yet seen answers to:
    1. I want a separate fridge and freezer setup so I can serve in the freezer side at one temp, and ferment in the fridge side at at another temp. I believe I'll be looking at around a 10 - 12 degree difference between the two sides. Can these fridges be set up with two separate temperature controllers to achieve this?
    2. Are there specific dimensions to be looking for on the freezer side, or are they all pretty much the same for a specific height (e.g. 6ft fridge)? I want to increase the number of taps I have from two to four, with the expectation of having two corny kegs standing on the bottom of the fridge, and two more standing on an internal shelf, with one standing behind the other.
    3. Should the above be possible, how have people managed to support the top two corny kegs? I can't imagine the shelving that comes with the fridge would be sufficient to support two full kegs, and drilling holes to install shelves into the internals of the fridge concerns me.
    4. Are there any other pitfalls to look out for that aren't immediately obvious?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Lionman

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    Posted 14/2/17
    I have a side by side set up.

    The major issue is that most side by sides only have one compressor. It directly cools the freezer side and there is an electronically controlled air vent that opens and closes to let air pass through to the fridge side.

    With a set up like this you really need to connect one temp controller to the compressor and set it to desired serving temp (1-2 degrees usually). You then get a second temp controller and connect the cooling side to a 240v fan that forces cold air from the fkeg side to the fermentation chamber when required. You can also add a heating source of choice if required.

    If you can find a twin compressor side by side you will have more direct control, but then you may as well just have two fridges.

    Because of this I'm not sure there are any real advantages to a side by side. Maybe a smaller footprint, but that also means smaller internal dimensions to work with.

    Mine had an ice dispenser on the freezer side which took a bit of modification to the door to get rid of. If you can avoid this by getting one with no ice dispenser then do it as its a PITA. The keg (freezer) side is also quite small. I can only just squeeze 3 kegs in there with some custom shelving although at the moment I only have 2 taps so it's not a big deal really. I have the CO2 in the fermenter side and drilled a hole through to the keg side to pass the gas through. The fermentation side fits two 30l fermenters quite easily. I made some plywood shelving to take the weight. It's a decent setup but there's still a bit of work to get it working the way I want it.

    In hindsight, I would avoid side by side. When mine dies I will probably source two separate fridges, or a fridge for fermenting and a chest freezer and build a keezer.

    If you do go down this path, get a non-digital controlled one. If you get an analogue one its easier to swap out the thermostat I think so you can set the freezer side to 1-2 degrees and then use a STC-1000 to control temps in the fermentation side. Mine is digital and I don't think it's possible to use the inbuilt temp control at all. Maybe if I could hack the software but that's not going to happen. It would be easy if I could just set the freezer side to 1degree but -18 is the highest it goes to, haha.
     
  3. Moshall

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    Posted 15/2/17
    Hrm, ta. This is the kind of insight I was hoping for. Perhaps a bar fridge big enough to hold a fermenter would be better as a fermentation chamber.
     
  4. Yob

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    Posted 15/2/17
    Serving at 1-2'c?
    What are you serving? VB?
     
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  5. Lionman

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    Posted 16/2/17
    Number of reasons for it beeing cooler.

    I find at 2 degrees, by the time I pour through a warm tap into a warm glass and I actually sit down to drink it it's pushing close 8 degrees anyway.

    It's usually pretty bloody hot here so it helps to start of cooler so it's not at 30 degrees half way through a glass.

    Having it cooler on the freezer side also helps with being able to maintain a good fermentation temp on the warmer side of my side by side so there's a compromise there.

    I have also found that I either get too much foam or very low flow rate with the fridge set warmer. I probably need to work on balancing the system a bit better in this regard.
     
  6. Yob

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    Posted 16/2/17
    ha.. fair enough.. just takin the piss man, sarcasm font missing :)
     
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  7. Boonta

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    Posted 16/5/18
    Hey mate do you have photos of your setup?
     

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