Quantcast

Upright Fridge V Chest Freezer

Aussie Home Brewer

Help Support Aussie Home Brewer:

Duff

Worst Website Ever....
Joined
8/6/04
Messages
2,040
Reaction score
5
SWMBO has warmed to the idea of getting a bigger fridge as my current keg fridge struggles a bit when it is warm outside (it's in the garage), and also means all of my starters and hops can get the big heave ho out of our main fridge in the kitchen. I like the pictures of MAH's which I was originally thinking of, but I wonder if a converted chest freezer would be a better option. I could expand to 4 kegs with enough room for a fermenter or two CC'ing, starters, font on top, etc., boy I'm getting excited :)

For the upright keg fridge people, and the people who have the converted chest freezer, if you had your time again knowing what you know now with problems you may have encountered, what would you go with?
 

GMK

BrewInn Barossa:~ Home to GMKenterprises ~
Joined
18/12/02
Messages
3,699
Reaction score
11
i like the upright fridge better - i have heard of and been told taht converting a freezer to a fridge and running it on a fridge thermostat is bad for the compressor/gas etc.
The freezer might only last 3-5years doing this - add in the cost of the temp controller conversion and it starts getting pricey.

Big 350 ltr chest freezers are hard to get and cost a bit...

I am lucky i got my 2 door upright at a nice 425.00...

This is Only MHO....
 

warrenlw63

Just a Hoe
Joined
4/5/04
Messages
7,202
Reaction score
11
I've got to agree with GMK,

I use a converted chest freezer (Tuckerbox) with a wooden collar to extend the height to fit four kegs.

It's well-insulated, however I find that I get temperature fluctuations as much as 4c from the top to the bottom of the fridge. ie; warmer on top and cooler on the bottom.

It's adequate but if I had my druthers I'd get another upright fridge, less hassle in the long run.

Also chest freezers are a real pain in the arse to clean on the bottom. Some real funky shit develops down there.

Warren -
 

Doc

Doctor's Orders Brewing
Joined
7/12/02
Messages
7,713
Reaction score
38
Location
Sydney
I've done both.
I initially had an upright fridge that held three kegs, and I had three taps off it. Our kitchen is quite large and I had it in the kitchen. When it died I proposed a freezer conversion, and got the 'that'll look better than that thing', so when for a converted freezer, with wooden collar, top and four tap font.

I prefer the freezer conversion. It looks better, takes up less space (mainly in height dimensions), holds more kegs, and the top doubles as a bar top.

So for me a chest freezer is the way to go.
Here is an older piccy of it (it now has a drip tray that fits the length of the font).

Beers,
Doc

KegFreezerConversion_017.jpg
 

Samwise Gamgee

Well-Known Member
Joined
27/1/05
Messages
538
Reaction score
0
Thats a schmick looking set-up you've got there Doc!!

Well done!!
 

MAH

Well-Known Member
Joined
17/3/04
Messages
900
Reaction score
2
Not surprisingly I like the upright fridge. You just have to find a BIG one if you want more than a couple of kegs. I can fir 6 kegs or a combination of 3 kegs and a fermenter or 5 kegs and 2 CC cubes stacked on top of each other.

My main reason for prefering the upright fridge is that I don't have to lift 20kg up to the hight of the freezer lip. Personally this would F#@% my back up very quickly.

In terms of aesthetics, the look of your fridge or freezer is only limited to your imagination.

On the issue of running a freezer at fridge temperatures affecting the compressor, this is just bollocks and another homebrew myth that gets repeated over and over with no evidence. If you think about it for a minute you would realise it's rubbish. A compressor simply switches on or off, it has no varying power mode. The gas gets compressed exactly the same amount everytime. The only difference in running it at fridge temps is the set point for turning on is higher, so it is likely to run less often, which would probably EXTEND the life of the compressor. For example if it's set to turn on at 20C and turn of at 16C it has to cool by 4C and will use basically use the exact same amount of energy (for that cycle) if cooling from -2C to -6C, because it is still only cooling by 4C. The compressor will operate in the exact same manner. It will pump the same volume of gas at the same rate and compress it the same amount etc. Now obviously this is not perfectly accurate as the ambient temperature and inefficiences mean it would work slightly harder to keep -2C, but this once again means that running at fridge temps is less of a stress on the compressor. I wish people would stop repeating this furphy!

Cheers
MAH
 

Darren

Beer Dog
Joined
11/5/04
Messages
3,549
Reaction score
6
I would say the freezer. Buy a new one, they are energy efficient with state of the art insulation. In the short term this won't matter but over the period of a few years it will have paid itself off on power savings. I think another advantage is that when you open the door the cold air doesn't spill out. There will also be heaps of room for storing kegs as well as your hops.
Don't drill a hole in it or make a collar. Simply mount your taps to a bracket to the existing rear hinge assembly (i have a pic but it is on another computer, sorry). If you get sick of brewing it will easily convert back to a good chest freezer
Main disadvantage is as MAH said, you will need to lift the stuff over the edge!
cheers
Darren
 

Wortgames

'Draught' is not a beer style - it's a lifestyle
Joined
20/3/05
Messages
1,679
Reaction score
38
Location
Melbourne & Southern Riverina
I have converted a couple of uprights and I'm in the process of converting a chest freezer.

Most uprights will hold 4 kegs if you remove the plastic door lining and replace it with some masonite. If you scour the secondhand/reconditioned places you might get lucky and find a Kelvinator Trimline or similar - these have a flat door lining with removable & adjustable shelves - I have one of these and depite being quite a compact fridge I can fit 2 kegs above the compressor, 2 on the floor in front, and still use a door shelf...

0001.jpg

(This one was given to me because the freezer door was busted - nothing a bit of polysterene won't fix!)

MAH - my understanding on the 'warm freezer' issue is that the compressor labours at warmer temps, as the pressures are higher until it chills down to normal working range. Normally, it's only once in a blue moon that the freezer is turned on at room temp (ie after moving or defrosting). However, when you use an external thermostat, you allow it to warm up so that every time it switches on it is substantially warmer than it would like. I don't know how true this is, and I haven't been able to get any sense out of a refrigeration guy either. I picked up an old chest freezer on eBay for $70 - so even if I kill it it won't be a tragedy. I'll also try to make sure it doesn't cycle too often, by enclosing the thermostat bulb if necessary to protect it from short-term fluctuations.

An upright is much easier to convert, you can safely drill the door and the sides without fear of hitting refrigeration coils, and you don't need to worry about temperature control. They are also easier to load and unload. I wouldn't worry about losing the cold air, the thermal mass of 4 kegs of beer is huge compared to the air that is lost.

However for me a chest freezer is the way to go, I can have 6 taps (4 full size kegs plus 2 shorties over the compressor), and the whole thing can go on the trailer and be kept cold by just running the generator a couple of times a day. I have drilled the taps through the front (by first removing the plastic trim and scraping out the foam insulation to locate the coils) and by adding some decent toggle latches to the lid I can make it secure enough to withstand highway speeds. As others have said, the flat surface is a nice bonus too.
 

MAH

Well-Known Member
Joined
17/3/04
Messages
900
Reaction score
2
Hi Wortgames

I'm not a fridge mechanic so I could be wrong, but I'm just looking at this from a logical perspective.

A fridge/freezer doesn't actually cool things, it removes the heat from them. This is because when a gas goes from a state of high pressure to a state of low pressure, the temperature of the gas drops. A freezer simply circulates a gas from high pressure to low pressure over and over again.

A fridge/freezer has a compressor and a closed system of tubing that contains a gas (the refrigerant). The compressor pumps the refrigerant and compresses it. The refrigerant flows through the coils (condenser) on the back or under the fridge/freezer and through an expansion valve to the evaporation plate on the inside of the fridge/freezer. As the refrigerant passes through the expansion valve it expands into a gas and absords energy (heat) from the evaporation plate. It is then pumped through the compressor and condenser where it changes state back to a liquid, in effect the energy is taken from inside the fridge/freezer and transferred to the air in contact with the condenser.

For the condenser to change the state of the refrigerant gas to a liquid, the gas from the evaporator plate must be compressed to a level that causes condensation. The pressure required is directly proportional to the condenser temperature. So whether or not it's a fridge or freezer wouldn't make a difference to the pressure required the condenser is on the outside and the condenser temperature is a function of it's design and ambient temperature.

As I said, I'm only looking at this from a logical perspective, but it makes sense to me.

Cheers
MAH
 

Wortgames

'Draught' is not a beer style - it's a lifestyle
Joined
20/3/05
Messages
1,679
Reaction score
38
Location
Melbourne & Southern Riverina
MAH - I'm really not qualified to discuss this either (it's like the blind leading the blind isn't it?!) but your explanation of the physics is sound. However, I'd be interested to know whether it is the same refrigerant used for fridges and freezers. Personally I'd take the punt and say it is - after all, a fridge is just a small freezer in a large space.

But assuming the gas is the same, the compressor is about the same (at least in terms of current draw) and the condensor coils are about the same volume and surface area, the only difference between a fridge and a freezer is the amount of evaporator coil - which would be significantly greater in the case of a freezer. So how does a freezer achieve its far greater effect over a much larger area? Either it must run for proportionally longer, or the insulation is proportionally better, or there is some difference in the operating pressure and/or refrigerant.

I have heard enough refrigeration guys say that you can't run a freezer at warmer temps to make me think there has to be something to it - unfortunately their explanations have always fallen short of making any sense...

<_<
 

Darren

Beer Dog
Joined
11/5/04
Messages
3,549
Reaction score
6
I know nothin about refrigeration. What I have read here today sounds good.
My only observation is that my chest freezer running at 2 degree C runs far less than it would at -20. (ie only comes on once or twice a day). Wouldn't it mean it was going to last longer than if were coming on every hour?
cheers
Darren
 

jgriffin

No Longer Brewin!
Joined
16/5/04
Messages
981
Reaction score
0
To add my useless 2c...

Two of my customers are fridgies, one says that running the freezer at fridge temps will wear out the compressor. The other says that it's fine.
 

tonydav

Well-Known Member
Joined
27/9/03
Messages
180
Reaction score
0
I'll add my 2c as well. Observing my freezer I can set the temp anywhere from -25 to -12. At -12 it runs far less than at -25. To extrapolate this to running at 2 degrees you'd have to think it would run even less and hence have less wear.

Having said this, I've got a mate and a neighbor who both keg home brew and are both refrigeration mechanics. I'll ask them and see what sort of answer I get.

tony
 

Ross

CraftBrewer
Joined
14/1/05
Messages
9,262
Reaction score
370
I run both types & both have their advantages, but my 800L chest freezer is definately the tops.
With regards to compressor life - The proof is in the pudding so to speak - Who here runs a freezer & how long has it been operating? Anyone ever had a compressor go on them? - I'd have an educated guess that the results will be positive...
 

tonydav

Well-Known Member
Joined
27/9/03
Messages
180
Reaction score
0
When my last beer fridge went tits up the fridge guy explained to me that the major issue with old fridges relates to the melt point between the fridge and freezer section. Apparently this causes the pipe to corrode and consequently the gas escapes eventually making them useless (or at least not worth repairing). He felt this was the major cause of fridge failure and hence you were better off with a straight fridge or a straight freezer as this issue doesn't happen.

This also matches up with my experience where my old fridge (a one door type) and freezer have been around for years. I've seen plenty of the old one door fridges chugging on for decades, not so much the case with the newer 2 door fridges.

From memory this isn't the case with 2 door frost free fridges meaning they should last longer but don't quote me on that :).

tony
 

Darren

Beer Dog
Joined
11/5/04
Messages
3,549
Reaction score
6
Ross,
My freezer has been going strong for three years.
 

warrenlw63

Just a Hoe
Joined
4/5/04
Messages
7,202
Reaction score
11
Anyway I'm an eternal optomist. Freezer going belly-up = good excuse for upgraditis.

Every cloud has a silver lining. B)

Warren -
 

BrotherNutz

Active Member
Joined
27/8/04
Messages
30
Reaction score
0
OK, my 2 cents worth....

Personally, I have a new Westinghouse chest freezer with a pine-box plinth between the lid and the body. This houses 5 taps. The main section of the freezer can hold 5 kegs and two shorties can go over the motor! This is economical storage folks. And the freezer aint huge either.

Now, fridgie folklore.....

I have NEVER come across such a crowd of black-art conspiracy-theorists as fridge mechanics!! The crap they talk is quite astounding!! Most of the stuff I have been told by various fridgie over the years I have been tinkering has no solid basis to reason at all.
Take for instance a gas I have used quite a bit, HR12. It is a drop-in replacement for R12. Has very similar pressure/temp curves, is fully miscible with ANY fridge oil, is more efficient, runs cooler, uses less power to turn the compressor, charge volume is roughly the same, charge weight is less. I have built my own fermenter cabinet and fooled around with an old chest fridge using this. I have also recharged 3 cars with great sucess. Meanwhile, the usual suspects tell me it will never work.....cause it just won't! These guys seem to be very protective of their little industry for some reason but mostly talk shit.

I am one of these people that searches out the engineering reasons to the question why.

Pete
 

paul

Well-Known Member
Joined
13/9/04
Messages
419
Reaction score
3
Ive had both a chest freezer and an upright fridge. A fridge and freezer both use the same type of gas. The only differnce between them is the thermostat.

The chest freezer that im using at the moment has an old fridge thermostat in it so it works just like a fridge. Ive noticed that its hardly ever running compared to the upright freezer next to it in the laundry. Im only speculating but it may be due to having the lid on top and the cold not escaping as itll be warmer at the top, unlike a fridge.
 

Latest posts

Top