How do I achieve fridge temperature in my freezer for a fridge/freezer?

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  #1  
Old 05-22-14, 12:43 PM
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How do I achieve fridge temperature in my freezer for a fridge/freezer?

I am revamping our garage Fridge which is a Fridgidaire Model No. FRT15B3AW9 and converting it into a two tap kegerator. Because the model is small I would like to mount the taps at chest height which would place them in the freezer. The only problem is, as you know, the temperature. How do I create fridge temperature inside the freezer? Below I have pictures for you to view. My plan is to bring the beer lines up the inside of the fridge by drilling a hole into the freezer from the fridge. Any suggestions as to how this could work? I have not saw a single explanation to this issue online. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 
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  #2  
Old 05-22-14, 01:48 PM
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The height of the tap has no bearing on the flavor of the pour. I had a beer fridge for years and it worked fabulously with the tap a little lower than optimal. All line are flexible so you don't have issues when you open up the door. There is room in the corners for your CO2 cylinder even with your regulators. If you are wanting to buy beer by the 1/2 keg, I would discourage you. It will not stay fresh enough for you. You have to keep the pressure way up to preserve and you get nothing but foam out of the tap. Fall back on the 1/4 keg size, you will be happy you did.

Now I miss that old fridge... But good times and good memories will last forever.
 
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Old 05-22-14, 01:58 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

You want the freezer to be at fridge temperature.
What about the fridge ? Are you planning on still using that as a fridge ?

It should be no problem. It may require a modification to the cold air stream and more than likely to the thermostat.
 
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Old 05-23-14, 09:17 AM
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The reason I want them higher so we can use it as a beer and influx fridge. I also have kids. Out of reach out of mind. Even though my kids are well behaved. But our thoughts were either way it would be nice to have the freezer have fridge temps. The beer would stack nicely in the freezer or with a little ingenuity within the fridge and kegs. But keeping the fridge from opening and the taps within the fridge would mean constant temperature within the kegs. So either way it would be nice. What to do, what to do?
 
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Old 05-23-14, 01:46 PM
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Ultimately the thermostat may need to be changed to a higher temperature type. I'm checking on the degree span of the factory one.

The airflow between the fridge and freezer would need to be maximized to get the two to equalize.

In the following link is the view of the center console where the t'stat is and the shelves. If you click on the pic it will be full screen. Part 21 is the thermostat. If you could lower that section and follow the little metal tube from the thermostat to where it ends I'll know for sure if the t'stat needs to be replaced. If the thermostat monitors the fridge temp you are ok. If it monitors the freezer temp it will need to be replaced.

Sears parts direct_png/PLDM/R0512116-00003.png



Model #FRT15B3AW9
Thermostat #5304421256
 

Last edited by PJmax; 05-27-14 at 09:20 AM. Reason: added missing link
  #6  
Old 05-23-14, 05:40 PM
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I don't know if you said for certain but it sounds like you're putting the taps through the door. In that case going through the freezer door allows you to have taller decorative tap handles.

I don't waste precious fridge space with gas cylinders and keep the CO2 outside. It enters the side and into a manifold with a shutoff for each keg. Outside it allows you to easily vary the pressure for different carb levels and to have a external gas line to pressurize kegs for sanitizing their pickup lines and for inerting before filling.

I set the fridges mechanical thermostat to it's minimum temperature so it's always trying to run and use an external controller for temperature control. I use a Love TSS2 digital controller that allows very precise control and is programmable to prevent the compressor from cycling on/off too frequently. It's also a handy controller if you convert a fridge to a fermentation chamber as it can control both heating and cooling.
 
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Old 05-23-14, 05:47 PM
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He wants to cool the kegs in the fridge, and run the tap lines through the freezer. Isn't the fridge cooled by robbing cold air from the freezer? How can you make the freezer refrigerator temp without the fridge being at room temp?
 
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Old 05-23-14, 05:51 PM
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You improve the airflow so that both stay the same temperature. Right now most of the cold air is diverted into the freezer. That gets changed so the fridge gets more.
 
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Old 05-27-14, 08:33 AM
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PJMax the link did not post. Can you link it up again and I can take some pictures for you? Thank you for all your help. Good replies from all.
 
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Old 05-27-14, 08:38 AM
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Pilot Dane do you have specs and a build for your fermentation chamber? I've been also looking to do a fermentation chamber and would love to be able to lager and set temps for 67 degrees.
 
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Old 05-27-14, 09:21 AM
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Sorry about that.... added link to post #5.
 
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Old 05-27-14, 02:01 PM
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A few years ago I posted the instructions for the temp controller including my programming setups on the Home Brew Talk (HBT) forum. I can't remember my login otherwise I'd search for you but it's probably in the DIY section under my screen name.
 
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Old 05-29-14, 12:14 PM
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Red face

PJmax Below are the pictures of the thermostat. The little white wire runs along the inside of this compartment that attaches to the top of the refrigerator ceiling. It ends at the vent and does not go into the freezer. Now what?
 
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Old 05-29-14, 04:49 PM
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That's actually what you want. You want the thermostat to be able to read the actual fridge temperature as opposed to the freezer temp. You need to equalize the air movement between the two. Right now there is most likely a lot of air movement in the freezer and very little to the fridge. We need to get more air flow to the fridge so that the fridge gets colder and the freezer gets warmer.
 
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Old 05-30-14, 06:08 AM
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I have seen (online) folks just drill two holes through the partition between the freezer and fridge sections. They place a computer cooling fan in one opening which runs continuously to circulate the air. The other hole is just a return to keep the air flowing in a loop between the freezer and fridge compartments.
 
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Old 05-30-14, 06:25 AM
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PJMax Do you suggest I buy a temperature control for the fridge?

PilotDane How do I drill holes in the partition without wrecking anything? Is there some kind of test you can do to see the lines and how big should the holes be?
 
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Old 05-30-14, 07:41 AM
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Since your temperature sensor is located in the fridge section..... your existing thermostat should work fine.

Usually there are removable panels in the back and on the bottom of the freezer section that you can remove to investigate where the coil and lines are.
 
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Old 05-30-14, 09:29 AM
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Drilling holes without wrecking I assume you mean don't hit a refrigerant line. On most fridges the inside coils are in the back wall of the freezer compartment. The outside coils on older fridges are usually on the back or underneath. If you don't see coils on the outside they may be buried in the outer side walls of the fridge. There are usually no coils in the partition between the freezer and fridge.

It's really easy to spot buried coolant lines with a thermal camera (FLIR) but... that's not the sorta thing many people have lying around. You can also make up a slury or paste of backing soda and water and smear it on partition between the fridge and freezer and turn the fridge on. The slight difference in temperature caused by coils buried underneath will show as the paste dries. A random splotchy pattern says there's nothing there. If you see a straight line or a line serpentining back and forth then there is a coolant line buried underneath.

If you decide to drill take a careful look above and below the partition to make sure you don't hit any electrical wires but they should be easy to miss. The one I saw they drilled at the far outer edge, one on each side, about half way back. They came in far enough from the edge (about an inch) to have room to easily mount the fan which they just screwed into the plastic of the fridge's interior.
 
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Old 05-30-14, 10:05 AM
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So in your honest opinion if there isn't anything relevant within the partition would you just cut the partition out? What about moisture problems will I have any moisture problems if I decide to drill holes in the partition and use a fan? What about if I cut the entire partition out of the fridge, will there be any moisture issues with this option?
 
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Old 05-30-14, 10:19 AM
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The partition holds the fridge light and thermostat and is is a storage shelf if you want to store things (bottles of craft brew) so I would not get rid of it completely. A couple nice holes would provide air circulation and would be an easy way to get tap lines up to the freezer section though.
 
  #21  
Old 05-30-14, 10:36 AM
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How or what would you power the fan too? Any suggestions on the size of the holes? Thanks for making this project possible you guys. Wish we were neighbors. The beer would be on me!
 
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Old 05-30-14, 05:09 PM
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There is already a fan in your unit. You can connect a second one to it.

Remove the cover over the coil in the back of the freezer and scope it out. You may see an easy way to divert the air stream.
 
  #23  
Old 06-03-14, 11:52 AM
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So here is what I've got. I believe the partition is hard Styrofoam. Pictures below. No problem with regards to drilling through the partition, right? (Just make sure not to drill where the fridge light and thermostat are located. Got it! )

After I drill holes in the partition and I've installed the new computer fan and mounted my taps how do I keep the fridge temps stable in both the freezer and the fridge? Do I adjust the thermostats in both the fridge and freezer to get the right temps?

Any other suggestions on how to efficiently operate this new beast?
 
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Old 06-03-14, 01:09 PM
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You want to be somewhat careful hacking the fridge's fan as it is responsible for the air flow over the coils. If you remove is or screw-up the air flow too much you really hurt the cooling capacity so it's safer to let the fridge do it's thing and put in another fan to handle circulation. Also the fridge fan only comes on on many fridges when the compressor is running so you can have some warm and cold spots if it's not cycling on frequently enough.

Many folks use a old wall wort power supply or scrounge the power supply from an old computer and a use a computer cooling fan, new or salvaged. The size of holes you drill/cut between the fridge and freezer sections can be determined by the size of fan you choose. The fan will run continuously so it doesn't need to be terribly powerful.
 
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Old 06-03-14, 01:58 PM
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Should the fan blow air down into the fridge from the freezer or up into freezer from the fridge?

Do you suggest something like the Attwood Quiet Blower (White, 4-Inch) (links below) to use as a fan or do you have a fan that you like best for this type of modification?

Robot Check

Robot Check

Robot Check
 
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Old 06-03-14, 02:13 PM
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In the picture I hijacked.... I circled are what looks like open grilles. You want to pretty much close these off and route the air to down below. Right now.... the air comes in the fan and the bulk of it is directed thru the coil and out those louvers. You want more of the air that passes over the coil to go into the fridge. By adjusting how much of that grill is blocked off is how to balance the upper and lower temperatures. In looking at the picture again...... you could almost make a little duct that covered the grill and directed the air down. An additional grill or hole thru the fridge, maybe towards the front, would be good to allow the warm air to circulate up. As you force cold air down.... the warm air would rise and be forced into the freezer.

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An additional fan is optional. The one in the unit can handle the job. A muffin fan makes a good choice. amazon has them.

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Old 06-04-14, 08:51 AM
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So if I'm understanding you correctly the fan installed toward the front would blow toward the top of the freezer? This would pull the warm air from the fridge. Like a box fan in a window.

Do you have any ideas on how to block the vents? I could probably find a double sided tape and some ducting to fit over the coils in the back of the fridge. If I want the temps in the fridge to consistently stay at 37 degrees do you think I should get a temp controller or see how it goes first?
 
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Old 06-04-14, 09:16 AM
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That's why most use a separate circulate fan. You start opening a can of worms when you try to change the air flow around the coils.

Air is drawn in the front side of the fan through the big vents in the top of the freezer and the freezer/fridge dial determines how much is sucked up from the fridge. Air is blown out the back side of the fan and over the coils where it exits most freely via the big vents into the freezer section and some goes down to the fridge. You start taping off vents and you're cutting off a big chunk of how it's designed to circulate air. It may work but with reduced air flow you're hurting your cooling capacity and efficiency.

As for the thermostat I'd try what you've got first before spending money on a separate controller. Serving is not as critical as holding fermentation temperature so the fridge's mechanical thermostat should be good enough.
 
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Old 06-04-14, 01:24 PM
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Do you suggest I stick with original plan and drill four holes - one in each corner? Place a muffin fan in the front or back? What should I set the thermostat dial in the fridge and the freezer at?

Do you have a muffin fan that you prefer?

Amazon.com: Antec TrueQuiet 120 120mm Case Cooling Fan: Electronics
 
  #30  
Old 06-06-14, 01:37 PM
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So I've basically come to the conclusion that this project is going to work. It's been done before. Kegerator Conversion - HopHeadSaid Not that I didn't trust you guys I had faith that it was possible. But before I tested the waters on my own fridge it's nice to know someone had the guts to make it happen.

The only question I have left is how do I drill a hole into the side of the cabinet for the Co2 lines without wrecking any working parts within the appliance? Any suggestions PilotDane? I know you said you did this with your conversion.

Thank you guys for all your help! I really do appreciate it.
 
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Old 06-06-14, 03:02 PM
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Don't sweat which method you choose to hack your fridge. I don't think I've ever found two brewers that do things exactly alike.

With most fridges drilling through the side is a safe place. If your coils are visible on the outside either underneath or on the back then you're pretty safe drilling through the side. Most everything is going on in the back.

If you go through the side of the fridge with a metal (brass or steel) nipple you don't have to worry about it getting cut on the fridge's sheet metal exterior but on humid days you'll the metal will sweat. Wrapping some insulation or a rag around it takes care of it pretty easily.

---

Now for some important questions... How are you going to decorate the outside of the fridge? Do you have any cool tap handles?

I've been collecting beer coasters when I travel. I put a inch of adhesive backed magnetic tape on the back so I can move them around. As for tap handles I've got boring, little metal nubs. I ran my taps through the fridge door. Great because I can keep my freezer a freezer for making ice and storing hops but it bites because I've only got clearance for tap handles about 4" tall.

---
I came home early today and just finished inventorying and putting away my latest grain shipment. Next up is to transfer a Lambic that has been fermenting for a year. I can't stand them but wifey loves her sour beers.
 
  #32  
Old 06-09-14, 08:10 AM
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The plan is to bring the Kegerator into the kitchen and park it at the end of kitchen. We wanted the kids to be able to use it too. So we want to trim the doors with a mahogany trim and paint it a coffee brown with a tintable chalkboard paint. Now that the door of the fridge is open the kids will have more space to channel their inner Edvard Munch (Norwegian) or Louis le Brocquy (Irish) depending on what side of their heritage they decide to choose.

We'd like to get tap handles made after we finish our bar room. We were thinking of having a family member make us little iron lamp posts with our home brewery name on the front. It's nice to have talented family members that can make something a reality. But we'll see what happens. I love the creativity that comes with home brewing. It can be a very rewarding hobby.

It's funny that you say you're brewing beer for your wife. I do the same thing. Frankly, I was tired of bottling and needed a solution to the fact that my wife isn't fond of all the styles I brew. I blame it on her Scandinavian heritage. So the need for more than one beer at a time was critical. A happy wife is a happy life! Now we have options for the beer that the majority of her and her family will drink and the beer that will keep me sane while they visit. I'm only kidding. Lately she's been on a kick with New Belgium's Snap Shot Wheat a lacto beer. Sort of sour. I'm sure your wife would enjoy it. However, they do not sell it in 12 packs, only sixers. So I've come up with a clone recipe that I might have to try to eliminate the expense. Love my beer drinkin' lady!!

I have a Blonde Ale I'm ready to bottle tonight. Hopefully this is the last beer I ever have to bottle. As the summer begins to warm here in Minnesota I'm excited for a refreshing beer to enjoy on the deck.

Thank you for making my kegerator a reality!! I'm super excited to have a project to work on in the garage.
 
  #33  
Old 07-03-14, 09:06 AM
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Do you guys have any suggestions for sealing the exposed foam after drilling in the partition of the refrigerator? Some have suggested Foil Tape?
 
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Old 07-03-14, 09:41 AM
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That would work or any other high quality duct sealing tape some of which are foil. I would not regular duck tape whose adhesive tends to break down into a sticky mess.
 
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