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Anyone build their own FREEZER?

 
Posts: 3375
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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I know about coolbot to make efficient walk-in coolers and converting chest freezers into efficient fridges, but what about a true deep freeze?

I have been thinking about it, reading up on yachting forums about their drop-in freezer kits. They top out at a couple cubic feet, and are YACHT-PRICED.

Anybody upsize to homesteader/small business size?




 
Posts: 20
Location: san bernardino, california
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Not sure what your looking for but I build and repair coolers and freezers for a living. The coolbot is a neat controller but wouldn't classify it as efficient. Freezers use different gas then coolers and require more horsepower then coolers. I wouldn't use a window banger for anything else than what it was built for. Please clarify the question and I can try to help.
 
gardener
Posts: 4323
Location: Missoula, MT US Hardy:5a Annual Precipitation: 15" Wind:4.2mph Temperature:18-87F
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I agree with Austin, please may you clarify the question. Right now the best I can think of is this thread on permies which had a brief discussion on an idea similar to yours.
 
R Scott
Posts: 3375
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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OK, so the coolbot is more of a cheap walk-in cooler. It may be efficient if you want it to be cheese cave/warm root cellar temps but not at fridge temps.

I am tired of these energy star POS fridges and freezers lasting 3 months beyond warranty and becoming a box of toxic trash that you can only get rid of by buying another one. I started looking at ways to build something that would last and be more efficient.

I can build or buy secondhand a walk-in, but what gets me is "the guy." I live far enough in the boonies getting someone to install the compressor is cost prohibitive and a real hassle (commercial guys don't want to work in homes). That is the real appeal of a coolbot to me--the independent DIY factor. I am looking for a similar DIY module for freezers. Like how some mini-split AC's have special fittings so the end user can connect them up and it it is already full of freon and ready to go.

Can a standard home AC or heatpump condenser unit for freezers? For a walk-in fridge?

Besides super insulating and making 100% air tight, what other tricks can make a freezer more efficient?

 
Austin Laureski
Posts: 20
Location: san bernardino, california
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Just spent an hour writing a response to lose it at the end so here we go again. Shorter this time. Normal AC for a cooler will work but not efficient. Scroll comps are better the reciprocating for energy.
Pros of Window banger for cooler box
Cheap
DIY
Basic

Cons
Don't last long
Tight fins on evap
Not energy efficient
No defrost

Pros for window banger or split system for freezer
Can't think of any

Why it won't work unless your in the trade
Fins too close
Not enough horse power
Wrong gas. compression ratio too high
Needs defrost

If you could make it work it would be about the same price to just buy the correct equipment for the job. It would cost
Fan coil $650
Cond unit $1400
Controller $100
Pipes and wires $200

Building the box isn't easy either. Only use wood for the interior. The door is the hard part. It needs frame heaters so the door doesn't freeze shut.
 
Austin Laureski
Posts: 20
Location: san bernardino, california
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The last box I installed start to finish for a 15 x15 was around 20k. A normal tech will charge around 65 hour if it's side work. My company bills out at 130 an hour. If I were you I would buy a couple chest freezers.
 
Posts: 127
Location: Boyd, Texas
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I would look at restaurant supply companies for a walk in freezer if you need volume or a lot of chest freezers. The key will be what kind of power source you have. If you have access to 3-phase you can get a 20 or 40 foot cargo container freezer for about $8000. If you only have single phase you are looking at $15,000 by the time you get the conversions done. You can buy a lot of chest freezers for that.
 
Paul Ewing
Posts: 127
Location: Boyd, Texas
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This is a message I wrote on another list about my quest for freezers.

I looked into going with a walk in freezer pretty seriously before purchasing my last two 24 cubic foot chests in December. The reason is that in addition to the six 24 cu.ft. chests I have two 15 cu.ft. chests and an 18 cu.ft. upright (and four refrigerators).

The walk-ins are nice, but there are some drawbacks. I was looking at a 20 foot container or possibly a 40 foot one with a partition at 30 foot with a 10 foot area maintained at 35-40F for refrigeration.

First problem is price. These would run me $15,000 to $18,000 delivered. Part of that is that most large freezer units are designed to run on three phase power which isn't available out in the country here. The refrigeration system needed to be replaced with a single phase unit. You can buy phase converters, but it would be almost as expensive and add an extra breakdown point.

I also looked at some of the smaller 6x8 to 10x10 walk in units that you put together yourself, but they were still in the $5,000 to $8,000 range.

Another issue is all of these large walk-ins are very inefficient to run from an electrical standpoint. The big freezer container was going to run $200+ a month in electrical. I have all of my current chests and refrigerators in a 30x40 storage building on a separate electric meter which also runs a couple of barns and the electrical lines into the nearby field locations. Unless I am brooding chicks, that meter's electrical bill is about $60 a month.

And finally with walk-in freezers, you have a single point of failure with the refrigeration system and fans. If your freezer goes out, all of your product is in jeopardy. These large systems can take days or weeks to get parts for. Or if you are going with the original unit off of a shipping container, months to get the parts from Japan or China. My beef and pork processor had their main freezer container go down last year and were being told two months for a new compressor. They finally decided to just replace the whole system with a US unit.

With multiple chest freezers, if one goes bad, I can shuffle around stuff and hopefully have room to fit everything in somewhere else. It helps that I have a 15 cu.ft. I use to hold packages that I make up before delivery the next morning which I can use in an emergency. I still have to worry about losing electricity for an extended time, but I am looking at getting a generator. Our co-op is very good and the longest we have been down in the last 10 years has been two hours. The temps on some of the chest freezers moved up from -10F to -8F in that time. I check the outside thermometers at least once a day to make sure everyone is working and at the proper temp.

One thing with chest freezers is that I would recommend being very good with recording what is in each one and where. I have dedicated ones for beef, pork, and soon chicken. I keep all cuts together and when new stuff comes in, I pull the remaining stock out and put the new on the bottom. If you aren't careful, it is easy to have items get lost in the bottom for years. We eat these ourselves. If you keep your freezers at -10F or lower, properly wrapped meat will last years even though you can't really sell it after about six months except to very good customers. We just ate some roasts that were five to six years old and they tasted great made into Irish stew.
 
R Scott
Posts: 3375
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Thanks for talking me down from the cliff. I succumbed and bought the best rated chest freezers I could find locally (not many choices). At some point I may work on an alternative solution, but I have more immediate problems to tackle.
 
a wee bit from the empire
Dave Burton's Boot Adventures at Wheaton Labs and Basecamp
https://permies.com/t/119676/permaculture-projects/Dave-Burton-Boot-Adventures-Wheaton
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