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Off - Grid refridgerators - How do you do it?

 
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marty reed wrote:i have been looking into this my self this is a neat idea of how to turn a chest type freezer into a frig that uses about a 10th of what a stand up frig will use thats good for me be cause i can have less solar panels  http://www.solviva.com/wastewater.htm im looking to build a house after i get back and for it to be all off gride also making it easyer for me to retire and wtih little to no bills and have a good life and retire young mid to late 30s im hoping and this off grid house will make it posable

thecheapguy



not sure why that link is in their it is not the right one
 
pollinator
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yes, i would like to know also, i have less than 1/2 kilowatt of panels and barely enough in winter to keep my electronics and lights going (although then i could probably freeze water jugs at night to keep things cold during the day

I only need 4 or so cubic feet, and i know insulation is a big deal, but is there any trick to handling the coils and exchanger that actually goes into the box? i don't want to have to deal with loose freon because i broke something trying to put it somewhere it wasn't designed to go.

 
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I have an old metal tool box dug into the soil in a very shady spot on the north side of my cottage. An old blanket covers the above ground portion and the surrounding soil. Not super cold but much cooler than the surrounding air on a hot day. I call it my 10 minute root cellar.
 
bob day
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fascinating, i thought the second page was the first, this thread has been going on a while and collected some very interesting variations, as well as some thoughts that were fairly off the wall (mine from an earlier post being one of them)

I did like the wt best idea, maybe with a modification, the chest fridge/freezer is sort of a no brainer-- cold air falling out and all that

the root cellar for mass root storage is something i plan to do anyway. but i like the idea of something in the kitchen area that runs on electricity and maintains both freezing and non freezing temps using renewable energy

combustion of anything, even at a pilot light level is not for me-- i'm currently running an rv fridge freezer that uses about 20$ worth of propane/mo

certainly not cost effective, but i do like my frozen banana smoothies

But the wt best info on actual kilowatts/day was great, looks like i might be able to find enough panels to do this, and i just bought a 20 amp controller and probably have the batteries somewhere that need to be hooked into a system, i've had one sitting in the greenhouse waiting for me to work on my tractor starter, pretty sure there's another somewhere. - a decent sized chest freezer, line it with 2" of blue foam on the inside, seal joints with gorilla glue (which foams up) or some of that foam in a can. this will reduce capacity, but superinsulate the box--maybe line with some heavy plastic to keep things from getting funky when stuff spills (i know myself pretty well, i'm gonna spill stuff)

Depending on location of thermostat and cooling coil it may be possible to create a temperature gradient running from freezing to just cold with a well positioned foam panel isolating the coil. maybe add some thermal mass, or keep it on hand for when the thing isn't full, and that might work.

I've been offered chest freezers before, but never bothered with them, maybe i'll keep my eyes open, maybe craigs list.

i do have one question, how dangerous is it to mix freon and propane (if there's still some freon in the system? And do you add the propane as a liquid, or as a gas, do you put it in under pressure? do you need specialized tools?

what if the electric motor throws a spark and there's a leak?
 
pollinator
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Bob Day : I need to re-read this again myself before I make comments at large ! Once you have gotten the idea of cold air failing /not failing
out you have made tremendous strides ! Now with the energy star program it is possible to find newer models with higher efficiencies just by
reading the model number plate and looking it up on line !

Do not put insulation on the inside, you will be putting the insulation between the chilling coils and the stuff you want to keep cold !

Counter intuitively the fuller your freezers the more it helps keep itself cold which cuts down on running time, an almost empty freezer will
reach the equilibrium point more times in a month than a full one that has more cold mass, most of the cost of the electricity you buy is in the
start/stop not the steady run!

This means you can rinse out your milk jugs, loosely cap them, freeze them solid, and in a few weeks your bottom half of your freezer is like
a big battery of coldness buffering the temperature swings and using less electricity than a smaller sized model 1/2 full !This is something you
can do immediately !

Turning chest type freezers into refrigerators is easy because they have more insulation and the cold does not fall out, with a good energy star
rated appliance it really is as easy as buying the adapter kit ! For the good of the Craft ! Big AL
 
bob day
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I wasn't sure about the location of the coiling coil, and i suppose it may be different on different models, your spell check on Failing/failing ended up with the same typing misteak i made

obviously the coil needs to have free exposure to the inside of the box, and newer models would probably have a more equal distribution of coils, although it seems to me some of the older refrigs were mostly in the back and higher up, although tbh i don't have much experience with chest freezers so i really don't know where the coils are located .maybe adding insulation to the outside of a smaller chest would make more sense, with special attention to the bottom and making sure not to block the compressor air flow

as far as starting and stopping, that's a real good point, and maybe part of my design will be an on off switch on a timer or something .

I really will be looking close at just trying to earn the money and buy an efficient freezer and then add to the efficiency with the thermal mass and that adapter rig

If that estimate of kwh per day is right oni could probably put it on the credit card and the interest would be less than what i spend per month on propane.

this rv /propane fridge/freezer is really inefficient, seals on the door are bad, no way to control the actual propane flow, except to turn it off, and relighting is always a pain.

If i thought i could take the cooling unit and swap it to a chest freezer without totally screwing it up i might try that, and i'm currently investigating wood gas as an alternate fuel, but some of the rigs seem pretty complex, and it seems like a lot of trouble for a smoothie, maybe just a really well insulated ice house underground,

This weird vision just popped into my head as i was thinking what sort of door would be on the icehouse, and i saw in my mind this refrigerator door in the side of a hill that opens into this enormous cavern, you walk through the refrigerator box out the back into the ice house
 
allen lumley
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Bob Day :::--> www.servelrefrigerators.com/servel.html <--::: HintHighlight the BOLD Part and right click, it should open in the Address window or as a google search!

For the good of he crafts ! Big AL
 
Dale Hodgins
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http://www.servelrefrigerators.com/servel.html

Big AL --- When you put in these addresses, go to the site, highlight the address and go to Edit on your Apple and hit Copy. Come back here and hit Paste. This turns it into a link. No need to tell people to each copy it themselves. That's most of what I know about computers.
 
pollinator
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I am in the process of building my 2nd cool closet. It is very simple, the copper main water line comes into the house 1", this is teed 5 times into 1/2" soft copper pipes that are coiled as they rise up to the other 5 tees. These coils are 40 feet of pipe. The closet then has very hi insulation levels built in and an interior thermal mass is used to support the shelves. The first one used cmu's but the new one will be much hipper. A used computer fan provides air flow.
 
bob day
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Thanks for the link and the assist, i have three different dometics, 4 counting the trailer which i may or may not inherit-- one doesn't work and i did look into replacing the cooling unit, there are mennonite factories of sorts that offer the replacement units and parts that are supposed ro be pretty rugged/ long lasting

the newer units are prettier, but i think they are a bit less reliable

god knows how old the one i'm using is, the automatic igniter is gone (i use a propane torch to start it-- difficult to hold in the button for the pilot on the front and start the fire on the back at the same time with a match.

But once it's burning it cools everything --not as cold in summer and freezes everything in winter

I have certainly thought about running a cold water coil in an insulated chest, Paul has a video of that using a spring fed gravity system. After my high pond is in place i'll have gravity water to my house and can run irrigation water through some coils in a closet and water plants and cool food all at the same time.

or

I had thought about trying to rig a dehumidifier using cold water pipes and some sort of trough to collect the condensed water--which i suppose if you really had everything spotless could actually be supplying distilled water for drinking.

sounds like a nice stack of functions, one of those things that i may develop over time, for now i'll be happy to get insulation and sealing in place for the winter, the frig projects will have to wait, although i may start looking for a new high efficiency chest freezer
 
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