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freaky cheap walk in fridge - cheese cave  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
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This video features a guy that looooooves cheese.  He has lots and
lots of cheese.

He converted a room in his house into a "cheese cave" by tricking an
air conditioner into being a refrigeration unit for a
walk-in-fridge-like-thing.



If you like this, please give a thumbs up, add to your favorites,
comment, subscribe and friend.

And, as always, please forward to folks that might be interested in
this sort of thing.

Thanks!




 
Jordan Lowery
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love this video paul, i had plans to build one but  was not sure how well it worked. now im doing it for sure!
 
paul wheaton
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Good!  After spending the last hour arguing with somebody over this video, it is nice to hear something nice!

 
Jordan Lowery
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i have a vision of having my own personal grocery store inside a room like that( and earth sheltered to insulate even better). stocked year around with herbs, veggies, fruits, nuts, spices, etc...

what did they have to argue about it?

any chance you got how much it costs to run that thing a month, year?
 
paul wheaton
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I'll ask the guy from the video (Kimmo) to stop by here - maybe he can answer your question.

As for the argument guy:  in the end it turns out he was just being mad to get attention.  Oh well.
 
                                  
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What a fantastic idea!  I've been looking into converting a fridge, but that involves a specially wired thermostat to get the temperature up.  This is a better idea.  I could possibly convert our well house into a cave! 

Right now I'm aging my cheese in my refrigerator, but sometimes I get so many cheeses that there isn't room for other things.  Our cow gives about 2.5 gallons/day so I'm making a 10lb cheese twice a week.  Right now most of the cheese is gone because of Christmas, but it is sad not to be able to sell it.  Our state, Washington loves to make examples of people who dare to have a family cow.    I do have a slide show about how to make a hard cheese, aged in the refrigerator:  http://billyandanuttama.wordpress.com/2010/11/27/how-to-make-an-aged-hard-cheese-in-the-refrigerator-using-easily-obtained-ingredients-and-equipment/
 
                                  
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Found this on a site I used to belong to. Don't anymore, and don't need a walkin cooler. But, if I were going to build one I would start here.
http://www.growingformarket.com/articles/20071226_3
 
                            
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Paul, You are the greatest! I love this kind of thing!

Here's a link to the Cool Bot page for anyone interested:

http://www.storeitcold.com/

Thanks Paul!
 
ryan112ryan McCoy
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Just a few days ago I purchased a cheese making kit from New England Cheese Making supply Co.  Can't wait to get started.  I have been able to find pasteurized milk (not ultra-pasteurized) but would like to find raw milk.  I can't wait!
 
ryan112ryan McCoy
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Where do people here buy their supplies (cultures, renets, etc) from?
 
                        
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Not absolutely sure they ship to the States but they likely do www.BerryHillLimited.com  carries all sorts of cheese making supplies as well as all  kinds of other stuff.
 
Doug Gillespie
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I've thought about something like this for our homestead in GA - in fact, I think it may end up being a necessity if we want to make much cheese other than mozarella (and we definitely do want to do that).  The vast majority of cheese recipes seem to say "age at room temperature" but they also seem to assume that the room in in New England or maybe Canada.    Room temperature in GA is a whole different wheel of cheddar. 

As others have said, I'd love to know how much electricity this installation uses.  I also wonder if anyone has tried using a refigerated ISO container for the same purpose?

Doug
 
                        
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Location: Iowa, border of regions 5 and 6
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Elsyr,  I think "room temperature" doesn't have to do with living in New England or Canada.  I think it means the temperature of the room you've built into the cave where you store your cheese, as well as your hams and sausages.

(You don't have a cave?  WHAT!?  Then what are you doing trying to make cheese?)
 
Doug Gillespie
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Muzhik wrote:
Elsyr,  I think "room temperature" doesn't have to do with living in New England or Canada.  I think it means the temperature of the room you've built into the cave where you store your cheese, as well as your hams and sausages.

(You don't have a cave?  WHAT!?  Then what are you doing trying to make cheese?)


Indeed - but I often see things in cheese making recipes like "age at room temperature (65-70 degrees F)" ... and I can only get those sorts of room temperatures naturally here in the southeast for a limited part of the year.  Hence the probable need for an artifically climate controlled cave.  I just might be able to do something with a root cellar sort of thing - but I'll have to dig pretty deep. 
 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
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Would really love to know the particulars of energy usage for this.  Sure it's cheap, but is it efficient? 

Think I may find a way to incorporate something like this as a part of a root cellar or cold pantry on the north side of the house. 
 
Derek Brewer
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Very neat idea! I, too, wonder how the room is constructed/insulated from the rest of the house and how efficient it is to run a regular AC unit like that for this purpose.

On the house/room insulation front, if the rest of your house is 65 degrees and you're trying to keep that room at 40, you need to heavily insulate the walls, floor, ceiling, and door.

On the AC unit, wouldn't it be better to run the refrigeration system from a larger chest freezer for this setup? They're designed to get down to that temp range.
 
paul wheaton
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Coolbot apparently called Kimmo and gave him a lifetime warranty for being in this video. 

Awesome!

 
klorinth McCoy
Posts: 101
Location: Southern Manitoba, Canada, Zone 3B
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Fantastic!
That is exactly what I needed for a meat cooler.
I raise chickens and sheep for my own use and need a walk-in for hanging and butchering.
A 6'x8' would give me enough space to hang the lambs, and chickens if I wanted.

I knew there had to be a way to use an air conditioner this way.

Thanks for the links guys!!
 
John Polk
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I was looking into the Cool Bot about a year ago.  Looked good, but I had my doubts.
Since then, I have talked to two different people who have set them up.  One absolutely loves it...does everything they hoped for.  The other was kind of wishy-washy about it, but then I discovered that he had done absolutely no insulation on the room (walk-in closet) he had set up.  Consequently, his AC runs constantly, AND his house is icy cold!
 
klorinth McCoy
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I would be insulating the H*LL out of it.
I can get sheets of 3" styro from a salvage company. Cheap and easy to use. Put them in place and spray foam the edges. Seal it up tight and we're good to go.

I'm more concerned about getting the door and drainage right. Plus a good sealant on the inside that will be easy to spray clean and will last. I want to be able to hang carcasses in the walk-in, and ideally butcher in it. I would be building in shelving and a cutting table.
 
                        
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Just finished re-reading the thread on the "energy efficient walk in cooler" and realized that if you're making it big enough, after you insulate the walls lining them with water-filled pop bottles would give you the thermal mass needed to ensure the area STAYS cold.  That would decrease the number of times your air conditioner unit would have to run to cool the air.
 
klorinth McCoy
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Any kind of mass would work.
Whatever you have. I would rather not have to clean that many pop bottles each time I finish using the cooler, but I like the mass idea. A couple 55 gallon barrels full of water for my cutting table would be a good start.

Thanks for the idea.
 
Amit Enventres
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So, our house fridge is gimpy. I.e. only 2 of the for shelves have no random freezing issues, and the door likes randomly not closing. I hooked up the kilowatt to it to try to bring enough evidence against it to dump it. It turns out that even at the low efficiency of about 1200kwh/year a new one will only pay for itself in 8 years, at best. Additionally, this thing is so old the spot it occupies will not fit the modern standard fridge size. In other words, it's battling for it's life.

I am trying to come up with a better battle plan. Now, I should add in the important detail that I live in an area where 6 months of the year it gets cold enough to be a fridge or freezer outside. So I walk past this cooler thing and shake my head at that lack of efficiency for 6 months. Then we also have a spot in the basement I plan on insulating and making into a cool storage... Because it's asking for it. And, I hope to put all the extra goodies I get from the garden in there when I get up to maturity. And canned goods. Maybe some pickles too. It will be maintained at about 50 degrees, which may not require much more than insulation on my part.

We also have a high efficiency chest cooler for most of our frozen needs. The current fridge has an awful freezer space that can't even fit a frozen pizza. I think that's a crime in some countries. In other words, if we need frozen stuff, it's usually in another spot, not the main fridge. Which makes me scowl at it more.

So what the fridge actually does is store drinks, condiments, cheese, some veggies, and leftovers. We pay $135/year for it to perform this task. So really, I shouldn't be complaining... but, review above mentioned  critiques.

I was thinking maybe the best thing to do would be to make a air-conditioned shelf that cools but also has a valve to the outdoors, to pull in cold air during the times it will not need energy driven cooling. But, I don't want to spend lots of $$ on a project that is... uh... gimpier than what I got or more costly in the long run. I know coolbots plus the air conditioner can cost $700, but I heard there's ways of rigging things cheaper. I wouldn't mind $400 if it costs about $2 to run a year.

Anyone know what the efficiency of these units tends to be? Would it maybe be better to take the fridge cooling unit out or convert it to a hybrid winter/summer cooler? Are there other alternatives?

Is it possible I'm really fridging more than needed? We try to be fridge minimalists.

Thanks for the insight. Sorry to be long winded.

 
Joshua Segatto
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Amit, you can actually save a lot of money using $35 temperature controllers such as https://www.amazon.com/dp/B011296704/

I've been looking into making a cooler like this using an AC because a window AC unit uses less electricity than a compressor. The theory based on my research is to buy a unit that is more than what you'd really need... such as one designed to cool a 5000 sqft room but using it on a 500 sqft room (math not correct, just using an example) and it will be able to efficiently keep the room cool and not freeze up from being tricked into running colder than designed.
 
Amit Enventres
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Thanks Joshua! That's great! Even if I use a new ac window unit, the cooling part of the project would only be $175. Way cheaper than a new fridge. The problem I now need to consider is: how much it would cost to run? 

I read that rating on efficiency of these units is BTU divided by SEER, divided by 1000 for kwh. If the unit stays on all day, every day, it will cost 4x more to run than the old fridge.  How often it turns on has to do with insulation, outside temperature, and how often it's opened up. So, at a minimum, I want it to only turn on about  1/8 of the time, to be worth it.  Is that possible at a reasonable level? If 5000 BTU unit cools 1500 cu ft, and a fridge is about 80 cu ft, that's about 5 % of the space, so maybe it will take $10 to run all year, if I also make use of outdoor temps? That would be ridiculously efficient! But, it might spend a lot of time turning on and off, wearing out parts real fast. Hmm... Still might be worth it.
 
Joanna Morton
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This may be more simplistic than you are looking for, but could you just unplug the refrigerator? You already have a chest freezer, and if you can spare the space to freeze 2-3 gallon-sized containers of water, those could be placed in the refrigerator to make it function as an ice-chest. Then you could rotate water containers so that 2-3 are always cooling the refrigerator, and 2-3 are always re-freezing.
If the doors won't stay closed tightly enough to keep in the cold air, you could rig a fastener or even place the refrigerator on its back so that gravity holds the doors closed. In that case it might not fit its current location, though.
It's definitely a cheap option!
 
Amit Enventres
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Joanna, that's an excellent idea, if in case the fridge goes out before we get a replacement built, but I think I'd be better off with a styrofoam cooler than the fridge, since the styrofoam cooler has the cold air drop to the bottom rather than float out at each door opening. Long term though I wouldn't like an ice chest, though I'm sure some people would be happy with it. I like something with low maintenance requirements so if I get sick, I also don't have rotten food to contend with too. Thanks for the suggestion!
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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