I spent 12 years in a job shop fixing things I had no business fixing... can't stop now :) truth be told, the refrigerant will probably cost more that the $50 freezer on offerup down the street... but once I get started with a project, it's my baby... have to see it through
So an update on the disaster. Not knowing much about refrigeration, I did not realize that the lack of a condenser on the back of my fridge meant that my freezer is what is referred to as a "Hot Wall Condenser" freezer. The tubes zig zag back an forth in both sides of the freezer, and possibly the top although I am not certain about that. What this means is that I punctured the high pressure side of the system. I still should be ok with my fix, as the high pressure side's working pressure is rated at 320 psi, and the copper/flare fittings are rated above 1000 psi. I will also note that after checking, my stud finder does an accurate job of locating the pipes through the side of the freezer by testing it where I know where they are located at now that I have opened up the side. I will put in a caveat and word of caution for anyone that uses that advice, I would recommend testing your stud finder first, and then opening up a small area to locate the line and be sure it is reading the lines. Another word of caution, the hot wall condenser lines are located directly on the other side of the outside wall of the freezer, so go slow and use snips instead of a cutting wheel. I don't want to be held responsible for bad advice. I just know that it is working for me. I will be gone over the weekend, but I should have all the parts and pieces to recharge the freezer next week. Fingers crossed. Oh, and Holly, I am taking your advice and using some Nylog blue HVAC thread sealant on the fittings. I have a friend that isn't local that does HVAC for a living for commercial/industrial applications, and he has been helping me via calls and pictures sent. I don't think I would be confident continuing without his input. Hopefully my next post is full of good news and photos.
I vacuumed the line and desiccated, then weighed in the proper amount of refrigerant. I have been running it overnight at 50 degrees F with a dead band of 3 degrees and it seems to be holding steady. I went ahead and added a 2.5 gallon water container to help regulate the temperature. As you can see in the picture, the cycle time stretched out after adding the water and allowing it time to come to temp.
At the moment, the cycle time seems to be about 25-30 minutes.
I will continue to monitor for probably a week before putting anything in it, as I don't want to risk spoiling meat.
Can I add something here. On any newer refrigeration equipment please drill holes in the great outdoors. There any many highly flammable refrigerants in use now. Dumping the charge indoors could be a big problem. Anything but 134a should be researched before cabinet alterations take place.
This is great!! how can you verify there is no wiring, drain lines or refrigeration piping in the wall you plan to run your wiring through? The refrigeration piping would be the hardest or is there a way to tell?
I was able to verify the location of condensing tubes after the hitting one with a screw by using a stud finder... but really the only way of knowing for sure is finding the schematics of the fridge you are using and probably calling them to verify... otherwise it can be a crapshoot
Thank you so much for posting your trials and errors. I was all set this morning to start drilling holes and converting the freezer, then I read about the lines in the side walls. I managed to get everything run in just by passing the wires through the gasket on the hinge side of the door. So nice to learn from others who walk the path before us!
This was a fabulous post. I can hardly wait to get started. I have one question though as a newbie. Every recipe I have seen requires an initial fermentation phase at a particular temperature and relative humidity. How is this accomplished when your curing chamber is full of product that you’ve already started? Is it best to have a separate chamber for this as well? Thanks!!!
Thanks Holly. My neighbor Mark and I will be starting our conversion of a relatively new commercial refrigerator that my daughter used at the medical clinic where she worked to store vaccines.
I am grateful for your article and will forward it to Mark who is a retired commercial electrician. I’m charged with getting the equipment and Mark will get the parts and do the work needed for integration.
Hi again Holly, I am confused about circulating air in the drying/aging chamber. some say open the door periodically. Others say buy a computer fan and a dryer vent for input/output. And still others buy a regulator for the fan, and some use a deflector in combination. And then there are those who also talk about calculating calculating fan speed.
My wife is Italian and says of my new hobby. I’m sure my ancestors are smiling down watching this process. She said the same when I started making my own sausage. She felt differently then after we made Brooklyn style Italian Sausage like she remembered. So delicious and easy to make.