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  1. Thats funny! A couple of months ago my brother the fireman showed me his new Flir K-50 Thermal Imaging Camera.Too bad he's on the other side of country and the city of Glendale probably wouldn't approve of him sending it to me for a minute. Option 2 is brilliant and most definitely worth investigating! Thanks again! Or maybe I could stop by a fire station on the way home from picking up freezer and see if they want to make sure their TIC is working properly! That'd work too, but I don't know the tube are spaced and if my hand (or my thermopen) would be sensitive enuf to know where the edges were. Anybody know where I can find a Modernist Cuisine stylee cut-away picture of a chest freezer?
  2. Wow, y'all really took "fire away" to heart. Looks like this was a good crowd to source. Thanks! I have not pulled the trigger quite yet as I'm kinda waiting for the wife to leave town next week*. From what I've gathered in no particular order I should: Add 2" of insulation to all sides and the bottom; clean the evaporator coils daily; add at least two ceiling fans; install rolling vertical files with a lock at the end of travel; fill the chest with food grade silica gel; add a second refrigerator to dehumidify the air in the chest; fill what ever space remains with dust mites and apples; then toss the whole thing onto the recycling heap because it takes up too much space, is no more efficient than my 1980 side by side and its a major pita to get anything out of other than eggs. Actually y'all have really have been quite helpful. I'm following DiggingDogFarms' example which is essentially the "standard" for keezer's (keg freezer). Andisenji's link led me to Dr Tom Chalco's scholarly looking pdf that outlines complete implementation of the chest freezer conversion (including global implications). It covers all my questions but gives me some slight pause as all of his references are to himself. Still some good stuff there. And a PID is not the best thing for this app (guess I'll have to use it on the oven!). Then I stumbed into this thread on homebrewtalk that outlines how to hack the existing chest freezers thermostat to run at 35-40o F by finding the coarse adjustment screw. If for whatever reason that doesn't work, I've found plenty of temp controls and sensors from $15 to $50 so holding temp doesn't look like a problem. I've also found a couple of pc fans and I get the impression I'm over thinking the condensation issue. I'll try the desiccants and if that's insufficient I'll try something else. So my biggest issue is organization. The 10cf chest that I'm looking at measures 43"x18" and it's 25.5" from the bottom to the inside of the lid. It'll fit inside the larder in the kitchen (closet) with no modification. I really only want two boxes, one for meats and one for veg (maybe one more smaller box for cheese). I'd like shelves for everything else. I'm thinking of mounting 2, maybe 3 levels of rails along the length, then cut lengths of 12" and 16'" wide wire shelving to fit across the width. The cut shelves would just sit on the rails and either slide or I'd remove them to gain greater access to the next level or the bottom of the chest. I'd have to epoxy the cut ends or they'd rust in very short order. One 12" wide shelf and one 16" wide shelf would leave about a 15" opening between levels. I also found a basket that measures 17"x21" and about 4" deep. The bottom rail (shelf) would be at 7" from the bottom, the next up 11" from that (about 7" from the top). The top rail would be about 1" from the top for the basket. That should yield about 3.5 sq ft of 11" tall storage (just shy of a wine bottle standing upright) on the lower shelf, a bit less than 3.5 sq ft of 7" tall storage on the upper shelf, ~2.5 sq ft of 5" tall in the basket, about 2.5 sq ft of 7" tall on the bottom under the shelf, and almost 2 sq ft of 25" (!) tall storage on the other side of the bottom. Sounds pretty good to me, but should and is are not always the same thing. So does that make sense? Again, anything jump out at you that's just plain wrong or a bad idea? Too many words, not enough pictures? *One of those beg forgiveness instead of consulting (asking permission) things. But she'll see the light, right?
  3. The problem with a chest freezer that is converted to a refrigerator temp is that the air circulation is not optimal - or even passable if you come right down to it.There will be areas of low temp and areas with much higher than desirable temps if you are storing things that need to be below a certain temp. Had the same issue with my sv rig. I added circulation and that brought that into line (+/- 0.1 oC throughout the bath) Although it would add some inefficiency (heat and electricity), wire shelves and a couple of pc fans should do for circulation inside the chest. If you have room for an upright, consider one of the commercial units that you can find used at restaurant supply places for the same cost as a home type fridge and they are built to last for decades, not years. If you can't make your conversion plans work, you may want to look into the either/or concept freezer. Those are two very good ideas and I'l probably go that route if this one doesn't pan out. There are very few to no chest freezers that do not require manual defrost these days Condensation appears to be a valid concern. Some of the brewer's use an "Eva-dry Mini Dehumidifier". Its a renewable desiccant with a small heater built-in that you plug in periodically (every few months or so) to "renew" it. I've "read" that it dried out a fridge that the owner previously had to sop up to half an inch of water out of. Hmmm, caveat lector. ....But if it does! He has them in the garage because the compressors are somewhat noiser than home fridges. Hmm, now that's one I had not considered. One reason I haven't popped for an induction cooktop yet is the whine of my hob. Do I really want to add something else to my kitchen cacophony? I hope you reach your goal - but, it is sounding very complicated to have to deal with all the issues you have identified - and perhaps costly too? One of the main attractions for me is that all of the freezers I've looked at are well under $500. Combined with the potential energy saving, that fits my frugal nature like a glove. As for complication, well, my primary hat is a math teacher's. One of my favorite quotes from me is "It's not hard, it's complicated. Complicated just means its a bunch of simple steps" This is starting to look like one of those "give me the helmet. I'll be the stuntman" moments. Thanks for the quick replies and please keep shooting.
  4. Hello all, I've been thinking about converting a chest freezer to a fridge for a while and I wanted to see if any of y'all had any experience with that kind of foolishness. I couldn't find much when I searched the archives. Initially, I just wanted a big refrigerator without an attached freezer. I hate my current inefficient fridge. Both sides of the side by side are always overcrowded and its hard to access the stuff in the back and the narrow freezer really sucks. Since I have an upright freezer in the garage and an over abundance of room in my kitchen, I thought why not replace the side by side with just a refrigerator and bring the freezer into the attached laundry room? What I really wanted was a upright drink cooler with glass doors, but my wife wasn’t having it. So I started looking around for a fridge without a freezer and found they can be a bit spendy. Then I started looking for freezer to fridge conversions and found that not only was it fairly common (especially with the home brew and off-the-grid crowds), but that it was as simple as adding a thermo-switch and sensor in line with the wall plug. Sounds like my SV temp controller. In fact, it's my controller exactly. Kewl! I also found that chest freezers are FAR more efficient than uprights and once I thought about it, that was a screaming daaa. Cold air, the main product of a chill chest, sinks. Open an upright fridge or freezer and a LOT of cold air comes out and down to cool your toes. Your refrigerator spends a good amount of time and energy recovering the “cold” (better stated as removing the heat) Open a chest freezer and that same cold air stays inside. In addition, freezers are generally better insulated than refrigerators (don’t know why they wouldn't have the same insulation (?)) From what I understand, chest freezers really don’t use less electricity when they’re on, they just stay on for a considerably shorter period of time compared to up an upright refrigerator (as little as a 1/10th of the time). Over a year, that’s 10 times less electricity. Since mine would not be trying to cool it to below freezing, its on for even shorter times. Very cool! Two problems: Its a pain in the butt bending over to get anything out of the box and organization A fridge laying on its side takes up waaaay more floor space than standing up. I’ve lucked out on the second as the previous owner built a small pantry (really a small closet) with two sliding doors, in the middle of the kitchen. If I remove the lower shelves of in the closet, it leaves almost exactly the right amount of space for a 9 to 14 cubic foot chest freezer with enuf space to open it AND leaves room for two shelves above it. Way cool! The first problem requires a bit more head scratching. I could just put crates and baskets in the chest and lift them out to access the goodies beneath. But that leaves cold groceries on the counter till I get to what I want. I think a better idea would be a number of tiered wire shelves along the length and at each end. I got the idea for someone's site that writing on the top of refrigerated stuff and jars makes for easier identification from above. I like the idea of a fairly open bottom for two or so cambro's for veggies and meats and enuf open space to put a tall pot or tub for brines and marinating. Using a full width and length bottom shelf combats a third problem that I forgot to mention: Condensation. Without a dryer or dehumidifier I suspect moisture from the warm damp air that comes in every time you open the lid will condense and collect on the bottom of the chill chest. All I could come up with is the bottom shelf to raise the food a bit and periodically open the drain. (anybody know anything about de-humidifiers and or dryers?) After looking at some actual chest freezers, the shelves could actually work. I think split sliding shelves that cover a bit more than half the length would give me a bit more area shelf area. By sliding I can get better access to everything below. The 10 CF unit at Home Despot looks just right for my kitchen. What I’d REALLY like to do is go all Rube Goldberg on it and make all of those shelves rise out of the box when you open the lid with gas sprung lifters (think of your cars hatchback lift springs) Ok, maybe not. So has anybody been there and done that? Anybody see any glaring reasons I should not go this route? Fire away! Thanks!
  5. Excellent source for little glass bowls for mise en place. Also found some nice plastic storage containers with built-in lids for bulk stuff in the pantry and little capped boxes (maybe 3 cubic inches) for a $1/dozen. Great for bulk seasonings. And reading glasses by the dozen.
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