Refrigeration 101 – READ FIRST!

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    Before you start building your keg box, it’s good to get a short primer on the working of a refrigeration system.

    The basic principle of any refrigeration system is not to make things cold. Well, it does that, but it does so by REMOVING HEAT.

    So, a few basic rules to follow when building a keg box are:
    1. Prevent heat from entering the box area. Insulate it well!
    2. Maximize the efficiency of your cooling system by keeping air inside the box moving.
    3. Never forget to insulate UNDER the floor!
    4. Don’t open the door unless you are changing out the keg or defrosting.

    Take a look at this schematic diagram of a basic refrigeration system:

    fridge diagram

    T1 is the air and items inside your keg box.
    T2 is the freezer plate inside your fridge.
    T3 is the rear coil usually on the back or the fridge, some new models enclose this coil.
    T4 is your ambient room air.

    Heat needs to be removed. That’s our entire goal. So, if you can speed the air passing the freezer plate, you will speed cooling inside the keg box.
    Think of the big soda coolers at the local 7 11 or liquor store. Open the door and you can hear those fans blasting away.
    For our purposes a small 12 volt fan like the one in your PC will work fine and is very quiet. You can buy them very cheaply on Amazon.com

    On the outside of the fridge, we need to expedite the departure of heat from the back of the unit. While the older “exposed” coil units do seem to work a little better, just keeping air circulating back there is a good idea for both the exposed and enclosed coil models. It helps cool the compressor too, making it last longer.

    Many people have asked if this model fridge or that model fridge will work…
    Here’s the test…
    Plug it in…wait 15 to 30 minutes.
    If the freezer plate gets cold to the touch, it will work.

    If your unit does not have a freezer plate, it will still work, but the more surface area the better, so fill a bunch of old soda bottles with water and stack them in the fridge.
    Then position your fan to blow the relatively warmer air from the keg box across the water bottles. You may have to set the thermostat setting to near it’s max.

    Hopefully this quick, rather unscientific explanation will help.
    Post any questions or comments.

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