Author Topic: Puddles in Upright Freezer Fermentation Chamber  (Read 2719 times)

Offline GrainOfTruth

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Puddles in Upright Freezer Fermentation Chamber
« on: September 05, 2017, 10:33:12 PM »
I recently converted an upright freezer to a fermentation chamber and I have been getting tons of condensation to the point that there is always a puddle. It completely saturates a dish towel every time I open it. There are no leaks around the door (brand new door seal and a solid fit) and no apparent air leaks anywhere else. I added a markerboard bottom over the original bottom that had a drain and it is already damaged by all of the water after a single brew! The freezer fermentation chamber is in Charleston SC in the summer, so the garage is probably 90ish degrees on most days. Could it just be opening the door with the massive temp difference? Anyone with similar experience in condensation, or is there another leak problem.

I am happy to add pics and build details if it will help.

Thanks

Offline Visor

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Re: Puddles in Upright Freezer Fermentation Chamber
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2017, 10:44:08 PM »
   Is it a frost free freezer?
   My guess is that you are just dealing with the humidity of your air down there, even in our arid climate I can get a cup or two per day of condensation just from opening the door once. This is a much greater problem with uprights than with chest freezers, simply because you have much more air change whenever the door is opened.
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Offline HydraulicSammich

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Re: Puddles in Upright Freezer Fermentation Chamber
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2017, 12:31:49 AM »
Hang some Damp-Rid in it.  Works.
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Offline GrainOfTruth

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Re: Puddles in Upright Freezer Fermentation Chamber
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2017, 07:06:07 PM »
It is a frost free freezer. I also forgot to mention that I was using 2 Eva-dry E-500's while I was getting these puddles... I will try a bucket of Damp-rid in there next time as well. It still seems like I have much more of a water problem then a bucket of damprid is going to be able to absorb.

I am also probably going to have to swap out that markerboard floor that already has water damage. Any ideas of what to use for floorboard material that will hold up to a 15 gal conical and a ton of water. Maybe just uncover the original floor / drain hole and give it a fresh coat of appliance epoxy paint?

Offline Visor

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Re: Puddles in Upright Freezer Fermentation Chamber
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2017, 02:48:23 PM »
   You didn't mention the size of your freezer, if it'll hold a 15 gallon conical I'm guessing it's at least a 16 cubic foot. Anyway, if it's more than 4 years old there's a good chance that a metal grate shelf out of a15' or 18' fridge might just fit, or a metal shelf out of a manual defrost freezer of the same size as yours. You could visit a local appliance store and see what, if any used shelves they have on hand that they might part with for a reasonable price. I probably have several laying around that would work that I'd give you, probably not worth the cost of shipping though.
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Offline GrainOfTruth

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Re: Puddles in Upright Freezer Fermentation Chamber
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2017, 08:13:18 PM »
Here are some pictures of the chamber / alterations, just in case someone spots something that could be adding to the water issue.


Patched the shelf holes. I used spray foam to insulate, JB Water Weld Epoxy putty to patch and then appliance spray paint to conceal.

I used white food grade silicone to put down the markerboard floor over the floor and drain in the picture below. I didn't insulate the drain hole though. When I replace the water damaged markerboard floor, I will probably spray insulate the drain to see if it helps.

I replaced the interior door wall with a flat whiteboard and the replaced the door seal with a new one.

I ran the 3 cables through the same very tight hole and added spray insulation on both sides to help seal it.


« Last Edit: September 12, 2017, 09:15:42 PM by GrainOfTruth »

Offline Visor

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Re: Puddles in Upright Freezer Fermentation Chamber
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2017, 03:05:03 PM »
   I don't recommend plugging the drain, some amount of condensation is inevitable so you need to let it exit the cabinet, and infiltration of moist air through it will be negligible.
   Do you even need a false floor? The photos look like the existing floor is metal, is it not sturdy enough to support you conical?
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Offline GrainOfTruth

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Re: Puddles in Upright Freezer Fermentation Chamber
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2017, 06:49:35 PM »
   I don't recommend plugging the drain, some amount of condensation is inevitable so you need to let it exit the cabinet, and infiltration of moist air through it will be negligible.
   Do you even need a false floor? The photos look like the existing floor is metal, is it not sturdy enough to support you conical?

I don't need the false bottom for support. The metal floor should be fine on its own. I just figured the open drain would leave me more prone to infections, and would cause more condensation (even though the large puddles would drain out). I couldn't find any information on whether to leave the drain open or seal it when doing upright freezer conversions, but it seemed like a lot of people put in an easy to clean new floor material. I could easily remove the markerboard to uncover the drain, and clean up the floor / hit it with a few coats of appliance epoxy paint to protect it from corrosion.

Anyone else using an open drain on a converted upright freezer fermentation chamber? Should I be worried about fruit flies, wild yeast or mold infections through the drain?


Offline Visor

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Re: Puddles in Upright Freezer Fermentation Chamber
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2017, 10:58:41 PM »
   Wild yeast and flies are far more likely to gain access through the open door than the drain. Any thermal loss through the drain will be miniscule, especially since the chamber temp will be above freezing.
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Offline GrainOfTruth

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Re: Puddles in Upright Freezer Fermentation Chamber
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2017, 03:27:57 PM »
Sounds good. I will try just using the original floor and drain first. I doubt that my current humidity / condensation problem could get much worse, so it is worth a shot. At least the puddles will drain out when they get out of control...

Offline GrainOfTruth

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Re: Puddles in Upright Freezer Fermentation Chamber
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2017, 12:38:14 PM »
I ripped out the markerboard and scraped off all of the silicone that I used to glue it in place. The original floor was covered with dents and had some rust. I am treating it with some rust converter, filling the large dents and impressions with All-Purpose Bondo and then painting it with several coats of epoxy appliance paint. Bondo's hardener mixing / short work time is not really suited for shaping a nice perfectly even looking floor, but the final painted floor should be protected from corrosion, dent free, durable and easy to clean.

Offline GrainOfTruth

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Re: Puddles in Upright Freezer Fermentation Chamber
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2017, 01:50:29 PM »

Floor after removing markerboard. Scraped silicone, cleaned and treated rust. Too heavily dented to drain well.


Leveled and sloped floor with all purpose bondo / sanding.


Spray painted with appliance epoxy paint.

Needs to air out at least another week before a brew / test.

Offline el_capitan

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Re: Puddles in Upright Freezer Fermentation Chamber
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2017, 02:14:13 AM »
Looking good!  You're really bringing that thing back to life.  I'm having a drainage issue in my kegerator too (converted fridge) but my problem seems to be where the condensate collects from the freezer unit.  The drainage water freezes up before draining and blocks the access to the drainage tube. 

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Puddles in Upright Freezer Fermentation Chamber
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2017, 04:52:50 PM »
You can always plug the drain with a piece of foam stuffed into the hole that will allow air to access the interior, but limit access by fruitflies...just a thought.
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