Author Topic: using window ac unit  (Read 173 times)

Offline csu007

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using window ac unit
« on: April 10, 2019, 03:37:45 AM »
i was wondering if anyone has experience or knowledge in using a window ac unit as the main cooling unit for a fermentation "chamber". i have a beer shed that is not insulated and even with small dorm fridge, the summer heat is too much to control. I saw that some these units have the ability to set a temp which would be great. my biggest concern is the ac unit would be indoors with no exposure to the outside. This ac units are about the same price if not cheaper than upgrading to slightly bigger dorm fridge. any suggestions would greatly appreciated.
“Sometimes when I reflect back on all the beer I drank, I feel ashamed. Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the brewery and all of their hopes and dreams. If I didn’t drink this beer, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered. Then I say to myself, “It is better that I drink this beer and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver.

Offline KellerBrauer

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Re: using window ac unit
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2019, 12:02:19 PM »
Your question has produced a somewhat complex answer that includes more questions.  First, what is an uninsulated “beer shed”, how large is it and can it be insulated?  Is it large enough to support the weight of a small window ac unit?  I assume the beer shed is an indoor structure whereby the condensing section of the window ac unit will also be indoors?  If this is the case, what is the average ambient temperature of the area in which the condensing section will sit and how large is the area, i.e, basement, small closet, etc..  Will heat be needed and how will you introduce heat to this beer shed?

The simple answer to your question is: Yes, it can be done.  However, is it a sound economical solution to creating a fermentation chamber?  Answers to the above questions will help answer this question.
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Offline BrewBama

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using window ac unit
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2019, 12:05:01 PM »
Will Minderhout gave a presentation on a similar subject at Homebrew Con 2013 in Philadelphia, PA

https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/seminar/building-a-walk-in-cooler/

Cool Bot is a controller designed to use a window unit in a walk in cooler: https://www.storeitcold.com/brewing/

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« Last Edit: April 10, 2019, 12:17:23 PM by BrewBama »
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Offline goose

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Re: using window ac unit
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2019, 02:52:31 PM »
One additional observation on this topic.  If the AC unit does not have an outdoor exposure to purge the hot air, you might be defeating the whole purpose since you will reduce the efficiency of the AC unit by attempting to not only cool the air in the fermentation chamber but also the hot air exhaust in the building itself.  If your fermentation chamber is insulated from the rest of the building, you would probably be OK.

To further explain, I have a walk-in cooler in my brewery using a half ton refrigeration unit.  The compressor sits on the top of the cooler in the brewery and the evaporator is mounted to the ceiling inside the 8'x4'x8' (LxWxH) cooler.  The compressor is not directly vented to the outside and things get a bit warm in the brewery in the summer months.  Fortunately, I have a window close to the compressor and use a box fan to move air around the compressor unit.  Although the efficiency is not as good as having the compressor mounted outside or in the adjacent garage, it seems to work pretty well.  The inside of the cooler itself is well insulated and stays at the temperature it is set to.
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Offline csu007

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Re: using window ac unit
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2019, 02:44:43 AM »
So my brew shed is a modified tough shed. Right now it is not economically feasible for me to insulate the entire shed. However,  within the shed I have a fermentation chamber that is insulated. Right now I'm using a tower heater in the winter (works great) however,  once the outside temp hit above 80F or so the  small dorm fridge cant keep the chamber at a temperature beneficial for normal fermentation temps. My thought was to use the window adjustable ac unit to ensure the temp remains constant.  It is possible (with lots of modifications to allow the ac unit to vent outside,  I was hoping to avoid that.
“Sometimes when I reflect back on all the beer I drank, I feel ashamed. Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the brewery and all of their hopes and dreams. If I didn’t drink this beer, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered. Then I say to myself, “It is better that I drink this beer and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver.

Offline KellerBrauer

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Re: using window ac unit
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2019, 12:13:42 PM »
As goose mention above, following your desired plan of action will be quite inefficient and costly while being very counterproductive.

Have you considered purchasing and modifying a used kegerator? It will have the refrigeration unit built in, it’s insulated and can be easily modified to accept a heat source as well as a good temperature controller.  You can probably modify a kegerator for a fraction of the cost of modifying your shed; plus it would be much more efficient.
All good things come to those who show patients and perseverance while maintaining a positive and progressive attitude. :-)

Offline goose

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Re: using window ac unit
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2019, 05:59:05 PM »
As goose mention above, following your desired plan of action will be quite inefficient and costly while being very counterproductive.

Have you considered purchasing and modifying a used kegerator? It will have the refrigeration unit built in, it’s insulated and can be easily modified to accept a heat source as well as a good temperature controller.  You can probably modify a kegerator for a fraction of the cost of modifying your shed; plus it would be much more efficient.

+1
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Offline Kevin

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Re: using window ac unit
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2019, 02:37:23 PM »
Can you use a window AC unit. Yes. But you should insulate the area being cooled. Maybe just box off and isolate a small area. This vid might give you some ideas.

https://youtu.be/fTrIOU9WCwE
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