Kegerator in shed

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HopIt
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Kegerator in shed

Post by HopIt » Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:40 pm

Hi there,

I am getting sick of bottling and am considering building a Kegerator. There isn't a convenient space in the house for it so am considering chucking it in my old dilapidated shed. This is also where my fermentation fridge with temp control lives.

In shed it gets blooming cold in winter and very hot in summer. If its a hot day (it does happen occasionally) its absolutely roasting in there as its quite exposed to the sun. I think it gets to near 40c based on crappy outdoor thermometer on the wall, its totally unbearable being in there. The shed is ancient and needs replacing so I don't really want to spend loads of time and effort mucking about with insulation and the like.

When its hot and I am fermenting the ferment fridge only needs to get down to 20c, maybe I crash cool it a day or two. Also there are periods when its empty so its not on all the time. Bit concerned having a Kegerator in that type of heat will cost loads in electricity and potentially knacker the fridge as it'll be running at full pelt all summer.

I am going over board with this or is it a bit silly putting a Kegerator in that type of environment?

Cheers

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Kev888
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Re: Kegerator in shed

Post by Kev888 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:22 pm

Fridges and freezers aren't great in either extreme heat or cold (ironically). Some are better than others, but if using an old/random one you may just have to do what you can.

You could bung a small thermostatically controlled heater in the shed in winter - just to make sure things don't get 'too' cold. For summer, allowing good through-ventilation can help a great deal in preventing heat build up; if it is an old shed, making some (close-able) vents may not be too painful. Obviously, insulation can help save energy in both cases, but it would take a while to pay for itself so I understand you may be reluctant with a shed near its end.

You could perhaps stick insulation board or polystyrene to the fridge/freezer sides and top though. Many old models have poor insulation by modern standards. PROVIDED it is a normal design that dumps the heat out the back, anyway - some use the walls these days, and so insulating those would be bad.
Kev

Matt in Birdham
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Re: Kegerator in shed

Post by Matt in Birdham » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:34 pm

I have more trouble with my fermenting fridge in the cold (as Kev mentioned), than I do in the hot. Both fridge and keezer are in an uninsulated shed, although I think about mid thirties is the hottest it has been (and not that often). No real issues with the keezer though and really, what's the worst that can happen? They are pretty well insulated and even if you do hit the 40's it probably won't be for long and they should work fine again over night.
When I was in Aus I had three fridges in a tin shed that got absurdly hot (this was in Queensland). I never measured it, but easily 40's and perhaps 50's (our tap water was low 30's in the summer as was the sea!). Never had an issue with those fridges, which were all pretty old as well.

HopIt
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Re: Kegerator in shed

Post by HopIt » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:02 pm

Yeah, i did think overnight the shed will cool so its not that long. I guess I just thought maybe it would cost a ton through summer, but you can offset it as it probably will not come on that much over winter. And anyway I've got a smart meter so would be able tell anyway!

This is good news, now I can start planning it and won't have to bottle for that much longer!

Just out of interest why is a problem when its cold? Surely if, for example, its out overnight in winter it'll be plently cold enough anyway and won't need to come on?
Last edited by HopIt on Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Matt in Birdham
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Re: Kegerator in shed

Post by Matt in Birdham » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:29 pm

HopIt wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:02 pm
Just out of interest why is a problem when its cold? Surely if, for example, its out overnight in winter it'll be plently cold enough anyway and won't need to come on?
I don't know the mechanics of it, but you will find ambient temp ranges specified for new fridges. We recently got a new one in the kitchen and the recommended range was something like 10-35c, which seemed surprisingly warm to me. My FV fridge in the garage just stops working properly below about 5c ambient, and stops cooling the interior. When cold crashing, this often results in beer sitting at about 6-8c because the fridge still does a good job of insulating against the cold outside!

HopIt
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Re: Kegerator in shed

Post by HopIt » Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:15 am

Interesting. I've got an ancient 2nd (or 5th?) hand rusting hotpoint that looks like its from 70s or something and it gets down to 2c in any weather. Probably not such an issue for a Kegerator as it doesn't need to go so low.

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Kev888
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Re: Kegerator in shed

Post by Kev888 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:12 am

As I understand it, cold can make the oil in the compressor too thick, stressing the motor or causing it to stall if it should try to run. Condensation also causes important parts to rust, and apparently the refrigerant can work less well too (in fact the type in older fridges and freezers may actually be slightly better). Combined fridge-freezers have additional problems in unusual ambient temperatures, but homebrewers typically only use/control the bigger compartment so this isn't often a factor for us.

FV chambers may need to cool the wort even in winter-time, but the cooling for a keggerator could more easily be switched off in winter, which would overcome some of the problems (though not the rusting). All fridges/freezers I've seen are designed to work in ambient temperatures at least down to those needed for ale/cellar temperatures (though not necessarily lager temperatures).

Perhaps a tiny bit more awkward around those times of year when temperatures fluctuate back and forth, but keggerator temperature isn't too critical. Particularly if you switch the gas off when not dispensing, to avoid temperature changes affecting carbonation levels (and even then it is usually the beer going colder which is the bigger problem, within reason).
Kev

HopIt
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Re: Kegerator in shed

Post by HopIt » Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:39 pm

Are there any issues with co2 canisters sitting at freezing temperatures?

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Kev888
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Re: Kegerator in shed

Post by Kev888 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:35 pm

It would have to be very cold to freeze the CO2; something below -55C IIRC. Thats unlikely in a shed in the UK, even with the cooling effect of drawing gas off at normal rates. The regulator can ice up more easily (with dry ice internally and frost externally), but keggerators dispensing just a pint or two every so often are unlikely to cause serious problems. You will see the cylinder's internal pressure drop (if your regulator has a cylinder gauge) and there may be minor differences in the amount of CO2 dispensed at a given pressure, but thats not really a problem as such.

Warmth is a potential danger; normally the cylinders are rated up to around 50c IIRC. I'd not wish to put one in a south-facing conservatory in mid summer, I'd guess your shed would be better though maybe keep it in mind should there be heat-waves.
Kev

HopIt
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Re: Kegerator in shed

Post by HopIt » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:30 pm

Cool, its worth thinking about I guess, but imagine there must be many people in southern england (where its presumably the hottest) who have them in their hot sheds. Might just disconnect it and put it somewhere cooler if there was a mega heat wave.

Thanks for the info

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