Author Topic: Making an icebox (non-powered refrigerator)?  (Read 17297 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline 8x8x8

  • Apprentice
  • *
  • Posts: 14
Making an icebox (non-powered refrigerator)?
« on: January 23, 2009, 04:52:13 PM »
Hey guys,

Since I'm guessing the local electrical company won't run a line into a building that doesn't actually classify as a "structure" and it's also not "up to code" (both of which I think are unconstitutional), I might have to come up with another idea on how to keep my beer and whiskey cold!

Rather than buying a pre-made, expensive, non-durable plastic cooler, I was thinking of making my own "icebox" or non-powered refrigerator.  Would this be possible?  Like, could I make a big box using plywood, then waterproof ALL of the wood in the thing, and then put like 8 inches of that 2-inch Foamular stuff in there on all sides?

Would something kind of like that, actually work?  Or is there any way I could utilize the ground to keep my beverages cool?  I have to come up with something before this summer.

Offline Jens

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 900
  • Knoxville, TN
    • Tikkun Construction
Re: Making an icebox (non-powered refrigerator)?
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2009, 05:03:56 PM »
Ofcourse something like that would work, that's what was used before fridges.  Put it on the north wall, with no windows pointing at it, and it'll do better.  I'd think that a double wall plywood box, with 2-4" of solid foam.  Fiberglass inside, or just coat it thick with paint or poly.  Have your ice in a metal tray, at the highest point, with a drain fitting that sends the cold, yet melted water through copper pipe that wraps back and forth on its way down through the back of the box, to get a little bit more cold out before it exits the icebox.  Good seals on the door, which is also insulated.  That is basically the way I have seen them, except for the drain coil thingy, that was purely off the cuff  :)

And no Don, this isn't a half baked scenario rofl

On the other hand, if you fill a bucket with water, put a wet towel over the top, and set it in the sun, I have read that the evaporation will cool a sixer.  Never tried it, but read about it.  I think it is actually one of those old boyscout things...never in scouts myself.
just spent a few days building a website, and didn't know that it could be so physically taxing to sit and do nothing all day!

Offline Redoverfarm

  • Journeyman
  • *****
  • Posts: 6,781
  • Applachian Mtns, West Virginia
Re: Making an icebox (non-powered refrigerator)?
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2009, 05:07:20 PM »
Sounds doable.

The ground would work if you covered it in saw dust to keep it insulated.  Without it the ice would be short lived as the ground temps are around 50-52F. 

Try to find you an old "icebox".  But then again you might pay as much for that as you would a propane frig.

Offline MountainDon

  • Administrator
  • Journeyman
  • *****
  • Posts: 16,813
  • Jemez Mountains, NM; that's pronounced HEY-mess
    • My 15.75 x 30 Jemez Cabin
Re: Making an icebox (non-powered refrigerator)?
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2009, 05:15:38 PM »
The wet towel evaporative cooler works, but works best in low humidity. Without having a blower to increase the rate of water evaporation it will take a while to cool down your beer. It probably won't get the temperature down to the best food keeping temperatures either. Many homes here in the SW use this principle to cool in the summer. Trust me it's not at all like real A/C or a real fridge.

As for the ice box, what you and Jens described will work. After all that is what everyone used to use back some 75 years or so.

Is this going to be in a full time living situation? Or is this a vacation / weekend retreat?

If you have facilities to freeze water in gallon or half gallon jugs (like at home) you can save the bother of the drain.

If full time where do you get ice from? How much does it cost?

If this is a retreat you could also do like we've done for years. We have a couple of the heavily insulated Extreme coolers and use them to both transport everything from home and as the food and beverage storage on site. That is in addition to the propane fridge.

I've had one of mine for what seems like 8 years or so. It was one of the very first Coleman made in the Extreme series. It's a little dirtier and scuffed than it used to be but still works great.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2009, 05:39:13 PM by MountainDon »
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn’t mean it is good design.

Offline firefox

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 820
  • Eureka NV or Bust
Re: Making an icebox (non-powered refrigerator)?
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2009, 07:41:34 PM »
Ther is a very simple solution for the beer, but not the whisky.
Switch to Guinness Stout. It tastes just as great warm as it does cold.
It is an aquired taste though.  Didn't have access to a fridge when I was working on ships, and an old seaman turned me on to stout.

Bruce
Bruce & Robbie
MVPA 23824

Offline fishing_guy

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 396
  • Full time: Twin Cities MN Fun Time: Iron Range MN
Re: Making an icebox (non-powered refrigerator)?
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2009, 07:51:32 PM »
Who is your power company?

Luckily, we have Lake Power (North of Chisolm).  They'll run an RV circuit.  Just costs more for the installation if you don't have a swelling attached.

My kids bought me a small cooler which heats/cools on 12 Volt.  It will get 40 degrees cooler than ambient.  Should work for you in Minnesota. 

Otherwise, go ahead with your ice box plans, and go cut out a good chunk of one of those 10000 lakes right now.  They're plenty frozen! ;)
A bad day of fishing beats a good day at work any day, but building something with your own hands beats anything.

Offline MountainDon

  • Administrator
  • Journeyman
  • *****
  • Posts: 16,813
  • Jemez Mountains, NM; that's pronounced HEY-mess
    • My 15.75 x 30 Jemez Cabin
Re: Making an icebox (non-powered refrigerator)?
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2009, 08:39:05 PM »
I used to own a Koolatron 12 VDC thermoelectric cooler. That was back in Canada. The 40 degree max difference doesn't cut it in the summer when the temps can hit the high 80's with no problem. I also found them to be power hogs; not bad of you drive a lot or have access to 120 VAC when parked. We went back to block or frozen jug ice.

The electric coolers that really work well are the compressor driven ones; ARB, Edge and a couple other makes. Pricey, yes. I have 4 wheeling friends with them. One uses one of the smallest (no longer made I think) ARB's to make ice. Yes, they can act like freezers. He uses the ice in a Coleman Extreme cooler. Plus he has ice cream. Nice treat on a hot day in the middle of nowhere, UT.  ;D
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn’t mean it is good design.

Offline glenn kangiser

  • The Troglodyte
  • Administrator
  • Journeyman
  • *****
  • Posts: 24,926
  • Central California Sierras- Home of Yosemite NP
    • Underground Cabin
Re: Making an icebox (non-powered refrigerator)?
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2009, 09:16:19 PM »
You don't have an ice cold spring to make a spring house over?
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

Glenn's Underground Cabin  http://countryplans.com/smf/index.php?topic=151.0

Please put your area in your sig line so we can assist with location specific answers.

John_C

  • Guest
Re: Making an icebox (non-powered refrigerator)?
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2009, 04:20:57 AM »
There is a very simple solution ........ Switch to Guinness Stout. It tastes just as great warm as it does cold.......
Bruce

Sláinte

Offline glenn kangiser

  • The Troglodyte
  • Administrator
  • Journeyman
  • *****
  • Posts: 24,926
  • Central California Sierras- Home of Yosemite NP
    • Underground Cabin
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

Glenn's Underground Cabin  http://countryplans.com/smf/index.php?topic=151.0

Please put your area in your sig line so we can assist with location specific answers.

Offline FrankInWI

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 275
  • Central Wisconsin
Re: Making an icebox (non-powered refrigerator)?
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2009, 08:47:41 AM »
I live next door to you... Wisconsin.  When I bought my property there was a line in from the electric line by the road to a pole on the property, with meter et al.  So, that tells me the electric was put in just for the RV the old owners had on the site years ago.  We used that for years with out camper, till we built a garage on the back of the lot and had electric brought in there from another line boardering our porperty.  So now I have electric on two parts of my small lot.  Get billed for each meter. I left the old one connected cause my shallow well pump runs off of that one. Some day I will trench to the building so for both electric from the garage, and water back to it.  I'll be asking questions about that when the time comes.   So.... if you hadn't, check with your electric company.  Mine is Alliant Energy out of Madison. 
god helps those who help them selves

Offline firefox

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 820
  • Eureka NV or Bust
Re: Making an icebox (non-powered refrigerator)?
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2009, 08:56:25 AM »
John, If you are in Calif. you might try the Siera Nevada stout,
Bruce
Bruce & Robbie
MVPA 23824

Offline firefox

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 820
  • Eureka NV or Bust
Re: Making an icebox (non-powered refrigerator)?
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2009, 09:07:15 AM »
We used to buy meat from this place in the middle of the country and they would ship the stuff in styrofoam containers which had a really good seal. Lap joint sort of thing but since the whole thing consisted of just the two parts there were no air leaks to speak of.  You might try hunting around looking for shipping containers made like that, then put that in a wood box for mechanical protection, although these containers were pretty sturdy in their own rite. Average thickness was about 2 to 3 inches.
Good Luck
Bruce
Bruce & Robbie
MVPA 23824

Offline Jens

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 900
  • Knoxville, TN
    • Tikkun Construction
Re: Making an icebox (non-powered refrigerator)?
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2009, 09:34:53 AM »
Ther is a very simple solution for the beer, but not the whisky.
Switch to Guinness Stout. It tastes just as great warm as it does cold.
It is an aquired taste though.  Didn't have access to a fridge when I was working on ships, and an old seaman turned me on to stout.

Bruce

Guinness stout? [yuk]  Taste too much like beer.  Now, Guinness draft on the other hand, is a very good friend of mine! Should be cold though, in fact it says on the can, "serve ice cold".  The whiskey shouldn't be cooled, IMO, but kept at room temp, in a shady place.  Not that your place will be shady, but I mean not too much light.
just spent a few days building a website, and didn't know that it could be so physically taxing to sit and do nothing all day!

Offline MountainDon

  • Administrator
  • Journeyman
  • *****
  • Posts: 16,813
  • Jemez Mountains, NM; that's pronounced HEY-mess
    • My 15.75 x 30 Jemez Cabin
Re: Making an icebox (non-powered refrigerator)?
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2009, 12:08:59 PM »
Guinness Extra Stout in the bottle has no Nitrogen, only CO@ for pressurization. That makes it more acidic. Draft Guinness, including the cans with the 'widget' have less CO2, but lots of Nitrogen. The Nitrogen is what gives Guinness that creamy wonderful head.

BTW, Guinness in Ireland, and other parts of the UK where I savored the real thing in a real Pub is not served icy cold. It cellar temperature 50 to 60 degrees or so. It's served too cold in this country.

Too cold numbs the taste buds IMO.  c*
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn’t mean it is good design.

Offline Jens

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 900
  • Knoxville, TN
    • Tikkun Construction
Re: Making an icebox (non-powered refrigerator)?
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2009, 05:26:36 PM »
Well, at lest you didn't try to tell me that its supposed to be served warm!  I think the next guy that tells me that is gonna get a backhand!  Cellar cold, is plenty cold enough, just saying that on the can/bottle, it actually says Ice cold.  Too cold def not good, especially in one of my favorite drinks, the Irish car bomb.  I can take a lot of Irish whiskey, and Guinness, but put em together with some Baileys, and that's a party.
just spent a few days building a website, and didn't know that it could be so physically taxing to sit and do nothing all day!

Offline firefox

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 820
  • Eureka NV or Bust
Re: Making an icebox (non-powered refrigerator)?
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2009, 05:48:39 PM »
Jens, As far as I know, only the British like their beer warm and their baths cold. ::)
Bruce
Bruce & Robbie
MVPA 23824

Offline MountainDon

  • Administrator
  • Journeyman
  • *****
  • Posts: 16,813
  • Jemez Mountains, NM; that's pronounced HEY-mess
    • My 15.75 x 30 Jemez Cabin
Re: Making an icebox (non-powered refrigerator)?
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2009, 06:09:30 PM »
Cellar cold, is plenty cold enough, just saying that on the can/bottle, it actually says Ice cold.  Too cold def not good,
Yeah, I don't know why they say that. ??? Marketing? If they said serve at 55 degrees nobody here would buy it. ???

It's definitely not warm. It's cool.

Similarly it is common to say red wine should be served at room temperature. That's not true. To me room temperature is 68 - 70 degrees. The reds I like are best slightly cooler, maybe 60 - 65. ^5 tops. Whites about 45.

I like my Baileys chilled.   :D


Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn’t mean it is good design.

John_C

  • Guest
Re: Making an icebox (non-powered refrigerator)?
« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2009, 06:32:16 PM »
Hate to interrupt the cocktail party but back to 8x8x8's original question.

I've built a few ice boxes for sailboats and fishing boats.  Its a problem in a really small space.  With 4" - 8" of insulation on all side the box gets big in a hurry.  If you plan on using block ice it needs to be built pretty stout. Sooner or later one of those blocks will get away from you when you are putting it into the box.  A  50 lb block of ice doesn't have to fall far to damage the bottom.

My first thought since you are way up north is how many nights of the year can you set some 1 qt. bottles outside to freeze?  Four 1-qt. plastic bottles will freeze faster than One 1-gal. jug.  During the months when ice is "free" the efficiency of the ice box isn't much of a concern. 

Even a store bought ice chest will keep ice for quite a while if it's not in the sun.  If you only have to buy ice (for example) once a week for 20 weeks a year, it would take a long time to recoup the time and money of building a more efficient box. 

Offline jb52761

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 133
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
Re: Making an icebox (non-powered refrigerator)?
« Reply #19 on: January 25, 2009, 05:53:13 AM »
Her's an idea for the suds, if just for a week-end retreat. When I lived in Wyoming a friend taught me a neat trick. When camping in the woods/forest, have a small shovel, and dig a small cavity underneath a downed log  that has obviously been laying there for who knows how long...set your beer or whatever in the hole and use a board or large sheet of bark to cover the hole...if the downed tree is is shade for most of the day, the goodies will stay surprisingly cool.....we used to keep our nightcrawlers and other fishing bait this very way....and if not mistaken, I believe many early indian tribes used this meathod when storing a day's worth of fish and what-not.....

Offline Pritch

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 146
  • Crusty Condo-Critter
Re: Making an icebox (non-powered refrigerator)?
« Reply #20 on: January 25, 2009, 09:05:47 AM »
Remember that you need to keep food below 40°F to prevent harmful bacteria.  I've thought about building a walk-in freezer this way, oh say about 8X8X8!   :)

It sounds like this could cost more than buying a commercially built, super inssulated ice chest. 

-- Pritch
"The problem with quotes from the internet is that they're not always accurate." -- Abraham Lincoln

Offline Jens

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 900
  • Knoxville, TN
    • Tikkun Construction
Re: Making an icebox (non-powered refrigerator)?
« Reply #21 on: January 25, 2009, 06:33:02 PM »
Thanks for killing the thread drift there John, party pooper. ;D
just spent a few days building a website, and didn't know that it could be so physically taxing to sit and do nothing all day!

Offline Wilfredo2009

  • Newbie
  • Posts: 1
Re: Making an icebox (non-powered refrigerator)?
« Reply #22 on: May 13, 2009, 06:38:17 AM »
             It is better and it is very helpful in environment.



_________________
Refrigerator Filters

pagan

  • Guest
Re: Making an icebox (non-powered refrigerator)?
« Reply #23 on: May 14, 2009, 03:23:37 AM »
Cold spring water will work great, I've got one that has 38 degree water coming out of it and it keeps beer nice and cold. You can also look at night radiant cooling. Here's a link although it's not the one I remember most. I read about one guy who simply laid a regular refrigerator on its back and at night he would open the door allowing the night sky to "suck" out the heat. In the morning he would shut the door and it would stay cool all day as long as he kept it shaded. At night the sky will actually draw heat away from the earth, which is why frost hits fields first, and this can be used for passive cooling and refrigeration. I cannot find that link, sorry, but if you google "night radiant cooling refrigerator" you'll get a ton of sites.

http://solarcooking.org/radiant-fridge.htm

Offline NM_Shooter

  • Journeyman
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,788
  • Sometimes I sit and think. Mostly I just sit.
Re: Making an icebox (non-powered refrigerator)?
« Reply #24 on: May 14, 2009, 05:54:26 PM »
I read about one guy who simply laid a regular refrigerator on its back and at night he would open the door allowing the night sky to "suck" out the heat.
http://solarcooking.org/radiant-fridge.htm

Also why the windshield window frosts before the side ones.  (And why cloudless nights are coldest!)
"Officium Vacuus Auctorita"

 

Templates: 5: index (default), Ads (default), Portal (default), Display (default), GenericControls (default).
Sub templates: 12: init, html_above, adsheaders_above, body_above, adsindex_above, portal_above, main, portal_below, adsindex_below, body_below, adsheaders_below, html_below.
Language files: 3: SPortal.english (default), index+Modifications.english (default), Ads.english (default).
Style sheets: 1: portal (default).
Files included: 38 - 1124KB. (show)
Cache hits: 12: 0.00512s for 40,800 bytes (show)
Queries used: 28.

[Show Queries]