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Repurposing old kitchen fridge - got questions

We’re finally replacing our kitchen fridge. I want to put the old one in the basement for brewing purposes. Since I don’t brew a lot, I thought it could be a dual purpose kegerator sometimes and a fermentation / lagering chamber at other times. The freezer I bought for this purpose appears to have become a permanent vegatable and hops freezer. Anyway, i have an inkbird controller and was wondering if a small 200 watt heater would be enough to heat up a standard sized fridge in a 50 degree basement to 80 degrees for occasional saisons. Also, what do you all do to pass the controller wires through the door? Do you drill a hole in the door and install a grommet in the metal?

I don’t see why that heater wouldn’t work. Once it gets up to temp the insulation properties that keep it cold will help keep it warm.

I have never drilled for the temp probe. Just put the probe in and shut the door.

First of all, why would you want to heat up a fridge? I’m confused… Either you control fermentation or you have a keeper/storage of ingredients… You just can’t cover all your bases… Lagers at 50*, Ales at 63*. cold crash is 30*. so, can you tell us what you want to do? Sneezles61

Sorry for the confusion. The inkbird allows me to run both a cooling and heat source to control the temperature either way. A refrigerator is a well insulated container. It’ll keep heat in just as easily as it will keep the cold in. So I plan to use it as a fermentation chamber at times when I want to brew a saison in the middle of winter when my basement is 50 degrees. So the Inkbird will control a small ceramic heater to help that saison get up to that 80 degree temperature. At other times, I will want to do a lager which I have yet to brew. So I’ll have the Inkbird control the fridge temperature to drop that temp down into the 30’s. At even other times, I plan to cool a keg during carbonation and conditioning, and I do plan to still bottle my beer despite everyone telling me that I shouldn’t bother. I give a lot of beer away, so bottles are a must for me. Besides, after 2 weeks of carbonation and conditioning and then transferring the beer from keg to bottles, I then free up my fridge for the next fermentation. If I time it correctly, I could rack 2 brews to 2 kegs and carbonate and condition both of them at the same time. In the summer, I might use it as a kegerator just because I have very little time to brew even though the fridge would give me the capabilities of temperature control on fermentation and therefore the ability to brew in the hot weather. I could brew a refreshing wheat beer at the end of spring and just keg it. I bought a bunch of kegging stuff from a local guy selling it on FaceBook Marketplace. I could definitely set up a couple of taps on the door for the summer. So there you have it, a multipurpose piece of homebrew equipment!

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Perhaps an electric heating pad would suffice… I used to just allow the door gasket to seal over the probe wire… But that was a chest freezer… You could drill a hole through the door, a small piece of foam rod stock as a protector/insulator… maybe? Sneezles61

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I do all that with my chest freezer except heat which is done with a heating pad since I usually have more stuff to keep cold than warm up. I just close the probe wire in the door. I don’t know who tells you not to bottle that’s an important part of the hobby. I bottle condition some, keg some ,keg condition some and also bottle from the keg. All that has it’s place. I think you should put a tap in a fridge though because unlike a chest freezer it’s harder to control the temperature of a standard fridge when opening and closing the door

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I thought a lasko my heat would be perfect only problem was it shuts itself off in the enclosed space. This was in a chest freezer. I bought a cheap seedling heat mat on Amazon but it doesn’t output enough heat. It was cheap something like a brewers edge space heater on Williams brewing. Tried the paint can heater first but couldn’t get over the fact it was a light bulb inside a paint can. Should have spent the extra money on the actual one from Williams instead of buying a cheap one from Amazon.

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Sometimes when you go simple, a light bulb goes off in your head and a plan begins to develop… Quaff a few brews to bring it up front and center… :sunglasses: Sneezles61

Interesting because that was exactly the heater I was going to try. Hmmm. Did you try placing your temperature controller probe closer to the heater to see if that would cause a more frequent cycling of the heater and not cause it to shut off?

Heat has never been a problem for me. I actually picked up a couple fermentation wrap heaters and another controller that I never used. Keeping temperature down is more of a problem. But then again I brew with the seasons. When life gives you cold temperature brew lager

That may have been the issue I was trying to raise the temp for bottle conditioning around 70°. I had the probe insulated to a bottle. Maybe if I measured air temp it may have been the better way.

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