Step 5: Installing the new door panel

With all of the screw holes accurately marked, I drilled all of the holes slightly larger than the screws.  With all of the holes drilled, I placed it on top of the door, and checked the hole alignment.  I used the drill to slightly enlarge any holes that didn't line up perfectly.  When it all looked in line, I placed the rubber seal and metal strips in place.  I carefully held everything in place while peeling the rubber back to expose the hole, and started in the centers and worked my way to the corners.  I found it easier if I didn't tighten the screws completely until they were all in place.

After the seal and new door panel were on, I re-installed the door onto the fridge.  A quick check confrimed that I would now be able to fit 4 fermenters and two one gallon growlers  on top of the shelf, essentially doubling the capacity.

Many fridges rely on the door panel to push a switch to control the light.  I used this to my advantage to check the seal of the door, by turning the fridge on, the shop lights off, and checking all sides of the door for any light leaking out.  Afterwards, I temporarily taped the switch down so that the light stays off all the time.  I may attatch a small block to the door that will activate the switch if the lack of light becomes a problem.

A couple of days after putting my door back on, I realized that the door had a good seal most of the time, but would shift slightly if the door were leaned on, and the seal would no longer be as good.   After a little messing around, I discovered that the bottom hinge pin hole in the door had become elongated over time, allowing the door to shift slightly.  I realized that I could switch the swing of the door to solve this issue.  I had to remove both the fridge and freezer doors in order to switch the handles and hinges to the other sides.  As an added bonus, the new door swing is actually a little more ergonomic for the location I chose for it in my shop.

Thank you for posting this
This is a really good guide, thank you! My first attempt at home brew was a huge failure I suspect strongly due to my inability to keep the wort at the desired temperature and I think it fluctuated probably as much as 10 degrees so it's no surprise it turned out horrible. I have an unused bar fridge at home and I may attempt it again using it as the insulated box.
When the ferment starts, remove the layer of scum from the top, as this will cause the beer to taste sour.
<p>LOL. This guy has NO idea what he is talking about. The 'scum' is called Krausen. It's a mixture of the yeast, and the trub that is getting kicked up in the fermentation process. It is essential for a good, clean, brew. It also is a good indicator for when the brew is nearing completion. The krausen will slightly drop out as fermentation finished and the yeast are floculating out.</p>
This is completely incorrect. The layer on top if the beer when fermentation starts is chalked full of yeast. At best you slow down your fermentation while at worst you infect your batch. This is hogwash.
yes this will work 4 most of the pre 90s - 2000 fridges after that. uill have to go hunting. 4 another fridge
here u might want to put a small bucket to catch any liquids that escape. vs having to remake yr shelf
How do you clean the glass fermentation-vessels?<br /> <br /> L<br />
I soak mine overnight and use a <a href="http://www.austinhomebrew.com/product_info.php?products_id=914" rel="nofollow">carboy brush</a>.<br />
Soak them in what?<br /> <br /> L<br />
Water and trisodium phosphate<br />
I usually soak for a day or two with water and oxiclean, and it rinses clean.&nbsp; If I need to use the carboy right away, then I have to break out the carboy brush.&nbsp; Some people put a dish rag or a handful of sand in with the cleaning solution and shake it real well, but I&nbsp;prefer to use the brush.
A cheap replacement I've often used is dishwasher detergent, the cheap kind without shine and stuff. <br />
umm i hate to say this but. u may be poisoning yr self by doing that. if u dont rinse well (as in many tymes over) u may be leaving piosons in the bottle.
Powdered brewery wash works excellent as a soak as well. It is a bit expensive, but the fact that it only needs about 30 minutes to most of the job done is a great time saver.<br /> <br /> You'll still need a carboy brush to get out the stubborn trub, though.<br />
Great design! I've been kicking around the idea of making a fermenting chamber like this for a while now...only question I have (and the part that has stumped me and stopped me from building my own) is if you ever have a problem with CO2 build-up opening the fridge/losing the seal? I was thinking of making some sort of check-valve for the CO2 if necessary...thoughts?
Just one point ... vaseline +rubber=not a good thing.... you will find your seals will disintegrate after a while ... (I found out the hard way)
Wow. What a complex <a href="http://www.kegracks.com/custom-shelving/case-storage/" rel="nofollow">beer cooler shelving</a>. Thanks for the step by step guide!
How do you have the blow off tube attached to the bucket? Did you drill a 1 1/4 hole?
Poligrip here. Can someone please tell me what I am doing wrong. I registered and logged in but could not persuade my printer to download the article on fridges and beer. the screen repeatedly asked for my login . Have I forgotten to do something?
You might consider mounting the ceramic light fixture to the underside of the wood shelf. That way if there is any type of overflow there is less chance of issues with it (it shorting out). And you could use the base for other things! <br> <br>Overall very nice. I've converted mine but haven't added the heat- where I'm at in California not too much of a need for that...
Nice job and an informative post. I'm looking into homebrewing myself and I have just a few quick questions. <br> <br>How did you run the cord for the temp controller and heater? Were they wired from a power source inside of the unit or possibly drill through an exterior wall and silicone the gap to keep it air tight? <br> <br>I have an old chest freezer which should work well for fermenting. My concern is having the carboys elevated for secondary fermentation transfer. My thinking is to build a platform for the freezer to sit on approx. 1' to 1.5' feet tall, and then an additional platform inside the unit to give the carboys additionnal lift but keep the overall height at a resonable level. <br> <br>I'm just trying to work this out in my head and I have no practical experience to speak of. That said, if anyone has some insight please feel free. I'll have to get some measurements regarding the carboys, the freezer may be large enough to do a tier system inside, (my batches would be relatively small). <br> <br>Thanks again for posting your work, it was a big help.
well done! for my reference, what volume or inside dimensions was the refrigerator that you used for this conversion? it looks like you have just about the right amount of space.
I'm not sure, but I think it was a 19 cubic foot fridge. It died last week when a pack rat chewed through the capillary tube, but I have a second one of a very similar model I plan on replacing it with. I did eventually sell the ranco controller and used the money to buy three panel mount dual stage aquarium temperature controllers. I mounted one in a box making it similar in operation to the ranco, but will mount one directly in the door of the next fridge. I may also remove the area betwen the fridge and freezer compartments or at least make some holes for airlfow so that the freezer compartment will be more useable.
Thanks for posting this!&nbsp; Your Instructable turned me on to dual stage temperature controllers for my <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-Cave-to-Age-Cheese/">cheese cave</a>.<br />
We use 16 gal HDPE fermenters with a &quot;manhole&quot; of about 8 inches. We used to soak it with dishwasher detergent and then cleaned it by hand.<br /> Now we just put them into our commercial size converted bottle/dishwasher.<br /> For fermentation, we use 2 converted freezers, each holding 2 fermenters. They are controlled with homebrewed controllers for cooling and heating. We also use the freezers as work benchs, for example for bottling.<br /> For cold conditioning and storage, we have a walk in cooler.<br /> We just brewed a Munich Helles yesterday...<br /> <br /> <br />
Oh yeah!&nbsp; Favorited!<br />

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