Homemade Clay Refrigerator - BEING ECOFRIENDLY !





Introduction: Homemade Clay Refrigerator - BEING ECOFRIENDLY !

About: I love the process of making things and it makes me happy!

Hi, I am Sahas Chitlange , aging 14 , from India . Here's my new innovation on fridge from clay. Its very easy and cheap to build and very cheap. In india the cost is about  Rs. 300 only. The project's principle is based on evaporation. you can take this system for camping where you need a fridge to keep your cokes cool. The materials required for making this easy fridge are:
1) Clay pots
2) some sand
3) water

For the first time to get the cooling effect you need to wait for 10-12 hrs. The thing you need to remember is adding water after a day.

Step 1: Chose Correct Pots

You need to chose correct size pots so that they go into each other easily. Prefer new ones because old ones have their pores blocked. This affects cooling.

Step 2: Adding Sand

Add some sand in the base of the larger pot. You may close the pot holes. I did not.  You may also heat the sand strongly to kill the germs as in India you get the sand on roadsides!

Step 3: Insert the Smaller Pot

Now insert the smaller pot in the larger one. Take care you may get your hands jammed during this process. I got once, Very painfull...
Also see that you have some gap left on the sides , you need to add sand there later.

Step 4: Add Sand to the Sides

Carefully add sand on the sides of the pot. Avoid spilling it into the smaller pot , its very difficult to get that stuff out once spilled in ! Also add some water after you add sand.

Step 5: Cover It

You can make a cover out of old pots as i did or simply cover it with a damp cloth.

Step 6: Enjoy Cooling

Its the time to enjoy cooling.

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    54 Discussions

    This is the basic cooling system by evaporation? And let me tell you, it works great !
    The same idea has been use by putting large jars full of water in egyptian house where the could pass a stream of air that was cooled by passing between the jars and the refreshed ai cooled the house. The technique worked for centuries in Egypt and other countries in the region … 
    In rural France (before the 40's I saw many butter jars that prevented butter from melting by covering the butter pot with a cover that that was designed to contain water that could evaporate.
    You certainly will not get a chilling effect … but it will keep food and dairy stables at a reasonable temperature under strong heat.
    The basic ot what on may call "pottery refrigeration" is to use non varnished pottery for you can soak the part you want to be evaporated first in the water (ie cover) Ideally no varnished pottery should be used at all because … the higher the evaporation rate the more efficient the system will be

    1 reply

    I still use a butter bell like that in my kitchen. You just push your butter up into the top of the cone which sits at the top of the apparatus. It stays cool and soft, not hot and drippy!, and the bell sits in a shallow dish with minimal water which you change out with chilled water every 3 days. Some people in humid areas add a tiny pinch of salt to the water to prevent mildew, but that’s debated- necessary/ unnecessary? I just love it because I don’t have to open the fridge for butter or microwave it to soften it. And I’ve given many, many as gifts and they’re always used- I see them when I visit! (And Amazon has an inexpensive one by Norpro for $12-13, while William Sonoma’s is QUITE a bit pricier!

    That depends on the sizes of the jars, how cold the water was, when you dampened it, the ambient temperature, and the relative humidity. So, it would be difficult to give an accurate answer.

    Cool instructable (if you'll pardon the pun...)

    In Australia in the 19th century there was a thing called a Coolgardie safe:


    which was a refrigerator which used water evaporation as its cooling mechanism much in the same way as you have here. A different design, but the same principal.

    Good work.

    So this stays outside? Should it be in the shade or out in the sun? If it is in sun then it will evaporate faster and cool better but will also need more evaporation to compensate for greater heat... I live in a smallish trailer and don't want to use propane to keep food cool and don't have it in the budget for a large solar panel.

    I will try and rig up a drip irrigation emitter to drip over bowl part into sand and either use timer or get very low flow emitter and drill an overflow opening towards top.

    very nice and more power to you for sharing your knowledge.

    I live in Morocco, so it is good news for poor people and those with out electricity.

    I will share your generous work.

    Thank you Sahas for sharing that knowledge.
    Great, this is very sustainable!
    Once I saw a Berber fresh water keeper. It was made by metal, covered by fabric parts. The trick is to mantain it wet, adding water outside. The water evaporation gets it super fresh. And the guy who add it told it works really well with high temperatures. I also heard and read about this techniques used in the north of Africa.
    I'm from Portugal. The old arabs left in our culture this ancient technique, made with clay, then straw, then some fabric parts covering all. I think the only inconvenient is the smell it gets after a while, needs to change all the cover.
    I want to try this in the Azores, but there is very humid. I saw here that it might not work so well. I'm curious, but I believe that will be the same or better...
    I like the design of yours, its very cool... The sand and how you configure inside is fantastic.

    Low tech is always good , even if it just sits in the back of your mind , waiting for a need. In areas of low humidity , you might find that ice (frost) is possible , just by using a northern exposure at night .

    This is so cool thanks for posting! I will try it here in America! ;)

    thanks Sahas, we have been working on this for a couple of years, next spring we will go for our tenth year without fridge here in hot andalucia. thanks for giving us, he world, this support in surviving. abrazo tkk

    3 replies

    In addition the nay sayers for the use in high humidity regions are neglecting several other factors.

    1. Insulation value & thermal mass of the pots, sand, and water slow down the heat up of the interior during the day.
    2. Radiation to the night sky can cool down the pots at night.
    3. Some water does evaporate regardless of the high humidity. If it did not then people in Florida could not mop their floors, clean their counter tops, or use clothes lines to dry their clothes. The "experts" talking about dry bulb & wet bulb temperature and evaporation are confusing air conditioning with refrigeration. Air conditioning has to do with cooling massive amounts of air to provide human comfort which is much different from keeping a few pounds of food from over heating. Human comfort involves how the human "feels" and reacts with its environment. Things like chill factor (how fast the water/sweat evaporates off the human body) are involved here. Meat on the other hand does not feel chill factor, however, it can dehydrate or rot, which is what we are trying to prevent or slow down with the pot system.

    I forgot to thank the author for exposing more people to the concept that everything does not have to be high tech or expensive to work.

    I do not think that this will catch on here in the USA because it requires effort and conscious daily thought to work, it is not automatic or convenient. However, I do hope that they will remember it, because it could save their life, or at least make it more comfortable, in the event that there is ever a long term breakdown in energy &and/or food supply in their area. I'm sure that the preppers will pick up on it.

    Sorry, I'm so forgetful.

    A possible improvement might be to have 2 lids. One black, possibly made of metal, to help with night time radiation to the night sky. The other white/silvered (reflective) and insulated for daytime use. You would have to be very conscientious about changing both lids while it is dark outside.