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Re-purposing a refrigerator Answered

I am re-purposing a refrigerator to make an egg incubator. What crossed my mind was that perhaps rather than using another source to heat it, perhaps the chiller system (which is fully intact and working) could be reversed? Has anyone on here undertaken a project which involved deliberately causing a refrigerator to work in reverse and so heat up inside? Any information would be gratefully received.

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thematthatter

5 years ago

I know people who used refrigerators to cure tobacco or to keep welding rods dry.
I think it would be easier and more efficient find a heater to use. Or some light bulbs attached to a thermostat.

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shomasthematthatter

Reply 4 years ago

"I think it would be easier and more efficient find a heater to use. Or some light bulbs attached to a thermostat."

It would most certainly be easier, but with a heat pump, you can get more heat energy than electrical energy supplied.

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Josehf Murchison

5 years ago

It can be done by swapping out the evaporator for the condenser however It would be easier to do this with an air conditioner. If you cut the lines while swapping out the evaporator for the condenser you will need to recharge the system and that is a job for a pro with all the equipment.

Joe

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mpilchfamily

5 years ago

depends on where in the system the chiller coils are. It's just a matter of flipping the system around so the chiller coils are on the outside while the radiator coils are put on the inside. Chances are it's not going to be easy to flip it around like that. Plus you gotta worry about regulating things. The temperature regulator is going to see that the area is warm and will run the compressor constantly which will wear it out fast.

On the plus side if you do get it switch around and well regulated you'll have the added benefit of a dehumidifier wherever you decide to place the chiller coils. So be sure to have a space for the condensation to run off too.

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grumpydadmpilchfamily

Reply 5 years ago

That makes sense, I was half hoping that there was some way to run the compressor backwards or something rather than taking everything off and swapping it back to front. I was planning on replacing the thermostat to cut in and out at the appropriate heats (as long as I can find out how).

Hadn't even contemplated the condensation issues - thanks for mentioning it.

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mpilchfamilygrumpydad

Reply 5 years ago

It's difficult to flip just the compressor. For one the whole system is sealed and pressurized. So you would need to carefully cut the tubing and then you have to worry about the refrigerant getting out. Once you have things flipped around you'll need to reseal everything to hold up to the temperature and the pressure then you gotta refill the system with the correct levels. All that is assuming the tubing on the inside of the fridge can handle the heat and the radiator can withstand the cold. Both coils will have to deal with significant temperature swings. Using the refrigerator as a well insulated box isn't a bad idea but using the existing cooling system may not work out.