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Old 03-20-2003, 01:27 AM   #1
steak
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refrig. conversion

I have an old "fuggly" brown refrig in the basement that I am gonna convert.I WILL do search here before I ask for advice.Over this past
9 months,I`ve seen this topic many times,loads of info from all you great CWer`s
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Old 03-20-2003, 03:28 AM   #2
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Good luck

I am going to convert one also
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Old 03-20-2003, 09:52 AM   #3
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I wrote the below information in response to a few of these posts quite some time ago. I'll provide updated observations below:

I've got an old 19 cu ft. (16 cu ft of space in the fridge area) fridge working as a humi. It's been up and running for just over a year and it has been perfect. In fact it has almost been too perfect.

I also have a beautiful Aristocrat (w/set & forget unit). The Aristocrat has been perfect with the exception of temp in the summer. PA temperatures tend to fluctuate greatly.

After replacement of our kitchen fridge, I took custody of this older unit. I immediately moved it to the laundry room and hooked up an external temp control unit (Williams brewing unit set to 65 deg.) and placed a couple of tubs of generic beads on the standard shelves. Within days it had stabilized at 65 deg. F. and 64% humidity. After about 6 months, I noticed a real difference in quality in the draw and combustion of the smokes stored in the fridge-a-door and the Aristocrat. As an experiment I moved the set & forget unit into the fridge and monitored the situation with my VWR hygrometer. I keep one small tub of generic beads in the center rear part of the fridge and the numbers never seem to move (also, very little stratification). In the cooler months, the reservoir never needs filling. In the summer I need to top up every 2 or 3 weeks. 90% of my collection is now in the fridge.

Now, I'll be buying another set & forget unit specifically for the fridge and return the original to the Aristocrat. I may look into the Avallo humidification unit. If I remember correctly, you can run 2 smaller reservoirs with the Avallo and it would be nice to be able to separate 2 small reservoirs in the large interior of the fridge. As a side benefit, the small freezer area above the fridge tends to stay constant around 59 deg. (as it's a much smaller area than the fridge). I store a few bottles of Port in this area.

Overall, I couldn't be more pleased. The only down side is it still looks like a big white fridge. The Aristocrat is a beautiful piece of furniture, if I were to be shopping for one today, I would definitely spend the extra $$ and buy the cooled version in the largest size. Another excellent option is the giant Avanti wine cooler unit (WC1000). Less than the cooled Aristocrat, better looking than a standard refrigerator, but still not nearly as attractive as the Aristocrat.

The Williams Brewing temp controller (actually, it's made by Johnson Controls) has worked flawlessly for the past year. It's hung on the side of the fridge on an adhesive hook. After the first week, I have never had to re-adjust.


Update: It's closer to 2 years that the fridge-a-door has been operational and it is a frost free model. I did upgrade the humidification to the next larger 'set and forget' type unit using the duracraft 830 humidifier with the CMT set and forget system (for info see Bob Stabel's site; www.aristocrathumidors.com ). Overall, I'm still pleased with the performance of the fridge-a-door and there's definitely something to be said for not worrying about beetles ever again. However, since the introduction of the larger humidifier, I've notices more stratification (the bottom of the fridge, where the humidifier sits, is more humid than the upper shelves). I think this problem is hard to avoid since there is a large volume of water sitting in the bottom of the fridge, it's naturally more humid at that level. The new set and forget unit comes with a small remote fan that runs when the humidifier comes on, but I don't think this is sufficient. I will probably add a fan or two that operate on timers programmed to come on for a specified time every hour. This should solve the problem. Something else that may solve the problem is another fridge-a-door. There has to be a limit where the number of boxes stored is impeding the air flow and I'm sure I'm at (or exceeding) that limit. Remember this rule; No matter how much storage space you have, your collection will eventually grow to consume that space!

Another question that's likely to arise is dealing with singles. The Aristocrat has a very useful draw with nice dividers, no such amenities in the fridge-a-door. I found these small, cheap drawer units at Ikea. They are made of thin pine plywood (unfinished) and are under $10. each. The problem is that pine plywood absorbs no moisture, so I took a router to the sides and bottoms of the drawers and cut slots. I used a hole saw on a drill to perforate the outside of the cabinet. They are better, but humidity in the drawers is still slightly higher than elsewhere in the fridge. Placing the cedar stock from the insides of empty boxes is only a marginal help. I'll probably try to build something similar out of thin Spanish cedar in the coming months.

E-mail or PM me if you need more details.
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Old 03-26-2003, 07:45 PM   #4
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great post. Thanks for all the info. I will definitly be getting in touch with you as I am considering a larger refrigerator project myself.
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Old 03-27-2003, 07:45 AM   #5
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Pics are appreciated. Not before and after, but during the process would be helpful.
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