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GENERAL CHEESE MAKING BOARDS (Specific Cheese Making in Boards above) => EQUIPMENT - Aging Cheese, Caves => Topic started by: humble_servant7 on December 06, 2009, 06:16:56 PM

Title: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: humble_servant7 on December 06, 2009, 06:16:56 PM
Okay, so basically the gae plan has been boiled down to one type of refrigerator.

Based on past experiences, it has been noted that it is EXPRESSLY easier to RAISE humidity more so than it is to lower it.

Therefore we must have a fridge in our containment that harbors EXACTLY these traits.

The general assumption has been that an upright, forced-air, FROST-FREE refrigerator is the BEST type of refrigerant device to use.

My only question?

What does one look like? When shopping for fridges what are the common features one looks for?
anyone got any pictures?

So far the only distnguishing features of such a fridge is that

A) It must have a cooling fan somewhere (i believe)

and

B) The coils of the fridge must be on the outside, NOT the inside or running along the racks, correct?( can we get any pictures on that)

Anything else?
thank you for your time
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: Wayne Harris on December 06, 2009, 07:40:25 PM
I think that is the standard now for most refrigerators.
I think it would actually be tougher now to find a new fridge with the condenser coils on this inside.
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: driekus on December 06, 2009, 08:10:14 PM
Can I have some clarification of why having condensor coils on the inside is a bad idea.
I only ask because I purchased a wine cooler and it has a flat plate at the rear of the fridge which collects condensation (so I assume it is the coil). It holds temperature nicely 4-18C and holds humidity well. I was planning to use it as a cheese cave to age my cheeses.
 Sorry I do not mean to hijack your thread.
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: John (CH) on December 06, 2009, 08:15:35 PM
I agree with Wayne that most large full size fridges are now forced air, at least in North America.

I've just ordered a new small 4.5 ft3 GE Fridge (http://www.walmart.com/GE-Compact-Refrigerator-Freezer/ip/10098025) (for USD130 with tax and shipping before 20% Bing cash back) which has freezer coils on inside and thus is not forced air.

My understanding is that forced air means very low humidity and tough to raise and that the old style I ordered should be easier to raise the humidity? Or am I wrong?
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: driekus on December 06, 2009, 08:22:05 PM
This is what I thought too John. Forced air fridges I thought were always very dry by there nature and difficult to raise the humidity of.
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: FarmerJD on December 06, 2009, 08:38:59 PM
The challenge I have found is keeping the humidity down in my unit. When the coils are on the inside, every time the door opens more humidity is collected on the cold coils and this is eventually added to the air until it reaches 95-100 percent humidity. If the air in your house is reasonably dry I guess it might work but in my case it has been impossible to regulate. Always tacks out at 99. I am about to purchase a compact dehumidifier to see if I can take some of the water out with that but I won't be able to keep it at 85 without constant manipulation
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: DeejayDebi on December 06, 2009, 08:47:31 PM
My little ones are forced air and I use the fans to blow mositure around. I hang a cheese cloth in front of the fans and sprizt them with a spray bottle every few days. Works like a charm. I finally got rid of the bowl of water and salt.
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: Sailor Con Queso on December 06, 2009, 09:17:41 PM
I have a 10 year old 18 cubic foot. I just keep a large turkey basting pan on the bottom shelf full of water. Have to refill it after about 3 days, but it keeps the humidity right around 80-85%. Drops like a rock when it runs out of water though.
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: John (CH) on December 06, 2009, 09:50:43 PM
At least the one I've ordered has a catch tray for moisture below the small radiant freezer coils. I'll be using a Johnson Control external thermostat with it. Will let you know how it works out.

Farmer, not many fridges have radiant coils on the inside these days, what size/type of fridge do you have that you have such problems? I remember Carter and a couple others trying to use vertical freezers where cooling coils were shelves and yes they attracted condensation that dripped on cheeses below. I think everyone has given up on that style.

Debi, from the pictures I've seen of yours they have a small fan to circulate radiant cool air I think they do not have coils on the outside or underneath and a evaporation tray to externally collect condensation water like a full size fridge right? In which case natively they probably don't have super dehumidified dry air like a full size forced air fridge.
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: FarmerJD on December 07, 2009, 08:26:21 AM
You are right John. I did not realize there was a difference in how a fridge and a freezer unit worked when you put a thermostat on it and the coils are inside. I thought that the coils would do the same thing regardless. Mine is a freezer unit so just disregard my comments. By the way, do they make any larger fridge units that allow you to set humidity and temp (cost not being a factor)?
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: Wayne Harris on December 07, 2009, 10:50:54 AM
The only humidity controls I have seen on a home 'fridge are the crisper drawers.  Those drawers essentially block the flow of dehumidifying air to those foodstuffs contained in them.

Or in my case, those drawers are a place to forget about food till they spoil.

:)
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: humble_servant7 on December 07, 2009, 12:57:34 PM
I agree with Wayne that most large full size fridges are now forced air, at least in North America.

I've just ordered a new small 4.5 ft3 GE Fridge ([url]http://www.walmart.com/GE-Compact-Refrigerator-Freezer/ip/10098025[/url]) (for USD130 with tax and shipping before 20% Bing cash back) which has freezer coils on inside and thus is not forced air.

My understanding is that forced air means very low humidity and tough to raise and that the old style I ordered should be easier to raise the humidity? Or am I wrong?


Yes, you are correct.

I thought the general consensus was a5round here that it was EASIER to RAISE humidity more than it is to lower it, therefore hence the buying of the fridge that starts with very dry air, and installing a humidifier in there to bring it up to the correct level, only when it reaches it peak to have the refrigerator come back on again and dry it to its proper level, and everything just keeps going in rotation.

I thought this is what everyone agreed upon as far as maintaining proper humidity..
If not and in case I missed it-- do you mind telling me what is the general consensus as of late?
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: Wayne Harris on December 07, 2009, 02:59:51 PM
I see your point.  I think we are getting a bit wrapped around our collective axles here.

I know of two basic types of fridges.  Those with cooling coils inside, and those with cooling coils outside the "box"
I have used both.  Basically, if the coils are inside the box, the coils act like cold pipes in the basement that drip with humidify. The coils are always adding humidity to the fridge, resulting in RH levels inside box to hover around 100%. It is tough to bring this down.  I have found this to be the case with a freezer.

If the coils are not visible, and a fan is used to move air around across the coils in the back, the coils typically allowed to shed the condensed water in a tray somewhere outside the "box".  This allows for a much dryer environment.


It the case of the latter, its easier to simply hang a damp towel, or a cookie sheet of water in the fridge to add back some humidity.
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: humble_servant7 on December 07, 2009, 04:06:51 PM
I see your point.  I think we are getting a bit wrapped around our collective axels here.

I know of two basic types of fridges.  Those with cooling coils inside, and those with cooling coils outside the "box"
I have used both.  Basically, if the coils are inside the box, the coils act like cold pipes in the basement that drip with humidiy. The coils are always adding humidity to the fridge, resulting in RH levels inside box to hover around 100%. It is tough to bring this down.  I have found this to be the case with a freezer.

If the coils are not visible, and a fan is used to move air around across the coils in the back, the coils typically allowed to shed the condensed water in a tray somewhere outside the "box".  This allows for a much dryer environment.


It the case of the latter, its easier to simply hang a damp towel, or a cookie sheet of water in the fridge to add back some humidity.

Cool. What is your current method, btw. If you dont mind me asking?
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: Wayne Harris on December 07, 2009, 04:32:43 PM
I have a forced air fridge and i add to the RH with cookie sheets or wet towels.
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: John (CH) on December 07, 2009, 09:43:28 PM
humble, I think you were right initially that as you said, it is definitely harder to reduce humidity than to add.

I and a couple others tried a small chest freezer with coils inside the walls,for some reason even with the lid closed and the unit sealed, humidity kept building and eventually I got puddles on the bottom (no drain). I gave up and sold it.

I think Wayne is right, the key question for fridges is are the coils on the outside so that condensation builds and drains outside-the-box vs inside, not whether the fridge has a fan to circulate the cold air.

The fridge I've ordered has the coils on the inside, well actually around the outside of the small aluminum freezer, no fan, and I think from looking at the one in the store, a tray to catch any condensation or melting water when it is on defrost cycle and hopefully a drain hose to outside the fridge. I'll take pictures and post once arrives after which will report on results.

BTW, Wayne has a monster commercial stainless fridge (http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,1485.0.html) that we are all very envious of ;D.
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: iratherfly on December 17, 2009, 02:15:15 AM
Sorry for arriving late to this discussion. I am still very new to this board.

I have had a good experience in REDUCING humidity quite effectively by placing a tray full of kosher salt into the fridge. The salt attracts all the humidity to it and also contributes to the flavor of cheese and cured meats. Pink Himalayan salt blocks are even better but too expensive. I would imagine that a tray full of rice would also work, however there is the danger of contamination with that.

I am a Manhattan apartment dweller, so I really don't have the living space or garage for a second refrigerator. I have been looking for a wine cooler that would fit in an apartment and be used for cheese aging and meat curing (Okay, wine storage too).

They take small space, look great, operate at the right temperature range and constantly circulate air, many even come with wooden shelves. However... they all seem to get terrible reviews; especially for build quality, thermo-electric failure and claims that these small manufacturers won't budge or help. Some of these brands are so bad that they have as little as 3 month warranties. The only exception to all of these rules in GE which has a $430/29 bottle unit with shining reviews. The trays of it however makes it impossible to put cheese on or hang meats from and boy, is it ugly (remember, not in a garage).

Has anyone here had a good experience? Can anyone suggest a unit for me?
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: DeejayDebi on December 17, 2009, 09:48:46 PM
Debi, from the pictures I've seen of yours they have a small fan to circulate radiant cool air I think they do not have coils on the outside or underneath and a evaporation tray to externally collect condensation water like a full size fridge right? In which case natively they probably don't have super dehumidified dry air like a full size forced air fridge.

John you are absolutely correct I think I misunderstood where we were going with the air currculation - sorry!  :-\
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: iratherfly on December 18, 2009, 01:15:33 AM
Well, I found a small unit and got it today; it seems great. It's a GE 21-bottle wine cooler. It has gotten some great reviews and seem to be a rare reliable unit from a mainstream brand in a sea of lame unreliable wine coolers from mystery brands.

It seems well built and has WOODEN shelves that are not tilted (many wine coolers has tilted metal shelves with arcs for bottles - useless for cheese)

This is NOT a thermo-electric unit. this is the good old reliable refrigerator mechanism. My apartment is usually quite dry (heated in the dry NY winter and air-conditioned in the humid NY summer) so I am not worried about it not being as dry as a standard fridge, but it still locks in less moisture than the competing thermo-electric units. It has a range of 40F-60F which is perfect - bot just for cheese but also for meat curing, and oh yea, the occasional wine.

Here's a link http://products.geappliances.com/ApplProducts/Dispatcher?REQUEST=SpecPage&Sku=GWS03ADWSS (http://products.geappliances.com/ApplProducts/Dispatcher?REQUEST=SpecPage&Sku=GWS03ADWSS)
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: Tom Turophile / CheeseStud on February 16, 2010, 05:15:38 PM
Score!  I think.

My local pharmacy, just down the street, was closing to move into a brand new space.  They were selling every single fixture in there.  Sure, I could get a gigantic cooler (the ones that store drinks, milk, etc for selling) for $1700...or the old staff fridge...for $30!  It is about 5 1/2 ft tall, and is quite lightweight.  The coils are on the outside, too, but I don't have many more technical details.

Now, I'm going to have to do some work on it -- the outside is a bit rusty, which has impacted the gasket.  I'll have to replace the gasket and clean up that rust, but otherwise, inside, it looks quite clean.  It is a bit musky, but it has been unplugged (yet cleaned).

$30 is good, cheap gamble to see if it works.  I've got my work cut out for me.  If I make a red-mold cheese, I don't want it to be from iron oxide :)
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: Wayne Harris on February 16, 2010, 05:24:38 PM
Sounds like you got a deal. 
I would suggest turning it on prior to purchasing, or having a service guy come out to look at it.  You might pay 30 bucks to take it home, but pay 450 dollars replacing  rusty/leaky primary condensing coil.
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: Tom Turophile / CheeseStud on February 17, 2010, 03:39:47 PM
I verified with the company breaking down the store that when he got there, it was running.  Was it working well?  I don't know.  I did plug it in, and it sounded like it was working.

I wouldn't spend money on replacing parts; I would just as soon throw it out and buy a new one.  I'm going to plug it in this weekend to see how it goes, and see what the temperature is.
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: iwantthegold on February 18, 2010, 01:48:55 PM
A bit late on this one guys but Iratherfly has the right idea in my mind.  If you are a bit science minded you should search for the critical relative humidities of various salt solutions.  They have the ability to regulate the humidity if made properly and you can buy the salts from various sources. Even a solution of regular table salt (about 2 tbsp per liter of water) has the ability to keep humidity at 75% in pure water, and even higher in tap water (I had up to 83%) on that experiment.  There is still that problem of the opening of the door but individually sealed containers could solve that problem.

 Hope that helps
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: Wayne Harris on February 18, 2010, 04:42:46 PM
I don't understand this.   Can you explain it a bit further?  My confusion stems from the fact that I have had humidity levels approaching 100% with water alone..   I don't understand the relationship between the salt and the humidity.
Thanks.
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: iwantthegold on February 18, 2010, 07:23:45 PM
Salt, as you should know from the concept of preservation has been used for thousands of years and has the amazing property of pulling water to surfaces.  The reasons that salt solutions work are more easily explained here:

The water vapour concentration, and therefore the relative humidity over a salt solution is less than that over pure water. This is because water is present in both the gas and the liquid phase, whereas the scarcely volatile salt molecules are only present in the liquid. They dilute the water and hinder escape of water molecules into the air. The rate of return of water molecules to the liquid surface is proportional to their concentration in the gas, where there are no salt ions to interfere. The system therefore adjusts to an equilibrium where there are fewer water molecules in the air than there would be over a pure water surface. The RH is therefore lower than 100%. (source: http://www.natmus.dk/cons/tp/satslt/satsol.htm (http://www.natmus.dk/cons/tp/satslt/satsol.htm))

if you have any other questions or the actual procedure let me know

Ethan
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: DeejayDebi on February 18, 2010, 09:38:14 PM
Thank you Ethan. I have been using the salt and water method for years but had no idea WHY it worked better. I just knew Mama did it and it worked for here so I did it too.
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: Wayne Harris on February 19, 2010, 06:30:10 AM
So,  if I understand this correctly you are saying the following:

If I use water to humidify a refridgerator, the humidity may rise to 100%
If I use saltwater to humidify a refrigerator, the humidity will not rise to 100%

Is that a fair summary of what you mean?
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: iwantthegold on February 19, 2010, 08:54:29 PM
No worries Debi, the science i know has to come in handy sooner or later!

Wayne: although that is a summary, I do not know if I would call it "fair."  It has EVERYTHING to do with 1. the type of salt and 2. the concentration of salt used.  The odds of you ever getting all the way to 100% is pretty impossible if you aren't using perfectly pure, distilled water because of the dissolved compounds (i.e. hard water) affecting the interaction of the molecules that I posted last.
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: Tom Turophile / CheeseStud on April 05, 2010, 10:14:21 AM
I've had my old fridge running for a week now.  The musky smell is virtually gone.  Time to order a new gasket, however...

It got nice and warm in Georgia this week (finally, Spring!).  I opened the fridge, stored in my garage, , and there was a lot of condensation along the top of the inside -- so much so that it could pour out.

Is it conceivable that a better gasket would eliminate this issue, or am I wasting my time with this old piece of junk?  Oddly enough, the humidity was only ranging 40-60%.
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: iratherfly on April 06, 2010, 11:46:36 AM
Actually... that sounds very desirable - a refrigerator that doesn't dry is perfect for cheese
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: Tom Turophile / CheeseStud on April 06, 2010, 01:01:40 PM
I was afraid you would say that :)

I'd rather be able to consistently rely on the fridge, and then make adjustments.  I'd like to reduce variables!


My thinking is that, because of the less-than-perfect gasket, hot moist air is getting in, causing the condensation.  However, if it is because it is sitting in the garage, and the old fridge can't handle it, then I'm wasting my time (and energy, and energy costs!).  If the fridge is working too hard, it will not be reliable.
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: iratherfly on April 06, 2010, 05:31:43 PM
I just think it's harder to make a dry refrigerator humid than making a humid one dry. But then again, you can use aging containers and play with the lid opening.
I have been using that inexpensive GE wine cooler and it keeps everything nice and cold. It's a compressor fridge that keeps stuff humid (not that thermo electric wine chiller nonsense). I discovered a 5 degree range between bottom and top shelf that helps divid it to different cheeses properly. I also use it to chill wine, cure meats and store chocolates (perfect for that). Well worth the $250 investment.
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: Tom Turophile / CheeseStud on April 13, 2010, 10:22:14 AM
I have been using that inexpensive GE wine cooler and it keeps everything nice and cold. It's a compressor fridge that keeps stuff humid (not that thermo electric wine chiller nonsense). I discovered a 5 degree range between bottom and top shelf that helps divid it to different cheeses properly.


That's interesting.  Having more cheeses in the fridge is bound to raise the temperature, anyway.

I should probably start my own thread, but here is the gasket that I need to replace.  I'm having an extremely difficult time finding a custom-made gasket (most are for commercial fridges).
(http://tomwatson.org/images/chz/100_1476.JPG)
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: Alex on April 13, 2010, 10:32:08 AM
Tom, this is a one piece gasket containing a built-in magnetic strip to ensure the door is closed. IMHO you have to get a replacement pert that perfectly fits your fridge door.
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: Tom Turophile / CheeseStud on April 14, 2010, 09:28:39 AM
Thanks.  These guys (http://"http://www.barefrigeration.com/cart.php?m=home") have been trying to help me, but couldn't be 100% sure what type it was.  I'm having a difficult time prying it off.

As it is an old fridge, I won't be able to find the exact part.  They charge about 3.50/ft, which isn't bad IMO.

If anyone has any other sources, let me know.
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: Alex on April 14, 2010, 10:24:46 AM
It's a bad link Tom.
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: FriZer on August 08, 2010, 06:45:58 AM
The link that you gave Tom seems to be not working or really does not exist.  Now I am curious what those guys look like. If it is okay with you, can you post the right link?
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: rlatta on August 08, 2010, 08:23:21 AM
the link works, just have to tweak it
http://www.barefrigeration.com/cart.php?m=home (http://www.barefrigeration.com/cart.php?m=home)
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: Gina on August 08, 2010, 11:47:13 AM
Good timing on this thread bump. I've just switched from a small 3 cubic foot fridge with inside drippy coils to a much larger Craig's list freezerless fridge (17 ft+). It is only 8 months old and was spotless inside. $150 including delivery. While I just LOVE-LOVE-LOVE all the space inside, the difference in humidity levels inside is amazing. I had no idea it would be so different.

The small fridge had water dripping and I had to wipe down the underside of the collection tray under the freezing coils daily or some of the cheeses got drops on them. Yikes. The new larger fridge is soooo much drier inside. When I transfered my cheeses into it, some started drying too much so I had to put them all into separate containers since the trays of water in the bottom were not doing the job. I just put a tray with a raised metal rack, covered with a wet towel, near the fan system in the upper rack. Well see how that goes.

I really do love all the space however. No wasted space with a non-functional freezer compartment either. And I"ve been able to move lots of wine bottles into the bottom shelves. :)

And considering the size, the larger one is relatively more energy efficient. The small dorm fridge costs $37/yr to run, the much larger 'new' one only $41.
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: Mr. Kim on August 10, 2010, 07:53:45 AM
Congrats on the new fridge Gina.  Lots of storage now.  My little cave is beginning to fill up.  I may have to visit Craigslist to keep an eye out for another.
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: Melle12 on August 18, 2010, 08:15:05 AM
Hi All!
Thanks for all the useful information (here and elsewhere on the boards).  I have only recently started making cheese, and got a good deal on a GE 4.5 to keep as a cheese cave.  I currently have 3 bowls of water and a wet towel in there, but I can only get the humidity up to 65%- I seem to be having a different experience than others, so I am wondering what I could be doing wrong.  BTW- started with 2 bowls of water, then added the towel, then added the third bowl, but I haven't seen much change with the additions.
:-) Thanks!
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: Gina on August 18, 2010, 10:36:04 AM
Low humidity is often an issue in fridges. It is in my new cheese cave too. I had 3 shallow pans that werent doing enough - partly because they were away from the fan at the top of the appliance. What I use now is a 9 X 13inch glass lasagne pan containing a metal roasting rack (about 6 inches tall) draped with a wet towel (to increase wet surface area for more evaporation) up on the top shelf where the air is moving the most. I use a turkey baster once/day to keep the towel wet. I dont have an instrument to measure the humidity, but the surfaces of the cheeses now show less cracking.

Since the metal rack will rust, I'm thinking of eventually changing that for 2 sanitized clay flower pots draped with the wet towel. The clay pots hopefully also will act as both moisture wicks and evaporative surfaces.
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: Melle12 on August 18, 2010, 11:19:33 AM
Thanks Gina- maybe I need to move my bowls/towel/pan of water up toward the top shelves in the fridge (and figure out where the fan is).  Currently, I have them on the bottom with cheese on the shelves above, and I haven't noticed much evaporation from the bowls.
:-)
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: Gina on August 18, 2010, 12:22:52 PM
Thanks Gina- maybe I need to move my bowls/towel/pan of water up toward the top shelves in the fridge (and figure out where the fan is).  Currently, I have them on the bottom with cheese on the shelves above, and I haven't noticed much evaporation from the bowls.
:-)
That sounds like my former set up too. :)  Shallow pans etc near the bottom, wiht cheeses on shelves near the top. My new fridge has the fans near the top however, so evaporation wasnt enough.

I cant see the fan, but when the fridge is running, I can easily hear/feel where the air is moving.

With my last fridge, a small dorm type with freezing unit in the top, I had no trouble keeping humidity up and in fact it was often too wet, but this fridge is totally different. But I love it. :)
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: Wayne Harris on August 18, 2010, 04:25:09 PM
I have two regular sized cookie sheets in my fridge full of water.  I get about 75% RH from that.  I need to replace the water about once every 2 weeks.
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: Tom Turophile / CheeseStud on August 29, 2012, 11:01:22 AM
A year and a half later, I am finally close to getting that old fridge up and running for cheesemaking (in the meantime, it has kept plenty of beer cold).  We'll see if the $30 on the fridge and $60 on the gaskets was worth it.
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: Tom Turophile / CheeseStud on September 12, 2012, 10:19:21 AM
I've got the new gaskets on, and they fit great, but I'm having issues.

The temperature seems to be highly variable.

The humidity, however, seems to be consistent -- consistently low, or equal to the current humidity (the fridge is in my garage, outside).

I've placed water, and water-soaked towels in the fridge, but have not seen a change.  Also, I do have internal coils that produce condensation.

Logically, I think that the gasket is not tight, which is difficult to troubleshoot.  I might "vaseline" it to create a seal and see what happens (I don't have a good light to test with, right now).

One other thing -- there's condensation on the outside, right between the fridge door and the freezer door -- where the largest amount of rust had been before.  I can't determine what is causing that -- either the freezer or fridge.  That will need to be remedied.

Sigh -- I thought I was done!  I can't make cheeses if I can't get this sealed well!
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: bbracken677 on September 12, 2012, 10:38:17 AM
First off...I would think that area where you have condensation on the outside is a prime suspect area for your seal problem....try vaselining the seals in that area and see if it clears up.
Second...if you keep your cheeses in containers your humidity problem will probably not be a problem PLUS ...the more cheeses you have in your fridge the higher the RH will be anyway....I noticed with mine that when I first got it and ran some checks that the humidity was incredibly low. Now I find it considerably higher since I have just about filled it with cheeses, even though most are in some kind of container or other...not to mention once I got my temp inside up to 50F there was also a resulting increase in RH...running at the normal mid-high 30s I believe tends to reduce humidity specially if there is no input of moisture.
There are some ways using containers with water or draped wet cloths that you can increase humidity also.
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: Tom Turophile / CheeseStud on September 12, 2012, 12:34:56 PM
I'm going to try with the vaseline tonight; first on one gasket, then the other if it continues.

I'm going to begin my aging cheeses with ones that I need to seal, anyway, but perhaps the containers are a good temporary solution until I can get the entire fridge humidified.
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: Tom Turophile / CheeseStud on September 12, 2012, 10:21:55 PM
I think I figured out my problem.

This is the temp/humidity gauge I am using:
http://www.acurite.com/weather/humidity/acurite-digital-indoor-outdoor-thermometer-with-humidity-clock-silver-00891a2.html (http://www.acurite.com/weather/humidity/acurite-digital-indoor-outdoor-thermometer-with-humidity-clock-silver-00891a2.html)

Indoor/outdoor temp and humidity -- except that the humidity is for inside, not outside.  So now I'm quite confident that my fridge is more than humid enough -- I have water droplets forming on the ceiling.
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: BobE102330 on September 13, 2012, 07:48:41 AM
The same company makes a unit that has outdoor humidity sensor. That's what I have in my cave.  I haven't calibrated it yet, but it seems to be in the ballpark.  We don't need 1% accuracy for this task.  http://www.walmart.com/ip/Accurite-Large-Digital-Wireless-Thermometer/16888918 (http://www.walmart.com/ip/Accurite-Large-Digital-Wireless-Thermometer/16888918) 
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: Tom Turophile / CheeseStud on September 13, 2012, 11:31:06 AM
The same company makes a unit that has outdoor humidity sensor. That's what I have in my cave.  I haven't calibrated it yet, but it seems to be in the ballpark.  We don't need 1% accuracy for this task.  [url]http://www.walmart.com/ip/Accurite-Large-Digital-Wireless-Thermometer/16888918[/url] ([url]http://www.walmart.com/ip/Accurite-Large-Digital-Wireless-Thermometer/16888918[/url])


I stuck the entire thing in the fridge today, and will check when I get back -- but I saw that last night, and will be buying it.

There's condensation around the vaseline.  At this point, I'm going to chalk it up to poor design.  This is where the majority of the rust had been; I'm guessing that this section, right between the freezer and fridge, is poorly insulated, causing the metal to cool off.  I believe the seals are effective, and that as long as it doesn't rust, I'll move on.
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: Tom Turophile / CheeseStud on November 08, 2012, 10:10:43 AM
The same company makes a unit that has outdoor humidity sensor. That's what I have in my cave.  I haven't calibrated it yet, but it seems to be in the ballpark.  We don't need 1% accuracy for this task.  [url]http://www.walmart.com/ip/Accurite-Large-Digital-Wireless-Thermometer/16888918[/url] ([url]http://www.walmart.com/ip/Accurite-Large-Digital-Wireless-Thermometer/16888918[/url])


I stuck the entire thing in the fridge today, and will check when I get back -- but I saw that last night, and will be buying it.

There's condensation around the vaseline.  At this point, I'm going to chalk it up to poor design.  This is where the majority of the rust had been; I'm guessing that this section, right between the freezer and fridge, is poorly insulated, causing the metal to cool off.  I believe the seals are effective, and that as long as it doesn't rust, I'll move on.


Everything has gone great.  The vaseline has helped the seal.  The humidity has actually dropped, without a container of water in it, which is great because this means I can actually manage it.  I've now got the Johnson Controls switch in, set at 55 ( as I just got some wine in).
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: Al Lewis on November 25, 2012, 12:39:35 PM
I used a small freezer, 6.9 cu ft, with the coils running under each shelf and the humidity seems to be perfect ranging between 85% and 90% without any other equipment.  Humidity condenses on the coils but at 56 degrees can't freeze.  I have plastic racks under the bamboo mats to raise the cheese off of the shelves.
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: Tom Turophile / CheeseStud on January 22, 2013, 10:39:46 AM
Finally, my cheese cave is complete.  I've written about it in this thread before, but I'll sum it up. 

The local drugstore was moving, and selling its fixtures.  I was hoping to get one of those drink fridges for cheap, but they were still $2000+.  In the back, though, I found this old fridge for $30:
(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-CN-A-eTJTM8/UP4LwOT61qI/AAAAAAAAIIM/16giH8BmtAg/s912/20120826_143146.jpg) -- that inside is cleaned up, too, from when I got it.

Since I couldn't figure out the model -- just that it was late 70s from Sears -- I learned a lot about gaskets, and ordered one online (from http://www.barefrigeration.com (http://www.barefrigeration.com)).  I took blue door panel off, removed that awful rusted gasket, cleaned thoroughly, and screwed on the new one.  After scrubbing the rust off of the fridge, I sealed it with a can of paint specifically used for resealing fridges.

(Blurry!)
(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-sAQg_ZiGviU/UP4LtooGlgI/AAAAAAAAIIE/ziJLap5ghVY/s912/20120903_175213.jpg)

Since this is a wine and cheese fridge, and I have about 36 bottles in there now, the two shelves weren't sufficient -- for spacing, or security.  I don't need bottles dropping off.  I got lucky, and this Sterilite 5-drawer unit fit like a glove.  It will make sectioning off areas a breeze:

(https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-g1hROrxzXls/UP4Lnh1B17I/AAAAAAAAIH0/hsGQ_bYYeTI/s720/20130116_220508.jpg)

(https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-iFVdDCp0vc0/UP4LqW8Sc7I/AAAAAAAAIH8/3nrOGFfURqY/s912/20130116_220540.jpg)

Finally, done! 
Title: Re: Discussion of Refrigerators
Post by: Al Lewis on January 22, 2013, 11:23:58 AM
That insert is really cool!!  You really lucked out finding one that fit that well.  Great job!!