How do you keep things cool?

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by Cabin Lady, Jan 2, 2017.


  1. Cabin Lady

    Cabin Lady Monkey

    I don't have a fridge but use a big 71 liter cooler. I freeze bottles of water and put them in the cooler. Keeps everything cool. During the summer I freeze the bottles at my neighbor and switch them every 4 days. In winter I freeze them outside on my deck. Easy here with those nippy winters.
    How do you off gridders keep things cool?
     
  2. azrancher

    azrancher Monkey +++

    I don't think freezing water bottles at your neighbor's house qualifies as being off-grid, do they have power?

    I'm guessing that the cheapest way is with a Propane refrigerator (Servel type), I know in the 50's my parents had an apartment attached to the house that had a Natural Gas Refrigerator, don't know the brand, mom also had the ringer washer outside...

    Rancher
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2017
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  3. Pax Mentis

    Pax Mentis Philosopher King |RIP 11-4-2017

    I use a propane refrigerator when off grid. Propane use is minuscule and "3-ways" out of RV are all over Craig's list.
     
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  4. Cabin Lady

    Cabin Lady Monkey

    My neighbor has power. She likes my frozen bottles in her freezer in case her power goes out which happens sometimes. Keeps her stuff longer cool. :) Until I have something else set up for myself it works for me. I want to build an ice house. I did make a hole in the ground behind the cabin with insulated top but not handy to take something out.

    I would love to find one of those washing / wringers! :) laundry by hand is not easy sometimes.

    Yes I have to look into the propane fridge. Could be my solution for the hot summers.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 3, 2017
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  5. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    I just picked up a thermoelectric wine bottle cooler form the scrap yard yesterday, all that was wrong with it is it needed the fan replaced.
    These refrigerators use the peltier effect for cooling. Where small electric charge is used to move heat. No moving parts besides fans are used. The use of fans is not mandatory.

    The problem with peltier effect cooling is it cools very slowly and it doesn't move a whole lot of heat compared to a traditional vapor to liquid heat pump.
    The peltier cells can only cool down the inside of the refrigerator about 30°F from the out side conditions.
    So if out side of your peltier refrigerator is 100°F the inside can only be cooled down to about 70°F.
    So it won't work for everything.

    Also the peltier refrigerator needs to be powered up pretty much all the time when the refrigerators outside environment is above the desired food temperature.
    But they use hardly any power and can run straight off battery voltage.
     
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  6. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    I feel so cheap and easy. I still use refrigerators, AC powered.
     
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  7. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    Another option is a stand alone ice maker. The ones I have name plate ratings saying they dray around 100 to 250 watts of power and claim they can make up to 10 to 15 pounds of ice.
    I don't know how realistic that is since I have never tested one or seen a detailed performance read out.
    Just saying until some one tests one they may only make 15lb of ice per 24hr when it's -10°F out and they may only make a pound or 2 of ice per 24hr when it's 100°F out.
     
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  8. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    I think you are supposed to harvest ice from the lake or river, find a cool spot and cover with sawdust. Or you could use your new solar panel to run a small refrigerator.
     
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  9. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu RIP 4/19/2018

    When I was a kid, in verrrrrry rural NE Nevada, we had an ice house (cave) and a root cellar. For day to day stuff like butter, milk, that days meat, and vegetables we had a burlap and fly screen evaporative cooler that my folks DIY'ed up! I know that it worked well, the milk was always cool! :) We lived about a half mile past the officially designated, magnetic, middle of nowhere!
     
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  10. Pax Mentis

    Pax Mentis Philosopher King |RIP 11-4-2017

    Actually, buckets or bladders left out are much easier than lakes...and it takes a pretty slow river to be of help.
    [peep]
     
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  11. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    I have been thinking about this. What do you need to refrigerate? @Cabin Lady

    Are you talking about a buffalo bladder? That type of bladder? Actually your river suggestion is good. You can keep things in the river. That will keep things cool.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 3, 2017
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  12. Cabin Lady

    Cabin Lady Monkey

    Just coffee cream and certain veggies. Some meat . Butter and eggs, left over meals. Not much really.

    That's what I would like to build. And ice house or root cellar. The pure Sandy ground here makes it difficult to dig without the sides collapsing during digging. A bit dangerous to do myself. But it is an idea I have for a long time.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 3, 2017
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  13. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    Alright a peltier cooler could work for things like eggs, butter and small containers of UHT pasturized coffee creamer for a marginal improvement over leaving them at room temp.
     
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  14. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grudge Monkey

    I have a year round stream through the property with a stock pond and a water wheel so I have many different methods available for ether powering electrical devices, or keeping things cold. My cellar maintains a constant of 41 deg.F and that is more then enough for most every thing. The water wheel MK-II is driving a 20k watt generator which powers pretty much every thing I have. For a secondary power, I have my steam plant up and running and it has a 5600 watt generator for power if I should need it. I installed an old Roberts Co. Industrial walk in freezer I got used at a restaurant re ferb shop and I can take the temps down to -20F deg and keep them at that! I also have a large double fridge that I use to keep every thing else cold with out needing to freeze any thing, and am working on my bigger smoke shed for doing meats and cheese in quantity!
     
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  15. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grudge Monkey

    Just a thought, how about a swamp cooler? I have seen several different designs that could keep things pretty cold,but not frozen!
     
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  16. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    Please tell me this has its own post somewhere?
     
  17. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grudge Monkey

    Not yet, Still a works in progress!
     
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  18. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu RIP 4/19/2018

    Absolutely, generally more like cool as opposed to cold! It's a much briefer time limit, compared to refrigeration! It is just a passive system and ambient air temperature has a huge impact on the inside temperature of the cooler!
     
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  19. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grudge Monkey

    What if the swamp cooler ran a "coolant" like ammonia or Glyco/Alcohol in an enclosed recirculating system?
     
  20. Tevin

    Tevin Monkey+++

    I have a small 12 volt Engel refrigerator running on solar. It is a true refrigerator with a compressor and will go down to about 0 degrees F. It pulls only 2.5 amps when running. It has been keeping food cold continuously for five years and has never been plugged into the grid. The Engel is not cheap but they really do work and are built to last decades. Many of the original Engels that came out in the 1960s are still out there chugging along.

    Expect to pay $800-$1200 but it will work for real and probably last a lifetime.

    I had a thermoelectric cooler once. It was such a piece of crap I gave it away for free on Craigslist.
     
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