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Appliances,Food,Heat and Cooling

Installation of a RV Refrigerator into a Cabin

30 May , 2013  

IMG_3168 With the summer fast approaching, the quest for cold beers and the ability to store food for longer periods would definitely keep the family happy and increase the moral. Therefore, the propane RV refrigerator project shot up to the top of the list.

Prior to the propane fridge, we had a 12 volt Mobicool thermoelectric cooler. On hardware store shelf, it looked ideal for my humble 12 volt solar system and didn’t seem to draw a lot of amps. It cost around $100 dollars and was easy to move. But, the downside, was it had to run all the time, 24 hours a day! In about a day, it would drain the four 6 volt golf car batteries down to dangerous levels. I’d have to run the generator to charge the batteries back up. The fuel bill really started to get expensive. We ended up disconnecting it and use it as cooler with blocks of ice.

The next plan was a small refrigerator that would be used in a dorm room or under a bar, It ran only on AC current, but, we estimated it needed about 175 watts to run on the lowest setting. It worked without problems in the summer months and it was exciting to see it running full-time off my solar panels system. But, as the sun got lower in the sky, I noticed it started to draw more current and drain the batteries. Luckily the AC inverter had a low power setting and shut off the power before the batteries were damaged.

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Danby

One day, a good neighbour dropped off an old Dometic 12 Volt or propane refrigerator. He had upgraded to a bigger model and wasn’t using the smaller one. What a treat! Since I was new to propane appliances  I was a little leery about bringing it inside. So for the first year, it was out on the back deck working ok. My spouse made small subtle comments about it looking a little junky for the neighbour. So, I decided to bring it indoors.

The only problem with the smaller style of RV refrigerators is that it needs to be inserted into a cabinet. The plan was to install it into a nifty wall/pantry unit, but, there just wasn’t enough time to build it. I suggested that we go to IKEA and check out the “As is” section for any cabinets or wall units that were big enough. Ended up finding a pantry unit with a couple of dents, but the price was right and was perfect for the space.

Before any building, I went online a found a user and installation manual. Dometic_Connecting_Points It said that the RV refrigerator can sit in a cabinet, but the chamber behind the cooling elements had to be made from non-combustible material. Went to my hardware store picked up some wall flashing and furnace ducting.

The plan was to make a box-in-a-box.

That way, if I did need to service the RV refrigerator, it could simple slide out of the chamber. The installation manual had all the measurements and I made a simple box out of plywood,

After assembling the IKEA pantry unit, I measured for the height of the plywood box and adjusted the shelf it was to sit on. Added a few more boards to the shelf for extra strength.

After the RV fridge was hoisted up and on to the pantry shelf, I went around the back and did some more measurements for a ventilation chamber for the wall.

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2″ x 4″ framing lumber was cut and moved to create a framed “window”

Since the cabin wall behind the fridge was not insulated yet, it was easy

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Chamber for the cooling elements was flashed so all wood is covered. Note the holes cut for upper and lower venting.

to trim the boards and build a frame. It looked like a window frame, accept there was no hole for a window. Once the lower, upper vents, hole for propane hose and exhaust for the flue were cut, the unit would slide back and screwed into place.

I piece of flashing was wrapped around the outside and screwed into place.

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Flu or the chimney for the fridge is on the top left.

For the exhaust flue, a 4″ dryer vent was fastened to the flue with pipe clamps. A larger 6″ hole was cut and flashed with furnace duct metal. To keep out drafts around the 4″ vent, a special high temp caulking used for wood stoves was pumped into the cavities. Spray foam was used in other spaces where there was no contact with heat.

Since the  propane RV refrigerator project was completed, it been wonderful. We use it all year and it is really efficient on propane gas. A standard BBQ tank will last 2 months. My spouse is happy and in turn everyone is happy.

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Heat and Cooling,Other,Woodworking

The Plan to Build a Wood Fired Cedar Hot Tub

30 Jan , 2013  

Western Red Cedar four hoop hot tub handcrafted by Forest Lumber Cooperage Ltd.

Picture courtesy of Forest Lumber & Cooperage Ltd

For the past year, I been researching on how to build a wooden hot tub. If you haven’t seen one, it’s a six-foot round barrel about 4 feet high. Normally made from vertical laid Western Red Cedar planks that are fitted together. A heavy-duty banding is wrapped around the outside to keep the vertical planks from bursting. A snorkel style of wood stove is used to heat the water up. The stove sits just under the water line. Of course, I could pony up the $3500.00 a buy one. But, that’s not in the budget. The deck at the cabin comes first.

Anyway, after travelling on the internet, came across a story about another dude that wants to do the same thing…

“Hi folks, I am considering taking on the construction of an outdoor cedar hot tub. I want to build it using a joint that I have seen in use by kits I have assembled. The joint is called a canoe joint and it is used on 2×6 edges. I looked online to buy a shaper/router bit set to make this joint and have only found ones that have smaller radius than I need for my staves. Any help you can provide in a source for this bit set would be very much appreciated. Thanks, Jerry”

Round-nose-router-bit round-nose-profile So, I’m like cool. I’m not the only one. Found a responder and he/she suggested a Round Nose Router Bit by Freud. Freud makes really sweet saw blades, but I haven’t tried the bits yet. Looks like I’ll head down to the local Windsor Plywood store and pick one up.

More to come…

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