Homebrew Kegerator Build
|February 13, 2011||Posted by 2nobledogs under Equipment|
I’ve had the idea of building a kegerator for a while now. I’ve had a couple scenarios bouncing around but I could never get my head around any of them. The problem was space. We did not have the space to put a kegerator in our kitchen and after spending a fair amount of money renovating the kitchen my wife wasn’t wild about shoe horning another appliance in her space. As luck would have it, I found a small refrigerator that would fit in nicely into a small nook and would not (in my humble opinion) stick out like a giant wart in my wife’s beautiful kitchen.
The refrigerator stated as a Whirlpool 4.4 cubic foot dorm style unit with a faux stainless door. The first step was to remove the inner lining of the door to make more room for the kegs. This was simple to do and only took a couple of minutes.After removing the magnetic rubber seal from around the liner you will need to secure the seal back to the door. Before you do that you may want to insert a panel to take the place of the liner and cover up the interior of the door. I used aluminum flashing I picked up at Lowe’s. I used the old liner as a template and cut the new liner out with tin snips. I marked all the screw holes with a marker and punched holes at those locations with a nail. I fit the magnetic seal around the new panel and reinstalled it on the door. Be careful not to cut yourself when handling the flashing. It will be very sharp.
The next step was to cut the hole in the top for the draft tower. I removed the plastic top from the fridge and started taking measurements. This unit has its thermostat and lamp dead center and towards the front of the ceiling. The cold plate is against the back wall and sits off the wall slightly. That left just a small space drill through the top and not hit the cold plate or thermostat. I was not sure exactly where the refrigerant lines ran in the top but I was crossing my fingers that there weren’t any in that small space. After talking it over with my friend and discussing it with the owner of my local homebrew supply store I decided to start cutting ever so gently. I used a 2.5” hole saw to make the hole. After barely breaking the surface with the pilot hole a poked around with a nail to make sure I was not going to hit anything important. Once I felt comfortable with the location I finished cutting the outer skin. Once it broke through a used the nail again to probe the entire area. Again, once I was comfortable there were no vital organs I went ahead and drilled all the way through. I then marked the screw holes for the tower and drilled those. I put the plastic top (which is purely cosmetic ) back on. From inside the fridge I drilled up through the holes so they line up perfectly. I used aluminum duct tape to seal the hole and then set the draft tower. I pushed the stainless screws through the holes just to find out they were not quite long enough (story of my life L). So, I went back to Lowe’s and got longer screws. For this particular refrigerator I had to use 3” screws to make it all the way through. I also used 1” stainless washers to add a little more stability.
Now we have a new kegerator….well, not quite. I set my kegs and CO2 bottle inside only to find out that they didn’t exactly fit. As it turns out my kegs are pin lock kegs which are slightly wider than a ball lock keg. This was only a minor setback. I was able to use my Dremel to trim out the shelf supports which gave me just enough room for everything to fit snuggly. Now I have a kegerator! The first batch is chilling down and should be ready to go in a couple weeks. Oh…and no more bottling!
If you are interested in the final tally, it came to:
Whirlpool 4.4 CF Refridgerator $200, Aluminum CO2 tank (filled) $105, Hoses, gages& fittings $130, Draft Tower $100 (Luckily I already had this. It was a gift from a friend), Stainless screws, etc $5, 2 pin lock Corny kegs $40, Total $580
All in all, it was pretty simple to do and relatively inexpensive. Give it a try it was a lot easier than I thought. As always, let me know if you have any comments or tips.