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Old 11-06-2020, 10:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
eco....something or other
 
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Walk in cooler and air conditioner losses

I built a walk in cooler with an air conditioner and temp controller. I ran it for a week and took measurements to check efficiency. It used roughly 33,000 btu/day. I thought I could improve on that and started taking measurements to target heat gain/loss. I couldn't find anything wrong with the cooler itself or the doors. Everything was airtight and well insulated. I started messing around with the laser thermometer and pointed it inside the blower housing of the air conditioner. WOW! A 20* difference!? What the.....ok, this is getting fixed.

I grabbed my regular thermometer and poked it in the blower housing to measure the air temp rather than the housing temp. The air coming out was at least 2* different from when it went in there. That is definitely a problem. I punched the numbers into a heat exchanger app and it said I was losing at least 10,000 btu/day through the blower housing!

The air conditioner was promptly removed from the wall and the case was removed. The blower housing was just a thin piece of plastic with no insulation at all. I covered it with flexible foam, foiled bubble wrap, and aluminum tape, put it back together, and reinstalled it. I turned it on and started my timer. The run times were WAY lower. They went from 56% to 19%! I was losing 22,000 btu/day through the blower housing before the insulation.

It is now near zero loss. The cooler only uses 11,670 btu/day to maintain temperature and the cost to run is ~34 cents/day or $10/month. I think that's less than we were paying for netflix, lol.

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Old 11-07-2020, 12:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Is that an old air conditioning unit?
All the newer ones I have looked that deeply into used a Styrofoam blower housing.
Is that your meat cooler?
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Old 11-07-2020, 04:44 AM   #3 (permalink)
eco....something or other
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Colfax, WI
Posts: 714

wood hauler - '91 Ford F-250
Team Pontiac
90 day: 18.97 mpg (US)

Rav - '06 Toyota Rav4 Base
90 day: 26.52 mpg (US)
Thanks: 38
Thanked 57 Times in 44 Posts
Yeah, it's my meat cooler. The blower housing has some styrofoam on the circumference, but it isn't actually insulated. It's weird. Here is a picture of my insulation job. That whole housing was just thin plastic. I cleaned and painted the foam when I had it apart for cleaning and thought "hey it's insulated", but didn't really pay attention. There was no insulation between the inside and outside, but there is now.

Click image for larger version

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