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Antique Refrigerator as Kegerator

Discussion in 'Home Bar' started by mylar, Mar 21, 2012.

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  1. mylar

    mylar Dec 13, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I recently bought a new house that came with antique appliances. I bought new ones for my kitchen and got rid of the stove however I still have the refrigerator. Its a Westinghouse from the 30s or 40s, and I am thinking of turning it into a kegerator since it will hold two of my corny kegs for homebrew.

    Has anyone ever taken an old fridge like this and converted it? I know it may cost more to run however the insulation looks like its probably pretty thick (the door is a good 5 inches thick.) I don't intend to run it all of the time, just to have beer on tap in my Florida room when I have people over. My main concern is the type of insulation since I will have to drill through it, through the door to install draft shanks. Is this safe to do? I'm wont be drilling through 4 3/4"inches of asbestos will I?
  2. billandsuz

    billandsuz Sep 1, 2004 New York

    Maybe. Along with a host of other bullshit responsibilities i have, i am a NY licensed asbestos project monitor. that shit turns up everywhere. nothing surprises me. possible asbestos contaning material. disturbing this may release friable fibers.

    if you don't mind risk taking, use a slow drill. keep the surface wet. have someone hold a shop vac with a HEPA filter next to the bit as you drill. mist the contents of the shopvac, bag it and dispose. or hire someone to collect a sample and analyze. you'll probably just want to buy a new kegerator after you see the costs involved.

    the health risk is your decision. know that there is a zero safe level of asbestos exposure. doubly so if you have little ones in the house. i might have to think hard, as a 1930s Westinghouse does sound interesting.
    Rempo likes this.
  3. funkel81

    funkel81 Jan 23, 2011 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    could you email whatever company that owns westinghouse possibly? sounds like an interesting project
  4. leedorham

    leedorham Apr 27, 2006 Washington

    Another thing to consider would be power consumption. That retro style will cost you real money.
  5. mylar

    mylar Dec 13, 2011 Pennsylvania

    As stated in the op I'm not to terribly concerned about power consumption since it won't be the main kegerator, just used for parties since I do have another one in the house. That being said I could just use picnic taps however opening and closing the door all the time to get a beer would probably make a drastic difference as opposed to having shanks installed I would think, which has me concerned about the materials is be drilling.g through....
  6. jricharc

    jricharc Feb 16, 2012 Virginia

    It won't kill you, if you are that worried about that little bit buy a respirator mask and wear it when you drill the hole. Something like this most auto part suppliers carry them it will cost you about $30.

  7. mylar

    mylar Dec 13, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I called a shop that deals with these things and the I guy I spoke with says the insulation is just cardboard. He did point out a few other areas to be concerned with which are that its probably not grounded so if it shorts out, since its all metal the whole fridge becomes a giant live wire. The second is depending on the vintage, the gas used in it was also used as a chemical weapon in the first world war....so as long as I don't damage any gas lines and put a ground on it it should be fine.
  8. jricharc

    jricharc Feb 16, 2012 Virginia

    Be sure to post pictures, I would love to use a retro fridge but just to buy one would cost a fortune. Good luck with the project!
  9. StarRaptor

    StarRaptor Jun 8, 2010 California

    It would be a pretty cool fridge to trick out with some paint
  10. billandsuz

    billandsuz Sep 1, 2004 New York

    that is good to know. perhaps injecting some low expansion Great Stuff into the cavity to provide modern insulation will help a bit with this energy hog.
    grounding wire and a GFI wouldn't be a bad idea either. then get it to your local body shop for a coat of cherry red. go with all chrome hardware. chrome faucets. chrome drip tray.
    i think i just added a project to my list. post pics when you get it done, and let us know if you need some help balancing the system.
    Redrover likes this.
  11. billandsuz

    billandsuz Sep 1, 2004 New York

    an auto parts store respirator is going to have a VOC cartridge. it will do nothing to protect from fibers. if it doesn't say HEPA or 99.97% it is not suitable for asbestos.
    it seems irrelevant in this case. it is worth pointing out though. if you choose to release asbestos into your home it is your business. the mask you choose to use is your business too.
  12. mylar

    mylar Dec 13, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I was actually thinking of getting some of the expansion foam to re do the insulation with. I was reading somewhere that the the compressors on these old fridges are actually more efficient to operate than modern ones, however when you match that up with cardboard insulation, that where the usage costs go up lol.

    I don't think it will be anytime soon that I restore it completely as long as it runs for now. Will just put some faucets on it and us as is for the time being. But you're right, all chrome hardware and a new paint job would be killer. Just have too many other projects going on at the moment.
  13. lionking

    lionking Nov 25, 2006 Pennsylvania

    I believe a lot of these old trudged have kick as compressors much better than today's stuff. 10 yrs ago u people gave these away. Now people realize how sturdy and stylish these are.
  14. barls

    barls Nov 15, 2006 Australia

    had a 1950s westinghouse lock door as my previous keg fridge. wonderful fridge. loved it.
  15. Jparkanzky

    Jparkanzky Apr 5, 2011 Ohio

  16. jenray

    jenray Feb 3, 2007 Texas

    This retro kegerator is pretty cool.
    jchoffman likes this.
  17. Meanmopar

    Meanmopar Apr 4, 2012

    Holy crap! I want that!!!
    atone315 likes this.
  18. crosamich

    crosamich Nov 28, 2007 Florida
    Beer Trader

  19. noloco

    noloco Oct 16, 2012

    Did you end up building your kegerator out of that old fridge? I found a great old fridge and was thinking of using it for mine.

  20. kenpo23

    kenpo23 Oct 8, 2009 Massachusetts

    hard to see in the pic but is that the awesome avocado green color?? if so i think that might be the best thing ever to use!
  21. barls

    barls Nov 15, 2006 Australia

    i use to have a 1950s westinghouse lock door. best fridge ive ever had. ill try to find some pick of your interested.
  22. mikeanda81

    mikeanda81 Dec 24, 2012

    my husband just completed a 1952 Philco refrigerator. stripped it down and painted it. turned it into a kegerator, it turned out amazing! if i could figure out how to post a pic i would lol
  23. dabeerguy

    dabeerguy Jan 22, 2006 Arizona

    Something you might want to check is the value of the fridge before you do anything to it. I recently sold an intactv original 1945 GM for over 2,000 bucks. Conversion of a more modern fridge is a snap. Get a kit from Micromatic, Foxx, kegmaster etc. and in an hour you have a kegerator.
  24. Bildo

    Bildo Jan 24, 2013 Minnesota

    We had an Old 50's GM fridge converted to kegerator growing up. coldest beer that i can remember. the day it died, the whole family felt the lost a dear member of our family. 50+ years of service, wish they still made em like that.
  25. cartoonshop

    cartoonshop Jun 6, 2011 Rhode Island

    i have a 1949 general electric that is gold as hell on the warmest setting. could use a new gasket,but other than that, works just as well as it did in 1949
  26. Andygirl

    Andygirl Jan 3, 2013 Michigan

    1951 Fridge here. Actually very efficent if you get a model old enough to not have auto defrost.
  27. RichFellows

    RichFellows Mar 13, 2011 Connecticut

    Probably won't get an answer back. Reason being that even though this thing was made almost a century ago Westinghouse won't admit anything that leaves them open to any sort of liability.
  28. modbrew

    modbrew May 26, 2013 California

    I have a 50's era Philco that sits in my garage with my kegs in it and a line running into my tap in the kitchen. I have measured the power and it uses less than a kWh/day, which is less than 20 cents per day here. As long as you aren't opening it all the time, you can set it on the highest temperature setting and it will keep your kegs plenty cold. I also put bottles of water in the freezer, which improves the efficiency too.
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