old fridge

JunkGypsyMt(4 MT)February 17, 2005

My fridge just died, do you think i could use it as a coldframe? Like bury it in the ground and put different doors on for Lids? it pains me to see big stuff like this go to the dump, just think of an appliance cemetery. What else can one use them for?

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There was an excellent article in one of the garden mags several years ago about a gardener in a frozen place (maybe Alberta) who took several chest freezers from the landfill. She lined them up in her yard along the fence lid side up, removed the lids, painted them a garden-friendly color, filled them with soil and drain holes. They allowed her to get a very early start on the gardening season as the sides were insulated and retained the heat of the day. The insides of the chests were deep enough to allow her to grow all manner of cold weather crops.

No reason you can't do the same with your fridge.


    Bookmark   February 17, 2005 at 5:29PM
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Make a worm bed and use them for your garden or go fishing. Unless it gets to cold for you up there. Trudyjean

    Bookmark   February 18, 2005 at 6:44AM
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JunkGypsyMt(4 MT)

great ideas!!! now i keep pondering how to make them esthetically pleasing.with either paint or recycled siding with paint, my hubby appreciates my repurpose theories as long as our place doesn't end up looking like a salvage yard. Those small chest freezers would be handy esp. if i put heavy duty casters on them....worm farming hmmmm i would love to do that but it gets -20 here in SE Montana!
thanks again for the feedback!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2005 at 2:05PM
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I wonder if you could make "ponds" out of them?

Sink 'em in the ground, maybe install an aerator, fill with water, add water plants & minnows or goldfish?

    Bookmark   February 18, 2005 at 8:01PM
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Just thought of another use, use it to hold your potting soil in. I buy the bales of potting soil and put it in an prefab fish pond I bought at Walmart a few years ago that seemed to have a leak. Its large enough to add amendments to and mix up without it winding up on the ground. You could also use it for rooting cuttings in, drill drain holes and put whatever media you like. I salvaged 2 old metal shelves that just looked old that already had holes in them, filled them with sand and root roses in with great success. The next day someone had thrown away 2 window panes and I use those for a top (kinda like a mini greenhouse effect) when I need to. Trudyjean

    Bookmark   February 20, 2005 at 11:22AM
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JunkGypsyMt(4 MT)

Goodness more great ideas!!! Thanks!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2005 at 12:08PM
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How about sticking it in the garage and just using it for storage space? Lots of deep shelves and waterproof bins. You can put cups or cans of small stuff like plant markers or twine in the door shelves. Fill the whole thing up with flowerpots, stray bags of planting mix, smelly fertilizers (it's airtight with the door closed), etc. Not to mention all the stuff that can be stacked on top, such as seed flats. You can paint, stencil, wallpaper, or decoupage the outside so it doesn't look so much like a fridge...

    Bookmark   February 27, 2005 at 3:41PM
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Regardless of what you do with it - you MUST be sure to remove the latch. This is a nationwide LAW, & was created to keep someone - especially a child - from accidentally getting locked in & suffocating.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2005 at 12:30PM
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I second breezyb. I've heard many a "sad experience" with fridges which were discarded with the doors still left on. Unfortunately, children love the idea of climbing into an enclosed space; however, if the door locks..............

    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 4:03PM
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JunkGypsyMt(4 MT)

oh absolutley!!! It is old but does not have the snap handles that my grandmothers freezers and fridges had.They are the magnetic kind. However my freezer has the magnetic kind and even it is hard to open. I have never been trapped in fridge, but i did get stuffed in a dryer once by my older brother! that was in the 70's and my dad didn't hold back when he opened a can of whoop a#$ on him. Needless to say no more appliance incidents!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 4:25PM
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Any concerns about the chemicals in the coils of the refrigerator? Freon, I think? How can you make sure none of that ever leaks into the ground?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 9:31PM
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JunkGypsyMt(4 MT)

Alison, The freon does have to be removed, there are Professional Freon Remover" peoples or peeps cerified to do so...that is SOP at our dump, then they are taken to golden recycling.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 10:59PM
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Don't laugh, but I have seen old refrigerators being used as dog houses.

It is acutaly a good idea. Being insulated a pet can rest inside to get out of the hot sun and on cold days the insulation keeps the dog warm.

If you live on a farm you may want to just leave them 'au natural' but if you reside in a city suburb there may be some painting or decorating needed to camoflage the fact that it is an old refrigerator.

Basicaly just lay the refrigerator on it's "back" and cut a hole in what was the top or the bottom (your choce) for the animal to enter/exit.

The lid lifts up on its hinge for access for cleaning it out with a hose or easily adding bedding.

As I said you parobably will wish to paint it and adding a decorative slanted "roof" is a nice touch.

Side-by-side fridges are probably not the ideal choice due to the size of the long narrow interior. With a regular top mount fridge/freezer combo the small freezer space can be used to store pooper scoopers or dog toys so that they are not cluttering up the yard but are still easily accessible. Those small chest freezers for the home are ideal for dog houses - the perfect size and having only one hinged lid gives a smoother cleaner look decor-wise.

You can make A really CUTE dog house that is also very practical due to it's insulating characteristics. And it does not have to look redneck if it is fixed up to look nice. Of course you can always plant things around it. :) :) :)

    Bookmark   July 5, 2005 at 9:21AM
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Vernonia(z7b OR)

old refrigerators/freezers can also be buried in the ground up to the lip and used as a root cellar. it keeps things at a more constant temp through the year because it is regulated by the earth around it :) but I dunno about it withstanding those cold montana winters :)

    Bookmark   July 5, 2005 at 10:47AM
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My grandmother in northern Indiana used her old fridge as a root cellar. At the time, I thought she was crazy (I was maybe 10). In retrospect, it was a great idea.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 4:26PM
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missmshell(z4 Carthage,NY)

I put in a lasagna garden last fall with lots of horse manure in it and my daughter threw a bunch of night crawlers in it. We let it season all winter long. When we dug into it this spring it was chock full of worms! It got as cold as -33 degrees here several times this winter as well as long stretches of -20. We're putting in a lasagna bed just for worms this fall. So don't be afraid to give it a try :)

    Bookmark   July 16, 2005 at 9:38PM
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I use an old fridge to store containers like paint, bug spray and paint thinner in. It keeps the fumes in. I have not had any build up of fumes inside the fridge either. it does smell when I open it but not something that will knock ya out ;o)
Another idea I will try one day is converting one into a smoker for meats.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2005 at 6:29PM
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We use them to store chicken, dog and cat feed in them. Keeps the mice out.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2005 at 2:17PM
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I have two "dead" refrigerators that I use as coldframes. I cover them with recycled windows and they manage to keep the temp above freezing all winter. They have been super for starting seeds early for spring planting. They are not pretty but quite functional. After I transplant seedling out of them I continue to fill them with cuttings to root.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2005 at 9:32PM
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beachbarbie(z9a/8b NC)

Well, I just did it! I've been waiting for an old fridge to come my way since I first read this thread.
A friend was replacing her old fridge, so I got it to replace our outside beer/wine fridge. Our outside fridge is now REALLY outside...it's next to the greenhouse on it's back ready to start its second life as a coldframe!

I took all the mechanics out, took the door off and drilled holes in the back for drainage. Dug a hole about 10" deep and set it in. Then put piling sections (timbers used to raise houses up here at the beach) on 2 sides a few inches away from the friges' sides. This space was filled in with dirt to, theoretically, increase the insulation effect. Yea, yea...I live in zone 9a, what do I need MORE insulation effect for? Hey! I had the timbers, had to use them somehow!
Since I was still a bit concerned about drainage, I filled the bottom with gravel, laid extra window screening I had laying around and put potting soil over that. I'm going to use a sliding glass door for the cover.
I also kept the freezer section lid on for seeds that need darkness to germinate.
Here's a pic.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fridge cold frame

    Bookmark   November 2, 2005 at 1:26PM
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Octogenarian(z5 Lake Erie)

A word of warning. The old metal ice-box was often used as a smoker. The insulation and plastic on the modern ones is highly combustible. Mine shot flames 20' into the air and black smoke drifted over a mile. Luckily no other damage.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2005 at 5:31PM
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