Building an incubator out of a refridgerator

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Wolf-Kim, May 23, 2008.

  1. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Songster

    Jan 25, 2008
    ***If this ought to be in the coop design section, I'm sorry.. I mulled over my options and thought here would be best bet, could be wrong. LOL ***

    I was drooling over those wonderful automatic non-styrofoam incubators that usually cost a small fortune. I was playing with the idea of breaking down and buying one. They are just so expensive though and I hate spending that much money to hatch eggs when I can hatch eggs in a styrofoam box.

    Well, anyway, I was at my mother's today and she is remodeling her new house. She has an old refridgerator she is getting ready to take to the dump. It is one of those where the freezer and refridgerator are side by side all the way down. I got to thinking and I tend to walk around while I think. Well, inside her barn in a pile of junk was her old bathroom in-wall heater. Could it be a sign from God?

    I brought the heater home to play with(it still works just needs new electrical wires(it was cut out of the wall). It has a 5 inch fan on it(circulation.. tehe) and is heating by coils. I figure if it was designed to heat a whole bathroom it could probably get a close refridgerator up to 100 degrees.

    What do you think? Would this type of heater be sufficient for a standard refridgerator. I would probably only use the refridgerator portion. I though about cutting out the divider, so I just have one big insulated box, but then the doors would only have a thin strip of uninsulated metal to seal to. Should I go dumpster diving for an old deep-freezer or one big refridgerator(without the freezer portion).

    So here are the main questions..

    1. I want to rig an automatic egg turner somehow. Any ideas? Some kind of motor hooked to a rack/shelf? (I can use egg cartons to hold the eggs in place.)

    2. Is the heating element(in-wall bathroom heater) sufficient?

    3. Should I cut out the divider, just use the refridgerator side, or go look for a whole deep-freezer shell?

    4. What is the best thing to use as a thermostat? I'm hoping for something I won't have to constantly tinker with(with accurate numbering on it?).

    5. Should the heating element go on top or bottom of the refridgerator?

    Oh I am so tired of the styrofoam bators. I only have a couple of still-airs and I turn by hand. I'm always making tiny adjustments to the temp as the house AC thermostat is changed. I want an automated, fairly self-sustaining incubator. The styrofoam bators have to stay in my room because they are so sensitive to change and they make my bedroom hot(I like a cold bedroom).

    I am not mechanically inclined, but I think I can do this. I just need some of those questions answered. Calling all you mechanically-inclined, or even those know( or married to) mechanically inclined.

    Last edited: May 23, 2008
  2. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Songster

    Jan 25, 2008
    The heater has a label which reads:
    Fasco Industries, Inc.
    Fayetteville, NC
    Model: 1235 Ser: 245065
    Volts: 120 60HZ.
    Watts: 1500 B.T.U: 5118

    Do not understand what much of that means. [​IMG] Maybe that will help someone else help me though. I can only hope!

  3. wilds of pa

    wilds of pa Songster

    Last edited: May 24, 2008
  4. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Songster

    Jan 25, 2008
    Quote:It has a knob, but I do not know whether it is a timer or a thermostat. I have to hook it up to some electricity and play with it some.

    Can the heater really be too large? Wouldn't it mean it would just heat up faster and then cut-off more often?

    I am thinking of converting to lightbulbs. because a friend asked if the bathroom heater would kill the electric bill.

    What do you think? I would think a larger heat source would just mean it would heat the large refridgerator quicker and as long as you had a thermostat it would cut off before getting too hot.

    LOL. I don't know, I'm playing with the idea before I really jump into it.

    Thanks for the links by the way!
  5. catfish

    catfish Songster

    Apr 13, 2008
    Greenbrier, Arkansas
    I think that your going to have a hard time getting the temp even top to bottom in that large fridge, the heater is overkill big time but would work if you can rewire to fan to run constantly.

    Its a good idea, and would think a series of bulbs would be the better choice. I'd look to a small house hold desk fan hooked to a dimmer switch so you could adjust the speed it runs.

    As to a turner I have no idea.

    You would wire up the heater but I would do a test with 3 or 4 thermometers to see what your temp would be top to bottom.
    Good Luck.

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