How to Get a Freezer?

Aquaponics Freezer for RecyclingThis week I got three comments to the effect of:

Consarnit! My lazy boyfriend Joe finally got around to taking my old freezer to the junkyard.  Not what am I gonna do?

Well, if Joe took your freezer too, I’ve got good news for you.

You can get it back.

What to Do

Aquaponics JunkyardStart by calling the local appliance recyclers and salvage yards.  Many don’t have websites and some aren’t in the phone book.  If you can’t find one, ask appliance stores and tow truck companies where they take their stuff.

In my area they have three salvage yards that recycle old freezers.

  • One refuses to sell me any because of their “insurance.”
  • The second tries to blow me off every time I call, and won’t save a freezer for me.  But if I call when they’ve got one in the yard they’ll sell it to me.  It’s 1/4 mile from my house, so I put up with this behavior from them.
  • The third will not only will save them for me but will call me when they get one in.

Try to get a hold of all the yards in your area and find the most cooperative.

When you find them, ask them to save you a large (2’x4’x3′) chest freezer with the gasket still intact.

It can have some rust.  If it’s really cracked and in bad shape it’s up to you whether to take it.  I have another product ($75 per freezer) that you can use to create a stable base for the coating if your freezer is messed up.  Ask your spouse or housemates first if it’s an eyesore.  It’ll work but you’ll still have to look at it every day.

Aquaponic Chest Freezer 2The yard will probably charge you about $20.  If you don’t have a truck or trailer, you can ask for delivery.  Mostly likely they’ll deliver for a reasonable rate, especially if you’re on their way home.  You can borrow a trailer too.  A 4×8 trailer fits three full sized freezers.

The yard will also ask if you want the refrigerant removed.  Say “yes.”

If you have an existing, working freezer, take it to the junkyard or local appliance repair facility and ask them to remove the refrigerant.  They’ll probably also charge you about $20.


Aquaponic Freezer Fish Tank Refrigerant RecoveryI know, I know.

It would be sure nice to use your freezer in the late spring to cool your water and give your trout an extra month of life and growth.


I have two reasons why.

The first you can find in the latest issue of Aquaponics Survival Communities.   The short version: you get the most profitable fish yield per fish by rotating your fish winter-summer between trout and tilapia.  Start with 7-8″ fish and grow them out for 6 months. If you’re one of those spoiled southerners or coasties who don’t have 6 months of cold weather, trout probably aren’t for you.

The second is that converting a working freezer to a fish tank has a high risk of leaking refrigerant.  This is bad.

Really, really bad.

You may have seen people cut refrigerant lines before, or you may have done it.  I did it once, and won’t do it again.  Don’t do it.

Refrigerant is one of the most toxic air pollutants ever invented, and if released will dramatically harm the atmosphere in a variety of nasty ways.  The fine for releasing it is is up to $37,500.  It can also kill you if your breathe it.  It fills up your lungs and you drown.

Refrigeration CertificationThis is not a B.S. cover-your-butt warning. Refrigerant is death. Some of the EPA’s regulations are overkill. This is not. If I catch you releasing refrigerant on purpose, I will report you. If you catch a salvage yard releasing refrigerant, you should report them.

If you insist on using your freezer to cool, I recommend buying a new freezer and finding a certified HVAC or appliance repair technician willing to cut the holes for you, using their tools and their methods.

The Long and Short

At the end of the day, buying freezers from salvage yards and converting them with our kits can get you 600 gallons of highly insulated cold weather aquaponics fish tanks (enough to raise about 150 fish) for $600 and a few hours of labor.

Shop around.  For food-safe insulated and air sealed tanks, you won’t find anything else that comes close.

Aquaponic Freezer Fish Tank

Courtesy of Kent Sweitzer Photography


3 responses to “How to Get a Freezer?

  1. Pingback: New Product: Freezer-to-Fish Tank Conversion Kits | Cold Weather Aquaponics·

  2. Pingback: One Week Only Sale on Fish-in-a-Freezer – Expires May 29 | Cold Weather Aquaponics·

  3. Pingback: POTABLE WATER-SAFE PAINT | Cold Weather Aquaponics·

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