Would a household refrigerator
work on a sailboat? Yes, if you live at the dock
and don't go sailing. Like rope
would be cheaper than braided stainless steel
stays for rigging
, home fridges are cheaper than marine
refrigerators. At home, central air keeps the environment
cool with low humidity for the fridge. On a boat, temps can rise above 100 and the humidity can be 90 percent. The home fridge never moves. On a boat, the home fridge will launch itself across the cabin
if not bolted in, the doors will fly open spilling your expensive supplies all over the cabin
and the compressor
will die if it gets over 5 degrees off level.
fridge will use 1-2 amps on an average hourly basis on 12 volts. The home fridge won't run on 12 volts so you'll have to keep the generator running all the time when away from the dock
or if you are stupid enough to use inverters, you'll suck your batteries dry overnight and you'll be dead in the water
. Try using your sideband to call for help with dead batteries. With extensive inverter
use to keep household appliances
working, you'll kill batteries in a year or two. Get out your wallet to replace those!
A good marine refrigerator
(like an Isotherm) uses the Danfoss compressor
that comes with a five year warranty because they simply don't fail. The home refrigerator uses a cheap
piece of junk that won't stand up to the marine environment
and the warranty is voided for marine use. The Danfoss will keep working at heels up to 30 degrees and when the pounding at sea is so bad it will knock your fillings out. The home fridge wants to go home to mommy.
The marine refrigerator uses factory injected, closed cell foam that has superior insulating properties over the panels
you get from home depot for your "home made" fridge or the fiberglass
batting used in home fridges. The marine fridge uses 316 grade stainless steel
and composite materials to reduce the effects of corrosion
. The home fridge turns into a rust bucket. The marine refrigerator has a positive latching door designed to keep your jar of pickles and bottles of milk and wine safe and secure with cradles and adjustable holders. The home or RV refrigerator requires you put a latch on it because it will fly open and put your pickles and milk on the cabin floor and everything falls over on the cheap
door shelves. So if a guest or young Johnny forgets to latch the fridge and after you mop up the pickle and milk juice and air the boat out for a month, you can just go to the supermarket on Staniel Key and buy all new supplies. Oh, I forgot, there's no supermarket on Staniel Key and a jar of pickles is five bucks IF they have it.
The Engle and Norcold use an electronic compressor that works fine under light circumstances like a picnic or at an RV park. Alternating magnetic fields drive the compressor piston but looses efficiency and gobbles up power and makes noise
when it gets hot. You stay awake at night wondering what the heck that noise
is. It's cheap but if you have boating
experience, cheap usually costs more in the end.
Finally, look close at the products you buy. It is smarter to use distributed marine refrigerators and freezers that are smaller and can be installed under a bunk or in the lazerette than one behemoth home fridge that, when it konks out in rough weather
, will take hundreds of dollars of supplies with it. You'll be popular with fellow cruisers when you pull into Mag Bay and have to empty your fridge and freezer for a beach BarBQue before you head
back to San Diego
to buy a proper marine refrigerator eating crackers and canned food all the way...