Originally Posted by Winf
Seems I need to learn about refrigeration now, the list never ends.
We have a chest type fridge aboard and always seem to have water gathering in the bottom. Ice seems to build up around the bottom of the white control unit thingy (technical term) inside the fridge. This melts and collects on the bottom. If we don't keep on top of removing this water it gets a little like a primordial soup after a while.
So firstly, is this normal or is there an actual refrigeration problem at the root of the problem? We have no real issue with the cooling performance of the fridge, it seems to do the job fine. In more southern climes it actually used to get too cold and freeze up lower storage
areas. So far it seems to be handling the tropics satisfactorily.
If this is not a refrigeration issue and just happens, what do others do to deal with this water? I thought about adding a drain of some kind at the bottom or even building up the bottom and creating a sump but figured I'm probably not the first to have this issue.
Any assistance appreciated.
For a standard ice box conversion, I prefer the following.
1. Drain in lowest point of ice box.
2. Insulated tubing to (and beyond) a drain shut-off valve (as near the icebox as practical).
3. Manual foot pump to dishwasher drain connection into galley
4. Daily open valve, pump water out, close valve.
As you know if you leave water in, it will get soupy and smelly. If you drain or pump it into the bilge
, the boat will get soupy and smelly.
If you do not insulate the drain pipe and valve, a lot of "cold" (actually absence of heat) will be lost
, and you will consume more energy to maintain a given temp.
RE: Freezing stuff you don't want frozen.
Slide a vertical partition between the evapourator box and rest of the compartment. Leave a bout a 1" gap between the top of the partition and ice box lid. This is referred to as a "spillover plate"
This will make the entire area on the evapourator box side a freezer
, and the other side a fridge.
For the partition, you can use almost anything. A white Formica sandwich, is a great solution. Starboard, or even corrugated plastic will work.
To improve temperature stability, one can install a low power
circ fan in the spillover plate (rather than the gap) with a thermostat in the fridge side, such that when the temp goes below setpoint, some more cold is moved in from the freezer side. (This may be a little overkill for some.)
Unlike your home fridge, most marine
refrigeration systems are not "Frost Free". This function takes up real estate and electrical
Instead, when you reprovision, choose pre-frozen when possible (except for those delicacies that must be eaten fresh).
Fill your large collapsible cooly bags (that you bring your provisions to boat with) half full of colds stuff. Place the not so cold perishables on top. Seal them up and throw some blankets or clothes under and over them. If you have an insulated cooler, with drain (which doubles as a great washing
machine on deck
, use it.)
Shut-off the fridge, open it up, open the drain valves and let the fridge defrost. Pump out the water when complete, close the valve, and turn the unit on. When it has cooled down again, transfer the stuff from the cooly bags to the fridge.
It is best to do all this on a marina day when you are connected to shore power
, so you don't deplete batteries cooling the fridge (and contents) back down.
Note that in any case, the space under the evapourator box will most likely freeze things. The further the lateral distance from the box, and the higher in the fridge, the warmer the area (without circulation). Place contents in the fridge accordingly, frozen items in and under the box, delicate items (like lettuce), furthest away and highest.
We too use plastic bins inside the fridge, dedicated to certain foods. This keeps everything organized, so it is easier to find, and avoids everything falling in, when one is trying to get to something at the bottom. Just lift
out the bin (and all its contents) to get the stuff underneath. This also helps to reduce "open" time and energy consumption