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Old 14-05-2015, 22:59   #1
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Condensation on exterior of fridge

We know that our refrigerator is at best so-so on the insulation, but our primary concern at present is condensation dripping around the exterior. We used to find puddles on the sole. Now, we are finding the puddles in the cabinetry itself. Yesterday, we put a paper towel down and when we took it out this morning it was soaked through and dripping wet. (Yay! We found where the fresh water in the bilge comes from when it hasn't been raining!)

Are there any short term fixes to address this high level of condensation? We have a lot of research to do before we start tearing cabinets apart to rebuild our refrigerator. As in, we were really hoping to put that one off until next year.

If anyone has specific advise for a Pearson 39-2, we are wide open to suggestions at this point.
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Old 14-05-2015, 23:48   #2
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Re: Condensation on exterior of fridge

Short term would be to install pre cut panels of insulation foam board that can be had at Lowes or such stores to the inside. You lose space but it will gain you more insulation.

The other option is to do what you know you have to do, redo your reefer insulation. And I think we both know that will be at least mildly invasive.

- Ronnie...on the geaux
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Old 14-05-2015, 23:56   #3
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Re: Condensation on exterior of fridge

Unfortunately he's correct the cure is reinsulate the cabinet
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Old 15-05-2015, 02:07   #4
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Re: Condensation on exterior of fridge

"Are there any short term fixes to address this high level of condensation?"
Well, yes. Empty the fridge and use shelf-stable food.


It really does sound like the insulation is shot. Maybe has sogged apart, or broken free of the box, but it is time to clean out the box and roll up the sleeves.
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Old 15-05-2015, 03:54   #5
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Re: Condensation on exterior of fridge

if you are plugged in .. get a dehumidifier for the boat.
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Old 15-05-2015, 08:43   #6
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Re: Condensation on exterior of fridge

I'd check your door seals (gaskets) as well to make sure they are tight.
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Old 15-05-2015, 08:53   #7
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Re: Condensation on exterior of fridge

I agree that your problem is a function of "heat leak" through inadequate insulation but in many cases we find the manufacturer did not incorporate a moisture barrier around the outside skin of the refrigeration box insulation. My Pearson 424 has an epoxy resin coat on the insulation but we have taken core samples through the box liner on many older Pearsons that had just raw foam exposed to the ambient air/humidity. In this case the foam insulation is usually water saturated with a negative R value (the 1" core sample can be epoxied back in later). So in response to desired short term solution; if the insulation proves to be wet, shut down the system and leave a 60 watt bulb hanging in the middle of the box to drive the moisture back out of the insulation. Be sure to regulate the interior temperature to stay under 120 dgF by using a fan blowing across the partially opened lid. This may take several days or up to a week. Once dried out you should have recovered much of the original R value. If at all possible apply a epoxy resin coat to any outside insulation surfaces you can gain access to. Unfortunately, as soon as you drop the box temperature you will begin the process of moisture absorption again where the foam is not sealed. In many cases this process in the tropics needs to be repeated every few months until you can proceed with a rebuild.
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Old 15-05-2015, 09:04   #8
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Re: Condensation on exterior of fridge

Two interesting options:

1) If there is empty air space around the cooler, fill with expanding insulating foam. Cheap, easy fix. Comes in spray cans at the hardware store.

2) Rebuild the cooler. Best I've seen is put a store bought cooler inside your built in cooler, and fill the space between with spray in foam. You'll get a super insulated cooler that looks good inside too.

3) On hot days, I lay a few towels on top of the cooler, as a little extra insulation on top.
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Old 15-05-2015, 10:37   #9
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Re: Condensation on exterior of fridge

I filled plastic bags with foam peanuts to fill any unused space inside the box to save battery. Then I cut a piece of foam board, from Home Depot (1 inch purple foam board called hobby board) to lay on top. This has really save power and was really cheap.

Also I bought an analog refrigerator thermometer and found I had the temp dialed down too far and I could dial it up 2 notches.
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