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Old 17-07-2018, 17:14   #1
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Re-insulating My Refrig. Box the Hard Way.

During my refit I decided to replace my refrigeration system on my built in ice box.
I attended the boat show">Annapolis boat show last fall and made a point to visit all the refrigeration venders especially the ones that contribute FREELY here on the forum.
After many conversations I decide to purchase one of ColdEh's Marine systems as best fit for what I was looking for and John was very knowledgeable and friendly and didn't mind repeating to me, for what I'm sure is the millionth time, what I need to know for a new system.

Understand, that I'm not receiving anything for that shout out, but wanted to acknowledge his contribution to this project. Many others on this forum have educated me as well. Richard with kollmann-marine get his book it is excellent. Rich "SV THIRD DAY" CoolBlue systems, I have read many of his very detail posts, and many others. SO thank you to them all.

I have almost completed this project but I wanted to post what I did here to give a little back for the help I received from this forum. Hopefully, someone will benefit from this post.

I will be adding pictures and descriptions over the next few days because I have a lot of pictures and I can't stand to type long. I learned on a manual typewriter and I still bang the keys pretty hard, wares me out.

I wasn't going to even do this project the box looked good. I tapped on the walls, it sounded good. I didn't need another project! But John said the boat is old and it is crap insulation and needs replacement or your system will run all the time and eat your batteries, or something along those lines. So a new project was added to the list.

This box is not accessible from the outside, so he suggested cutting the inside liner out in quarters. This is what I decide to do.

Stay tuned for more tomorrow:
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Old 18-07-2018, 02:21   #2
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Re: Re-insulating My Refrig. Box the Hard Way.

I have the same problem and since the box on my boat is fairly large had considered just putting another 1" layer of insulation and glassing over it. Your solution is certainly much bolder.
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Old 18-07-2018, 08:32   #3
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Re: Re-insulating My Refrig. Box the Hard Way.

Continuing with the project: POST #2

I laid out the inner shell in quadrants leaving about a 5" section across the middle to use as a fixed guide to re-insert the cut out pieces.

My plan was to cut out the first quadrant and to inspect the foam to see if it indeed needed replacing. After I remove that first section I was pleased that the foam looked good and decide I really didn't need to replace the insulation.

I again consulted with John and he told me again its crap get it out and replace it with new. He preferred XPS board (blue board) but I have been working with pour-in-place foam and knew I could control it as much as it could be controlled. I also wanted to fill all the available voids.

John was right as soon as I start digging out the old foam it just crumbled to powder. I could almost suck it out with my shop vac.

SO on with the project. I dug out all the foam in that first section and cut out the second quadrant with my oscillating saw to find the foam soaking wet, water logged! The only way I can figure that happened was from condensation.

The factory had built an outer box from thin plywood and glassed the edge seems to make a form for the foam. Almost all of the plywood had rotted from being wet, I assume from the condensation.

This outer box only allow for about 2 to 3" of insulation on the sides of the box. With that all removed I could increase my insulation to 4" on three sides and 6" on the bottom and the hull side.

Tomorrow I will show how I planned to manage the pour-in-place foam.

Thanks for following,
Jim
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Old 18-07-2018, 08:40   #4
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Re: Re-insulating My Refrig. Box the Hard Way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RaymondR View Post
I have the same problem and since the box on my boat is fairly large had considered just putting another 1" layer of insulation and glassing over it. Your solution is certainly much bolder.
In my study of this project I came across where this had been done successfully. They added 1" or 2" of XPS board and glassed over it and painted it with a two part urethane.

It would have made my usable volume just too small and I wanted to maximize my insulation.

Word of Caution: XPS board will melt if you use polyester resin. No problem with epoxy resin.
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Old 18-07-2018, 08:48   #5
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Re: Re-insulating My Refrig. Box the Hard Way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jhulmer View Post
This outer box only allow for about 2 to 3" of insulation on the sides of the box. With that all removed I could increase my insulation to 4" on three sides and 6" on the bottom and the hull side.
Bingo! And that's the big payoff for going with "do it right" rather than a patch job.

Change that "could" to will.
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Old 18-07-2018, 09:35   #6
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Re: Re-insulating My Refrig. Box the Hard Way.

I wound up cutting out the 'double decker coffin' that was the icebox on our boat when we did the initial refit.

I had to do some serious stuff to get that to happen; the box was bolted to the countertop, but the nuts were not tees, so the countertop had to come off to get to them.

The solution, even after we determined the way to get the countertop loose from the bulkhead, was to cut it all out and start from scratch on a new box, then layers of 2 and 4 inch blue board, epoxied before installation and then, in the stairstep fashion to further mitigate any possible air migration, again to each other.

Wood exterior started with foil shiny side out for radiation, doorskin thickness battens for an air barrier, and then the foam blocks. Once the box was built, fiberglassed and gelcoated.

Went from 19CF at probably not even 3R to about (total both boxes) ~10CF at ~35R.

Double gasketed doors, with angled edges to allow for the swing, it works great.

Unless you try vacuum panels (which will eventually degrade), blue (or pink, same stuff different manufacturers) board will give you the best bang for the buck, at the cost of volume...

If you're willing to wade through hundreds of photos, interspersed with other projects, that starts here: Pictures: Flying Pig Early Refit + Projects/Early_Major_Alterations_Work/00-2004-TheBeginning/12-04
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Old 18-07-2018, 09:36   #7
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Re: Re-insulating My Refrig. Box the Hard Way.

following
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Old 18-07-2018, 10:01   #8
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Re: Re-insulating My Refrig. Box the Hard Way.

Following closely, as I need to do something similar. I already bought new compressors from Rich Boren (a.k.a. Mr Cool Blue, accent on the "Cool"), one each for the fridge and freezer boxes so I can run them independently. Skip, who posted a response above, has a sistership to my boat, so his setup is almost identical to mine. Some great info on his website.

-David
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Old 18-07-2018, 10:33   #9
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Re: Re-insulating My Refrig. Box the Hard Way.

Thanks for sharing - also watching as prep for my future project.
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Old 18-07-2018, 10:51   #10
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Re: Re-insulating My Refrig. Box the Hard Way.

Before you assume the water was condensation, use the opportunity to look for other potential sources. Water can enter anywhere there is a small crack or hole and travel until it can find a way out. Before I rebedded our cabin windows they leaked, but the water came out at the cabin light fixtures up to two feet away.
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Old 18-07-2018, 15:05   #11
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Re: Re-insulating My Refrig. Box the Hard Way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
Bingo! And that's the big payoff for going with "do it right" rather than a patch job.

Change that "could" to will.
And I did.
Thanks John
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Old 18-07-2018, 15:14   #12
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Re: Re-insulating My Refrig. Box the Hard Way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipgundlach View Post
I wound up cutting out the 'double decker coffin' that was the icebox on our boat when we did the initial refit.

I had to do some serious stuff to get that to happen; the box was bolted to the countertop, but the nuts were not tees, so the countertop had to come off to get to them.

The solution, even after we determined the way to get the countertop loose from the bulkhead, was to cut it all out and start from scratch on a new box, then layers of 2 and 4 inch blue board, epoxied before installation and then, in the stairstep fashion to further mitigate any possible air migration, again to each other.

Wood exterior started with foil shiny side out for radiation, doorskin thickness battens for an air barrier, and then the foam blocks. Once the box was built, fiberglassed and gelcoated.

Went from 19CF at probably not even 3R to about (total both boxes) ~10CF at ~35R.

Double gasketed doors, with angled edges to allow for the swing, it works great.

Unless you try vacuum panels (which will eventually degrade), blue (or pink, same stuff different manufacturers) board will give you the best bang for the buck, at the cost of volume...

If you're willing to wade through hundreds of photos, interspersed with other projects, that starts here: Pictures: Flying Pig Early Refit + Projects/Early_Major_Alterations_Work/00-2004-TheBeginning/12-04
Skip,
I looked at your pictures online and you can sure relate to my complete refit. Nice work!

I wanted to pull the countertop but changed my mind. The PO had these stainless countertops with built in sinks made in New Zealand during their circumnavigation, and I just couldn't risk damaging them. However, this method has worked well.
Thanks
Jim
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Old 18-07-2018, 15:15   #13
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Re: Re-insulating My Refrig. Box the Hard Way.

Well done so far! I imagine whatever boat we buy will need something like this done. Good luck!
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Old 18-07-2018, 15:49   #14
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Re: Re-insulating My Refrig. Box the Hard Way.

I took a slightly different approach to improving the "non existent" insulation around my fridge.

Instead of struggling to insulate outside the box I went inside the box!!

I have lined the entire interior in 10mm of closed cell foam with a 6mm silver bubble insulation normally used in camper vans and caravans. I eventually plan to cover all this with white plastic sheeting so it looks nicer but it works remarkably well.

My power use to keep the bottom of the fridge between -2C and 6C is about 10mins per hour on average (about an amp an hour). The compressor runs for about 20mins in total but it takes nearly 2hrs before it kicks back in again. OK not cold enough to freeze anything or keep food frozen but cold enough to keep chicken breasts fresh for 3 days.

Where I have been able to access the exterior of the fridge box I have lined it with further layers of the 6mm silver bubble insulation to reduce the heat creeping in from outside and might get a can of squirty foam to fill in the various small gaps and areas I can't get at.

Just an idea to throw out there.

Sometimes thinking outside the box isn't the only approach

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Old 18-07-2018, 15:52   #15
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Re: Re-insulating My Refrig. Box the Hard Way.

Great, thanks for posting. We had similar problems in our freezer. I built to measure three layers of Reflectix insulation taped with aluminum tape for the top and bottom. Our freezer holding temps went from 24-28 degrees Fahrenheit to 12-18 degrees Fahrenheit. Not bad for a 15 year old boat with an oversized freezer and an undersized compressor. If only we had a dedicated compressor for the fridge instead of a spill over; for now, we defrost the freezer every 4-6 weeks. But, the lady is happy she can keep ice cream on the boat.

Cheers, RickG
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