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Old 12-02-2011, 04:57   #1
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Vacuum Panels

I am looking to rebuilt my refrigiration box. I would like to use vacuum panels in order to keep same internal space with higher insulation values. I have only come accross Glacier Bay vacuum panels for sale so far. (A) Does anyone knows of another supplier in USA of vacuum panels and (B) Does anyone have any good / bad experience with Glacier Bay panels.

It is quite costly so I want to make sure I have my home work done.

Thanks, Peter A S
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Old 12-02-2011, 05:33   #2
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Let me google that for you
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Old 12-02-2011, 06:57   #3
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Gord that was a bad slam. Sure he could google manufacturers, but that wouldn't help much with the second part of his question about user experiences.
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Old 12-02-2011, 07:19   #4
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Peter: I apologize for not answering the second part of your question. I hope you find the information, to which I linked, useful.

Don:
I look forward to your useful contribution.
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Old 12-02-2011, 07:27   #5
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Does anyone have any good / bad experience with Glacier Bay panels.
Bad - lost vacuum. However, our experience was not a decade ago and they have change their products - don't know if they are improved on this aspect though. Pretty much everyone in the industry agrees that you have to assume that at some point the vacuum panels will loose their vacuum.

I would recommend you save your money and just do an excellent job with foam insulation. When my bottom panel lost vacuum, GB's recommendation as that I add three inches of foam over the bottom.
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Old 12-02-2011, 07:52   #6
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In building our super insulated fridge we used "Vacupanel" brand, and nestled them carefully against either foam or caulk on all sides. They must not be up against any hard spots. We also surrounded the additional 1" of foam on each side with glassed ply, that was 100% sealed, and put a foil radiant barrier on the outside. Our air cooled Sea Frost fridge has worked perfectly for 11 years now, and the ah per day varies from 20 in cooler lattitudes to perhaps 35 ah up the Rio or in Trinidad in the summer. We have noticed absolutely NO deterioration in performance over that time!

Someone posted a link that showed their insulation value going down within months. Well, the test were done by Glacier Bay, their #1 competitor! I personally don't believe a word of it. Our results just don't bear that out. If handled and installed as I suggested, I believe that they will perform as advertised for decades...

Mark
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Old 14-02-2011, 13:41   #7
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RE to Mark and Evans

Mark and Evans, Thanks for your RE. That is just the input I was looking for.

Mark, I think the "Vacupanels" do not exist anymore, at least I am unaable to find antying on them.

Evans, that was the honset feedbak I was looking for. I Have been looking at your website occasioanlly for over a year I guess and it appears you have your systems pretty much set up the way I do, which is belt and braces and simple. Hence my reluctance so far on these vacuum panels. I guess your comment tipped the scale towards conventional insulation.

Thanks again, Peter A S
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Old 08-03-2011, 10:55   #8
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Re: Vacuum Panels

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mundinho View Post
I am looking to rebuilt my refrigiration box. I would like to use vacuum panels in order to keep same internal space with higher insulation values. I have only come accross Glacier Bay vacuum panels for sale so far. (A) Does anyone knows of another supplier in USA of vacuum panels and (B) Does anyone have any good / bad experience with Glacier Bay panels.

It is quite costly so I want to make sure I have my home work done.

Thanks, Peter A S
Hi Peter,
I have also been through the Glacier Bay proposal. So my conclusion this could be a super isolation, but you can not modify something later either for repair, improvement or whatever....
I found an interesting material named "SpaceLoft" . This is a kind a foam traping bubles of silicate aerogel. It is a bit of pain to build up your panel with the appropriate thckness as the standard thickness is 1cm.
At the end my 220L fridge , isolated with 3 to 6 cm panels, run 1/10 of the time during september in west mediteranean sea. This is aprox 2.5x better compared to a similar fridge I did using 10cm extruded polyuretane foam.

hope this help
regards
Gael
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Old 08-03-2011, 11:15   #9
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Re: Vacuum Panels

I only went with vacuum panels due to space constraints on our boat. IF one starts from scratch with new, (= bone dry) foam, has a small, (like 2-3 cu ft box), and insulates it 6" thick with foam, THAT is the safest bet. Least expensive too.

Be aware that foam looses insulation value if it is exposed to the air and absorbs water vapor over the years. For this reason I'd seal it 100% inside and out, (glass or glassed ply panels), and it doesn't hurt to add the foil outer shield as well. The lid might still call for a vacuum panel, if you want it thin, but this is the least important, so could be 4" thick. Of coarse the gasket seal IS very important.

Urathane foam or isocyanate foam is best... blue foam or styrafoam is not so good.

Lotsa luck, Mark
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Old 08-03-2011, 13:05   #10
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Re: Vacuum Panels

I'm considering adding a 2.5 cuft freezer to my boat. My preferred location has limited space. Convential wisdom calls for an R-30 insulated box in the tropics. That means 12" side-side insullation (R-5/ one-inch poly board). I have been searching for an alternative. The optimum solution is the Glacier Bay one inch vacuum panels(R-40). However, they are expensive-$345/side. The next best solution looks tp be the Spaceloft used by Gael, which has an R-10.4 value/inch. Aspen Aerogel advertises this product in 5cm(.2in.) and 10cm(.4in.) sheets. I am considering this latter alternative. However, Gael's post is the first I have seen on this subject. I'm wondering if anyone else knows anything about "Spaceloft" or related products? Cptn Happy
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Old 08-03-2011, 13:19   #11
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Re: Vacuum Panels

I wasn't aware of Aspen Aerogel. Looks like they took in substantial investment money last fall from some very smart people. Hard to say if it works today or they're betting on the future - but you wouldn't find these names involved if it was a sham.

Carl

BASF Invests in Aspen Aerogels

SustainableBusiness.com News
The venture capital arm of German chemical company BASF (BAS.DE) led a $21.5 million round of investment in Aspen Aerogels Inc., Northborough, Massachusetts.


Aspen supplies reinforced, nanoporous aerogel insulation products that it says are up to five times more effective than other insulation materials. The company’s solutions enable customers to conserve energy in a variety of industries including building and construction, chemicals, transportation and oil and gas.



The current round of financing also included RockPort Capital, Tenaya Capital, Reservoir Capital Group, Arcapita Ventures and Argonaut Private Equity, among others.


Aerogels are silica foams with nanoporous cavities that comprise 97% of their volume; thus earning them the name “solid air.” Aerogels have been known as extremely fragile and brittle materials. Aspen has succeeded in producing aerogels in the form of thin, flexible mats. These blankets are more robust than the existing monoliths and spheres, and just as easy to process as any other flexible insulation material, the company says.


“High-performance insulation materials are the key technology for energy-efficient retrofitting of buildings,” said Bruce Christensen, Vice President Global Technology and Innovation Management at BASF Construction Chemicals. “These new materials are space-saving and give home owners more options in designing their house to suit their own tastes.”
BASF said Aspen Aerogels products are already in use at the company's Antwerp site and others, and they "see an additional very large market potential and further opportunities for profitable growth in the construction industry.”

In June 2008, Aspen Aerogels raised $37 million in funding
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Old 08-03-2011, 13:31   #12
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Re: Vacuum Panels

VIP has a life expectancy of 10yrs. The vacuum is being lost over time. Check it out.

regards Bill
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Old 08-03-2011, 13:42   #13
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Re: Vacuum Panels

Certainly research all options, but...

The VacuPanel brand that we used are less than half of the price of Glacier Bay's panels. They are more fragile during installation, but that is no big deal.

This is who sells them.
Technautics Inc. Marine Holding-plate, Refrigeration, Boating

You may have seen that "Glacier Bay" has claimed that the VacuPanel's performance goes down right away. Well they are competitors and did the testing themselves. If the test were done elsewhere, they might have validity.

Also, we're talking about 11 years ago... It seems that the "truth" would be out by now, if this were the case. Ours work as well as day one, 11 years ago, and the fridge still uses about 30 - 40 a/h per day.

If you also put an inch of foam on each side of the panels, like we did, (for 3" thick walls), then IF the VacuPanels lost some efficiency, you would still have the equivalent of over 4" of foam. On a 2.5 cu ft box, that's a lot!

It may seem just a bit risky with the negative press out there, but you'd save almost $1,000, and the penalty for a "wrong choice" is relatively small.

Just a thought.

Mark
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Old 08-03-2011, 13:51   #14
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Re: Vacuum Panels

OOPS! I went to the Technautics site, and clicked on the VacuPanels. Surenuff, they are no longer available through them. Maybe elsewhere?

In our case, we sealed the box around the foam and panels SO well that IF my panels do leak over time, it will pull a vacuum in the walls of the box around the panels. Being more space, it would be less vacuum, but still better insulation than just foam.

Who knows, maybe we've been lucky? (fingers crossed)...

M.
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Old 15-03-2011, 06:32   #15
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Re: RE to Mark and Evans

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mundinho View Post
Mark and Evans, Thanks for your RE. That is just the input I was looking for.

Mark, I think the "Vacupanels" do not exist anymore, at least I am unaable to find antying on them.

Evans, that was the honset feedbak I was looking for. I Have been looking at your website occasioanlly for over a year I guess and it appears you have your systems pretty much set up the way I do, which is belt and braces and simple. Hence my reluctance so far on these vacuum panels. I guess your comment tipped the scale towards conventional insulation.

Thanks again, Peter A S
This will be of interest to past users of "VacuPanel" insulation...

My first impression after reading Glacier Bay's bad reviews of the vacuum panel brand I had used, "VacuPanel", I took with a grain of salt. VacuPanel was sold by Technautics, and their no.1 competitor, Glacier Bay, was responsible for the bad reviews.

Then I looked it up on the Technautics site, and found that they were "no longer available". Got me worried. Then I searched for another distributor... no luck! Had they gone belly up? Was the bad press true?

I couldn't reconcile the possibility that my panels might have lost their vacuum, (according to Glacier Bay), with the measurable fact that our refrigerator's performance over the last 11 years, had not gone down.

Yesterday I had an interesting conversation with Randy Simpkins, the president of Technautics. I was assured that: "If installed carefully without puncture, they do not, and never did, loose their vacuum over time". This was just a negative marketing ploy by their competitor, Glacier Bay.

It is true that VacuPanels are no longer available... to people ordering less than 5,000! VacuPanel simply doesn't market to non commercial, or small quantity businesses anymore. The product has / had a great track record, and the company is doing great, making HUGE panels for lining refrigerator trucks and the like.

This information doesn't do any good for fellow cruisers that are trying to find a good source of vacuum panels, but if you are a "past customer" who has already built them in, (like me), then rest assured... If you put them in right, there is no reason to believe that they have lost their vacuum!

Mark
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