Originally Posted by redhead
The 35 year old boat came with this setup. Freezer above with plate, cold air dropping to two coolers below. Runs off 110. Massively built but insulation is old technology (4" of some brown "stuff") and inefficient in the extreme. Example, after running for 8 hours it's 37 in the "freezer". I'm lucky enough to have the room for a small chest freezer aft.
Question- would you recommend re insulating the present configuration or just ripping it and buying
new? We'll be working off a generator
As always, thanks.
**on edit - I guess I'm also asking about amount of storage
needed once you're on a journey. We're in the PNW and towns are fewer and farther between than back East where I'm used to.
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I have never regretted updating the insulation in my last 4 boats over the years. The effort has always shown improvements in energy consumption
. [We have hour meters on all of our refrigeration units... no guessing...]
Regarding refrigeration space: Our boat came with 2 refrigerators and one freezer. [For perspective, this reference is for 2 adults- one (your's truly) with a hearty appetite- full time with the average store provisioning
every 2-6 weeks- not including anything we harvest...]
The main fridge is the top loader built into the boat originally, and is about 9 cubic feet in size. [No freezer...] It is cooled by a modern 12VDC air or water
cooled [user selectable] refrigeration system and is pretty efficient. This easily handles our refrigeration requirements for 2 adults for several weeks at a time. [We keep a few heads of cabbage against the hull
, and grow sprouts for crunchy green stuff after the fresh stuff runs out or converts to humus... ]
Being a top loader, it invokes angst in anyone desiring something stowed below the top layer- which is always where what you desire is located... [We use stacking baskets, but still envy your side loaders...]
The 2nd is an old [1980s] Norcold front loader [AC/DC; 4 cubic feet?] under counter fridge. It has the token small freezer compartment on top which usually keeps our fish
bait preserved well enough to reduce the number of sideward glances at the galley
slave for the day...
It is inefficient energy-wise by today's standards and is therefore slated for replacement someday [...sometime when the main mast
We typically only use it when we have guests aboard, and in warmer weather
sometimes to pre-cool drinks, etc. when we have extra electricity [e.g., when motoring or when the generator is running...] Even when using the extra capacity with guests, we typically shut it down overnight due to excessive power consumption
The 3rd is a Engel chest type AC/DC chest cooler secured under a lower settee bench and used exclusively as our freezer. [84 quarts] We use this full time to store proteins for our consumption [and the occasional bit of ice cream or blue berries...] Very efficient energy wise, and it quickly freezes our catch of the day maintaining the fresh quality of the protein...
We vacuum bag everything stored in it [i.e, no styrofoam trays from the market] and stack it vertically so it is quick and easy to pull what you need. [Slip items to be frozen between two frozen items and it quick freezes quite nicely...] We also keep a couple 'blue ice' in there for picnics, adding to main fridge to offset heat when bulk loading during provisioning
Perhaps worth mentioning is another refrigerator inherent with boating
in cooler waters: stowing items against the hull
. We routinely keep a variety of beers vacuum wrapped hard aged [4 yr+] cheeses, a few heads of cabbage, potatoes, onions (separate from potatoes...] this way with great success.
Having explained our set-up, and your mention of room for a separate freezer unit, perhaps you could experiment
and compare 'efficiency' by not using the freezer in your built-in unit? Instead use the whole for refrigeration only and compare energy consumption/run time. [If possible with your system set-up... ] That might help you decide if re-insulating is worthwhile...
In hopes this is helpful.