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Old 29-07-2016, 09:08   #1
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How Big is Your Refrigerator?

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 once offshore.

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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Old 29-07-2016, 09:10   #2
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Re: How Big is Your Refrigerator?

love the chalkboard, that's really cool/handy
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Old 29-07-2016, 09:17   #3
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Re: How Big is Your Refrigerator?

Thanks - one of the first things I did was paint chalkboard on a vertical surface in the forward area, one in the aft and the horizontal surface of the chart table for notes. It's saved my butt more than once.
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Old 29-07-2016, 21:39   #4
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Re: How Big is Your Refrigerator?

From the data we have, the average refrigerator and freezer boxes on a cruising sailboat is 7-9 cubic feet. Usually the freezer is a bit smaller than the refrigerator and most of the boxes we set-up are 1/3 to 1/4 freezer out of the total refrigeration volume.

What we see on so many of the older production boats is that the box is oversized because it was built with the mindset to fill the bottom with 1/3 of block ice. So many cruisers end up shrinking down their box size when installing refrigeration to get the daily power usage down to something manageable.

In terms of efficiency, front opening boxes are use much more power (30% from our tests) on a daily basis, but as with most things on a boat, if you already have a front opener, then it's pretty difficult to redesign your galley, so it's just something you live with in terms of power usage. At the end of the day, you will never regret redoing your current old insulation in terms of daily power savings. Ideally, you would have 4" of insulation (R-30) for a refrigerator box and 5" for a freezer box.
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Old 30-07-2016, 11:28   #5
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Re: How Big is Your Refrigerator?

Quote:
Originally Posted by redhead View Post
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 once offshore.

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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Hi Redhead,

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 is removed...]

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, etc.

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.

Cheers!

Bill
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Old 30-07-2016, 11:43   #6
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Re: How Big is Your Refrigerator?

Most mine have been less than 2 cu ft. I have had bigger. It depends on what you need. How tough to recharge the batteries etc. Only you can tell. In the pNW you will motor a lot though anyway, so maybe just keep what you have.
Maybe your refrig unit is not working properly, rather than the insulation? If you ran 8 hours and it's only 37 degrees that's a problem. You should be cooler than that even with bad insulation. Especially in the PNW!
How big are those boxes? Check your unit, get it working, then see. Reinsulate if necessary. Abandon one box and use it for storage if too much space.
If your unit is a Norcold they are famous for not working right. Usually a controller, but often a new one wont work for long either!
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Old 30-07-2016, 14:31   #7
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Re: How Big is Your Refrigerator?

I recommend that you rip out the old insulation and depending on room replace with Closed cell rigid foam 6" to 8" and make sure you put the vapour barrier on the warm side , which means the outside.Replace worn out door gaskets also. The less air infiltration the less power you'll use. Might as well get a 404A refrigerant system if you can find one because you're running a freezer thats leaking cold air into your coolers below it. It's a newer refrigerant so it'll take the newer compressors which will be much higher efficiency. The better it's insulated the lower the horsepower needed to do the job. You also want your condenser in a cool, dark, ventilated place.That's just what I'd do. I'd want an efficient as possible fridge/freezer if I was running a generator just so I wouldn't have to carry as much fuel. Just sayin'.
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Old 30-07-2016, 16:31   #8
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Re: How Big is Your Refrigerator?

Our top loading freezer is 140 litres whilst our door opening fridge is 105 litres. This is supplemented by a National Luna 95 litre twin lid unit (two compartment) that can be configured as fridge/fridge, fridge/freezer or freezer/freezer.
On a friends Leopard he has removed the original arrangement and uses an Engel instead.
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Old 30-07-2016, 16:46   #9
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Re: How Big is Your Refrigerator?

We've got the standard Belize separate 6 cu ft (175l) top load freezer and 9 cu ft (260l) front load fridge. That's plenty for us.
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Old 30-07-2016, 16:50   #10
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Re: How Big is Your Refrigerator?

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We've got the standard Belize separate 6 cu ft (175l) top load freezer and 9 cu ft (260l) front load fridge. That's plenty for us.

Im jealous, those are massive. Are they 12v or engine driven? All standard or modified?
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Old 30-07-2016, 17:18   #11
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Re: How Big is Your Refrigerator?

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Im jealous, those are massive. Are they 12v or engine driven? All standard or modified?

The freezer has both a flat plate cooled by a 12V compressor and eutectic box driven by an engine compressor. The fridge is a 12V compressor.

Standard I think. But the eutectic may be an add-on by a previous owner.
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Old 31-07-2016, 01:10   #12
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Re: How Big is Your Refrigerator?

Thank you, Stu.


Quote:
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The freezer has both a flat plate cooled by a 12V compressor and eutectic box driven by an engine compressor. The fridge is a 12V compressor.

Standard I think. But the eutectic may be an add-on by a previous owner.
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Old 31-07-2016, 01:50   #13
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Re: How Big is Your Refrigerator?

We have about 1.5 cubic feet of freezer and 3.0 cubic feet of fridge. This works for us. But, to be honest, I think fridge space is like a suitcase... you fill what you have, whatever the size.
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Old 31-07-2016, 01:59   #14
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Re: How Big is Your Refrigerator?

240v Samsung 500 litre 2 door fridge freezer with icemaker.
Hasn't everyone?

As backup it has 240v bar fridges x 2 and a bar fridge size freezer, just in case the main fridge isnt big enough.

Oh, and a walk in cold room downstairs with 300mm thick insulation.
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Old 31-07-2016, 02:47   #15
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Re: How Big is Your Refrigerator?

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240v Samsung 500 litre 2 door fridge freezer with icemaker.
Hasn't everyone?

As backup it has 240v bar fridges x 2 and a bar fridge size freezer, just in case the main fridge isnt big enough.

Oh, and a walk in cold room downstairs with 300mm thick insulation.
I think the OP was talking about "on a boat"
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