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Old 13-10-2014, 08:23   #16
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Re: Life without fridge

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Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
[...] don't understand why people would ask others whether THEY need it. Isn't it a question you answer for yourself?
Isn't asking for and sharing experience the whole point of a forum?

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Old 13-10-2014, 09:00   #17
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Re: Life without fridge

Yup, don't need it, but like many wants, it is nice to have. Our previous boat came with a front-loader fridge. This seems like a bad idea to begin with (dumps all the cold air out every time you open it), so I ripped it out and converted the space to functional storage. Cruised the Great Lakes (North Channel & Lake Superior) for years and never missed it. Of course, the waters are cold up here, so we could keep things chilled by lining them on the hull.

Our new (old) boat came with refrigeration, and I'm conflicted on what to do. It works OK, but draws heavily. I like my cold beer, but right now we can't keep up with the power demand, so we manually manage things by running it periodically. I will likely put more solar on, (I won't run the diesel just to run the damn fridge!), but if it dies I'd likely not replace it.

Other than cold beer, you really don't need a fridge. Many of the food items we routinely put in there don't need to be refrigerated, especially if they've never been artificially cooled. The main need is to preserve fresh meats, but other than dealing with the large fish you've just caught, it's easy to live without. For us, our diet tends to shift closer to vegetarianism the longer we're out. Just got back from 80 days on the water. After the first few weeks we were mostly eating veg and dried/preserved meats anyway.

... but did I mention the cold beer . So, like the OP, I'm conflicted.
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Old 13-10-2014, 09:00   #18
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Re: Life without fridge

I couldn't imagine sailing ANYWHERE without ice cold beer. I need the fridge!
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Old 13-10-2014, 09:15   #19
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Re: Life without fridge

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Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
It has always seemed to me that most people without refrigeration on the boat look at it as some kind of "purity" thing when they can stick out their chest and say "I don't need any refrigeration".

In the end I don't care whether some other boat does or doesn't have refrigeration and don't understand why people would ask others whether THEY need it. Isn't it a question you answer for yourself?
That's a pretty simplistic view of people's motives. I think for a lot of people it has more to do with cost and complexity. I'm sure there are those who might have a "pride factor" at play, but for many more I suspect it's about the cost of the system, the electrical demands, the fuel costs, the space the system occupies, and maintenance concerns. The desire to go simple is more a matter of need than a matter of pride for a lot of people, if they want to go at all. With an unlimited cash supply most of us would probably indulge in every creature comfort, but for a lot of people there are trade-offs that lead to decisions about what is necessary and what is not.

And the OP was asking the question to try and get an idea of how easily others manage without it in climates other than his (cold). Valid question for someone to ask if they are considering an environment they are not familiar with.

Why the need to second guess people's character or motivations for asking a simple question? Why not just let the question and answers stand on their own merits? Isn't that the purpose of the forum?

It seemed like a valid question to me and I appreciate seeing the answers as we are considering the same right now. Our boat came with a refrigerator unit but it isn't working and it apparently was inadequate anyway as the previous owner had the icebox filled over 3/4 full of sheets of styrofoam, apparently to reduce the volume and increase the insulation to the point where the refrigeration was effective. So we are considering whether we want to go to the expense of replacing it (and the related hassle of insulating the box) or use that money instead on a better furler or a good windlass. A few cold drinks could go in a well insulated cooler, like a Yeti.

In a perfect world with unlimited resources would we prefer refrigeration.... you betcha. But when there are other priorities in contention for those resources it becomes a different matter, and pride has nothing to do with it.

It's all about choices and sometimes another's perspective and experience can help us make a better choice.
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Old 13-10-2014, 10:32   #20
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Re: Life without fridge

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Originally Posted by oldragbaggers View Post

And the OP was asking the question to try and get an idea of how easily others manage without it in climates other than his (cold). Valid question for someone to ask if they are considering an environment they are not familiar with.

Why the need to second guess people's character or motivations for asking a simple question? Why not just let the question and answers stand on their own merits? Isn't that the purpose of the forum?
The way I read the OP is that they have it, and already know they can do without it. So why ask whether or not it can be done? Of course it can be done.

And my point still stands, why ask a bunch of unknown people whether YOU need something, especially refrigeration as everyone should be able to envision the results.

BTW - there are lots of threads already
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Old 13-10-2014, 11:02   #21
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Re: Life without fridge

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Originally Posted by oldragbaggers View Post
................................

Why the need to second guess people's character or motivations for asking a simple question? Why not just let the question and answers stand on their own merits? Isn't that the purpose of the forum?

It seemed like a valid question to me and I appreciate seeing the answers as we are considering the same right now. Our boat came with a refrigerator unit but it isn't working and it apparently was inadequate anyway as the previous owner had the icebox filled over 3/4 full of sheets of styrofoam, apparently to reduce the volume and increase the insulation to the point where the refrigeration was effective.
.................................................. ...
Sure, it's honorable to discuss things that have been talked about before and accept questions without suspecting character or motive.

The volume vs. insulation topic is interesting to me. Previously I had a poorly insulated 11 cu.ft. ice box. It was huge and I could pack a lot of ice in there and let my food and drinks sit on a rack above the ice or with some in the ice. Of course much of of my volume was occupied by the ice itself. Many years ago I reduced this space to a 4 cu.ft. refrigeration area with a dividing wall vented to a 2.5 cu.ft. freezer next to a cold plate. With excellent insulation and an air cooled Danfloss compressor my system requires an average near a fulltime 1.2 amps and sometimes less in cooler latitudes.

Along with the changing of my anchor light to LED and the use of my solar panel and wind generator I'm pretty power satisfied. I still freely use my diesel generator & propulsion engine, but not often as a need to support my refrig/freezer.
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Old 13-10-2014, 11:19   #22
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Re: Life without fridge

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Our boat came with a refrigerator unit but it isn't working and it apparently was inadequate anyway as the previous owner had the icebox filled over 3/4 full of sheets of styrofoam, apparently to reduce the volume and increase the insulation to the point where the refrigeration was effective.
That does mean it wasn't/doesn't work just because there is extra insulation in it. I did that to my last boat just because I didn't need the space so there wasn't anything lost by adding the sheet styrofoam.
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Old 13-10-2014, 11:33   #23
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Re: Life without fridge

We REQUIRE cold milk, cold butter, cold beer, however, one can use just an icebox with ice instead of a more complicated electrical refrigeration system,
y'know like they used to do, and can I get cold milk delivered to my boat?
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Old 13-10-2014, 11:49   #24
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Re: Life without fridge

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We REQUIRE cold milk, cold butter, cold beer, however, one can use just an icebox with ice instead of a more complicated electrical refrigeration system,
y'know like they used to do, and can I get cold milk delivered to my boat?
Problem with cruising is where do you find ice? And if you can find it, quite often it's slush when you get back to the boat.
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Old 13-10-2014, 11:57   #25
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Re: Life without fridge

Big blocks of ice, don't melt easily or quickly, but yeah certainly not available everywhere and are heavy too.

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Problem with cruising is where do you find ice? And if you can find it, quite often it's slush when you get back to the boat.
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Old 13-10-2014, 12:02   #26
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Re: Life without fridge

I also reduced the size of my box from 6 to 3.5cf by filling the bottom with sheets of insulation board. Just didn't need all that space. It did cut down on amp draw and if I ever think I need the space back I can get it in a few minutes.

As to the original post, I agree with the guys who say leave it there, just use it for storage space. Try doing without for a year and then make a decision.
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Old 13-10-2014, 13:38   #27
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Re: Life without fridge

That "filling the bottom with sheets of insulation board" can be done with different degrees of success. I've found it best to fiberglass in staggered abutted panels of the Owens-Corning pink insulation board. Some use vacuum panels, but I wasn't willing to spend the money for those. I started with a foil and vapor barrier before the insulation board and ended with a plywood layer that was tightly fitted and "glassed" over with white epoxy.

My least effective point is still the lid seal. I had hoped to buy a factory made top and lid, but I was not pleased with the available costs. My lids are gravity drop panels with thick centers or glassed over foam and weather stripping on the thinner lid edges. I've tried several types of seals on the edges and still think there must be something better.
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Old 13-10-2014, 15:36   #28
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Re: Life without fridge

My lid is exactly like yours, Hudson. Still looking for that ultimate seal. At night we put towels over the lid. Maybe it helps.

Most boxes have a water drain at the bottom. Be sure you leave a path to this drain through your layers of insulation board.
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Old 13-10-2014, 16:31   #29
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Re: Life without fridge

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My lid is exactly like yours, Hudson. Still looking for that ultimate seal. At night we put towels over the lid. Maybe it helps.

Most boxes have a water drain at the bottom. Be sure you leave a path to this drain through your layers of insulation board.
I like this added towel plan and I have sometimes covered my lids too; however, I'm not a fan of the drain tube. I don't want my cold air falling out of the box. I know that many put an "S" trap in the drain that holds some water and blocks the loss of cold air, but I feel this still represents a point of insulation loss. I do not have any liquids or ice collecting in the bottom of my fully sealed box.
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Old 13-10-2014, 16:45   #30
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Re: Life without fridge

put a cork in it

use some standard 1/2" weather strips on the box where the seal hit
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