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Old 01-03-2024, 10:56   #1
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Freezer stacked above the fridge?

Last boat had the fridge/ freezer side by side with only a piece of 1" styrene foam between them, cooling only in the freezer. I suspect that there was little insulation around the outside and poor gaskets in the top lids. It worked reasonable well but the coil iced up quickly. Isotherm 2016 system.



New boat I am starting from scratch and thinking to have a top opening freezer ABOVE the front opening fridge and using a good sink aluminum heatsink.
with the fins all down in the fridge. My idea is this would limit the moisture getting into the freezer. Again, just the cooling coil in the freezer. And very good seals. Anyone seen this done? Any problems I am not considering?

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Old 01-03-2024, 11:09   #2
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Re: Freezer stacked above the fridge?

Instead of a heatsink with fins, you are likely going to need several inches of insulation between the freezer and fridge. The more well insulated the whole unit it, the more insulation you would need between the 2 areas. In a side by side configuration, I need 3 inches of insulation between to keep my refrigerator from freezing.

Consider the theoretical 100% perfectly insulated box. So long at the 2 areas are not perfectly insulated from each other, they will eventually become the same temperature. The more poorly insulated the refrigerator half is, the more heat gets in, and the more cooling you need via less insulation between the 2 spaces.

Does that make sense?
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Old 01-03-2024, 18:52   #3
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Re: Freezer stacked above the fridge?

I want to use only 1 refrigeration unit for BOTH the fridge and freezer. With 3 inches of insulation, I wouldn't expect to get any cooling to the fridge.
I had 1 inch between them on the previous boat and while the lower part of the fridge would sometimes freeze, the rest of it stayed pretty good.
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Old 01-03-2024, 19:14   #4
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Re: Freezer stacked above the fridge?

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I want to use only 1 refrigeration unit for BOTH the fridge and freezer. With 3 inches of insulation, I wouldn't expect to get any cooling to the fridge.
I had 1 inch between them on the previous boat and while the lower part of the fridge would sometimes freeze, the rest of it stayed pretty good.
What I am saying is that you will probably be surprised that even with one unit, you will probably need several inches of insulation. Most certainly you won't need a conducting unit like the heat sink. I have one evaporator plate, in the freezer, and I need 3 inches between the freezer and the refrigerator next to it. Even with 3 inches, my freezer isn't as cold as I would like it (currently 15F) because the fridge is 33F and if I cool the freezer any more the fridge will freeze.

I also have the Isotherm 2016, so more similar to you than not.
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Old 01-03-2024, 19:20   #5
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Re: Freezer stacked above the fridge?

Considering the insulation requirements and the constraints of counter height, will you have to get on your knees every time you wish to access the fridge?
That will get old real fast, not to mention the heat ingress to the box every time to go thru those contortions.
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Old 01-03-2024, 19:27   #6
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Re: Freezer stacked above the fridge?

Thanks Whollybee, that is very useful information. How much insulation do you have around the outside?


Bowdrie - this is going into a Gemini cat. The original fridge was a Dometic 12v/110v/propane fridge in its own housing up on the bridge deck. With my proposed stacked arrangement. the lower fridge door would be at just the right height while standing on the galley floor.
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Old 01-03-2024, 20:39   #7
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Re: Freezer stacked above the fridge?

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Thanks Whollybee, that is very useful information. How much insulation do you have around the outside?


Bowdrie - this is going into a Gemini cat. The original fridge was a Dometic 12v/110v/propane fridge in its own housing up on the bridge deck. With my proposed stacked arrangement. the lower fridge door would be at just the right height while standing on the galley floor.
Average insulation around the outside is around 6". It varies because the curve of the hull and I made the inside of the box squared off. In places it is 8" or 10", and nowhere is it les than 4". The lid is only 2", and it is single gasket, not double. I intend to complete the build with a new lid and seal at some point but just needed it done at the time.

The freezer is about 1cf, with the evaporator bent into a roughly 12" x 12" square to fill that space. The fridge is about 2.5cf. The Isotherm 2016 could cool a larger space, but I wanted extra capacity to freeze fresh caught fish quickly.
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Old 01-03-2024, 20:55   #8
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Re: Freezer stacked above the fridge?

Ok, you guys using those pressed aluminum evaporators, be careful with them.
The only thing keeping a salty fish laid against them from causing corrosion is that thin layer of powder coating.
The place where the tubes enter/leave the evaporator are especially vulnerable, as well as if mounting screws scratch the coating.
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Old 01-03-2024, 21:07   #9
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Re: Freezer stacked above the fridge?

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Ok, you guys using those pressed aluminum evaporators, be careful with them.
The only thing keeping a salty fish laid against them from causing corrosion is that thin layer of powder coating.
The place where the tubes enter/leave the evaporator are especially vulnerable, as well as if mounting screws scratch the coating.
Good advice. The fish will be sliced and in heavy bags before going into the freezer. So sharp salty bits shouldn't be a problem.
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Old 01-03-2024, 21:13   #10
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Re: Freezer stacked above the fridge?

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Good advice. The fish will be sliced and in heavy bags before going into the freezer. So sharp salty bits shouldn't be a problem.
Haha, yes, I knew that those on this forum had more brains than many.
In the past I have replaced a couple/three evaporators that were ruined by anglers placing fish directly in the freezer bin.
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Old 02-03-2024, 11:51   #11
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Re: Freezer stacked above the fridge?

Suggest you visit Frigoboat website. I bought the parts and did an easy self install.

https://coastalclimatecontrol.com/refrigeration

I use one “plate/coil” in freezer and a fan blowing into the fridge. The freezer keeps the fridge just fine using the supplied control panel
I feel you’re over thinking it.all
This works just fine in the Caribbean
I do have a lot of outer insulation plus a piece of neoprene on top I of the food INside the freezer/fridge and of course a well insulated lid
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