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Old 12-07-2020, 10:58   #1
AST
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Should I keep fridge on while away

Hi

I am usually on my boat every other weekend. And I never leave anything in the fridge. Should I keep the fridge powered while I am away? If not should I keep the fridge door open? The boat is onshore power when I am away but I just don't see why I should keep the fridge running while I am away.

Any thoughts on that?
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Old 12-07-2020, 11:22   #2
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Re: Should I keep fridge on while away

On, very low power draw compared to shore power and the box will be cold and ready to load when you show up. Personally I would, and did even though i was on solar, leave some food in unit.
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Old 12-07-2020, 11:35   #3
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Re: Should I keep fridge on while away

I would not.
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Old 12-07-2020, 11:43   #4
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Re: Should I keep fridge on while away

If your electrical system is robust enough to keep the food cold for two or three weeks, even with occasional cloudy weather or loss of shore power, then I wouldn't hesitate to leave staples (condiments, beer, etc.) in the fridge while you are gone. Just plan on the possibility of someone, somehow, someway, shutting off shore power while you are gone. With adequate solar and battery capacity, we leave ours running for a month without a second thought.


If you do shut it off then I would prop the lid open to keep it ventilated.

Cheers!

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Old 12-07-2020, 11:45   #5
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Re: Should I keep fridge on while away

I’m with sailorboy, BUT... absolutely never keep a refrigerator door closed when it’s off. The mold situation greeting you upon return will be unbelievable.
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Old 13-07-2020, 08:29   #6
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Re: Should I keep fridge on while away

You need to consider the likelihood of shore power loss with the refrigerator operating..........the power draw will drain your house battery, spoil food in the refrig and stink up the cabin. To mitigate this event I remove all the food, spray and wipe down the inside o0f the refrigerator and freezer with a bleach cleaner and leave the doors open whenever we leave the boat for an extended period of time, i.e., after a long weekend or week of sailing.
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Old 13-07-2020, 09:00   #7
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Re: Should I keep fridge on while away

I keep my fridge on no matter what. But it is important to keep it as full as possible. I keep it full of soda and bottled water and little else if I am away from the boat. It is always nice to have a cold drink when I am washing down the boat after being away for a while.
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Old 13-07-2020, 09:05   #8
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Re: Should I keep fridge on while away

I normally turn it off and leave it open.
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Old 13-07-2020, 09:50   #9
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Re: Should I keep fridge on while away

We keep ours on as we leave food and don't have to worry about it coming "down" to temperature before we head away from the dock. Found it was a pain coming down to a warm fridge and transferring food into it and waiting the hours for it to get as cold as if being left on.
Also have a small container with ice in it and a quarter on top to make sure it has not gone off during the time we have been away.
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Old 13-07-2020, 10:18   #10
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Re: Should I keep fridge on while away

Depends on the fridge! Some boat cold boxes are a sealed unit with a flat plate condenser so absolutely nowhere for mold to collect although there may still be an issue with the insulation, depends on how well it is sealed. Domestic fridges or anything that looks like one should always be left on. Leaving a fridge off for more than a couple of days can right it off as mold starts to grew in the mechanisms, lining and seals and can be almost impossible to remove.I used to work as a maintenance engineer in a housing complex and have seen quite few die because departing tenants left them off with the door open, saved a few by power washing but even if that works it takes 24hr to dry everything out again before you can turn it back on! If you do have to turn a fridge off it must be scrupulously cleaned and DRIED inside and out first.
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Old 13-07-2020, 14:11   #11
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Re: Should I keep fridge on while away

I used to leave mine on so there would always be cold beer available but...then I realized that I was cycling my battery bank unnecessarily as I donít leave the boat on shore power while Iím away. The 760w PV panels and the 840 ah agm bank have no problem keeping up with the fridge. When weíre cruising, the batteries are usually 100% by 10:00 am.
Am I cycling my batteries unnecessarily when I leave the fries and/or freezer powered on?
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Old 13-07-2020, 15:17   #12
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Re: Should I keep fridge on while away

On balance, I'd recommend not keeping the fridge on.

Shore power failure is more or less inevitable. There are too many reasons why it will ALWAYS trip off eventually.

If the fridge is powered off, for definite keep the door open. This will prevent smells or condensation/water collecting inside.

On the other hand, if it's only for a few days or a couple of weeks and you have food or beers to keep cool in readiness for a trip, then you are probably going to be OK. And in the rare circumstance that the power does fail then it's not the end of the world.

The risk is not just your fridge contents though. If the shore power fails and the fridge is busy running your batteries down it's likely that in a week or two that the boat batteries will be dead, or worse need replacing. That will completely ruin a planned trip and cost more than a crate of beers!
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Old 13-07-2020, 15:44   #13
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Re: Should I keep fridge on while away

I keep mine on... and always try to keep it as full as possible. That way, it has to work less to keep the desired temperature and in event of failure, the cold solids will hold the temperature for significantly longer than cold air.
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Old 13-07-2020, 15:50   #14
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Re: Should I keep fridge on while away

This is in fact the most commonly asked question I get asked in my daily marine refrigeration adventures.
While the answer will vary from boat to boat and system to system my reply is simply/usually that your system will never deal with the amount of heat it see's when you first turn it on.
Imagine a new fancy refer for your house, you just bought it, and it just arrived, it's been hot out and the back of the truck the guys delivered it in was well over 100f, you take it inside, plug it in and wammo...it is working as hard as it ever will.
Period.
The whole thing is at whatever ambient temp was when they handed it to you, both inside and out.

You will never turn it off, once it gets to temp and the design hysteresis is under way, that's it...it never works hard again, even if you put a huge pot of hot food in it.

Now put your marine system through that over and over, maybe a dozen times a year.
Most marine systems are air cooled and they are also place in places with poor airflow.
Why do you all think your house fridge works for decades.

As far as leaving the door open, that's always good when shutting down for extended periods, like when you are hauling out or some other situation.
Anyhow, my opinion here nothing more.
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Old 13-07-2020, 16:08   #15
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Re: Should I keep fridge on while away

Shut ours off once a year - just before the water gets hard ... we had one episode where the shore power went down , and batteries were dead, but didn't have the solar then.
really only take out the stuff that wouldn't last anyway ( dairy, etc) and there is always some kind of protein in the freezer. So that one time, we had to throw out some stuff, but really wasn't that bad- some hotdogs,chicken,etc.

That cold beer when you get to the boat is WAY better than waiting for it to be drinkable!
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