Join Date: Jul 2002
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
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Updating Icebox to Refrigeration
Chuck, here are a couple of thoughts...
1. You''ll be happier with any reefer choice if you first address any insulation issues. Walter Industries e.g. makes exterior insulating sheets for home construction that is foil backed on both sides, is made of closed cell isocyanurate foam (very low moisture absorption), is very easy to work with (utility knife and ruler) and very cheap. FL and Caribbean sailing will quickly put any reefer''s inefficiencies to the test.
2. Don''t assume that water cooling requires a thru-hull. On our last two boats, I plumbed a fresh water tank into the cooling circuit of 2 different types of 12V reefers. It''s worked great (especially in the FL-Carib environments), you have no salt water issues, and the plumbing is simple. On WHOOSH, I ''T''d into the supply hose running from a nearby tank, put the in-line filter in place and then connected that line to the ''in'' side of the cooling circuit. The ''out'' side is routed back to the vent line of the same tank and ''T''d back into the tank. You will find the tank''s water temp increases little in the tank, even when the fridge is running for long periods and even if the tank holds little water. An engineer in Trinidad e.g. was very doubtful about this approach, used a 5 gal. bucket as the ''water source'' and ran his freezer''s Isotherm system this way for a day - temp increase was 10 degrees, and that was in a Trinidad summer and without the bucket being cooled by the water in which the boat''s hull sits 24/7.
3. You may well understand this already, but adding refrigeration to a boat is only putting one piece of a needed system upgrade in place. It will instantly raise two additional issues: how ample is the battery capacity and - very different - how do you put amps back in the batteries. The larger you increase the battery bank, the more recharging in some fashion becomes an issue. Sooner or later, most cruisers end up adding electrical upgrades to their boats in order to be satisfied with their reefers.
Good luck. And FWIW I''d recommend you consider a simple Isotherm unit. Good gear, great distributor (Great Water), competitive pricing (e.g. at Defender), and well known in your cruising grounds.