Why doesn't anyone use propane refrigeration on a boat? - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 29 Old 03-22-2012
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Re: Why doesn't anyone use propane refrigeration on a boat?

ABYC doesn't allow for it and that is what surveyors go by. Insurance companies listen to surveyors.

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post #12 of 29 Old 03-22-2012
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Re: Why doesn't anyone use propane refrigeration on a boat?

Mitiempo, I can see how that might be a problem for north american boats then, but from a safety point of view, I'm not sure a propane fridge is a problem with the correct installation, or at least any more dangerous than a propane stove, water heater or heater.

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post #13 of 29 Old 03-22-2012
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Re: Why doesn't anyone use propane refrigeration on a boat?

In North America propane water heaters don't meet approval either. With a stove or open flame heater it is assumed that you are there. With a fridge you often won't be.

For example for a water heater to be allowed it has to have a closed combustion chamber and no pilot light. No water heaters that I know of meet these requirements with the exception of one where they say a closed combustion chamber is available.

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post #14 of 29 Old 03-23-2012
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Re: Why doesn't anyone use propane refrigeration on a boat?

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Originally Posted by BreakAwayFL View Post
boom
Or is that KABOOM!?

Also, since it is an evaporative process, efficiency will be affected by the relative humidity. Warm climates at sea level would find high temperatures near 100% humidity where the unit would be installed necessitating the use of lots of fuel and generating more heat inside the hull. Sure it can be done, but there are many reasons other technologies have been adopted.

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post #15 of 29 Old 03-23-2012
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Re: Why doesn't anyone use propane refrigeration on a boat?

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ABYC doesn't allow for it and that is what surveyors go by. Insurance companies listen to surveyors.
Then all those nice Gemini's are going around uninsured?
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post #16 of 29 Old 03-23-2012
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Re: Why doesn't anyone use propane refrigeration on a boat?

They are more the exception than the rule. In any boat I am aware of with a propane fridge or water heater the survey invariably asks for its removal as a recommendation that the insurance company sees. And I work on boats for a living so I see many.

As far as a water heater, it might be possible to meet ABYC with a closed combustion chamber vented outside only as long as it does not have a pilot light. I have never seen an installation like that though. I don't think a fridge could be installed that way though.

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post #17 of 29 Old 03-23-2012
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Re: Why doesn't anyone use propane refrigeration on a boat?

A friend had a Gemini. It did have a vent which was under the wheel if I remember correctly. Don't know if it had a pilot or electronic ignition.
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post #18 of 29 Old 03-23-2012
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Re: Why doesn't anyone use propane refrigeration on a boat?

No pilot light on a propane fridge, just a small, constant flame. If it goes out for whatever reason there is a gas cutter, just like on a propane stove. Mine is not vented outside the boat, but the little heat it puts out doesn't really heat the cabin (my boat is well ventilated). I can understand avoiding a propane fridge if it voids your insurance, but I still think a propane fridge, properly installed, is no more dangerous than a propane stove. My propane freezer lets me use a single 165amp battery for all my house needs. When it finally gives up the ghost I'll have to think very hard about whether to replace it with a new propane freezer or go with a 12v system (which will mean building an icebox and all the woodwork involved).

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post #19 of 29 Old 03-23-2012
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Re: Why doesn't anyone use propane refrigeration on a boat?

Copa is that common in Brazil? I've only see them on powerboats in our area. It's an attractive idea in some ways.. certainly on the electrical side of things - is yours a specialized version compared to, say, the general RV model?

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post #20 of 29 Old 03-23-2012
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Re: Why doesn't anyone use propane refrigeration on a boat?

Ron, I have to say I think I've got the only propane fridge in Brazil (as well as the only compoating toilet!). The previous owner, a very experienced German gentleman with 9 Atlantic crossings in this boat, installed it in 1997 during a complete refit. It's not a marine freezer. I believe it must be for the RV market (the brand is "Domec" I think). At any rate, it works very well and hasn't blown up yet! When it finally dies I'll be here asking for advice on 12v vs propane systems. Until then, it maintains the beer at exactly -3 degrees celcius. Who could ask for more?
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