Refridge/Freezer theory

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Mar 3, 2008
188
Hunter 356 Lake Stockton
This weekend, we heard a theory regarding fridge/freezer management that we had never heard before. Simply stated, never turn off your fridge/freezer units, ever. We were told that turning these units off over the winter and/or during long gaps between usage reduces their lifetime. They also cited RV guidelines to this effect.

Has anyone heard about this approach?
 
Nov 6, 2006
9,245
Hunter 34 Mandeville Louisiana
The thermostat turns it on and off.. all machines will fail from use at some unknown number of hours.. or thermal cycles.. The thermostat causes thermal cycles, run time causes wear..
 
May 24, 2004
6,838
CC 30 South Florida
I guess it would depend on how long of a gap. Leaving a unit unused for a few years might be detrimental but a few months at a time should not be a problem.
 
Apr 22, 2001
497
Hunter 420 Norfolk, VA
This weekend, we heard a theory regarding fridge/freezer management that we had never heard before. Simply stated, never turn off your fridge/freezer units, ever. We were told that turning these units off over the winter and/or during long gaps between usage reduces their lifetime. They also cited RV guidelines to this effect.

Has anyone heard about this approach?
I have two Adler/Barbur /( Frigeboat / Danfoss) units on my boat that are original equipment from 2001. They both still operate without any problems ( the thermostat for the frig is lousy, but that's another story).
They have been turned on and off hundreds of times over the past 11+ years, remaining on only when I have actually been using the boat. I haven't been a long term live aboard, so I would estimate that the refrig and freezer have been off more than on for most of the past 11 years.
IMHO the theory may "need further study".
 

Nodak7

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Sep 28, 2008
1,204
Hunter 41DS Punta Gorda, FL
This weekend, we heard a theory regarding fridge/freezer management that we had never heard before. Simply stated, never turn off your fridge/freezer units, ever. We were told that turning these units off over the winter and/or during long gaps between usage reduces their lifetime. They also cited RV guidelines to this effect.

Has anyone heard about this approach?
Doug an RV refrigerator and a Boat refrigerator are not the same! The RV refrigerator uses a propane flame to heat ammonia to remove the heat from the refrigerator box. If not used for a long period (many months) you need to remove the RV refrigerator and "roll" it to mix up the ammonia soup. It will operate just fine after that as long as none of the Ammonia leaked out. On the other hand a boat refrigerator just uses 12v to run a compressor to cool the box. I believe that whomever told you this had no clue! IMHO This myth is "busted"!
 
Jan 22, 2008
32
Hunter 35.5 Montréal PQ
Bonjour,

Our boat is a 1991 hunter 35.5 with Adler Barber super cold machine installed in 1991. The unit is ON from May to October and OFF for the rest of the year at temperatures ranging between +50 and -30 (Montreal, Canada), this for the past 21 years. Every spring it spring back to life without any problem so I personally think that it works to shut it off 6 months per year.

Salut!
 
Jun 1, 2009
1,387
Hunter 49 toronto
Another "theory" I heard recently.

If you get too much water in your bilge, drill a small hole in the bottom which will automatically drain it.
 
Feb 6, 2009
257
Hunter 40 Camano Island
Leaving a current generation fridge freezer in a warm room (heated cabin) will outgas past seals on the compressor, fittings, etc at a greater rate than the same system kept very cold with lower pressure.

There are no perfectly sealed refrigeration systems. however a properly designed and sealed refrigeration system loses less freon. As far as marine fridge and freezers, daily cycling will keep motor seals and shafts lubricated. dry those out and you will lose gas quickly. Take an old fridge, with already marginal remaining gas, throw in a little bearing/shaft wear , turn it off for 7 months......you will have a higher gas loss rate when you start it up in the spring.

One of the reasons not to buy the fridge that has not been turned on in 3 years from the discount wholesaler is those very same seals.

I have a 27 yr old fridge on the boat I keep running continuously.......yep a boat fridge for 27 years. it is never turned off. OLder style freezers with their often times less frequent cycling (when full) have been known to last 40 years, with only one recharge in that interval.

The critical element is leakage and operating pressures. if those are OK it should run for years. Without enough gas to carry the lubricant in the system it will have hot spots and gas loss will be much quicker.

I only recommend continuous operation on refrigeration equipment at this time. Unless you have a halogen sniffer and want to use it frequently.
 

Kordie

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Aug 7, 2011
144
Beneteau 393 Cruising Baja
KenKindrick said:
By the way, your refrigerator compressor does not add cold into the box, it removes heat.
What? I heard flashlights suck up the dark. Is that wrong too?
 
Mar 3, 2008
188
Hunter 356 Lake Stockton
LOL! Well, these responses pretty well sum up our impressions of this theory. Our own units have actually been performing more efficiently over the years as we improved the lid gaskets and added a small fan in the freezer compartment to better move the air. But, Art, are you sure the hole in your bilge will not help drain the water? I think if you put it at the lowest point in the bilge it should work.

Thank you all.
 
Jun 6, 2006
6,991
currently boatless wishing Harrington Harbor North, MD
Perhaps in Florida it is different but here in VA we have no need of a reefer in the winter. And our thermostats know it and turn off the unit when the temp outside falls below 30ish degrees. so your refer will not be running or not running much even if you do leave it on.
Also the AC on most boats are sealed and only hole in the plumbing or a leaky fill valve will allow the refrigerant to leak out
 
Jun 1, 2009
1,387
Hunter 49 toronto
Doug/Karen
I think you're onto something. Now that I think about it, I should have drilled the hole right on centerline at the lowest point. My only concern is that the silt at the bottom of the bilge will plug up the hole, preventing adequate drainage. I'm going to increase the size and see if that helps.
 
May 27, 2012
1,152
Oday 222 Beaver Lake, Arkansas
In a compressor type fridge/freezer, they cant leak unless something physically breaks. They are hermetically sealed. The motor and compressor are inside a sealed canister and all lines are sweat soldered. No matter how long it runs or sits, it should ever leak more than a molecule.

Ammonia type RV absorption refrigerators are also sealed and also wont leak until broken/rusted. But the thing about running them on occasion isnt all fiction. The old ones, built before about 1975, many of those are still working and you just about cant kill them. The refrigeration units in them were made out of high alloy steel. Not stainless AFAIK, but darn near, high nickel and/or chrome anyway. Since that time most are made out of plain mild steel and it rusts internally. The oxidation will plug up the passageways and they stop working, hence the setting them upside down a while trick. If left running they wont rust, is the theory anyway.

In either case I wouldnt leave either of them run all year.
 
Feb 6, 2009
257
Hunter 40 Camano Island
not to argue fine points. but the interstitial soldered bond gap between the solder surfaces and the solder, as well as the the pore size/ surface roughness variation in the refrigerant conveyance lines, solder and motor case seals is huge compared to freon or ammonia molecule sizes.

I have sectioned the sealed joints, I have observed migration of material through the joints and yes I have access to an electron microscope and metallurgical lab equipment.

For practical purposes they are sealed, on an absolute scale......no they are not.
25 years is normally the end of practical life with the workmanship practices used on most commercial small refrigeration systems. Internal corrosion is an issue, motor wear is an issue.

Been in the lab, nuclear and insurance industries over 35 years, I have had opportunity to work on and examine dozens of refrigerant systems equipment failures.

I stand by my findings for boats. 6 months or more of lack of use every year on a recreational marine refrigeration system is not going to prolong the life of the commercial grade systems we use on boats.

I am sure there are some boats out there that have had fridges that are turned off 6 or more months a year for many years. It would be an interesting test. However, when working with ThermoKing units, there are statistics availble on a representative sample of tested units. These tests showed extended no operation periods is harder on truck/trailer sized units. These were averaged over mulitple model years, multiple locations. Note. these units are also exposed to high temps during the summer when out of use, and that plays a part. A boat is a fairly benign location temperature wise, and the lower the temp during off periods, the lower the internal gas pressure and leak rate. YMMV
 

Nodak7

.
Sep 28, 2008
1,204
Hunter 41DS Punta Gorda, FL
not to argue fine points. but the interstitial soldered bond gap between the solder surfaces and the solder, as well as the the pore size/ surface roughness variation in the refrigerant conveyance lines, solder and motor case seals is huge compared to freon or ammonia molecule sizes.

I have sectioned the sealed joints, I have observed migration of material through the joints and yes I have access to an electron microscope and metallurgical lab equipment.

For practical purposes they are sealed, on an absolute scale......no they are not.
25 years is normally the end of practical life with the workmanship practices used on most commercial small refrigeration systems. Internal corrosion is an issue, motor wear is an issue.

Been in the lab, nuclear and insurance industries over 35 years, I have had opportunity to work on and examine dozens of refrigerant systems equipment failures.

I stand by my findings for boats. 6 months or more of lack of use every year on a recreational marine refrigeration system is not going to prolong the life of the commercial grade systems we use on boats.

I am sure there are some boats out there that have had fridges that are turned off 6 or more months a year for many years. It would be an interesting test. However, when working with ThermoKing units, there are statistics availble on a representative sample of tested units. These tests showed extended no operation periods is harder on truck/trailer sized units. These were averaged over mulitple model years, multiple locations. Note. these units are also exposed to high temps during the summer when out of use, and that plays a part. A boat is a fairly benign location temperature wise, and the lower the temp during off periods, the lower the internal gas pressure and leak rate. YMMV


Which interpreted in laymans terms means that over the span of a boats life (20-25 yrs) there is no appreciable loss of usage? Is that correct?

Come on! :deadhorse: As far as most boats on the hard go this is a moot point! What owner is going to run their refrigerator over the winter just to add an inconsequential amount of life to a boats refrigerator or freezer? To be realistic it is not worth the price of the power, the potential for fire or the hassle to keep track of it!
 
Dec 2, 2003
1,637
Hunter 376 Warsash, England --
WHAT A WASTE OF ENERGY.
ALSO IT CAUSES A GROSS AMOUNT OF CO2 TO BE RELEASED INTO THE ATMOSPHERE.
HAVE SOME CONSIDERATION FOR YOUR CHILDREN AND THEIR CHILDREN -and mine too.

My fridge only runs wwhen we are on board.
 

xcyz

.
Jan 22, 2008
174
Hunter 376
WHAT A WASTE OF ENERGY.
ALSO IT CAUSES A GROSS AMOUNT OF CO2 TO BE RELEASED INTO THE ATMOSPHERE.
HAVE SOME CONSIDERATION FOR YOUR CHILDREN AND THEIR CHILDREN -and mine too.

My fridge only runs wwhen we are on board.
Really, did you really mean to say that?:neutral:
 

Kordie

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Aug 7, 2011
144
Beneteau 393 Cruising Baja
Donalex said:
WHAT A WASTE OF ENERGY.
ALSO IT CAUSES A GROSS AMOUNT OF CO2 TO BE RELEASED INTO THE ATMOSPHERE.
HAVE SOME CONSIDERATION FOR YOUR CHILDREN AND THEIR CHILDREN -and mine too.

My fridge only runs wwhen we are on board.
Mine runs off solar and wind power :)
 
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