10 Signs it’s Time to Replace Your Boat’s Refrigeration
1. Box no longer reaches desired temperature set point
A refrigerator box should be kept at 35-40F for safe food storage. If your box used to do this, but doesn’t anymore, then you could have insulation degradation, perhaps your thermostat isn’t telling the compressor to turn on when the box gets warmer, there may be a refrigerant leak, or your system may simply be showing its age.
2. System works sometimes OK, sometimes not
You can bet your bottom paint that everything will be hunky-dory for month after month, and that the gremlins will strike on the first day of your annual cruise with all the family on board. Time to get proactive and get the fridge fairies on your side with a nice new, shiny ,reliable, fridge system.
3. It’s using too much energy
The older DC powered systems using the Danfoss BD3.0 and earlier compressors (or even the humungous, clunky holding plate systems that pre-date the 12v revolution) were great in their day, but their day has passed. Systems using the Secop BD35 or BD50 compressors are super efficient and should allow you to run your refrigeration from the power generated by solar panels or a wind generator.
4. It’s gotten noisier
Where is the extra noise coming from? Your compressor? The fan? The pump? Check all the components, isolate the one causing the noise. Maybe it’s fixable or if it’s the compressor, maybe it’s time for a new system.
5. You want to ditch the ice box with a lid and get drawers
Out with the old, in with the new! Drawers are a super solution for boats: stuff doesn’t fall out, no getting down on your hands and knees to reach the back of the box, or even worse, someone holding onto your ankles as you go diving for the goods in the bottom of the ice box.
6. You’re going long-distance cruising and need more space
You realize the ice box you used for day sailing and weekend jaunts is not big enough for your new lifestyle changes - you’re now living onboard or maybe planning for that months long cruise to the islands. Perhaps just converting that space under the settee into a deep freeze will do the trick.
7. Your ice cream melts
If your freezer no longer keeps your ice cream hard for all the days of your cruise, what’s the point of a freezer? Oh, right, you can also have ice cubes and frozen food for those longer cruises into the nether regions. If you’ve checked that you’re not over-stuffing your box (which prevents convection current from circulating around your food), that your refrigerant charge is correct, and your compressor is running, than it could be the box itself just can’t keep the warm air out and the cold air in.
8. You’ve just bought a great boat with mediocre refrigeration
It was a great deal, that perfect boat you’ve been looking for. You knew the ice box had seen better days, and those days are right now as you rip out the innards and replace the refrigeration components with state-of-the-art, energy efficient parts that will last 15-20 years, no problem. Happy Days Are Here Again!
9. Your partner wants a larger freezer area for weekend cruising
What your partner wants, your partner gets if you want to go boating together. But this may not be such a difficult request to fulfill if you have storage space on board you’re not using that can be converted into a freezer ice box. Or there are some great portable, self-contained coolers that could do the trick.
10. It’s over 20 years old
Enough said. Even your home refrigerator has its limits.