Refrigeration

Dog Walking Business
Fast running refrigeration has its benefits, and it has a downside, too.

There’s quite a variety of passers-by to be seen from my front porch of an evening, and most seem to be walking a dog or two, or three.  The majority of walkers fit in a velocity band somewhere between comfortable stroll and brisk jog, but there are also those on the fringes of the extremes, and these are the most interesting to observe.

At the hyper-speed end is Speedy Meanie, and he’s a runner on a mission. He’s lean and long-legged, and usually shirtless (in Summer anyway). He and his hound bound along in perfect synchronicity and appear out of nowhere in a flash, so you need a keen eye to catch him. He’s well known in the neighborhood for having a bit of a mean temper, and woe betide anyone that dares to get in his way. If Speedy Meanie arrives just as one happens to be putting the bins out, one can get an earful of colorful curses if he has to maneuver around them.

At the opposite end of the scale is dear old Ambling Archie. Archie is a truly loveable little dog, and as well as being small, he is very, very slow. Unlike Speedy Meanie, it is Archie that controls the pace, which is excruciatingly slow and difficult to watch, while his companion digs around in his smart-phone for something interesting to help pass the time. Ambling Archie doesn’t go very far, just to the end of the block and back, but it’s all the exercise he needs, and it’s quality time for him and his master.

cracked doll face
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.

repair surgeonsIt’s a boat. Something’s going to break, and if you’re in the middle of the ocean or in a deserted anchorage in Paradise, who’s going to fix it? There’s no handy-dandy repair chappie down the road, and no one to beg come and mend it, so if you don’t fix it, it stays broke. Simple.

For household appliances, whether in a terrestrial abode or in use on a vessel, things may soon be easier and cheaper to fix, thanks to proposed regulations being put forward in Europe and some 18 US states. Loosely termed “Right to Repair” bills, these would compel manufacturers to make products that come apart easily for inspection, and to have instructions and spare parts readily available to anyone wanting to attempt a repair.

woman in water luke dahlgren 348432 cropIt’s starting to get crazy again on our help line, like it seems to every year about this time. I guess that there’s a big increase in numbers of boats swanning around down south now that it’s holiday season and it’s getting nippy up north. Lucky them!

But there will inevitably be the unfortunate few cruisers that will soon be heading down a long and frustrating path trying to fix a malfunctioning refrigerator or freezer. So in an effort to minimize the pain, and to hopefully make my life easier, I’m re-issuing some advice I gave a few years back on the subject.

This, unfortunately, is even more relevant today since the advent of those flashy electronic refrigerant gauge sets with multiple digital screens that seem to confuse more than enlighten.

Our office here spends way too much time on the phone and in e-mails helping customers correct mistakes made by mostly well intentioned but misinformed and inexperienced technicians. Too often it seems that adding refrigerant has been a Hail Mary move, made after diagnosis was unsuccessful, and done in an effort to show the customer that at least something had been done. And that's where all the problems start ....

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