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Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:32pm

Post Subject: changing fridge

Hi we are thinking of changing our 240 fridge on our boat for a 3 way gas can you give us any adice on this about safety regs and gas venting , Thank You


Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 9:02am

Post Subject: changing fridge

Once again we are into legal territory and there is insufficient details to give a definitive answer. IF this is an old boat that was not required to conform to the Recreational Craft Directive then the fact that as far as I am aware no such fridges are CE marked for marine use is not an issue. If you are livaboards (or operate it as a hire boat) then it is probable that you will require the installation to be done by or certified as safe by a GasSafe (was Corgi) registered engineer who is endorsed LPG & marine/caravan. If this is the case than they will almost certainly refuse because the fridge will not be room sealed even though the Boat Safety Scheme now allows such fridges. It contravenes their codes of practise. If this is a normal holiday boat then in theory you can fit it BUT about two years ago I heard of such a fridge being failed on BSS inspection because of flammable material too close to the burner. If you do decide to fit such a fridge my advice would be to line its aperture with aluminium sheet, at least the back third. As no manufacturer now makes such fridges that are approved for marine use I can not comment on the flue because if I did and there was an accident I might get taken to court. There have been many gas fridges just vented into the boat while many others have had an ad hoc made up flue and terminal venting outside the boat. I would comment that in the late 60s the Electrolux gas fridges had a sort of T fitting sitting on the top of the fridge flue outlet with a sloping "crossbar" the upper end connected to the outside world while the lower end was left open as a form of draft suppressor. This is simply a description of what was used and in now way is any form of recommendation or advice on flues. Then there is the question of non-CE marked equipment (or equipment not CE marked as approved for its actual use) and the attitude of your insurance company if there was a claim. I can only point out that it might provide a get out of jail free card so you might want to check. Until a few years ago Dometic made a room sealed gas fridge that was designed for boat use. If you can find a secondhand one complete with its flue it would remove almost all the problems outlined above. However they were eye waveringly expensive when new so will not be cheap now. Finally a couple of points for you to consider. The 12V option is not one you would wish to use. The heater draws between 8 and 10 amps with NO thermostatic control so not only do you ruin batteries but can also end up with solid tomatoes. If you are trying to reduce the time you need to run your engine for battery charging I think that you would do far better to spend your budget on as large a solar array as you can plus a QUALITY (no Flebay "bargains") MPPT controller. If your fridge is old you would improve things by investing in a new one that is A+ rated or doing away with inverter losses by going 12V, but then again the cost may make solar charging more attractive. Tony Brooks

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