The Propane Refrigerator vs. Solar Refrigeration Units

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When choosing an off-grid refrigeration system, there are many things to consider.

With the biggest decision being; should your power source be propane or solar?

To ultimately decide on either propane or solar, you may want to answer these questions first:

  • Which is less problematic?
  • How long do they last?
  • Which is most efficient?
  • And which is most cost effective overall?

With these questions in the forefront of our minds, we aim to answer them in this article. There is a lot to unpack, so let’s get started.

So if you happen to live off-grid year round or even if you are only off-grid occasionally throughout the year with perhaps a summer cabin, fishing or hunting camp. You definitely need a refrigerator for your cold food storage. Hauling ice is a hassle, not to mention it is expensive! But what direction do you go? Should you buy a propane refrigerator or a solar one? This is a common question folks have. Our team has spent many years selling both types of refrigerators, and we’ve collected data from both sides of the isle.  Our opinion is this: the propane refrigerator is much more straightforward to use, and it is easy to maintain. Additional benefits of propane refrigeration are that it is much more durable, as well as overall a propane unit is more efficient, and cost effective than solar. Hopefully, this article will prove itself useful to you as you ponder which direction to go.

Simplicity

Propane refrigerators are simple.  They are decidedly straightforward in their operation.  A gas fridge has a cooling unit operated by a pilot light.  In simple terms, this cooling unit and flame make up the whole system! The cooling unit continues to cycle the cooling vapors using the pilot light.  There are very few components to ever malfunction. Plus, propane units do not require sunlight! Generally, the service on a propane refrigerator involves cleaning the burner box…which is easy!  The setup is simple too; just attach your gas line onto the 3/8” male flare screw fitting on the back of the fridge, light the pilot light and you’re good to go!

In contrast, solar refrigerators use a compressor system made up of many different components and electrical pieces.  Solar refrigerators require compressors, refrigerant solution, solar panels, batteries, controllers and other electrical wires and components to make the refrigerator run properly–not to mention the requirement for sunlight…and lots of it!  The point here is that within an electrical refrigerator (which is essentially what a solar refrigerator is) there are many parts and pieces that could wear out, go bad or malfunction leaving your refrigerator totally useless…plus, you can’t control the sun and with solar you need a steady supply of sunshine!

Longevity

Next, propane fridges just last longer than solar fridges. Today’s EZ Freeze propane refrigerator is lasting upwards of 20 to 30 years.  Occasionally, a thermocouple or a thermostat needs to be replaced but even if you have no technical skills, you will be able to change them out yourself! Plus, EZ Freeze fridges come with a maintenance video as well. Generally, all you need is a wrench or a screwdriver to change out these parts. This proves especially useful when living off-grid, where tools and maintenance services are scarce. Plus, the parts are very easy to get your hands on because they are made in the USA.

Solar refrigerators last as long as the “normal” electric refrigerator you may have in your “on-grid” home.  Some can last more than 10 years, BUT when they do stop working or malfunction, getting them fixed is very involved. You may not find the parts you need and it may require taking the fridge to a service repair establishment.  The last thing you want to do while living off the grid is to spend your time and energy fixing and troubleshooting appliances. Your valuable time will be better spent tending to the other chores and necessities that come with living off-grid.

Efficiency

Efficiency is also a consideration when deciding between propane and solar.  Solar systems are expensive. The panels alone cost $10,000 to $20,000 and up from there. This doesn’t even include the battery!  Batteries can cost $5,000 to $7,000. Also, it is recommended that you have a backup generator (thousands of dollars) for those gloomy months when the sun is not shining in order to charge your batteries.  Let’s remember, the generator requires fuel and adds additional variables that can malfunction or fail.

Cost-effectiveness

So let’s break this down a bit:

Let’s say a solar system with panels, batteries and a backup generator costs a very conservative $20,000. Your fridge works off of this solar system at no monthly cost.

An all off-grid home, run with propane, has a propane refrigerator, propane stove and gas lights. The fridge, on average, will consume 1.5 gallons of propane a week.  That’s roughly 80 gallons of propane a year to run the fridge. Propane at an average of $2.00 a gallon will cost you $160 a year. Powering your lights and oven via propane will cost a little bit more.  If we tripled this cost to include propane lights and an oven/range, costs would be roughly $480 a year. That means it would take 42 years to make up for the cost of a $20,000 solar system. This does NOT factor in the fuel for the generator, or new batteries every 5 years, nor the maintenance expenses for the solar system.  As you can see the cost difference is too significant to argue when contemplating the two types of off-grid energy.

The Propane / Solar Synergy

Let’s not throw solar out the window all together.   Solar power as a whole, is a wonderful option and provides you with power needed to run other useful devices (i.e. lights, computer, cell phone).  If you do install a solar system, we want to help your solar system run as efficiently and for as long as possible. How do we do this? By removing those appliances that put heavy strain on your solar batteries. This simply allows for your other important items in your home, like the television, dishwasher and music player, to continue to work.  So, the best way to help your solar system run more efficiently is to remove heavy power consuming appliances from the solar grid entirely. Using a propane refrigerator and a propane stove will aid in this effort tremendously.

Choose a long established company

Now that we have determined how easy set up and maintenance of a propane fridge is, along with identifying the considerable low cost of running it, and additionally its longevity and power saving ability; let’s discuss another trend we have noticed: solar refrigerator companies seem to come and go.  The life span of these companies seem to be short. Which can certainly make finding parts and service locations very difficult. Please don’t misunderstand, this is not the case with all solar refrigerator manufacturers – even some propane refrigerator companies have left the market. However, as a whole, the propane refrigerator manufacturers stand the test of time.  

In the early to mid-1900’s Servel was the biggest propane refrigerator manufacturer.  Their units can still be found working in homes all over the world today! Since propane refrigerators were first on the market in the 1930’s, the science of the absorption cooling unit has proven its reliability through the test of time.  Whether you use natural gas or propane – the necessary combustion for the cooling unit has proven to work seamlessly over the years in creating the energy needed to heat the cooling unit solution. Our new units such as the EZ-Freeze propane refrigerator not only use the same technology and have the same longevity, but run on half of the propane of those refrigerators of old.  EZ-Freeze refrigerators only burn, on average, 1.5 gallons a week, per year.

EZ Freeze fridges are extensively tested in hot rooms, under extreme heat and humidity, which the solar refrigerators would not be able to keep up with.  The EZ Freeze brand propane fridges are safe, durable, and can be transported laying down; on their left side! You can’t do that with your solar fridge, as that is too dangerous!

Warranty

We also take pride in our 7 year warranty on the cooling unit, which is unheard of in the industry and this duration of warranty remains unmatched.  Not only is the warranty far superior to other propane manufacturers but EZ Freeze ranks #1 for any refrigerator, including solar.

Final Words

In conclusion, a well-made propane refrigerator from EZ Freeze will not only last you upwards of 20 to 30 years but it will save you time, money and is virtually hassle free. Our experience in the off-grid industry has taught us that solar power is useful and can provide power where there are no other options but when considering your two major appliances: the refrigerator and the stove, propane generated power is hands down the wiser investment.

EZ Freeze Gas Refrigerator – Burner Assembly

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EZ Freeze Burner Assembly

The EZ Freeze Propane Refrigerator burner assembly is constructed of corrosion resistant materials. The burner tube itself is made from Stainless Steel. Eliminating the possibility of corrosion allows the system to burn cleaner therefore keeping your propane refrigerator performance to it’s maximum.EZ Freeze Gas Refrigerators burner assembly - Images by Warehouse Appliance, experts of off-grid appliances and gas fridge sales and service Corrosion can not only foul the burner slots but also attack the inside of the burner tube and create unwanted turbulence. The flame will then burn foul and put off soot and high levels of carbon monoxide.

The burner housing and brackets are also made from Stainless Steel material allowing for easy maintenance during service. This practice is unique to any other gas refrigerator manufacturer.

The EZ Freeze gas refrigerator burner assembly removes from the refrigerator absorption cooling unit with only one screw. This is great for servicing gas refrigerators. Nothing to disassemble or realign during regular routine propane refrigerator maintenance.

A flame viewing window is incorporated into the assembly to allow easy viewing from the rear of your gas fridge. A flip up shutter closes to keep out unwanted debris.

The entire Orifice Assembly of these gas refrigerators are made from solid brass also reducing the corrosion factor and increasing lifespan. One of just many things to consider when finding a propane refrigerator for sale. Please note that the natural gas refrigerator parts are slightly different than the above image.

The EZ Freeze Brand of gas powered refrigerators feature top performance and the best quality! Contact Warehouse Appliance for more information on our gas fridges or any of our off-grid appliances.

EZ Freeze Gas Refrigerator Parts – Orifice Information

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Info on the EZ Freeze Orifice

The gas orifice is a very important part of any gas fridge.  EZ Freeze propane refrigerators all include a very precise orifice in the burner system that is unmatched in the industry. The Orifice includes a ruby gemstone tip, all brass construction, internal filter and pressure test port.

EZ Freeze Propane Refrigerator Parts - Gas orifice information for gas fridges from Warehouse Appliance - the off-grid appliance experts!

– Ruby Gemstone Tip –
EZ Freeze has these orifices manufactured specifically for a propane  refrigerator. The brass body of the orifice is bored out to accept a very precise ruby gemstone that has been laser-cut to the specific size. This process ensures that each orifice is virtually same size with the proper BTU output.

– Internal Filter –
Any slight change in size of the orifice hole will lower the performance of the gas refrigerator. This includes debris that may migrate into the orifice through the gas lines. This debris can be from a dirty tank, dirt or debris in the plumbing, or just left over material from construction or manufacturing. To ensure this does not cause the EZ Freeze gas refrigerators to loose their reliable performance, the orifice hole is protected by a micro fine filter screen just upstream from the ruby tip.

– Pressure Test Port –
This port allows diagnosis of the gas system using a manometer at the orifice while the gas refrigerator is in operation. This is the best way to detect a bad regulator or thermostat.

EZ Freeze fridge maintenance is cut down to a minimum due to the precision of this solid brass orifice.

Please also note that the orifice for the EZ Freeze Freezer and Blizzard Freezer is different from the refrigerator.  The Freezer orifice is a different size and shape which is vital for the freezer cooling unit functioning properly.

For more information on the EZ Freeze gas orifice, EZ Freeze Propane Refrigerator, or general gas fridge questions, please contact the off-grid appliance specialists at Warehouse Appliance.

EZ Freeze Gas Refrigerator Controls – Lighting Instructions

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The controls of the EZ Freeze propane refrigerator are located on the front of the unit at the bottom. All are hidden by the door or a removable panel. The controls include the Thermostat Control (shown as “Temp” within the gas refrigerator parts image below) which controls the temperature of both the refrigerator and freezer compartment. It adjusts the amount of refrigerant running through the system by controlling the high and low flame of the burner. The refrigerant of the absorption system is an ammonia and water solution that flows via gravity from the top of the freezer to the refrigerator section below and absorbing all the hot air. The higher the temperature control is set the more the flame will stay on high and produce more refrigerant, therefore making the interior colder.

The Gas Safety Shut-Off Valve on the EZ Freeze propane refrigerator (shown as “Gas” in the image) is magnetically-controlled by an electromagnet that is feed millivolts via the thermocouple. The thermocouple is heated by the flame and produces the small amount of electricity to power the magnet. If the flame is extinguished and the thermocouple does not sense heat, then the electromagnet will release and shut-off the gas supply. This prevents any unburned gas from escaping into the room.

The Piezo Igniter of the EZ Freeze Propane Refrigerator (shown as “Spark” in the image) is a self-powered, non-electric spark generator. It’s very similar to what propane BBQ’s use. By pushing this button, the Piezo Igniter will produce a spark to light the flame.

 

Lighting An EZ Freeze Gas Refrigerator

The First Time After the set-up of the unit is complete, use the following procedure to light the burner. First time lighting may take longer than usual due to the air that may be in the gas lines.

Turn on the gas valve at the rear of the gas refrigerator

To start the gas refrigerator, turn the thermostat knob “Temp” (Thermostat) to the #2 setting

Push and hold “Gas” (Gas Safety Valve) button, and then…

Press the “Spark ” (Piezo Igniter) button continuously 5 to 10 times to light burner. Confirm the flame is lit by viewing through the flame “Viewer”. It should be possible to hear a slight turbulent noise from the flame. If the burner is lit, continue holding the “Gas ” button for 5-15 seconds. Release the “Gas” button and confirm the burner is still lit. If the burner does not light, repeat steps 1 through 4.

EZ Freeze Gas Refrigerators controls - Images by Warehouse Appliance, experts of off-grid appliances and gas fridge sales and service

We recommend that owners take a good look at the flame upon initial start up and note its size and color for future reference. It is good practice to visually check the flame for this size and color upon every start up.

Hand Lighting….

If for some reason the unit will not light with the piezo ignition or the igniter is failing to spark, it is possible to hand light the burner. This usually requires two people. Simply use the above procedure and replace “Spark ” Button with a person at the burner with a lighter.

This type of refrigerator uses manual operation. Setting the temperature information is here and the manual defrosting information is here.

The EZ Freeze Brand of gas refrigerators feature top performance and the best quality! Contact Warehouse Appliance for more information on our gas fridges or any of our off-grid appliances.

Full-time use of a gas refrigerator in your home

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Full-time use of a gas refrigerator in the homeWhile many propane refrigerators have been used in RVs, cabins and vacation homes, there is a growing number of households that have made a complete transition from electric to gas refrigerators. Warehouse Appliance discusses full-time use of gas refrigerators in your home.

The initial startup up rules are basically the same for the full-time gas refrigerator user as they are for those who supplement with gas:

  • Don’t fill up the fridge with any food or liquids that are not already cold or frozen.
  • Keep the door of the fridge closed as much of the time as possible.
  • Set the temperature setting to the maximum.

Make sure you adhere to the above rules when you bring groceries home from your regular shopping trips. It is always best to load the food goods in smaller amounts. Try to do this at timed intervals. Ambient temperature food should be loaded at no more than 10 pounds every 2 hours. Also, make sure to stabilize your temperature and thermostat setting. Keep your eye on the refrigerator interior temperatures. In a gas refrigerator, the thermostat setting will mostly affect the refrigerator compartment temperatures. The freezer will not have a thermostat.

Temperature setting is accomplished by the thermostat that is at the very bottom on the outside front near or behind the kick plate. The control panel is labeled with numbers that are merely a reference and do not correspond with the actual temperature.

Whether you go with a gas refrigerator part-time or full-time, Warehouse Appliance is here to help and answer any of your questions. If you’re thinking about purchasing a propane refrigerator or have questions about the one you already own, call the gas appliance experts at Warehouse Appliance today at 928-636-1955.

Why you need a propane refrigerator

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Warehouse Appliance is the leader in propane refrigerators and has the best warranty in the business.Who knows why you need a propane refrigerator better than the leader in propane refrigerators? As the industry leader, Warehouse Appliance, can help you select the right propane fridge for your cabin, vacation home, RV or hunting camp.

Reasons to own a gas fridge

  • Gas refrigerators are quiet – Since gas refrigerators don’t have a compressor they are completely quiet.
  • You live off grid – With no conventional means of energy to power an electric refrigerator, you’re limited to where you can live, but a gas refrigerator doesn’t confine your choices. Unlike electricity, no matter where you are, you can transport and easily store the fuel necessary for operating a gas fridge.
  • Your location is prone to power outages – For some of us, every year brings tornadoes, hurricanes, fires and floods. Even in the city, homeowners experience power outages – but it won’t matter if you have a propane refrigerator. Gas refrigerators keep on running, keeping your food items cold and safe. If you’ve suffered extended power outages, you know that replacing a refrigerator full of spoiled food is expensive.
  • Gas refrigerators are efficient – Not only do they run colder than a conventional fridge, but they have far fewer running parts than a compressor system. Fewer parts mean fewer failures. In fact, there are virtually no moving parts in a propane gas refrigeration system.

Considering all these reasons, anyone can see that choosing a gas fridge is a smart choice. No matter where you live, whether in the heart of the city, off the grid, or on the road, Warehouse Appliance can help you select the right size fridge to meet your family’s needs. For more information call Warehouse Appliance today at 928-636-1955.

Using propane in your home

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Propane for appliances in your homeDid you know that there is an efficient, safe, and reliable alternative to electricityfor many appliances? Warehouse Appliance would like to tell you about using propane in your home.

Because of its safety, efficiency, and dependability, many people are using propane to go off the grid. Others use propane to supplement the electricity in their home. Propane is also a very affordable solution that’s ideal for families who want to minimize their carbon footprint and go a little greener.

There are many benefits you will receive by using propane in your home. Here are several:

  • You will save money. Heating your water with propane rather than electricity will save you approximately 30 percent of your water heating costs per year. A propane clothes dryer will save you about 50 percent compared with the use of an electric dryer. You’ll save plenty by using a gas refrigerator, too.
  • Propane is safe. Propane tanks are 20 times more puncture resistant than those used for gasoline, ethanol, and methanol. Home propane tanks are often buried. If you do experience a propane leak, the added odorant (similar to the smell of rotten eggs) will help you detect it so you can get it repaired.
  • Versatility. When people think of propane, outdoor grills often come to mind. but propane fuels many household appliances: home heating or your boiler, your fireplace, clothes dryer, range, refrigerator and your oven can all run on propane. If your home is equipped to use propane, you have a wide range of choices available.
  • Propane is environmentally safe. Propane is listed as a clean fuel in the 1990 Clean Air Act and the Energy Policy Act of 1992. In fact, propane burns cleaner than any other fossil fuel.

Warehouse Appliance would be happy to answer any questions you may have about gas refrigerators and propane appliances. We are here to help you as you consider the advantages of using propane in your home. Call the gas appliance experts at Warehouse Appliance today at 928-636-1955.

Why people choose propane refrigerators

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Warehouse Appliance can help you choose the right propane refrigerator for your home or cabin.Have you heard of propane refrigerators but don’t really understand why people choose them? Warehouse Appliance, the leader in propane refrigerators, can help you understand why and how to select a propane refrigerator that is perfect for remote cabins, vacation homes, hunting camps, or your RV.

Here are some of the reasons people choose propane refrigerators.

  • You live off the grid.
  • You don’t like the noise an electric refrigerator makes.
  • You have considered the efficiency of a gas fridge.
  • Your home is subject to natural disasters and power outages.

One of the most basic necessities in life is food. The need for food storage is practical, and how food is stored affects your health. Cold food storage when done properly is important for healthy living. Consider all these reasons and you will see why a gas fridge is right for you.

All refrigerators must run from an energy source. One of the gas fridge advantages is how easy it is to store propane and unlike electricity, it can be transported. While most homeowners run the risk of losing electricity during a thunderstorm, the propane refrigerator will continue running, keeping your perishables fresh.

One power outage of more than two days can completely decimate your food supply in your electric fridge. With the cost of food within the fridge being upwards of $500, it pays to have a gas fridge as a backup unit.

The myth that a gas refrigerator does not cool as well as an electric is not true. Not only will they run colder than an electric unit, the absorption unit has far fewer parts than an electric compressor system. Fewer parts mean less chance of a failure. Other than the thermostat, there are virtually no moving parts within the propane gas refrigeration system.

Warehouse Appliance has the largest inventory of gas refrigerators in the U.S., and we can help you find the right gas fridge for you. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have about gas refrigerators and propane appliances. We are here to help you as you consider the advantages of using propane in your home. Call the gas appliance experts at Warehouse Appliance today at 928-636-1955.