About the Consul Refrigerator

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Information on the Consul propane refrigerators

The Consul Refrigerator is no longer in production. The factory has ceased production in 2012 with no plans to restart. It was the smallest of the gas fridges that we sold with 7.8 cubic foot capacity. The smallest unit we currently sell is the EZ Freeze EZ-10 at 10 cubic feet overall capacity. The Consul unit was built in Brazil by the Whirlpool Corporation. Production was briefly moved to Argentina for economic reasons, but after only a few years, production returned to Brazil. The units’s production run spanned over 30 years with very little changes made in design within the past 20 years. The main cooling unit remained identical throughout the last 25 plus years. Many cabinet cosmetic changes were made in this time frame and only a handful of mechanical control updates occurred.

For the most part, they are very reliable propane refrigerators with only a few quirks. Maintenance is higher than the EZ Freeze Brand and most other modern built gas refrigerators. Some folks experience some frustration with the maintenance due to inexperience. We have serviced over 1000 Consuls at our repair facility over the years and it is rare that we can’t bring one back to life. Usually the repairs are under $200.00 which includes a full service. cleaning, and a thorough testing.

They are very simple in design with no moving parts. Most problems are related to servicing of the burner caused by owner neglect. The unit does have one factory design flaw that we have identified and developed a cure for. This flaw is present in every machine but usually only rears it’s head in operating climates over 2500 feet in elevation. It poses little to no danger to the user other than the fact that the food will not be cold and can cause spoilage.

We realize there are thousands of units in vacation homes or hunting camps within North America and we cannot possible service everyone of them. We offer technical telephone help to customers that purchased the original unit from us. The repairs are too time consuming to do a walk thru over the telephone. Our staff has put together a gas refrigerator Repair DVD for those interested to learn how we keep these units in tip top running order.

Gas Freezers vs Solar Freezers

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There are two types of freezers used in off-grid living.

The two types of freezers used are gas powered or DC powered. Both are produced with a high insulation value to create the best efficiency. The major considerations between a Propane Gas Freezer and a DC Electric Freezer are initial cost and availability of the power source. The power source being DC, propane gas, or natural gas.

If solar energy, wind energy, or hydro energy is available or a possibly at your location, then the DC electric freezer initial cost will be low and this will be the best choice. If none of these DC energy sources are available and purchasing the equipment to capture the DC Electricity is necessary, then the initial cost of the DC unit can easily double. The freezer must have power available at all times to keep the food storage at good freezing temperatures. This usually means that these freezers will require a battery bank for power storage during night in the case of solar powered, or when the wind is not blowing in the case of wind generated power. In some cases of hydro power, batteries may not be needed. Solar power is not free. Solar power requires batteries and batteries do wear out and must be replaced. This must be considered when doing cost analysis.

This is where the possibility of a gas freezer may be best. Gas Freezers can operate from stored LPG (Propane) gas or piped in Natural Gas. In some cases, a natural gas well is available on the property site and a natural gas freezer would be ideal. An un-metered well means free power to the natural gas freezer. Propane gas is supplied either by truck to a permanent tank on the property or smaller portable tanks that can be transported and filled at a filling site. Permanent tanks are available in a variety of sizes ranging from 100 gallons to over 1000 gallons. The freezer can operate from any size tank. The question is, for how long. It is typical for a propane freezer to use approximately 2 to 3 gallons of LPG per 7 days.

What are some of the other differences? Performance, portability, and availability.

Performance between a DC powered or compressor driven unit versus a Gas Freezer or absorption system unit are only different in what is called “recovery times”. This is the time it takes for the temperatures to come down or recover to the thermostat set temperature. Both types will get as cold as one another, but the compressor driven unit has the advantage in recovery speed. It is estimated to be four times faster than that of an absorption freezer.

If you open the door or lid of either freezer to retrieve some food goods then the recovery times will only be minutes for either unit. In this case the differences between the two types is of not much concern. When putting non frozen goods into the freezer, this is when the difference of recovery speed shows up. The greatest difference of recovery speed shows when the units are started up from an ambient air temperature state. A typical chill down time for a DC Solar Freezer will be approximately 2 hours whereas the propane gas freezer may take up to 8 hours.

Both units can be portable. The Propane Gas Freezer is very portable due to the nature of the propane being in tanks. The DC freezer is also portable if the unit is operated by a portable power source such as batteries of a vehicle or a small solar system. The weight of the unit is another consideration. Gas freezers are heavier by at least 80 lbs. due to the absorption system weight.

Currently there is a very limited number of manufactures for both types. The DC Solar Freezers are available from a handful of manufacturers and only in chest style. The gas absorption freezers are only available from one manufacturer and only in upright configuration.

This brings up the last comparison. Chest style versus upright style. There are two arguments. You can decide which makes more sense. Chest style units do not allow as much cold air to escape since the lid is opening at the top and cold air falls. Upright freezers are usually open for less time since the goods are staring you in the face and are more accessible than the buried goods in the chest style. Furthermore, if the freezer is full of food then there is less air to fall out when the door is opened.

EZ-Defrost System for Gas Refrigerators

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Why are all gas refrigerators manual defrost? In order to accomplish an automatic defrost cycle that includes timers and heating elements, the unit must have electric power. This electric defrost cycle puts a large load on the electric supply. Built primarily for use in off grid non-electric locations, the manufacturers of propane gas refrigerators elect not to include this feature. The frost build-up inside of the refrigerator compartment is inevitable and eventually will lower the efficiency of any gas non-electric refrigerator. Depending on a few factors will determine when and how often the off grid refrigerator will need to be defrosted. The humidity in the air, number of door openings, and moisture on groceries will all contribute to frost build up and will vary depending upon the owner and climate. We find that a defrosting schedule can be as often as every 3 months or as little as once a year even within the largest propane refrigeratorEZ Freeze has developed a defrosting method that takes all of the work out of defrosting. It is as simple as turning a dial. The EZ-Defrost System is available on all models.

How do I know when it’s time to defrost my Gas Refrigerator?

Here at WarehouseAppliance.com we have been using propane refrigerators for over 30 years. We have come up with a simple way to determine when defrosting is required. A non electric refrigerator will have aluminum cooling fins located on the back wall of the refrigerator compartment. Humidity will collect on these fins and turn to ice. We monitor these fins and find that when the frost builds up between these fins to the point where there is no air space between the fins due to ice build up, then it is time to defrost.

How does the EZ-Defrost System work?

The EZ-Defrost System includes multiple parts. First is a pan under the cooling fins inside the fridge compartment with drip spout that directs the water to a funnel mounted on the back wall of the fridge interior. The water then funnels out through the back wall and down into a removable tray on the rear of the unit. The tray is designed to either be removed and emptied or left in place where the water will evaporate due to the heated tray holder.

As close to automatic as it gets.

In order to defrost, all you need to do is turn the temperature thermostat dial to a minimum setting in the evening and in the morning the frost in the fridge will be defrosted and drained through the above process. At this point in time all you need to do is turn the thermostat dial back to where it was prior to defrosting. No need to empty the contents of the fridge. No need to turn off the unit. No need to use a hair dryer or hot water to defrost. This is why we call it the EZ-Defrost System.

 

 

Functions of a Propane Refrigerator

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How a Propane Refrigerator Functions

An absorption ammonia refrigerator or gas refrigerator still functions on the same basis as Micheal Faraday had started with. The mixture that these cooling systems use is a mixture of anhydrous ammonia, distilled water, and hydrogen vapor.

Here we analyze how a propane fridge functions. The ammonia and water is heated by a propane flame [which is why it is called a propane refrigerator] thus causing it to vaporize into a steam through the perk tube. The process that this steam is being perked, is similar to a coffee percolator. The inner tube [perk tube] in the boiler emits steam & water bubbles moving upward. Since the ammonia is lighter than water, the ammonia will turn into steam sooner then the water will. This ammonia steam is pushed up into a condenser by the hydrogen pressure while the water falls down into the outer tube and is pushed into the absorber tubes which then returns to the mixing tank [absorber tank].

As the ammonia steam is moving upward through the rectifier and on into the condenser tubes it again turns into a rich ammonia liquid. This rich ammonia liquid is pushed into the top of the evaporator tubing. After it is in the evaporator it meets the hydrogen gas moving up through the inner tube inside the evaporator. This hydrogen gas absorbs the rich ammonia. As the ammonia meets this hydrogen gas in the evaporator it creates a chemical reaction . This reaction evaporates the ammonia thus making it extremely cold at that point. This is what is called absorbing the heat, or better stated, removing the heat from the refrigerator box. See the image to the right to locate the propane refrigerator parts.

In the mean time, the water is then being pushed backwards to the absorber coils and drops downward to the absorber tank. While this is happening, the hydrogen gas passes upward through the absorber coils and “catches” any ammonia left in the weak water that is falling downward and carries it up to the top of the evaporation system and drops it into the outer tube of the evaporator. It then flows downward in a mist form causing it to become extremely cold. As it falls down , the rich ammonia returns to the absorber tank [mixing tank] and mixes with the weak water which allows it to continue with it’s cycle all over again.

An ammonia absorption cooling system is a unique design invented so that a person can operate independently by using either a propane , natural gas, or butane burner to heat the ammonia solution therefore creating and ammonia refrigerator. Earlier on, there were also many cooling units that used a kerosene burner to heat the solution. This type of refrigerator is still available on the market, yet is much more limited in supply. Read more….

Comparisons of Propane Refrigerators

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Compare Propane Refrigerators

When doing propane fridge comparisons, in times past, the SERVEL built in the 1930’s -1950’s lasted for generations due to the fact that their design was made with the intent to last a long time. In later times, the refrigeration units have become more streamline with less heavy duty materials for lighter weight and still have quality performance. An average propane gas refrigerator today will last approx. 15 yrs. By that time the box will be looking quite tattered under normal use.

The older style SERVELS were much heavier in weight than the newer style ammonia cooling systems are. These older units weighed as much as 400- 500 lbs. The newer refrigerators weight anywhere from 150-275 lbs. This again is due to lighter materials and higher quality workmanship. There is also a larger amount of selection available on the market to choose from today compared to 50 years ago.

When SERVEL in Evansville, IN sold out the business to ELECTROLUX, ELECTROLUX then sold it to DOMETIC Corp. in Sweden. The SERVEL name was still being used by DOMETIC until 2005. This refrigerator is now called a DOMETIC refrigerator which is still being produced by DOMETIC.

Some of the newer propane refrigerators for backwoods and off the grid living that are on the market today are ; DIAMOND, EZ-FREEZE, DOMETIC, CONSUL, and DANBY. These are all ammonia absorption systems that run off of either, propane, natural gas, or butane burners. The DOMETIC refrigerator is the only one that is still available with kerosene

The CONSUL and DANBY refrigerators are manufactured in BRAZIL S.A. Both made by the same company.

The DIAMOND and EZ-FREEZE refrigerators are manufactured in the USA. by separate independent companies.

As was mentioned before, an average absorption cooling unit today runs for 10-15 years. The cause of this difference in length of performance compared to the older style SERVELS is based on 1 primary thing. When SERVEL built those huge old refrigerators, the materials used on the cooling units was so much heavier and thicker, thus adding all the extra weight, that they hardly ever rusted out. The evaporator also was galvanized to prevent rusting. Rusting is a primary cause for leakage in the cooling units itself.

There are times in hard, heavy use that an ammonia absorption refrigerator will block up in the boiler section [perk tube] in 5-10 years. When this happens, the refrigerator can be recharged again. This is done by first removing the ammonia solution and then removing the blockage in the perk tube. When the unit is repaired and welded together, the unit is recharged again with new solution.

EFFICIENCY

The gas consumption on a “modern day” gas refrigerator is less than half the amount than an older SERVEL is due to the designing of this cooling system. An average amount of propane used in the older SERVELS was 3-4 lbs. a day. This is approx. ¾ gal. of propane a day. The average amount that the newer style propane refrigerators use is 1 – 1 ½ lbs. a day, an approx. amount in volume @ gal. is 1/3 gal. per day.

The amount of improvements that have been made in the newer style refrigerators [built from the mid 1970’s – today] by improved performance in gas usage is credited wholly to the improved engineering on absorption cooling systems

VENTING

The older SERVELS with their larger burners have been noted to burn much more dirty than the modern day refrigerators do. Since the modern-day propane refrigerators use only ½ the amount of fuel to operate, they are also noted to burn much cleaner. These unburned gas fumes are what they call carbon monoxide [CO]gas. When too much of this gas is emitted into a room, it will create CO poisoning if this level of CO is too high.

The older SERVELS built in the 1930’s – 1950’s were noted to emit up to 1500 parts per million [PPM] of CO gas fumes at the exhaust vent. If this would be emitted into a room 10′-20′, it would emit approx. 300-400 PPM of CO into the building [this amount varies depending on the size of the room]. This amount of CO is in a danger zone for exposure. It is highly recommended to vent an older SERVEL because of this high level of CO emission. This is due mostly because of the the design of the burner setup. The older SERVELS are not legal to operate in CANADA and are discouraged to be used by the USA. The government of United States has set up a system to reclaim these SERVEL refrigerators by paying the owner $100 + disposal costs just to get them off of the market. Many people loved the longevity of these refrigerators that have been used for 70 some years and find it hard to part with these units and therefore, creating more hazard for themselves. This is why the government wants to omit these refrigerators. Any older style SERVEL refrigerators that are still in use today can be disposed by calling, SERVEL ACTION COMMITTEE at 1-800-782-7431.

Any propane refrigerator built in the 1980’s until current are much cleaner to operate. On the average, these refrigerators will omit 20-30 PPM of CO at the exhaust vent tube, which omits approx. .001 PPM of CO in a room. The allowable amount of PPM of CO permitted in a living area is 50 PPM . At this amount of CO in any given area , no one should ever need to worry about CO poisoning with a modern day propane refrigerator.

A propane refrigerator does not generally need to be vented to the outside.

If a homeowner is to box in his propane refrigerator in a kitchen with cabinets built over the top of the refrigerator and around the sides, it is always important to put a vent in the floor towards the back of the refrigerator and on the top of the refrigerator for ventilation so that heat can escape from the cooling system . If this is not done , a refrigerator will overheat, thus causing it to loose efficiency in cooling. Read more….

The Advantages of a Propane Gas Refrigerator

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What are the advantages of a LP powered refrigerator?

A propane refrigerator is an efficient way of cooling food when one is living off the grid. There are many propane fridge advantages. Since there are no moving parts on a propane refrigerator, this then means that there are no parts to wear out. .With the propane price at $1.859 a gal., a refrigerator will cost approx. $0.60 a day to operate in warmer climates. In cooler climates such as in northern CANADA , higher altitudes, etc., a refrigerator will operate at approx. $0.45 a day. With this amount of propane gas usage a person should be able to get 20 days of use with only a 20# propane cylinder This sure beats using a cooler and ice packs to carry to your cabin every time you get there

The initial cost to purchase a propane gas refrigerator is quite a bit higher than an electric refrigerator but cheaper than a 12VDC refrigerator. But to compare an electric refrigerator with a propane refrigerator is not comparing apples with apples. An electric and 12VDC refrigerator runs with Freon and a compressor pump. A propane powered refrigerator operates with a propane gas flame to heat the ammonia and distilled water using hydrogen gas to circulate steam vapor and liquid ammonia to cool it down. No electric lines or inverters and generators to power the refrigerator.

All propane gas refrigerators are hooked up with a 3/8” copper or flexible gas line to feed the gas.

If I were to purchase a refrigerator whether electric, 12VDC, or propane, which would I choose?

Most people may think that it depends on what the application would be. This being true, I personally use a propane powered refrigerator at our house. And if I were asked why, I would say that in order to live in a house off the grid, I still believe it would be the most cost effective to operate a propane refrigerator in the long run. This is based on the amount of maintenance to operate vs. a 12VDC refrigerator. Since there are no moving parts on a propane refrigerator there is hardly any maintenance to use this type of refrigeration unit. Generally speaking, a gas refrigerator usually needs to be cleaned only twice a year by cleaning the burner area and flue tube. No compressor unit to go bad . No batteries to charge.

How to Buy a Propane Refrigerator

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THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A PROPANE REFRIGERATOREZ Freeze absorption cooling unit

Purchasing a propane refrigerator is not a small investment and buying it from a reliable company is as important as the refrigerators’ quality and durability. You can make your investment worthwhile by choosing a company that is dedicated in providing you with excellent service and assistance when needed. Warehouse Appliance has be around for decades and we’re not going anywhere!  We not only know the best brands to purchase but also know how to set-up, maintain, repair and service all brands of propane refrigerators.

WAREHOUSE APPLIANCE KNOWS ALL ABOUT PROPANE REFRIGERATORS

Warehouse Appliance specializes in offering a wide variety of quality natural gas and propane refrigerators that are available in different sizes, designs and features.  Warehouse Appliance not only offers propane refrigerators but also provides propane freezers, parts and their accessories.

When deciding to purchase the propane fridge or freezer, browse our site and take advantage of the wealth of information published here or just give us a call at 928-636-1955 and we can help with any questions.

OUR CUSTOMER REVIEWS ARE EXCELLENTSee our testimonials page and read what our customers say about us.  Although many of our sales come from internet searches, many sales are a result of a referral or “word of mouth” between neighbors and friends.  It is no accident that we are the authorities when it comes to gas refrigerators sales and service within the USA.  We treat all our customers like they are our neighbors. After all we do all live Off-Grid.

OUR WARRANTY IS UNMATCHED

Each propane refrigerator comes with a warranty that is superior to all others in the industry. The EZ Freeze factory provides the original 60 month warranty and Dynamx, Inc / WarehouseAppliance.com adds an additional 24 month warranty  7 YEARS TOTAL – for the all important cooling unit. Customers facing any technical problems with their propane refrigerators or freezers can contact our staff at Warehouse Appliance with their sales invoice, model and serial number in hand and inform the staff about the issue. We gladly will handle all warranty issues and even non-warranty issues for you.

After viewing detailed information about the features, specifications and warranty details of the propane refrigerator you can purchase it if it suits your requirements and budget. EZ Freeze natural gas refrigerators are also available at Warehouse Appliance and are manufactured in USA by an Amish company that is dedicated to the highest quality and reliability.

Be sure to cash in on our Cash Award Program – giving you $50 for every referral to us! Many of our satisfied customers have already taken advantage of this! It’s a great deal that never ends.

We can ship your new refrigerator to most locations including your residence. Click here for more information or click here to get a custom freight quote.

How We Repair Propane Gas Refrigerators

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Repairing Propane Gas Refrigerators

Are you having continuous problems with your propane gas refrigerators? Seeking professional and a renowned company that can provide you with quality refrigerator and technical service? Warehouse Appliance offers solutions to all your problems in one place. Purchasing the right freezer or refrigerator that has the ability to keep the food fresh is vital for any business or home. We have been sellers of all the major brands of propane gas refrigerators as well as users of these products. We have trained at the factories for service issues. Our staff has over 30 years of experience in troubleshooting and servicing gas refrigerators. This is not just a Discount Supply House, we actually have service.

We offer in shop service at our location. Walk in service with your unit or we can have your unit shipped to our location for a repair and shipped back to you. Our valued customers also get free live telephone service. Our staff can walk you through the diagnosis process and guide you through a fix or repair. We are the only company in the home gas refrigerator industry that has developed and produced Repair & Service DVD’s. Dynamx, Inc has produced a series of Set up, Service, and Maintenance DVD’s for different brands within the industry. The Danby or Consul Repair DVD guides the viewer through a complete gas refrigerator repair service of an actual refrigerator that has been neglected over the years and was considered “dead” by the owner. We brought the fridge back to life in this twenty plus minute DVD. We show all the tricks and tips to keep a Danby Refrigerator or Consul Refrigerator operating like new for years and years to come.

The Diamond Gas Refrigerator DVD set includes a Set-up, Service, & Maintenance DVD along with a Cooling Unit Replacement DVD. If your Diamond gas powered refrigerator suffers from a shortened lifespan or a leaking cooling unit, this DVD will guide you through the replacement procedure of the cooling unit. This brand is not as susceptible to a cooling unit clog failure as other brands, but it is common in the 2005 models and more recent models will have fuse leaks or fill valve leaks. We have also seen many defective welds.

The EZ Freeze brand has the least amount of warranty or repair issues of any brand we have sold through our 30 years within the industry. We offer the Maintenance DVD free of charge to all our EZ Freeze LP fridge customers. It describes typical annual maintenance suggestions as well as the simple set-up procedure.

What you need to know before buying propane gas refrigerators

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How to purchase a Propane Gas Refrigerator

All products that are available at Warehouse Appliance, including the propane gas refrigeratorsare tested in an off-grid living environment before selling the brand to our customers. Warehouse Appliance offers service and we do gas refrigerator repair for a large number of refrigerators and freezers of many well known and renowned brands such as Danby, Consul, Diamond, Crystal Cold, Zero, EZ Freeze, Miller Refrigeration, Blizzard, and many others. We offer a gas fridge that will suit any size family and any lifestyle. Once you have selected the gas refrigerator that best suits your requirements and budget you can order it online by shopping on our site or call our staff at (928) 636-1955 to place the order via telephone.

Our staff will work with you to provide the best shipping method to get the unit to the final destination on time and in tact. You may obtain a shipping quote prior to purchasing by visiting or shipping quote page. We pride ourselves in our years of experience not only in using, servicing, and repairing the refrigerators we sell, but also in the logistics of shipping these fridges to every corner of the world. Our staff goes the extra mile to help prevent freight damage by packing the unit with wood crating on the critical sides. We only use reputable carriers for delivery. Our shipping rates are discounted heavily due to the large quantity we ship with carriers such as UPS Freight, USF Reddaway, OLD Dominion, and Estes Express to name just a few.

After you have received your new unit, our involvement does not end there. We provide each unit with a Set-up, Service, and Maintenance DVD for your education on all these points. The units also include a 28 page owners manual for reference. And best of all is the fact that our staff has trained at all the gas refrigerator factories and have extensive knowledge to answer any of you questions via telephone. We are also users of the product and can help with typical questions regarding everyday living with a gas LP fridge. “Our 30 years of service is at your service”

How To Test Gas Pressure

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Manometer to test LPG pressure

Although most gas appliances are not sensitive to slight gas pressure variations, performance of a gas refrigerator is very dependent upon the correct gas pressure. Checking the gas pressure should always be a part of a any gas fridge maintenance program or gas refrigerator repair. We suggest to have your gas supplier check your gas pressure or do it yourself with the below instructions.

Parts needed;

Approximately 60″ of clear 3/8″ flexible plastic (vinyl) tubing.

Staples or tie straps to hold tubing to back plate.

6″ x 16″ wood board or sheet metal.

Ruler.

1.) Attach the plastic tubing to the back board using staples or tie straps in a “U” shape 12″ to 14″ in both directions as per the below drawing.

2.) At about the midway point of the tubing, mark the back board with a zero location.

3.) From the zero location, place marks every 1/2″ above and below. Number the marks every one inch. Place a target arrow mark at 5 1/2″ on top and bottom. This target will equal 11 inches of water column (W.C.).

To test gas pressure;

1.) Fill the Manometer “U” tubing with water until both sides reach zero.

2.) Connect free end of tubing to the gas supply line. A slip fit or hand held fit should be sufficient. Be sure it does not leak.

3.) Hold the Manometer vertical and slowly turn the gas supply on.

4.) The pressure will push the water down the input side and up the output side. The combined sum of both distances is the “inches of water column pressure”. The target is 5 1/2″ + 5 1/2″ = 11 inches of W.C.

5.) Most high quality regulators will have an adjustment screw usually covered with a plug or plastic screw cap. Turn the adjuster screw slightly and repeat steps 3 & 4 until 11″ W.C. is achieved.