Maintenance for Gas Refrigerators

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How to do maintenance on your gas fridge or gas freezers.

Because there are no moving parts in these gas refrigerators and gas freezers, there’s not much maintenance needed. One very important thing you can do to keep the unit working to it’s maximum efficiency is to periodically clean the flue. The flue will soot up due to impurities in the gas. The dirtier the gas, the more soot will develop. Turn the unit off and let the flue cool for awhile. Place something over the burner orifice to protect it from the falling soot. Place a rag or piece of tin foil under the unit to catch any falling soot. Remove the baffles from the flue (if any). Be careful!! They may be hot. Use the Flue Brush and gently scrub the full length of the flue. Rotate the brush a few times to get all the soot possible.

One other common occurrence is debris in the Burner Air Intake. If the gas fridge or gas freezer has been sitting for awhile, spiders like the smell of propane and will make webs in the burner area and the unit will not light or burn with a dirty foul flame. Dirt, dust, pet hair, insects, lint, or anything migrating behind the gas fridge will increase the chances of the burning running foul. If the flame tip is yellow or orange, then chances are, there is debris in the Burner Tube and Air Intake. It is very easy to remove. Turn the unit off. Using a piece of 1/4″ flexible rubber hose, just aim it at the Air Intake of the Burner and blow through the other end to clean out the debris. Using compressed air or “air in a can” works well also. Be sure the unit is off and cooled before using “air in a can” since it can be highly flammable. Re-light the unit and visually check the flame. It should be a crisp blue flame with a white or yellow tip. To prevent debris from getting into the burner tube and creating this problem, it’s a good idea to vacuum under and around your gas refrigerator or gas freezer often. This is best gas fridge maintenance practice.

A more detailed description for servicing gas refrigerators is available on DVD along with many other troubleshooting and repair tips and tricks. The Diamond Gas Refrigerator Service, Maintenance, Set-up, and Trouble Shooting DVD or the Danby Consul Service Repair DVD. The EZ Freeze Maintenance DVD is available FREE with the purchase of the unit.

How does LP Gas power a gas fridge?

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Using LP Gas to power a gas fridge

Liquefied Petroleum Gas is a group of compressed vapor gases of which one of the gases is propane. The vapor being a by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining. The vapor is compressed into a liquid form for transportation and storage. Propane gas is cleaner burning gas than gasoline but slightly less clean burning than natural gas. Propane gas is odorless in raw form but a fragrance is added to help in leak detection. Most describe the fragrance as a rotten egg smell.

This gas type is well suited for off grid living because it is very portable and perfect for propane appliances. Either in small steel cylinders or it can be delivered by truck to a permanent on site tank. This makes it a great solution for energy storage in any environment, therefore making it great for an off grid refrigerator.

Using propane gas to power a refrigerator seems out of the normal but in fact this application has been used since the early 1900’s. One of the more popular brands in the 1940’s was the Servel LP gas refrigerator. Many are still in operation today being used as an off grid refrigerator. These old units have been recalled and many are taken out of service and replaced with the new more modern and efficient models. Read here for more about the recall.

Depending on the size of your propane refrigerator and the number of people living out of it and the environment it is being used in will determine how much propane gas it will use. We usually see an average of 2 gallons per week. Sometimes as low as one gallon per week or as high as 3 gallons per week in the extreme. The flame only burns 1750 BTU on high flame and 800 BTU on low flame. A propane refrigerator will operate most of the time on low flame. The actual physical flame size is about the size equal to a cigarette lighter. The EZ Freeze brand refrigerators are tested to put off less than 50 parts per million of Carbon Dioxide which is safe levels for home interiors.

History of a Propane Refrigerator

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HISTORY ON PROPANE REFRIGERATION

The ammonia refrigeration cooling system which is also known as an absorption cooling system was first discovered in 1824 by Micheal Faraday who tried to liquefy gases which, among them was an ammonia gas. This experiment was used in taking ammonia vapor in a glass tube with silver chloride in it and allowing it to absorb in the silver chloride powder. He then heated the chloride -ammonia mixture and watched the ammonia liquid evaporate out of the silver chloride and become cold.

This experiment later was the birth of the ammonia absorption cooling systems [HEREAFTER CALLED PROPANE REFRIGERATORS]. There has been much advancement in the understanding of this type of refrigeration in our time and age. There is also not much LP fridge history given until the early 1930’s when the SERVEL propane refrigerators were invented.

At the time of this invention there was not much refrigeration available on the market. Therefore, this become the first most popular refrigerator which at that time was sold in large cities by the 10’s of thousands for apartments, hotels, and any other application known. People had only a few other options available for refrigeration at that time.

Since then, refrigeration has greatly advanced with electric refrigerators, 12V solar DC refrigerator units, and propane gas refrigerators. These refrigerators are always being improved to add more efficiency and less energy with less money. Many people still resort to propane absorption refrigeration systems for a non electric appliance.

All About the Servel Gas Refrigerators

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Everything You Wanted To Know About Servel Gas Refrigerators

Gas refrigerators have been in production since the early 1900’s and used in households as a standard common everyday appliance until the late 1950’s when electricity and electric refrigerators became the normal. Although they were not as common as an electric refrigerator after that , they did not go extinct. The popularity continued with the use being primarily in cabins, ranches, out buildings, and vacation homes that did not have on grid electricity available. The most popular of the production units available in the 1940’s was the SERVEL Brand. Many different models were produced. The typical capacity of Servel was between 8 and 10 cubic feet. Some units were of a single door type with a small freezer section on the interior. More deluxe later models included double exterior doors with the freezer on top. Some rare models have double side by side doors. We have seen some models that have electric options such as interior lights and even electric ice makers. The units were very well insulated and made of mostly steel construction. Life span of the unit can easily reach over 60 years.

The down fall to these old gas refrigerators is the burner design. The burners were designed to run at around 3500 BTU which is double the output of a modern day propane gas refrigerator. The burner design is not as efficient as the newer models and were very susceptible to burning foul and putting off high levels of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. Considering the era in which they were designed and the materials available, it is understandable that they are not as efficient and safe as today’s propane fridges. This inefficiency resulted in a government recall. The recall offers a $100.00 payment for the disposal of each refrigerator. If you are the owner of one of these units and would like to benefit from the recall, call the Servel Action Committee at 800-782-7431 and request Recall Packet to be mailed to you. You will also be reimbursed for transportation costs associated with the disposal. Save your receipt to file with the form. You will also need to remove and mail in the ID tags from the fridge chassis and cooling absorption unit.

Although these units have a great retro look to them, they are not as safe as what is available today. The units of today also have many more features not invented in the 1940’s. Here at Warehouse Appliance, we painted one up and use it for a storage cabinet in a vacation home. It makes a great conversation piece. Read about more history of LP fridges.

What is a Gas Refrigerator?

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We answer the question… What is a gas refrigerator?

The term gas powered refrigerator describes a household, RV, or commercial refrigerator operating from a gas source in order to create cooling. The typical gas used is propane since it is portable and relatively easy to handle. The other common gas is natural gas. The EZ Freeze brand household units sold here on the WarehouseAppliance.com site can be set up for either propane or natural gas. Most RV units are manufactured as propane gas models and some have electric 110 and or 12 volt capability. Not as popular in North America, is the use of kerosene as a fuel / gas. The kerosene burns very dirty and requires constant maintenance of the burner to keep it clean.

Most household style gas fridges do not have electric power options. Considering these units are intended to be operated in a home without electrical service and coupled with the fact that the electric option consumes a very high wattage, there is not much demand for the electric option. Without the electric option, the household propane powered refrigerator models are much more simple in design and construction therefore keeping the failure of parts to a minimum. There are no moving parts of a household gas refrigerator other than the operator adjustable thermostat. The cooling unit, also know as the absorption system, is a completely sealed system with heat and gravity acting as the motivators. More on absorption systems… . We consider these units as a great alternative off grid appliance.

Some off grid appliance owners elect to use a gas refrigerator that has been salvaged from an RV motor home or RV trailer to use within the household. There a few disadvantages to this. 1.) The RV units are much smaller in capacity and usually will not provide enough space to feed a family for more than 2 or 3 days. 2.) Most of the RV units require 12 volt DC electric to keep the gas solenoids open during gas operation. Now, two power sources are needed for operation. Gas and electricity 3.) The cooling units are designed for the life expectancy of an RV which is much shorter than that of a home’s life expectancy. Due to the short lifespan, there is a large demand for rebuilding service of cooling units. Do an internet search for “rebuilt RV refrigerator cooling units” to confirm.

For the lucky that have an on-property natural gas well, an EZ Freeze Natural Gas Refrigerator is a perfect choice. This is as close as you can get to free utilities. The natural gas kit is only $75.00 and can be installed prior to the gas fridge being shipped or installed on-site afterwards.

Why do I need a Gas Fridge?

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Reasons to own a Gas Fridge are:

  • You don’t have on grid electricity.
  • You don’t like the noise an electric refrigerator makes.
  • You are EMF intolerant.
  • Your home is subject to natural disasters and power outages.
  • Dooms day is coming.

One of the most basic necessities in life is food. And food storage is vital to prolonged life. And cold food storage is important for healthy living. If you fall into any of the above scenarios or categories, then a gas fridge may be perfect for you or your situation.

All refrigerators must run from an energy source. One of the propane fridge advantages are the fact that the energy (propane gas) is able to be stored. Not only that, but the energy is portable. This fact alone gives the propane refrigerator great advantages over any electric refrigerator in some situations.

The myth that a gas refrigerator does not cool as well as an electric is not at all true. Not only will they get as cold or colder than it’s electric counterpart, the absorption unit has far less parts than an electric compressor system. Less parts equal less chance of a failure. There are virtually no moving parts within the propane gas refrigeration system with the exception of the thermostat which is moved by the user.

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 $500.00, it pays to have a gas fridge as a back up unit.

Of course in the case of off grid living there is not much of an alternative. Many will find that purchasing ice for coolers will get very expensive and eventually over run the cost of a LPG fridge. DC refrigerator solar powered units are an alternative if the area has enough sun light per day and the solar system is large enough to handle the enormous load. See them here.

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.

If you need parts for your EZ Freeze propane fridge please see our EZ Freeze parts category.

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.