About ammonia refrigerators and the absorption system

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What does the Ammonia do in the Absorption System?

Ammonia refrigerators, also known as gas refrigerators, operate from an absorption system that use ammonia as the active key ingredient are made specific as a non electric appliance. Typically you will see these units as propane gas refrigerators in recreational vehicles. Ammonia is the key ingredient among 4 total ingredients within the cooling unit also referred to as the absorption system. Water is the other liquid ingredient. Sodium Chromate is a powder substance that acts as an anti corrosive. This combats the highly corrosive ammonia. The fourth ingredient is Hydrogen gas which pressurizes the system to over 300 PSI. This is also true for ammonia freezers

Another common question is “Will freezing temperatures affect the cooling unit since it is filled with liquid?” The liquid is pressurized by the Hydrogen gas therefore it protects the liquid from freezing. The absorption system can be in use or just static in sub freezing temperatures without adverse affects.

With all 4 ingredients mixed together, the color is a bright yellow/green which is the original color of the Sodium Chromate. This color aids in leak detection. Either in wet form or dry state, the bright yellow/green color showing anywhere on the cooling unit coils will signal a leak. The other tell tale sign of a leak is the smell of ammonia. Ammonia has a very strong odor and is sometimes used in cleaning agents. it can literally take your breath away. In high doses it can be dangerous. For the most part, a propane powered refrigerator is considered safe and have been in continuous use in some cases for over 60 years. Read more about this…

About the Absorption Refrigerator

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What is an Absorption Refrigerator?

What is an Absorption Refrigerator? It is exactly what the name implies. The unit refrigerates by absorbing the warm air from the interior and expelling it to the exterior. Within the gas refrigeration industry, this process is accomplished by using a sealed absorption system containing a solution mixture of ammonia, water, sodium chromate, and hydrogen. The mixture is boiled by a flame usually fueled by either propane gas or natural gas.

The active ingredient is the ammonia which turns from liquid to vapor and back to a pure liquid again. This pure ammonia liquid absorbs the warm air through aluminum plates on the fridge back wall, freezer back wall, and freezer floor. This system uses no motors, compressors, or any moving parts. This is all accomplished by heat boiling the solution and it rising to the top of the sealed system where gravity takes over and allows the liquid to flow through the coil system at a rate determined by slight downward angles of the tubing.

The system is very simple in operation but very complicated in design. A very slight change in angle can alter performance and lower efficiency. A couple percentage difference in the solution ingredients will also change the gas refrigerator performance . Any weakness in a weld will shorten lifespan. All these factors must be correct in order to produce an efficient unit with top performance. Strict quality control is vital toward good production results.

At Warehouse Appliance, we rely on our many years of experience in using gas freezers and fridges, servicing gas refrigerators, and repairing gas fridges, and our warranty records to make the business decision of promoting the best brand. We choose the EZ Freeze brand.

We rate the EZ Freeze quality control as the best in the industry. EZ Freeze is the only company that produces the absorption system in house at the factory. No outside contracting is used in production. Over 50% of the production process is centered around quality checks within the production line of the product. A high pressure flushing occurs immediately after the welding process is complete to remove any weld slag or foreign objects that may be inside of the coils. The absorption system is then baked in an oven to relieve stresses and reduce the risk of stress cracks during its lifespan. The oven baking process also aids in sterilization of the internals of the absorption unit prior to filling. Baking off the oils and impurities. Each unit is then pressurized and leak tested before installation in the cabinet. The EZ Freeze absorption units are all made on a jig and foamed in a mold and are interchangeable at anytime in it’s life span with a new unit. This promotes consistency and reparability. It may seem excessive, but after all, this is the heart of the absorption refrigerator. It is also the most labor intensive part of production so it must be 100% before the unit ever gets to the consumer.

Further down the production line near completion, each unit is tested in the factory “Hot Room” which simulates a harsh operating environment with temperatures of 100 degrees Fahrenheit and high humidity levels. Each unit must pass well within the limits of good food keeping temperatures after this 16 hour torture test. The results are recorded on each refrigerator prior to packaging. No over company within this industry does this.

When asked about these strict quality control issues, EZ Freeze ownership replies “We realize that most of our fridges are used in remote areas. Hard to get to and from areas. It puts a great hardship on the consumer if there is a failure and we just don’t want to see that happen.” Click here to read about the history on propane refrigeration.

Danby and Consul Propane Refrigerators

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DANBY GAS REFRIGERATOR – CONSUL GAS REFRIGERATOR

One of the most popular Propane Refrigerators for off-grid living. This gas refrigerator is Baja proven for over 20 years with excellent results!! We consider this a small propane refrigerator. Made by Consul in Brazil and also labeled by Danby. We offer a repair DVD for those looking to keep these units operating like new for years to come. This unit has a 7.8 cubic foot box and freezer compartment. Removable shelving, molded 18 egg rack, and a battery operated interior light. Three easy glide shelves and large vegetable crisper. European rounded door with recessed handles. Reversible door hinges for left or right hand opening. The temperature control and piezo ignition system is easily accessed on a front panel. Includes a safety shut-off valve. Reversible doors. No electric plugs needed!.This unit has been discontinued by the manufacturer. Please see the EZ Freeze EZ-10 for the most comparable model.

 Danby Consul Propane Gas Refrigerator

Consul CQE22B – Danby DPR2262W

 Specifications
 Overall Dimensions  H=57 1/8″ X W=24 1/4″ X D=28″
 Interior Dimensions (Freezer)  H=7 1/4 ” X W=17″ X D=13 1/2″
 Interior Dimensions (Fridge)  H=35″ X W=20″ X D=17 1/2″
 Refrigerator Capacity  6.7 cubic feet
 Freezer Capacity  1.1 cubic feet
 Color  White
 LP Gas Consumption  High flame = 1600 btu/hr. or 2.93 gal. per 7 days
Low flame = 700 btu/hr. or 1.28 gal. per 7 days
Average = 1.5 – 1.75 gal. per 7 days
 Hook-up
Buy the Connector
 3/8″ Male Flare Fitting
 Actual Weight  202 Lbs.
 Shipping Weight  220 Lbs
 Service  Danby / Consul Propane Gas Refrigerator Service Repair DVD
 Natural Gas Option  Conversion kit = $75.00
 Thermometer Option  Remote wireless digital thermometer. =$39.95
 Ice Cube Tray Option  Aluminum Ice Cube Tray
= $9.99 ea. or buy 3 get 1 free
 Pricing  No longer available – See EZ-10

 

Repair DVD for the Danby Consul Gas Fridge

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Danby / Consul Propane Gas Refrigerator Service Repair DVD

The Danby / Consul Gas Refrigerator has been in production for over 30 years using the original designs of the components. With the correct care and gas fridge maintenance, these units have been in service since their introduction to the market. We have repaired hundreds of units and brought them back to life from what the owner considered “dead”. Now we offer our expert repair DVD to show you how we do gas refrigerator repair on the Danby / Consul units. DVD Features Include; Set-up tips, General Maintenance, Lighting Instructions, Cleaning the Burner, Replacing the Thermocouple, Checking Gas Pressure, Leak Testing, Cooling Unit Diagnosis, Cleaning the Flue, Permanent fix for the “Factory Design Flaw” and Much More…
Danby Consul DVD = $49.95 Click here to order the DVD

Danby Propane Refrigerator Comparison Information

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Danby Propane Refrigerator – vs – the EZ Freeze EZ-10

Imported and private labeled by the Danby Corporation, this gas refrigerator is identical to the Consul Fridge. Both made by Whirlpool of Brazil, these units only differed by the name plate on the front door. Production of these units ended in 2012 and are not available anymore. No plans to bring the brand back are on the horizon. Some parts are available and service is still available as well. Our service department continues to repair them for our local customers or those who don’t mind trucking or shipping them to our facility. Others may choose to get outside help by purchasing the Danby Repair DVD. On today’s market a well kept unit is resalable from anywhere between $600.00 and $1000.00. A comparable new model made by EZ Freeze (EZ-10) will sell for $1399.00 on today’s sale marketplace. Both are considered a small propane refrigerator.

With the proper care and maintenance the Danby refrigerators were a great asset to any off-grid vacation home, hunting camp, or full time off-grid home. One of the major draw backs to the Danby Consul fridge was the small freezer size. The 1.1 cubic foot capacity is only large enough for 2 frozen chickens and a couple of ice trays. The newer EZ Freeze EZ-10 freezer compartment measures out at 2.2 cubic feet which is moderate for a cabin size fridge. The Danby Consul fridge has been the industry leading cabin size fridge for many years, but with them being discontinued the choices have narrowed to the 10 cubic foot size. Cost is slightly higher but the gain in capacity and much less maintenance and headache is well worth the price. The EZ Freeze propane refrigerator for sale on our site here

Danby Propane Refrigerator Information

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Danby Gas Refrigerator – All-Purpose Refrigerators Requiring No Electric Power

Danby propane refrigerator is among the popular gas refrigerators around today. This exceptional refrigerator is an excellent appliance to have in off-grid locations, cabins as well as vacation homes. It doesn’t matter how long electric power may be unavailable in your location, you will have your food items, perishable items as well as other items well preserved with Danby gas fridge and other gas refrigerators such as the Consul gas refrigerator.

Danby gas refrigerator is ideal for use in:

Vacation homes

Cabins

Remote locations

It is also perfect for use as an emergency backup

Features:
Danby Fridge works perfectly to produce great value for the money invested. You will find 7.8 cubic foot box unit with freezer compartment, having other features such as removable shelving, interior light (battery-powered), egg rack, glide shelves (three) and massive vegetable crisper. The refrigerator also comes with removable crystal compartments, recessed-handle European rounded door, reversible door hinges as well as other standard features. This unit is consider a small propane refrigerator compared to the EZ Freeze line of larger models.

Other features include piezo ignition and temperature control systems integrated in such an easily accessible manner. There’s also safety shut-off valve, and of course, no electric plugs are needed. The Danby gas refrigerator keeps your perishable items intact and helps you preserve just anything without relying on conventional electric power to do so. This item is an excellent buy for everyone; whether you are residing in the center of the city or in remote locations where there may be no electric power supply. Vacation homes and cabins are also known to benefit greatly from these exceptional refrigerators as they have their foods and other items well preserved without relying on solar or regular electric power supply.
These refrigerators also feature male flare fitting (3/8 inches).

Unfortunately production of the Danby Propane Refrigerator ceased a few years ago.  Parts for the refrigerators are becoming increasingly hard to find.  We try hard to find parts for those consumers who have a refrigerator that needs help, but its getting harder and harder to do.  We did buy a large quantity of parts and pieces after the Danby factory stopped producing the product but these pieces are limited.  We will continue to try and find parts, even used parts when available.

This was the smallest propane refrigerator for sale in our lineup until the factory stopped production. The smallest unit we sell today is the EZ Freeze EZ-10.

Here’s a quick look at the features of the Danby gas refrigerator:

Manual piezo ignition

The refrigerator light is powered by D size dry cell battery

Gas Consumption Low 700 BTU/hour

Gas Consumption High 1600 BTU/hour

Door shelves and egg storage are integrated

Easily accessed handles

Vegetable crisper

Wire shelves ( 3 full width)

 

Consul Propane Refrigerator – Service Notifications

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Consul Refrigerator – Service Issues

In the Mid 1980’s, there were very few gas refrigerators in production on the retail market. In fact there were only 2 brands that were considered reliable. One brand name was the Consul. Made in Brazil and imported into North America. Based on an average electric fridge, the Consul was small. It was common place for a home owner to purchase 2 and use them side by side to accommodate the entire family. Although the 1940 model Servel propane gas refrigerators looked much larger, the capacities of both brands were very similar at about 8 cubic feet.

Compared to the 1940 Servel units, the Consul gas fridge freezer was much more efficient and reliable. Compared to a 2014 model EZ Freeze, the Consul is slightly less efficient and much less reliable. Considering the age of design of the three mentioned fridges, the reliability is par for the course based on age of design.

What design issues does the Consul propane refrigerator have? Most of the design flaws center around the burner area. The most common issue that we see is the burner burning foul due to ingested debris. This can not only cause the LP refrigerator to not cool properly but also be dangerous to the homeowner if left unattended. Very high levels of carbon monoxide can result in health issues. The old 1940 Servel units showed these same traits but on a much worse scale.

When the burner gets fouled by debris the flame puts off soot through the exhaust. This soot will coat the boiler and lower the boiler temperature and as a result the refrigerator interior temperature will rise above safe food keeping temperatures.

Pictures on this page show a severely neglected Consul burner and the resulting soot ball the was cleaned out by our service technician. This is one of the worst cases we have seen. This Consul unit required a full burner rebuild. When it left the shop, it was in good working order with interior temperatures at 29 degrees Fahrenheit in the refrigerator compartment.

We used the same step by step procedure for this rebuild as we show in the Danby / Consul Repair DVD.

Consul Propane Refrigerator – Parts

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Consul Propane Refrigerator Parts Information

Do you have a Consul propane refrigerator? Since they are no longer being made, it is a valuable gas fridge. Some of the controls and critical parts are still available for gas fridge maintenance. Most Consuls that are in need of repair or service can be fixed. Parts like thermostats and cooling units are not available, but most of the burner parts are. We have supplied a list of parts below that we carry in stock.

#DYN-201 Gas Refrigerator Repair DVD
#DYN-202 Flue Extension Pipe
#DYN-203 Flue Brush
#DYN-205 Baffle with wire
#DYN-207 Burner
#DYN-208 Piezo Electrode
#DYN-209 Thermocouple
#DYN-212S Orifice – Low Altitude 0-2500′
#DYN-212H Orifice – High Altitude 2501- and up
#DYN-213 Air Intake Fitting – Brass
#DYN-223A Gas Feed Line
#DYN-232 Piezo Sparker and Wire

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.