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Installing a gas fridge

Is it best practice to install a gas fridge on a narrowboat. The fridge we currently have is 240v but hasn't got a power supply to it. There is a gas pipe to install a fridge on gas but I have no idea what other safety features may be required.

Asked by: Kate Somerfield  | 9.29pm, Monday 11 October


WW says:

There are basically two types of gas fridge, room sealed and non-room sealed. The non-room sealed types draw their combustion air from the cabin and exhaust it via an external flue terminal or, in some cases, back into the cabin. The most commonly found fridge of this type is the Electrolux three fuel fridge (gas, 12-volt and 230-volt). Room sealed fridges draw their combustion air from the outside and exhaust it to the outside through a balanced flue. The burner is also isolated from the cabin. This type is made by Dometic and operates only on gas.
Following a tightening of the regulations, you would be unlikely to find a properly qualified gas fitter prepared to install a non-room sealed fridge on a boat. I understand that Dometic has discontinued the room-sealed type because of lack of demand. One reason for this was the high initial price of the fridge and the cost of installation.
The vast majority of boats therefore have an electric fridge nowadays. These can be 12-volt models like the Shoreline or Ranger, or a 230-volt domestic model run through an inverter.
12-volt fridges generally take less power from the battery to run but they are more expensive to buy - typically £400. You also need to ensure that the wiring is capable of supplying the relatively high current drawn at start-up. Conversely, 230-volt fridges are cheaper to buy but they tend to be more power-hungry. You may also need to buy an adequately sized inverter if there is not one already fitted, and this also takes power to run itself.
For the record, we have a 12-volt Shoreline model on our own boat and we are very satisfied with it.

Graham Booth  | 12.28PM, Tuesday 12 October

Gas fridges on boats have gone out of fashion. This is due mostly because the Boat Safety Scheme requires any new gas appliance to be installed according to the manufacturers instructions, and there is not a gas fridge available recommended for boats since Dometic withdrew their appliance.
Older private boats that had a gas fridge when the scheme came in are allowed to keep them,
however the problem comes when they need replacing, which is probably why your boat has a (suitably capped I hope)redundant gas pipe. If you have no onboard mains power to run your current fridge, your best course of action might be to fit a 12 Volt appliance. Adding a solar panel will help supply the extra power consumed from the cabin batteries by the fridge when moored up, as well as keeping them topped up when the boat is not being used.
Going down the mains power appliance route might seem a good idea, but inverters can be quite expensive and the batteries and charging system need to be able to cope with the extra power demands.

Rupert Smedley  | 1.21PM, Monday 8 November

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