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Old 05-09-2016, 01:15 PM   #1
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Residential Refrigerator: Upgrade or Downgrade

I see a lot of post about a Residential Refrigerator Upgrade. Is it really an Upgrade? I would like to hear the pros and cons.

MADP, Jeep, Blue Ox, SMI AFO, Solar: 900w/672a, Amish cooling unit, Lifetime: SKP & Days End
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Old 05-09-2016, 01:31 PM   #2
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Pro: Ice cream isn't soupy. Nothing spoils when temps are in the 90s. Larger inside with same size outside. No more vents. Possibility of fire greatly reduced.

Con: The generator needs to be run a lot more often, so I look for shore power if possible.

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Old 05-09-2016, 02:29 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by ByeTheWay View Post
I see a lot of post about a Residential Refrigerator Upgrade. Is it really an Upgrade? I would like to hear the pros and cons.
There is no doubt that for most purposes it is an upgrade. For hard core boondockers that don't use solar it could be a problem. Current RV suitable refers are not power hogs and a moderately capable solar system can handle them quite well.
Don, Sandee & GSD Zeus. Gardian Wings earned are GSDs Gunny (7/11/15) & Thor (5/5/15)
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Old 05-09-2016, 02:54 PM   #4
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Our Phaeton has residential refrigerator. Definitely an upgrade. An additional pair of batteries provide for power needs. We boondocks.
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Old 05-09-2016, 06:50 PM   #5
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Done right definite upgrade.
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Old 05-09-2016, 07:21 PM   #6
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I consider it a major upgrade. The residential weighs less than a regular rv refer. For the same size, it can hold more. Power is not a problem, you do not have to have power to them 100% of the time. I have gone 20 hours without power and things were still frozen.
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Old 05-10-2016, 08:02 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by ByeTheWay View Post
I see a lot of post about a Residential Refrigerator Upgrade. Is it really an Upgrade? I would like to hear the pros and cons.
Major downgrade.

I boondock about 90% of the time and I do have solar. Propane is so much simpler. Put a few 2-by blocks under the wheels and you're good to go. If you're so far out of level the absorption reefer is in danger, you don't want to park there anyway.

My 30 year old Dometic died and I'm looking for one of these propane reefers everyone is removing in favor of compressor units. They're really not around which convinces me that the modification is not as popular as the internet forums would lead you to believe.

I decided not to put an Amish Cooling Unit in mine because the plastic was pretty yellow and well, 30 years old. I fell for the internet hype and junked it, but can't even find a older unit to repair.

By the way, my ice cream was always fine.

Anyone in Ohio, preferably northern, is quite welcome to prove me wrong. The ones on Craigslist are overpriced and were removed by hacks.

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Old 05-10-2016, 08:13 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by ByeTheWay View Post
I see a lot of post about a Residential Refrigerator Upgrade. Is it really an Upgrade? I would like to hear the pros and cons.
In my opinion a residential refigerator is not an "upgrade".
BTW IMO neither are LEDs in clearance, marker, tail, and brake lights... and in many interior light fixtures.
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Old 05-10-2016, 08:29 AM   #9
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How many who say a residential fridge is a downgrade have one ?

If my gas one fails, I will go residential. I have been running a residential fridge on my boat for 6 years on solar.

120 AH a day isn't to tough to harvest from solar.
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Old 05-10-2016, 08:29 AM   #10
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My 3 Way died last year. Replaced with apartment sized residential fridge from HD at less than 20% of the cost of like 3 Way repair/replace was not a question. Outside size exactly same making swap easy, larger capacity with negligible weight difference.
My travels don't include much boon docking however while traveling 6-8 hrs. a day with a short gen run at lunch, temps have held well, so well in fact I could forgo the noon gen session if needed.
Granted; could add inverter and additional batteries however cost of doing so merely pushes closer to replacement costs I wished to avoid. Then there's the added maintenance for that addition.
In my situation and opinion the residential direction is an upgrade of economic and service proportion.

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Steve B. Oconee County, GA
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Old 05-10-2016, 02:05 PM   #11
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The only real advantage of an absorption fridge is that it can be operated on propane. It's cheap and efficient to cool food & drink that way when no shore power is available. If that's a significant plus for you, then a residential is a downgrade.

Otherwise, I think a residential is an upgrade. You get more interior space for the same size box and more consistent temperatures inside (due to forced air circulation). And a compressor-driven fridge actually uses less electricity than an absorption fridge in AC mode. often a lot less. That's a plus for use of 20A or 30A shore power.
Gary Brinck
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Old 05-10-2016, 03:32 PM   #12
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I think this question is as loaded as much as it gets. I go to the dunes, and I think it's a downgrade, due to having to use the batteries and/or genset. I also have a gas coach now, and not a bank of batts like a DP has. If and when I get a DP, I will reconsider.

I think it can be an upgrade, and a downgrade, but it depends strongly on your situation. I hope I didn't give a loaded answer
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Old 05-10-2016, 04:55 PM   #13
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I am always on shore power and I enjoy having a household Whirlpool unit.

Pros: auto defrost. I HATE having to do the messy job of manual defrosting of the original Dometic

Not needing the rig perfectly level. Mine always lists to the left (bent undercarriage from previous owner)

circulating fan keeps air moving, no rotten fruit.

variable Temps for freezer and refrigerator. Having an actual FREEZER.


Noisy, of you're used to the quiet of a RV unit

No 12v or propane backup.

having to get a pro to cap the propane line.
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Old 05-10-2016, 08:00 PM   #14
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Used to have an absorption fridge.

Moved UP to a residential fridge.



Jim & Kate
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Canada, eh?
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refrigerator, upgrade

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