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Frig/freezer condensation

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I need to apologize for not thanking sooner the responses to this topic. Since arriving in Trinidad, we have been working non stop on boat projects. Michelle's (sv Beleza) picture of the frig door is like ours. Thanks, Michelle. A contractor here cut most if the insulation off the door and side of the frig and freezer to make a two step bevel. What they found was that there were voids where a resin was somehow used with the foam and the foam melted, leaving the voids. There is a lot of humidity in the south Caribbean and the rebuild has helped the condensation problem but not solved it. This shouldn't be a hard problem to fix but so far, condensation wins.


Coming from someone who just spent the summer in extremely hot conditions in Puerto Vallarta all summer, the only problem we had with our reefer and freezer was that we were getting it too cold!  Yes, too cold.  As the days got warmer and the sea water in the marina was at 88-90 degrees, we changed our thermostat settings from 1-2 to 2-3 (with max cold being 7) for the reefer and from 2-3 to 3-4 for the freezer.  The reefer was down from 35-38 to 27-28 degrees and freezing several items.  The freezer went from 8-10 degrees to 0.  We since reset and consistently run the thermostat at the former settings.  We annually replace the gaskets on the top lift access door and the side swinging open door with just standard rubber window gaskets at Home Depot.  We also keep a heavier mat on the counter to prevent or at least slow air escape from the topside (and we see noticeable condensation under the mat as evidence that cold air is indeed still escaping).  The biggest thing we did was change our refrigeration system 2 1/2 years ago to the Technautics CoolBlue system.  We turned that on in September 2015 and haven't touched it since.

Chris and Monica

We haven't had any of the condensation problems you mention. Our freezer stays pretty reliably just below 20F, and we have to dial back the fridge to keep it from freezing our milk and produce (though the summers here in Marina Del Rey aren't really hot). A few times this last summer, we did get condensation forming on the outside of the freezer/fridge, but there didn't seem to be any "leaking" out. We've got a belt-driven seawater-cooled Grunert system - I'm not sure if they changed that in the later 46's?

Our setup has gaskets in three places on the "side doors", two strips around the doors themselves, and one thicker double-gasket around the opening. our "top load" doors just have one strip of the thinner gasket material around the doors. None of the gasketing has any tendency to freeze or stick. I haven't made any changes to the gasketing since we bought the boat, and some of the gasket material is even missing in places. I should probably replace it and see if we use less power and if the freezer gets any colder (I actually like my ice cream kinda soft, but Erin likes it rock hard).

Here are some photos of our gasketing:

-John Spiegel
Vesper, 46'

I think this will be a challenge for us when we get to warmer waters, too. This summer, the water temp was around 76 degrees, so the bottom of or freezer was used as a beer chiller-- never getting below 35. (I guess our seals are good, because the condensation never leaked out, but I would wipe it often, sometimes leave a dishtowel in, and defrost every 2-3 months.) I wanted to look into the insulation that was between the hull and "cold box" areas, but that is beyond my patience level at this time.  The rebuild of the 4" bevel seems the most likely help, I wouldn't use any spray foam- that stuff is nasty! The airtight-watertight butyl gasket I used helped with the top leaking air-- stopped it immediately.
As for the teak... sniff, sniff... the battle scar will probably remain.
Our interior is Epiphanes Rubbed Effect, and you can strip the section and TSP clean it, but you're working with veneer, soooo maybe a cut out and patch would be better. Rockler sells veneer as well as the stains you'll need to match the interior.
And then have a cocktail!!
SV Beleza 46 #44

Thanks for your response, Michelle. I'm not near the boat so can't take picture but my door looked just like yours. Last year, I couldn't find the right size round gasket so we fiberglassed the recess in the door and installed 'D' gasket sized to mfg specs. Also had flat gasket on door perimeter and 1/2" foam sheet against the entire door side in the box. This change had no impact; ice quickly formed beside the outside of D gasket on the flange. Problem is that the flange in that area is not insulated. It doesn't help that boat is in tropics with high humidity. So, I'm thinking of rebuilding the Approx 4" beveled door edge and box edge with a stepped bevel that will get some insulation on the box side of the gasket contact area. Or maybe just fill the gap with spray foam, slam the door shut forever and enjoy a cocktail topsides.

Jim h46-53


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