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Old 07-17-2013, 09:16 AM   #1
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City: Hong Kong
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domestic fridges with heat dissipation on the sides

I have recently bought 3 domestic fridges and freezers for my house - each of them is dissipating the heat through the sides of the unit....(the sides get really warm) and the installation instructions says that the cut-out space on the sides must be equal to the width of the units + 1/4".....I am wondering how these units dissipate the heat -is it really through the sides walls?????

I did considering to add some extra insulation on the sides but this might actually not be beneficial - considering that I would then be preventing the heat dissipation.........

So the big question is if marine fridges and freezers are using the same heat dissipation system as the domestic types?

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Old 07-17-2013, 09:36 AM   #2
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My marine AC/DC refrigerator dissipates heat by air in under the bottom, up the back, across the top, and out. Many domestic refrigerators have heat dissipating coils at the back. It is for sure that heat will need to be dissipated and you just need to go with the frige that works best for your install arrangement.

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Old 07-17-2013, 09:44 AM   #3
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There are no coils on the back of any of these units...which (to me) means that the heat is dissipated though the sides of the units - which raises the question of how efficient it is to have less than 1/4" space between the "dissipator" and the frame - which again means that our normal way of "extra" insulating them might not work with domestic fridges....which again means that there might be a reason to chose units with the traditional heat dissipating coils on the back.....
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Old 07-17-2013, 09:56 AM   #4
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Depends on the style of the unit. I have a standalone freezer, and a small dorm fridge that have the condensing tubing just under the exterior shell. Adding extra insulation to the outside shell of these units will not work.

I also have a dutch door style fridge/freezer frost-free where the condensing coil is underneath the unit, and the air is circulated through the coil by a fan. This unit needs to have the coils brushed and vacuumed frequently to prevent dust build-up from blocking air-flow (dog hair removal). There is a heat strip arround the door that is used to prevent condensate build-up, and a drip pan under the freezer unit, near the fan, that catches all the melt from the frost-free cycle. This unit might function with additional insulation arround the top, sides and back of the fridge, but I think the doors, and door seals are where most of the heat infiltration would be.

Questions to answer about this style of unit - will the extra insulation prevent condensation build-up on the outside of the cabinet? That is what the airflow gap is suposed to do. - Can the exterior heat strip, and the defrost cycle be disabled to conserve energy (battery drain)? - Are there issues with defrost cycle melt-off splashing out of the catch pan?

I think keeping a unit like this filled, so there is not as much air exchange when the door is opened, and having the contents acting as a thermal mass, would be just as beneficial.

I'm thinking a very old style 1950/60s fridge with an external condenser coil on the back, and a door latch would be optimal to modify for this application.
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