Why not this fridge?

Canal Boat - - Back Cabin -

QCan a Dometic 12V fridge (as fit­ted in our caravan) be used on a nar­row­boat? If so, why aren’t they stocked by chan­dlers?

SUE LEMON, via email

ATONY REPLIES… The Dometic name is used on their ‘three-way’ fridges (gas, 12v or 240v) but they stopped sup­ply­ing them for boat use a num­ber of years ago. I sus­pect your fridge is one of these.

If so, and if this is a new boat, a gas fridge will al­most cer­tainly make it non-com­pli­ant with the RFD and may lead to a Boat Safety Fail­ure. Also, they are usu­ally elec­tric­ity-hun­gry ab­sorp­tion type units with no ther­mo­stat for 12v oper­a­tion, which is only in­tended to keep your food chilled while trav­el­ling to or from a caravan site. It will draw around 8A from the bat­tery for 24 hours a day (ie, a dis­charge of 192Ah com­pared to around 40Ah for a com­pres­sor 12v fridge), so you are likely to end up with flat bat­ter­ies (and solid toma­toes etc).

If you have suf­fi­cient bat­ter­ies and an ef­fi­cient in­verter there is much to be said nowa­days for con­sid­er­ing an A++ rated do­mes­tic mains fridge. It will be far cheaper than a 12v com­pres­sor one, and if you run it slightly cooler than nor­mal and turn it off af­ter the last door open­ing of the night and on again in the morn­ing, it may even use less than a 12v one run­ning 24/7. A few years ago I would not have sug­gested this, but mains fridge ef­fi­cien­cies have im­proved.

A mod­ern A++ mains freezer might be best

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