Saving money around the home has never been easier! If you currently have an available propane line to your house and are looking to buy a new fridge, consider a propane refrigerator. A propane refrigerator requires about 2 gallons of propane a week to run, assuming normal household ambient temperatures. With propane costing around $2.50 per gallon, you could be running your refrigerator for just $20.00 a month. Propane gas fridge freezer combination units are but more expensive outright but increase your savings when you consider the amount of electricity a freezer requires to stay at freezing temperatures. A propane freezer unit alone might save you nearly $100 a month depending on what your current electricity cost is. |
It seems hard to understand how propane can be used to keep things cold. But all refrigerators, whether it is an electric or propane refrigerator, work off of the same underlying principle. They use what is called a “heat pump”. Heat pumps basically use a heat differential to either heat or cool something. That is, depending on the system, either hot or cold is applied to one end of the pump to produce the opposite effect on the other end of the pump. In electric refrigeration a compressor is used to compress gas into liquid. When the pressure is released the evaporation of the gas absorbs heat, thereby chilling the inside of the refrigerator. The evaporation step heats up the outside of the refrigerator so that the inside can be chilled. A propane refrigerator or a propane freezer uses the same principle. In this case a propane burner is used to heat up a water and ammonia mixture. The ammonia evaporates, leaving the water, and is condensed in a condenser coil. The liquid ammonium then trickles into a chamber of hydrogen gas. The resulting chemical reaction is endothermic and is thereby used to absorb the heat from the refrigerator compartment, chilling the contents. This mixture eventually dissolves into the water releasing hydrogen gas and re-constituting the original ammonia and water mixture, starting the cycle over again.
The heat pump system of a propane gas fridge freezer is also more mechanically efficient than a comparable electric unit. Electric units require that a compressor be used to create the temperature differential to run the heat pump. Compressors are prone to mechanical failure which increase repair costs and reduce the life expectancy of the unit. The simpler mechanical design of a propane driven heat pump removes all moving parts and thus reduces long term repair costs.
With all the benefits of propane refrigeration there comes one disadvantage. Propane refrigeration requires an open flame. This can be hazardous if neglected. For instance, a propane refrigerator or propane freezer should never be installed on a carpeted surface or up against a flammable wall. The room that it is installed in should also be properly ventilated and a carbon monoxide detector should be installed in close proximity to make sure safe carbon monoxide levels are maintained. Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless so to ensure safety the detector must be checked for proper functioning regularly.
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