April 28, 2015:
No really, we do. See?
As good as that stuff is (tis me!), that’s not the really “great stuff.” We’ll get there.
So, we had been having a little trouble with our fridge for quite some time. Beads of condensation would form around the lid during the hot summer months and we were always battling a thick wall of ice that would form on the freezer after 4-5 days, which told us we had an air leak around the lid. We bloggled™ it and tried some commonly recommended cruiser remedies–a yoga mat on top of the fridge lid, a solar blanket inside the fridge, etc., which helped some but made access to the fridge a bit trickier and noisier. (The solar blanket was a complete crinkle fest!) This also did not slow the ice ring around the freezer, which was forcing us to empty the entire fridge and defrost it after every weekend trip. That was the real hassle, but, this was just for our condensation problem.
Knowing the fridge was likely going to be our next boat project, we threw a handy, dandy little fridge thermometer in during our Bon Buffett Voyage to see if we had a temp problem as well. Sadly, our suspicions were confirmed. It seemed our beloved fridge was struggling to maintain “fridge temp” (35-38 degrees Farenheit). Honestly, though, I wish we had never gotten that dastardly thermometer. Perhaps our chilled items weren’t quite 38 degrees, but they were perfectly chilled for me. We never had anything spoil before it’s time and we never got sick from any insufficiently-refrigerated poultry, so why mess with a good thing? “Because you want to catch a problem before it arises,” Phillip tells me. But, I’m still on the “if it ain’t broke,” wagon …
But, when we started monitoring the temps in the fridge, it was pretty appalling. We usually would click our fridge back on 24 hours before we planned to stock it for an outing. 24 hours later it always felt chilly, had a bit of ice forming already on the freezer, so we would throw in our provisions, thinking we were good to go. That is, until we started in with this whole thermometer business. With the thermometer in there, we learned even after 24 hours of running, the fridge would only get down to about 50 degrees. Yes, fifty. That made even me a little nervous.
So, we called in a professional. Cue Bill Nye the Fridge Guy. (Okay, that’s not his real name, I just like calling him that). It’s Bill Costello with Sea Air Marine and he’s awesome. He came highly recommended by several of our boat buddies as the most trusted marine fridge guy around, so we were happy to have him and his son come aboard and take a look.
He checked the temp in the fridge with a super handy laser thermometer.
Whatever you shoot the beam at, it registers the temperature. I wish he would have let me borrow that. I would have spent the afternoon taking the temperature of my eyeballs, tonsils and toenails. I wondered if the ricochet beam off the mirror would register temp. I was captivated by that little contraption.
Then Bill pulled out his wizard machine!
This was equally fascinating. You watch the bubbles in the cylinder to determine the level of freon in the fridge and how much freon has been added. Our fridge only holds 4 ounces of freon, and Bill, with his magic machine, determined two ounces needed to be added. Meaning, our fridge was running on half the freon needed to cool it. Bill advised that amount could have been lost over a long period time (we have no idea when the freon level in the fridge was last checked) or we could have a freon leak. He told us we would know we had a freon leak if the fridge still struggled to hold temp after he added the additional two ounces. We were hopeful Bill’s bubbles and lasers solved our temp problem, but we also wanted to fix our condensation problem as well. What was Bill’s suggestion?
Bill said he had seen this issue a lot when the top of the fridge is not sealed well to the cavity (or the seal has deteriorated over time), this causes an air leak around the seam. He suggested we spray some Great Stuff along the seam to stop the air leak. It sounded simple. It was anything but. To even see the seam, you essentially have to get inside the fridge and look up. And that’s just seeing it. That speaks nothing of actually aiming and spraying foam into it.
We followed the instructions on the spray can:
HANDLE RESPONSIBLY. PLAN, PREPARE, PRACTICE.
After running a quick practice line of foam on a paper towel, I set to it.
The seams where I could actually get halfway into the fridge to do the spraying were easier. The ones along the port side of the boat required some wicked circus bending that I’m pretty sure ripped my pancreas.
It took some maneuvering, but I finally got a solid bead around the seam. It wasn’t pretty, but I doubt any air will be getting through.
I’m lucky I didn’t get any of that stuff in my hair. I’m sure it would have to be cut out. That would not be so “great.” Phillip somehow managed to get some on the ceiling. Don’t ask.
Thankfully, we managed only a few extra swipes and puffs of Great Stuff in places we didn’t intend in the fridge, but I don’t think they’re going to affect our enjoyment of any chilled items. If anything, I take comfort knowing we’ve always got some great stuff in there!
And, we accomplished the fridge project just in time for another trip over to Pirate’s Cove. This time in full costume. Next up, a swashbuckling rapscallion adventure. Stay tuned!
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