Gas Refrigerator : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Hello All

I am interested in finding info on used gas refrigerators. Does anyone have experience with using gas(propane) refrigerators? I am building a cabin and the utility company wants $1500 to get electricity to it. I am very interested in gas lighting, gas ranges, and gas refrigeration. I have found several companys that sell new ones but none that sell used gas refrigs.

Thanks in advance.


-- Scott (, March 27, 2000


Scott: I don't know how large a unit you are looking for but if your needs are modest, you might look for a used RV unit. We found one for Y2K purposes (ha,ha!) and found that it did an admirable job. By the way, we got ours for free because it didn't work anymore. Come to find out a lot of these machines are discarded or taken in trade on new ones by dealers. The secret about these units is that the only thing required to make them work again is to turn them upside down for 24-36 hours. Seems as though the water and ammonia somehow get into the wrong places in the system and have to be re-mixed or distributed. Good luck, John

-- John and Pat James (, March 27, 2000.

Used is catch as catch can. As you probably know, Lehman's is a good source for new. I would advertise widely for a used one, and hope for the best. Wanted ads are frequently free, especially in the local free newspapers. But look at the amortization. A new one is pricey, but will last almost forever! Look at the cost per year, rather than the acquisition cost. Might be a better deal! Good luck!


-- Brad (, March 27, 2000.

I'll try to answer this again , for some reason the first response didn't go in .1500.00 might seem like a lot up front but have you added up the cost of the fridge,stove and lights you will have to buy ? Resale value will be higher with power , and most important how will you get to this web site.?Good luck in whichever you decide.

-- Patty Gamble (, March 27, 2000.

I had a Servel that worked just fine. I lived in an area where everyone had a propane frig and it seems we were always turning somebodys unit upside down. No one seemed to know why that worked!! It was expensive to run so most folks had an old broken frig outside in the winter that they kept stuff in to offset the cost...Kirk

-- Kirk Davis (, March 27, 2000.

I've got a Sibir gas fridge, been up and running continuously for 12 years now. Have to defrost it about once a month in the summer, but otherwise no problems. Instead of turning my frig upside down when it stops cooling properly, I just turn it off for an hour until the heating unit cools completely down. Afterwards it gets frigid in a hurry. The reason you don't find many used frigs' is that they never wear out. There's no moving parts, so nothing to break.

I've also got Humphrey gas lights inside the house and greenhouse. If you don't have the upfront cash for a solar system for lights, these little lights are great. Put out about as much light as a 50 watt light bulb.

Gas stoves. Get one without any electrics. Mine has a pilot light, so no electricity required. Good luck...

-- phil briggs (, March 27, 2000.

Hi Scott: I have an ancient Servel that I use daily. It runs off of a 100 lb. cylinder of propane and will operate for about 3 months on one cylinder. Its biggest problem is that stuff like lettuce will freeze even though it is turned on the lowest setting. If I put the lettuce in the very bottom it will do ok. It does require frequent defrosting but it "self-defrosts" whenever a cylinder of propane runs out, so that works out ok for me.

Turning them upside down does work. One thing you might want to inspect when looking at a used one is the burner. They will sometimes burnout with age like any of the older gas appliances or grills do. I don't think the newer models do, but some of the older ones, (at a least mine and another one I know of) release some fumes when operating. Mine is in a back room away from living quarters.

I don't know of a source for used ones but if you find one there is a ad in the classifieds of CS for repair manuals and parts. I don't have my copy right now or I would enclose the address. Good luck in your search.

-- Marci (, March 28, 2000.

Lehman's has a second store at Mt. Hope, here in OH. It is just a few minutes from Kidron. We were there last fall. In another building behind the store they had 20 or so used gas refrigerators. They have been traded in on new ones and they have fixed them up to sell. Most are propane. Some are natural gas.

-- homestead2 (, March 28, 2000.

Hi. My answer will be pretty redundant. We use a propane fridge out of an RV. We use about 10 gallons of propane a month for both the fridge and the stove. (I don't know how much 100 #'s is). I, like someone else, had problems with veggies freezing. There is a fair amount of ice on the coils as of late and I have'nt had a problem, but I do need to defrost. We also "burped" our fridge. It works great. I wouldn't hook up to the electric.................... but that is just me. I don't want to pay them 1500 to hook up and then have to pay them every month. Look for a used RV. You can also re-use all those cabinets, windows, sinks, and etc. Have a good one.

-- Leslie Bachner (, March 31, 2000.

Gas refrigerators are fine when they work. They do need maintance once in awhile, though. The most common problems with them is the burner getting dirty and causing the flame to burn ineffecently. When you remove 1 part oxygen you go from carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide as a "fume"! Products of combustion [fumes] will kill you if they contain monoxide! Sometimes you can us a small brush to knock the residue off the burner and clean it that way. At other times you may have to disassemble the entire burner and clean the orfice. Gas is dirty at times and help clog the burner assembly. If the unit has been setting awhile it's best to check the main burner orfice first as small spiders just love building webs inside that orfice. Keeping coils clean helps a bunch also. Purging will help almost any unit after about a year of operation. "Heavies" build up inside the ammonia/water solution and decresses the efficency of the raskel. You will need to get a manual to learn how to "Purge" it. I could tell you but it would be too long of a post. One of the reasons the ammonia/water separats is because of a fridg that is setting unleval. A 100# propane cylinder holds 24.4 gallons of propane. Hope this helps! Matt. 24:44

-- hoot gibson (, March 31, 2000.

Scott, this has been my one and only experience with a propane travel trailer refrigerator. The temperature inside the travel trailer was 100 degrees, the (1981) propane refrigerator could not maintain a safe temperature for food (too warm). I live in the hot South.I quess if I had kept the trailer a.c on, the frig. would have been cooler. My Mother once had a full size gas refrigerator, it kept things very cold. The "upside-down thing has to do with the pipes getting clogged with the mixture (so I was told, by a kind soul). One helpful human suggested putting frig. in back of truck and driving down a bumpy dirt road to free up clog. Good Luck to you.

-- Travel Trailer (, April 02, 2000.

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