When you’re converting an RV, school bus, or van into a fully functioning off-grid vehicle, its important to take into account every energy-consuming item and their potential draw. For most people, fridge/freezer set-ups fall pretty consistently at the top of the list as an energy pig. But, what people don’t know is that you can have a full-size fridge set-up without killing your entire battery when the sun disappears.
With any interesting idea comes an obstacle. If you’re okay with giving up a freezer and living without ice cream, a freezer to fridge conversion is highly recommended and we’ll explain why.
Freezer Brand, Cost & Other Information
We purchased a Danby Designer 10 cubic feet Defrost Upright Freezer. At the Home Depot, it’s currently listed at $762.74. While I’m not 100% positive, this price looks to have gone up since we purchased ours for a discounted $450. We really liked this freezer for its size and that shelves on the door.
If that’s out of your price range, don’t worry. Pretty much any freezer can be converted into a fridge, so you’ll just have to find one that meets your design restrictions and personal needs.
The Freezer to Fridge Conversion Process
To convert our freezer into a fridge, we used a mechanical thermostat that attaches to the plug. This freezer relay thermostat moderates the temperature to whatever you’d prefer.
We usually keep ours at 30-35 degrees Farenheight depending on the season. It pulls approximately 60-80 Watts and cycles 4 times per hour. While a normal fridge also cycles 4 times an hour, they generally pull 200-250 Watts.
Johnson Controls A19AAT-2C Freezer Temperature Controller (D132) – $63.92
Perks of a Freezer to Fridge Conversion in Our Skoolie
Thicker Insulation: The walls of a freezer have thicker insulation which allows us to turn off the fridge for longer periods of time in cold weather. This helps us further conserve energy during weeks that are cloudy or snowy.
Less Battery Consumption: This is an obvious one. We focused on conserving as much energy as we possibly could when designing our solar system. With that in mind, having a bigger fridge while also being able to run it almost all the time is a huge bonus.
Some Disadvantages to the Conversion
We do notice that our fridge tends to “rain”. In other words, moisture does tend to form throughout the fridge. To combat this, we keep a lot of our produce in plastic containers. Nonetheless, it’s not the end of the world if you can deal with some packaging getting wet.
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