Comparing Propane Refrigerators of Today and Yesterday

Propane Refrigerator information from Gas-Fridge.

When compared to the SERVEL built in the 1930’s -1950’s which lasted for generations, the refrigeration units of today have become more streamlined with less heavy-duty materials for lighter weight and still have quality performance. Gas-Fridge, retailer of quality propane refrigerators, says an average propane gas refrigerator today will last approximately 15 yrs. By that time the box will be looking quite tattered under normal use.

The older style SERVELS were much heavier in weight weighing as much as 400-500 lbs. The newer refrigerators weigh anywhere from 150-275 lbs. This again is due to lighter materials and higher quality workmanship. There is also a larger amount of selection available on the market to choose from today compared to 50 years ago.

The Servel brand was sold to Electrolux and then to the Dometic Corporation. The SERVEL name was still being used by DOMETIC until 2005. This refrigerator is now called a DOMETIC refrigerator which is still being produced by DOMETIC in Sweden. Some of the newer propane refrigerators for backwoods and off the grid living that are on the market today are: DIAMOND, EZ-FREEZE, DOMETIC, CONSUL, and DANBY. These are all ammonia absorption systems that run off of either, propane, natural gas, or butane burners. The DOMETIC refrigerator is the only one that is still available with kerosene.

As was mentioned before, an average absorption cooling unit today runs for 10-15 years. The cause of this difference in length of performance compared to the older style SERVELS is based on 1 primary thing. When SERVEL built those huge old refrigerators, the materials used on the cooling units was so much heavier and thicker, thus adding all the extra weight, that they hardly ever rusted out. The evaporator was galvanized to prevent rusting. Rusting is a primary cause for leakage in the cooling units itself.

The gas consumption on a “modern day” gas refrigerator is less than half the amount than an older SERVEL is due to the designing of this cooling system. An average amount of propane used in the older SERVELS was 3-4 lbs. a day. This is approx. ¾ gal. of propane a day. The average amount that the newer style propane refrigerators use is 1–1 ½ lbs. a day through their more efficient operation. The amount of improvements that have been made in the newer style refrigerators [built from the mid 1970’s – today] by improved performance in gas usage is credited wholly to the improved engineering on absorption cooling systems.

Any propane refrigerator built in the 1980’s until current are much cleaner to operate than the older SERVELS.  A new propane refrigerator does not generally need to be vented to the outside. However, If a homeowner is going to enclose his propane refrigerator in a kitchen with cabinets built over the top of the refrigerator and around the sides, it is always important to put a vent in the floor towards the back of the refrigerator and on the top of the refrigerator for ventilation so that heat can escape from the cooling system. If this is not done, a refrigerator may overheat, causing it to lose efficiency in cooling.

As you can see, modern technology has made huge improvements in the propane refrigerator of today. To learn more about propane refrigerator comparisons, contact the professionals at Gas-Fridge: 928-636-6674.