How to Hook Up a Propane Refrigerator
Household propane refrigerators are a favored option for people trying to limit their electrical consumption, because they run without it. A propane refrigerator paradoxically uses the heat of the burning propane to create a cool environment inside it. This is possible because the heat initiates a cyclic process of evaporation and condensation of a gas inside the grid in the back of the appliance. The only connection you have to make is the one between the refrigerator and a source of propane. It works equally well whether connected to a 5-gallon bottle of propane or a 500-gallon tank.
Level the floor under the refrigerator before you set it in place. Depending on how old it is, even a slight tilt can interfere with the cooling cycle and render it inoperable.
Wrap plumbing tape around the threads of the gas valve in your house, or to the outlet valve on a propane tank, and screw one end of a flexible gas hose to it. Tighten the connection with a wrench.
Wrap tape around the inlet on the refrigerator, usually located behind the refrigerator near the floor, and screw on the other end of the connector. Tighten it securely.
Turn on the gas valve or open the tank and listen for any hissing that signifies that gas is leaking from one of the connections. If you hear it, tighten the connection until the hissing stops. Double check the connections by spraying a concentrated soap solution from a spray bottle on the connection nuts. If the soap forms bubbles, tighten the connections more.
Slide the refrigerator into position. Access the pilot light by removing the cover on the front of the appliance, near the floor. Turn the valve to the pilot position, push it in and depress the piezoelectric igniter until the pilot starts. There may be a meter that indicates that is has started or you may be able to see the flame through a viewing tube. Turn the valve to the on position when the pilot starts and replace the cover.
- Check the temperature in the refrigerator about one or two days after you light it and adjust it with the temperature control knob located next to the pilot control.
- A 5-gallon propane bottle will last only three to four weeks, and you'll have to re-light the refrigerator every time you change it.
Chris Deziel has a bachelor's degree in physics and a master's degree in humanities. Besides having an abiding interest in popular science, Deziel has been active in the building and home design trades since 1975. As a landscape builder, he helped establish two gardening companies.
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