Has anyone improved their icebox? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-01-2007, 10:10 AM   #1
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I have an icebox (not a refrigerator) in my Compact Jr. At the Oregon Gathering someone showed me one of the new "5 day" ice chests that they keep in their car and use instead of their Compact's icebox. But I'm wondering if I could somehow insulate my trailer's icebox better instead. Like wrap it in insulation or something. (I'd like to make a hole under it anyway for a microwave, so one could reach in there at that time.) Or squirt foam up in there?

Has anyone out there improved the insulative power of their icebox?

Cory
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Old 08-01-2007, 10:46 AM   #2
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The easiest thing would to be to improve the initial temp of the ice- make it colder. If you had a dedicated freezer at home at set it at max freeze, you'd get ice at a colder temperature. Then it would keep the icebox colder for longer. I'm not sure, though, how cold a normal freezer is or how much colder it would get on max.

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Old 08-01-2007, 05:01 PM   #3
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Hi Cory,

Bobbie has a good point in using ice as cold as possible to begin with. You can also add frozen gel packs in the fridge section. We have used these 1/2" thick frozen packs on the floor of the icebox and small rectangular packs in the door. (There's not much use for the door spaces on this old fridge anyway). We also fill the top tray full with ice cubes and then put as many ice blocks that we make with cut up plastic gallon water jugs. They are cut in half and filled with a little less than a half of gallon of water each. We can fit about 4-5 in that space. In moderate temps (60-80 degress) we cat get 3 full days max befroe adding ice. I could not really tell if I gain that much but as least stuff is still cold on the 3rd day.


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Old 08-01-2007, 06:42 PM   #4
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I can't find the post right now (I really need to get better at using the search engine!), but I remember someone posting once that they had fashioned some sort of insulated cover or partition that they put in the upper ice section of the icebox. So when you opened the door you couldn't see the ice in the upper section (it's partitioned off) and according to them it kept their ice around for a lot longer?

Not sure I explained it very well but at least I know what I'm talking about
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Old 08-01-2007, 07:08 PM   #5
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Personally, an ice box is the waste of space and ice.

No matter how cold the ice box is to begin with OR how much insulation you use, you basically have a block of ice sitting in the open melting and it doesn't even have the cold water to help keep it cold.

I would take the ice box out, put in a refrigerator OR put in a more storage in the space.
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Old 08-01-2007, 07:30 PM   #6
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The reality is that larger chunks of ice melt slower and last longer than the same weight of ice in smaller chunks because of the difference in surface area exposed to convection and radiation of heat inward from the cooler sides and bottom. That's why block ice lasts longer than cubes and cubes last longer than crushed.

Likewise, if the melt water is left with the ice, the ice will melt faster because the water creates a conductive path between the ice and the exterior. Ice will last longer if the melt water is drained off (to say nothing of your food in a cooler remaining dry), even 'tho it appears at first as if -BTUs are being drained off and wasted.

For the icebox, the best way is to put a block of ice, still in its bag but with some drain holes in the bottom, in the ice tray, with the drain hose connected to drain overboard.

Insulating the top of the icebox is essentially a waste of time (except to keep the rangetop heat out) because the heat to melt the ice is rising, not falling. That's also why the icebox is a poor design -- Every time the door is opened, the cold air falls out...

The best thing to do is try to find a place to put one of the super coolers...

The above is for making your ice last longer so it keeps your food cool longer. If your aim is to have cold drinks, however, some of the above should be reversed. Crushed ice, with the melt water contained, will chill your drinks faster because the ice is melting faster and transferring lots of heat out of the cans.
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Old 08-02-2007, 08:13 AM   #7
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When I was small, my father always bought dry ice. It was fun to throw in the creek when he wasn't looking.
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Old 08-02-2007, 09:27 AM   #8
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Three points: 1. I have one and have considered removing it for the added storage. They are very inefficient since all the cold air pours out each time the door is opened, unlike an ice chest that opens from the top. However, it's convenient so I keep it around.

2. Careful with the dry ice, because you can easily freeze all your beer & crumpets. I make do with completely wrapping it in lots of newspaper.

3. For insulation, I pulled the chest out and made a surrounding cover out of Al foil insulation, taping it together with foil tape, slipped it over the ice chest and taped it in place. Careful not to tear the insulation when you put the chest back in place. You could also line the inside the same way and/or tape together a foil insulation box for the ice itself.

PS - It always helps to bring along a good ice chest.
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Old 08-02-2007, 11:43 AM   #9
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2. Careful with the dry ice, because you can easily freeze all your beer & crumpets. I make do with completely wrapping it in lots of newspaper.
Be careful with dry ice, also, because it is solid carbon dioxide, and will displace air in the trailer. It isn't toxic like carbon monoxide but it suffocates by displacement of air. (You'd probably need a lot to have a problem, but just be forewarned.)

I have not found blocks of ice- I figured I would freeze milk cartons of water. Blocks of ice used to be readily available but not so much anymore.

Bobbie
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Old 08-02-2007, 01:39 PM   #10
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BTW, I was reading on another RV group that many folks had the newer Five-Day coolers and had made them even better by making an all-sides plus top cover for them out of Reflectix (double-sided foil with bubble-wrap, like Scamp uses between the ratfur and fiberglass).

If you have drinks, it makes a lot of sense to keep the drinks in a separate cooler to avoid opening the icebox (or reefer) door and dumping cold air.
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Old 09-30-2007, 10:40 PM   #11
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Reviving this old topic, Cory, did you ever try any insulation?

I've been rethinking my original answer to this since I pulled those drawers out below the fridge and now have easy access to the area up around it. It seems more insulation might help. I wonder if the new iceboxes are better? I also like the convenience of the icebox over an ice chest. I wondered about shoving some reflectix up around the icebox.

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Old 10-01-2007, 04:40 AM   #12
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Same problem only different, in my Boler the refrigerator doesn't get cold but the freezer will freeze meat or make ice cubes in a few hours.
Has anyone taken the door off the freezer so the cold air will get to the rest of the area?
I put styrafoam board all around my refrigerator so on an ice box this too will help but I have to agree when the door is open the cold air will just pour out and your starting over to try and cool the area.
Heat rises and cold air sink.
Gerry the canoebuilder
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Old 10-01-2007, 08:33 AM   #13
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Reviving this old topic, Cory, did you ever try any insulation?

I've been rethinking my original answer to this since I pulled those drawers out below the fridge and now have easy access to the area up around it. It seems more insulation might help. I wonder if the new iceboxes are better? I also like the convenience of the icebox over an ice chest. I wondered about shoving some reflectix up around the icebox.

Bobbie
Cory's icebox is sitting on a couple sawhorses in my garage. I pulled it out, sprayed the outside with contact adhesive, and wrapped it in about an inch of fiberglass insulation (which I had lying around, left over from some home improvement project or another). I then taped brown paper over the outside, mostly to make it easier to slide back into the hole (but also to control stray fiberglass wisps). Reinstalling it has to wait until I finish the microwave installation (which is almost done).

So you'll have to wait until the next camping season to get an in-service report
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Old 10-01-2007, 09:27 AM   #14
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Same problem only different, in my Boler the refrigerator doesn't get cold but the freezer will freeze meat or make ice cubes in a few hours.
Has anyone taken the door off the freezer so the cold air will get to the rest of the area?
I put styrafoam board all around my refrigerator so on an ice box this too will help but I have to agree when the door is open the cold air will just pour out and your starting over to try and cool the area.
Heat rises and cold air sink.
Gerry the canoebuilder
Gerry, you may have an issue with your controls... or that may be a symptom of a dying refrigerator. Look here: Refrigerator not cold and here: Why They Fail

The only thing you can try is to check your electrics and make sure they're working properly, and if so... take it out and turn it over every few hours for twenty-four hours and try re-installing it. That may or may not help, but if it does, it will only postpone the inevitable for a while. It may work for another season or two.

Good luck!

Roger
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