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How Does a Propane Refrigerator Work? Pros, Cons, & FAQ

man choosing refrigerator

A propane refrigerator is also known as an LP refrigerator or gas fridge. It’s an appliance that uses propane gas to keep its internal temperature cool enough to store perishable foods. Read on to find out more about what a propane refrigerator is, how it works, and whether or not it might be right for your home.

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What Is a Propane Refrigerator?

A propane refrigerator is a type of fridge that uses propane as its main source of power. Propane is a flammable gas often used as a fuel for cooking and heating. It is also a common ingredient in many household cleaners and solvents.

While propane refrigerators are not as common as electric ones, they are growing in popularity due to their many benefits. For one, propane is a very efficient fuel source and can last much longer than electricity. Additionally, propane refrigerators do not produce any harmful emissions, making them a more environmentally-friendly option.

woman opening the refrigerator
Photo Credit By: Polina Tankilevitch, Pexels

How Does a Propane-Powered Refrigerator Work?

To understand how a propane refrigerator works, it is first necessary to understand how a conventional refrigerator works. A conventional refrigerator uses a process called “vapor compression” to cool food and keep it fresh.

This process involves using a compressor to compress a gas (usually Freon) into a liquid. The liquid is then passed through a series of coils which act as a heat exchanger.

As the liquid passes through the coils, the heat from the coils transfers to the liquid, causing the liquid to evaporate into a gas. The gas then returns to the compressor, where the cycle begins again.

A propane refrigerator works on the same principle as a conventional refrigerator but uses propane instead of Freon. Propane is a much more efficient coolant than Freon, and as a result, propane refrigerators are much more energy-efficient than their electric counterparts. In addition, propane is far less damaging to the environment than Freon.

If you are looking for an efficient and environmentally friendly way to keep your food fresh, a propane refrigerator is an excellent choice.

Advantages of a Propane Refrigerator

One of the biggest advantages of a propane refrigerator is that you won’t be paying for any electricity to use it. Depending on where you live, this can add up to a significant part of your household budget.

Another big plus is that if you experience power outages fairly often, a propane refrigerator is a great alternative since it doesn’t rely on electricity. As such, it’s unaffected by power outages. And since it does not use electricity, it will keep working as normal even if the power goes out.

If you have both an electric and a propane fridge, the propane unit makes a great backup for your main refrigerator during power outages.

refrigerator in the kitchen
Image Credit: Solomon Rodgers, Pixabay

Disadvantages of a Propane Refrigerator

The biggest drawback that propane refrigerator owners face is the fact that propane bottles need to be replaced regularly. The amount of time that a bottle can last varies between brands and types, but it is usually between one and three months.

What’s more, propane refrigerators are expensive to buy. You would normally expect to pay at least $2,000 for a decent model, while comparable electric or natural gas models usually cost less than $1,000.

Another thing to keep in mind is that a propane refrigerator needs good ventilation since the burner produces carbon monoxide. If the appliance is not properly ventilated, there is a risk of CO poisoning.

How Long Will a 20-Pound Propane Tank Run a Refrigerator?

This is a great question and one that doesn’t have a definitive answer. It really depends on a few factors, like the size of your refrigerator, the ambient temperature, and how often you open the door.

Generally speaking, a 20-pound propane tank will run a standard-size refrigerator for approximately 11 days. And that’s running your fridge non-stop. If you open the fridge door a lot, or if it’s particularly hot outside, your propane will run out faster.

Of course, this is just a rough estimate. The best way to know how long your propane will last is to keep an eye on the tank gauge and refill it when it gets low. This way, you’ll never have to worry about running out of propane in the middle of a heat wave!

How to Decide if It’s Right for Your Home

Before you make the decision to buy a propane refrigerator, there are a few things you should consider. First of all, you need to make sure you have access to a propane source, such as a tank or a pipeline.

Secondly, you have to make sure you have enough room for the refrigerator in your home, as they can be quite large. Thirdly, you should make sure that you don’t mind the noise of the burner, as it is quite loud compared to other appliances.

And lastly, you need to be sure that you can afford it, as propane refrigerators are quite expensive. If you have access to a propane source, enough room for the refrigerator, don’t mind the noise, and can afford it, then a propane refrigerator might be right for you.

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So, do you think you’ll invest in a propane refrigerator? These handy appliances are great for those who want to enjoy the benefits of having a fridge without being tethered to an electrical outlet. If you live off the grid or frequently go camping, a propane fridge can be a great addition to your home or RV.

Featured Image Credit: Viktoriia Sopel, Shutterstock


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