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Topic: ARP Refrigerator Protection

Posted By: RECVEH2005 on 03/25/16 09:17am

I've seen advertisements in the Escapees magazine for the ARP refrigerator protector which claims to protect Dometic/Norcold refrigerator boilers from overheating.

Have any of you installed this product? If so, what is your opinion of it?

Thanks in advance.

Mike


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Posted By: Chris Bryant on 03/25/16 09:22am

I have talked extensively with the inventor and used one for diagnosing problems- I'm a big fan. It reacts very quickly, and in my opinion, will extend the life of any absorption refrigerator. The one I use is a first generation with data connection, and it is remarkable to watch the boiler temperature change under different conditions.

Highly recommended.


-- Chris Bryant


Posted By: wolfe10 on 03/25/16 09:25am

I agree with Chris. It MUCH more closely controls boiler temperature to substantially reduce the cumulative effects of overheating/precipitating and clogging of the passages.

Suspect if the absorption refrigerators were developed in today's modern electronic age, they would include such controls.


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Posted By: pianotuna on 03/25/16 09:51am

Hi,

I have the second generation product installed. I'd buy one again in a flash. I no longer agonize about whether the RV is level enough to prevent damage.

2nd generation has a fan control feature. I did not install this as I already have a thermostatically controlled external fan system in place.


Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, 556 amp hours of AGM in two battery banks 12 volt batteries, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.


Posted By: DFord on 03/25/16 10:28am

The ARP Control website


Don Ford
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Posted By: Ivylog on 03/25/16 11:04am

Two summer's ago I installed one after watching his demo refer respond to being out of level and how the ARP shut it down and then restarted... unlike the NoCold band aid that often shuts the unit down when there's nothing wrong... revision F or are they up to G?


This post is my opinion (free advice). It is not intended to influence anyone's judgment nor do I advocate anyone do what I propose.

08 HR Navigator 45'
Sold 04 Dynasty after 14 great years.
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Posted By: Chris Bryant on 03/25/16 11:53am

Salvo wrote:

I know all about them. I purchased one of the first ARP units. The algorithm is very simple. Either you have a thermal run-away or you don't. When the flu temperature reaches the max allowable you cut power to the fridge. There's no "if's, & "or's" about it. You cut power. The controller can try to power up the fridge again at a little later time to see if it now operates OK, but that's about the extent of the algorithm.


That is not the extent of the algorithm- if it were, a simple thermal switch would do it, and Dometic would not be trying to get around the patent.
I don't know about cheap RTD sensors, but I do know the one Paul uses is pricey- far more than $15.


Posted By: Cloud Dancer on 03/25/16 01:42pm

Actually, this technology was available to me back in the early 60's. I was working for Schellenger Research Laboratories, on campus at UTEP, and had occasion to fabricate my own precision temperature sensors, and to come up with suitable read-out instruments. The requirement was to precisely measure (to 1/2 degree F accuracy) the temperature at the base of the spark plugs on test engines when running them on a dyno, and on test vehicles.
All that's needed for a sensor are two wires, one iron and the other constantan(with proper insulation and sheath). Just silver-solder the two wires together on the sensor end, and connect the other end to a precision quality dc voltmeter. You'll need to look up the appropriate tables which convert this voltage to temperature. You can even purchase a meter that'll read out in degrees F.
For the subject purpose, a simple circuit with proper components can be used to trigger the cutoff switch at the temperature of your choice. I believe 400 degrees F would work for your RV refrigerator.
Here's a photo of the temperature sensor that I fabricated:

[image]


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Posted By: dougrainer on 03/25/16 02:38pm

Take a DEEP breath. The Boiler tube and the FLUE tube in this discussion is the SAME. This is from the ARP install. "The ARP temperature sensor is clipped onto the boiler tube. The boiler tube is easy to identify because the electric heating elements are attached directly to the boiler tube". The Norcold recall IS attached to the Flue/Boiler tube but at a lower area by the Heat elements. The ARP device is mounted about 6 inches above the Norcold sensor. But BOTH mount on the same tube. Norcold DOES have a out of level/overheat built in system. It is NOT as good or precise as the ARP system. Norcolds is called the NO CO system and will shut the refer down when cooling unit protocols are out of normal safe parameters. The ARP system reacts much quicker and more precise. Which makes it a better sensor system. Doug

* This post was edited 03/28/16 02:09pm by an administrator/moderator *


Posted By: LarryJM on 03/25/16 03:07pm

Salvo wrote:

Hey, it's been years since I installed the device. So I got flu and boiler crossed. No big thing! Take it easy man!

The design is very simple.

LarryJM wrote:


POPPYCOCK!!!!. Your statement about flue temp just shows me you know ZILCH about them.
Larry


Well it just shows at least to me how little you actually know about the system and if as you say you are "VERY FAMILIAR WITH IT" you should not have made such a fundamental mistake and IT IS A BIG THING IMO where you measure the temp at. Again, while the design CONCEPT might be simple it's the advanced programming and flexibility designed into the system that is FAR FROM SIMPLE. You need to familiarize yourself with the current state of design since what th system is now is a FAR CRY from when the system was first being developed and initially tested and even offered initially. It's almost like comparing a "MODEL-T" with a Benz S500 ... both have four wheels and while the basic concept is simple, the two vehicles are WORLDS APART.

Larry


2001 standard box 7.3L E-350 PSD Van with 4.10 rear and 2007 Holiday Rambler Aluma-Lite 8306S Been RV'ing since 1974.
RAINKAP INSTALL////ETERNABOND INSTALL



Posted By: MEXICOWANDERER on 03/25/16 03:36pm

Ahh jeez.......

Left Lane - Right Lane

Its all the...............................................KA POW!


Posted By: SCVJeff on 03/25/16 04:12pm

Salvo wrote:

The concept is extremely simple. Measure burner flue temperature. If temperature exceeds a limit then open relay that provides power to the fridge. Anyone knowledgeable with Arduino can build a controller for about $15.
Doesnt really matter how simple you feel it is, why are you poo-poo'ing it? If it's so easy, build a competing product.

BTW- Norcold did exactly what you said with the failsafe module. If it's as simple as you say there is no need for any processor, just a thermal snap switch.


Jeff - WA6EQU
'06 Itasca Meridian 34H, CAT C7/350



Posted By: RECVEH2005 on 03/25/16 05:10pm

Thanks all. I'm far from being an electronic "wizard", so it's worth my while to buy one and have it installed.

Mike


Posted By: Chris Bryant on 03/25/16 06:48pm

Salvo wrote:

Go read the patent. If it's different than what I stated then we can discuss it.

Who said I'm poo-poo'ing it? What's with all this argumentation? I don't get it.

Read the patent! Inform yourself first.



OK- I'll ask a few questions.
What temperature would you shut the system off?
Why?

What temperature would you turn the system back on?
Why?

How would you determine these figures, and why would you choose them?

What algorithm would you write to do this?

Yes- am arduino could certainly be programmed to do what the ARP does, but a simple om off, as you are supposing, is not at all what is being done.


Posted By: Dennis M M on 03/25/16 06:59pm

Have not read the whole thread, but I put one in two years ago and everything works fine. No idea if it has ever had to work.


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Posted By: Hiking Hunter on 03/25/16 08:25pm

I'm interested in this discussion and the ARP unit. I've seen their website and videos. I wish they had presented a better case for why I need one. I understand the principle, but there is very little objective evidence in their case.

In their video, the temperature rises only around 3 degrees before the unit kicks in... and that's over an 11 1/2 minute period... and a tilt of around 20 degrees (my estimate - the video doesn't specify). I wish they had convinced me by showing what happens to the temperature under the same conditions without their unit.

How high does the temperature have to get for damage to occur? How much tilt? Over what period of time? How critical is it? How much does the ARP unit affect life expectancy? What is the normal temperature swing of an unmodified boiler? How much does ambient temperature affect the temp of a boiler?

Interested but skeptical until I can see a better case.


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Posted By: SCVJeff on 03/26/16 02:05am

Hopefully you will never see it work. Like the Halon and AFFF extinguishers people are installing in the rear of the fridge cabinet, they are insurance policies you hope will never are needed.


Posted By: dougrainer on 03/26/16 08:02am

Hiking Hunter wrote:

I'm interested in this discussion and the ARP unit. I've seen their website and videos. I wish they had presented a better case for why I need one. I understand the principle, but there is very little objective evidence in their case.

In their video, the temperature rises only around 3 degrees before the unit kicks in... and that's over an 11 1/2 minute period... and a tilt of around 20 degrees (my estimate - the video doesn't specify). I wish they had convinced me by showing what happens to the temperature under the same conditions without their unit.

How high does the temperature have to get for damage to occur? How much tilt? Over what period of time? How critical is it? How much does the ARP unit affect life expectancy? What is the normal temperature swing of an unmodified boiler? How much does ambient temperature affect the temp of a boiler?

Interested but skeptical until I can see a better case.


The ARP is a GOOD addition to an RV refer. Your questions point to the lack of knowledge probably 99 percent of RV'ers have about RV absorbsion refers. The ARP device PREVENTS operation that will partially destroy a cooling unit. NOT just protect from a fire or leakage. What destroys a CU is the hundreds/thousands of times over the years a RV refer is left ON when it is slightly out of spec level or there is rear ventilation that is blocked or it lacks adequate ventilation. Those things slowly destroy the capability of the refer to operate to 100 percent efficiency. Then one day it does NOT cool well and the RV'er says what a piece of junk. Ambient temp does not really affect the boiler. The normal operating temp of the boiler is around 350 degrees. The Dometic and Norcold "safety" devices kick out at about 700 degrees. NOT low enough to prevent damage from unlevel conditions. Doug


Posted By: pianotuna on 03/26/16 08:31am

Hi,

Check out their you tube videos. They do go into more detail.

I can tell you that at -8 C (17 f) the boiler temperature remains the same on my Dometic (with arp installed).

Hiking Hunter wrote:

In their video, the temperature rises only around 3 degrees before the unit kicks in

How high does the temperature have to get for damage to occur? How much tilt? Over what period of time? How critical is it? How much does the ARP unit affect life expectancy? What is the normal temperature swing of an unmodified boiler? How much does ambient temperature affect the temp of a boiler?

Interested but skeptical until I can see a better case.



Posted By: Gjac on 03/26/16 09:02am

Hiking Hunter wrote:

I'm interested in this discussion and the ARP unit. I've seen their website and videos. I wish they had presented a better case for why I need one. I understand the principle, but there is very little objective evidence in their case.

In their video, the temperature rises only around 3 degrees before the unit kicks in... and that's over an 11 1/2 minute period... and a tilt of around 20 degrees (my estimate - the video doesn't specify). I wish they had convinced me by showing what happens to the temperature under the same conditions without their unit.

How high does the temperature have to get for damage to occur? How much tilt? Over what period of time? How critical is it? How much does the ARP unit affect life expectancy? What is the normal temperature swing of an unmodified boiler? How much does ambient temperature affect the temp of a boiler?

Interested but skeptical until I can see a better case.
These are all the same questions I have. At what out of level condition do you see a temperature rise that will start to damage your refer? There has been much discussion on here in general about what is considered level enough. After Chris posted about this several years ago I thought this was very interesting I tried taking temp reading with my IR gun where the sensor was installed. I did not notice any huge rise from level to 1/2 bubble off level so I would be very interested from those who know more or have one of these units how much out of level causes this unsafe condition and how is the out of level condition best measured?


Posted By: CJW8 on 03/26/16 09:40am

Can the system be installed without pulling the refer out?


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Posted By: dougrainer on 03/26/16 01:46pm

CJW8 wrote:

Can the system be installed without pulling the refer out?


From the correct location of the ARP sensor, it would be very difficult to install without pulling the refer. Getting the metal insulated wrap around back in place and secure is extremely difficult with the refer installed. Doug


Posted By: Hiking Hunter on 03/26/16 03:08pm

dougrainer wrote:

Your questions point to the lack of knowledge probably 99 percent of RV'ers have about RV absorbsion refers.

No, I DO understand the basic principle of an absorption type unit. Not intimately, but I do better than most RVers. But my understanding of the RV refrigerator has nothing to do with this. You are missing the point of my questions. What I would like to know are more data related to how long out of level, how much out of level causes the problem. In the video, they tipped the unit around 20 degrees to demonstrate temperature rise. GOOD GRIEF! If my RV is tipped 20 degrees, I have more of a problem than an overheating refrigerator! I sometimes park on a slope for a while before I get it level, maybe 2-4 degrees. How does this affect the temperature? I pull a little nose high for long periods - maybe 1-2 degrees. Does this cause a problem severe enough to justify adding another system to the RV?
There are two questions here - fire hazard and longevity of the unit. I want to know the data for both items.
SCVJeff wrote:

Hopefully you will never see it work. Like the Halon and AFFF extinguishers people are installing in the rear of the fridge cabinet, they are insurance policies you hope will never are needed

Just because it is insurance doesn't mean it's good. The best way to make ANY decision is to do the research; get all the information and facts first, weigh them and then make a decision. I just need the facts to justify the expenditure. I know what the consequences are, what is the failure rate? 1/10,000 or is it 1/10 million? It makes a big difference to me.
pianotuna wrote:

Check out their you tube videos. They do go into more detail.
I did see their video on utube also. It's a little better, but I still wish they would have shown what happens WITHOUT the ARP unit for comparison.
Gjac wrote:

These are all the same questions I have. At what out of level condition do you see a temperature rise that will start to damage your refer? There has been much discussion on here in general about what is considered level enough. After Chris posted about this several years ago I thought this was very interesting I tried taking temp reading with my IR gun where the sensor was installed. I did not notice any huge rise from level to 1/2 bubble off level so I would be very interested from those who know more or have one of these units how much out of level causes this unsafe condition and how is the out of level condition best measured?

Good observation; I would like to know also. Gjac, here is a video that answers some of your questions about efficiency related to angle, and how much is "a bubble off". Video But, beyond this - how far off for damage or risk of fire?

The ARP unit may be the best thing since peanut butter, but I think they could have done a better marketing job. Show me the scientific data, please. I may very well want one if the data is convincing.


Posted By: fj12ryder on 03/26/16 04:34pm

I think the ARP unit is doing a decent marketing job, they sell their product based on the fear that your unit will be damaged if you don't use their product when parked improperly.

I also wonder how many fridges are actually damaged by running out of level, and how much out of level and how long they stayed out of level. The ARP unit obviously operates as described and can prevent the kind of issues they say can occur. But is this a serious, oft occurring problem, or is it only an occasional problem that doesn't warrant the expenditure for the majority of fridge owners?


Howard and Peggy

"Don't Panic"


Posted By: DFord on 03/26/16 05:01pm

The common causes of RV fires video by Mac the Fire Guy

The number two cause Mac lists for the cause of RV fires is the refrigerator - especially the 4 door Norcold models. Often the refrigerator is next to the door. Once your RV catches fire, you have less than one minute to save your life before it will be totally engulfed.

This ARP device is cheap insurance.


Posted By: timmac on 03/26/16 05:06pm

How bout just installing a small button fan and run it while traveling down the road, would this work as well without dishing out 195 bucks ?


Posted By: dougrainer on 03/26/16 05:56pm

"No, I DO understand the basic principle of an absorption type unit. Not intimately, but I do better than most RVers. But my understanding of the RV refrigerator has nothing to do with this. You are missing the point of my questions. What I would like to know are more data related to how long out of level, how much out of level causes the problem. In the video, they tipped the unit around 20 degrees to demonstrate temperature rise. GOOD GRIEF! If my RV is tipped 20 degrees, I have more of a problem than an overheating refrigerator! I sometimes park on a slope for a while before I get it level, maybe 2-4 degrees. How does this affect the temperature? I pull a little nose high for long periods - maybe 1-2 degrees. Does this cause a problem severe enough to justify adding another system to the RV?
There are two questions here - fire hazard and longevity of the unit. I want to know the data for both it".

Fire Hazard is extremely rare. I know the doomsayers on these forums talk about the Norcold 1200, but ACTUAL DATA or ACTUAL reports on the Leaking CU caused a fire is almost non existent. It always seems some Fire official that has NO training will state without proof that the refer caused the fire. OK, The REFER caused the fire. But what WAS the cause? Birds nest caused the LP flame to ignite? Leaking LP at the various connections caused the fire? Short in the 120 wiring?
Now Longevity---How long unlevel? ANY time unlevel will cause a microscopic blockage. OVER time, all those times you were out of spec off level, those Microscopic blockages accumulate and cause cooling problems. THAT is one reason the ARP is a good thing to have. I don't have "data". Just 37 years of training and working on RV refer's and systems and numerous hands on Factory training by Norcold and Dometic. Doug


Posted By: Chris Bryant on 03/26/16 05:57pm

Salvo wrote:

I don't see any point in those questions.


The point- without simply seeing what the ARP does, what temps would you use om your $15 gadget. The point is there is more than just parts, and while an arduino could do the job, there is considerable development put in this product, with a ton of knowledge about the issues, so blowing it off with "I can build it for $15" is, in my opinion, somewhat disingenuous, as you make it sound like a simple limit switch. Your graphs simply show normal operation.


Posted By: LarryJM on 03/26/16 09:19pm

timmac wrote:

How bout just installing a small button fan and run it while traveling down the road, would this work as well without dishing out 195 bucks ?


No what the ARP system does is to basically not allow the liquid in the boiler tube to get too hot due to lack of circulation and or volumetic flow which causes the liquid to get hot enough that the Al Chromate (I think that's the coolant/heat transfer liquid) crystallizes out and is deposited on the interior of the boiler tube. What this does is reduce the concentration of that chemical in the ammonia mix and also restricts the flow of the liquid thru the boiler tube where the heating occurs. This is somewhat analgous to Plaque and hardening of the arties in a human, it's cumulative and when has restricted flow enough your refer dies or the human has a heart attack. This boiler tube temp issue have very, very little to do with the ambient temps or external fans. The external fans and ambient temps mainly are an issue in reducing the temp of the fluid/gas mix after it has gone tru the evap coils at the top of the refer so that the mix entering the boiler area at the bottom of the frig is all liquid and not a mix of liquid and gas.

DISCLAIMER: I think I have all the above correct, but not being an actual refer expert I claim the 5th if I got anything too far wrong in the above info. Some might not be 100% technically correct, but I think the general "GIST" is there and fairly accurate.

Larry


Posted By: johnhicks on 03/26/16 11:07pm

> difficult to install without pulling the refer.

That's for sure. I got it after a couple hours of shaved knuckles. It probably would've been easier to ease the reefer out a few inches.


-jbh-


Posted By: dougrainer on 03/27/16 07:16am

johnhicks wrote:

> difficult to install without pulling the refer.

That's for sure. I got it after a couple hours of shaved knuckles. It probably would've been easier to ease the reefer out a few inches.


Yes, It is one of those times that in hindsight it would have been easier. Doug


Posted By: RECVEH2005 on 03/27/16 10:10am

Well, this discussion has been a good education for me, the original poster. Unfortunately, there is NO access to the rear of my fridge at all; it would have to be pulled out from inside to access the rear of the unit (I cannot understand why it was designed that way!) The trailer is 3 years old - I think I have to weigh the part & labor cost of having an ARP unit installed on a 3 year-old Norcold fridge against the estimated remaining life of the fridge.

Mike


Posted By: pianotuna on 03/27/16 10:29am

Hi,

Only one post in the entire thread is wishy washy about the ARP. That person wanted "proof" that it works. Personally I could not wait to have one. No more driving in circles in parking lots to find the flattest spot for me!

RECVEH2005 wrote:

Well, this discussion has been a good education for me, the original poster. Unfortunately, there is NO access to the rear of my fridge at all; it would have to be pulled out from inside to access the rear of the unit (I cannot understand why it was designed that way!) The trailer is 3 years old - I think I have to weigh the part & labor cost of having an ARP unit installed on a 3 year-old Norcold fridge against the estimated remaining life of the fridge.

Mike



Posted By: fj12ryder on 03/27/16 10:50am

It would be interesting to know how many RV fridges quit working due to being out of level for extended periods of time. I know this topic has come up before and several people chimed in, mostly truck campers BTW, and commented that their fridges were still working fine after many years. I do wonder if the problem isn't being overstated.


Posted By: Chris Bryant on 03/28/16 05:56am

There are 2 main reasons* an absorption unit can fail- it can leak, or it can become blocked.

There are 2 reasons it can become blocked, manufacturing defect- a bit of welding slag left in the unit, and the sodium tetrachromate being overheated and solidifying, blocking the boiler. The first problem will normally manifest itself in the warranty period, the second is always due to off level operation**

Leaking is usually due to internal corrosion of the evaporator, internal corrosion of the boiler, or stress fractures at the boiler. The boiler failures are usually due to overheating, often caused by off level operation.***

I have rebuilt literally hundreds of these refrigerators, probably half due to blocked units.

*There is another failure mode which is very hard to diagnose, and that is caused by overheating producing another gas, which displaces the hydrogen. The chemical theory behind that is above my pay grade.

**This failure mode is usually gradual, a slow decrease in performance.

***One thing about off level operation- the ARP really doesn't care how level the unit is, and bottom line is level is just a metric we can measure easily. What matters is the boiler temperature, which needs to be high enough to vaporize the ammonia, but below the boiling point of water. If the refrigerant is circulating, it doesn't matter about level.


Posted By: dougrainer on 03/28/16 08:38am

IAMICHABOD wrote:

fj12ryder wrote:

It would be interesting to know how many RV fridges quit working due to being out of level for extended periods of time. I know this topic has come up before and several people chimed in, mostly truck campers BTW, and commented that their fridges were still working fine after many years. I do wonder if the problem isn't being overstated.


I also would like to know,I know of one that failed after 7 years of continuous use,in a rear sloping driveway.HERE

My 10 year old Former Rental,and we all know how they are treated,works very well and gets ready to put things in the freezer and refrig in about 6 hours.

A while back and I was at El Monte RV and talked to the service manager and I asked him about the problems that they may have had and he told me that in the 10 years that he had worked there he had never had a Refrigerator fail. In that time I would guess that they have had a few hundred RVs thru there and not one failure and he hasn't had one come back after a sale for that problem. Could it be that the constant movement of a rental helps?


Constant movement of a rental? Hardly. Remember, the MOST COMMON problems with Rental RV's ARE Rental customers. They have no clue how to operate the RV and could NOT care if the refer is level. Besides, they were probably never told about level operation when they picked up the rental. Doug

* This post was edited 03/28/16 02:16pm by an administrator/moderator *


Posted By: dougrainer on 03/28/16 12:24pm

IAMICHABOD wrote:

WOW such ire and name calling,it must be a sore subject.....

I know that it has been a problem with this type of Refrigerator other wise there would not be so many cottage industries repairing them.

With the hundreds of thousands of these made what percentage fail. If mine fails I will replace it,but at 10 years of poor use and no problems, I will save my money,the damage has been done so I am told by the experts here[emoticon]

BTW Doug they are told and shown a video,look at about 11:16 min, on proper leveling.....as always when Rental comes up people talk about things they know nothing about.


There are tens of Millions RV absorbsion refers out there. They may watch a Video, but will forget it once they leave. COST of Refer repair was 1 of the factors in why we gave up on RV rentals years ago. I KNOW all about rental's and know the mindset of the users. Doug


Posted By: MEXICOWANDERER on 03/28/16 12:58pm

Take 100 RV refrigerators. "X" percent are operated "X" hours per year. A bell curve if you will. So it would be difficult to assess one from another just by looking at the problem. The straw that broke the camel's back was my last Norcold. It would operate continuously for about 10-15 days then everything turned warm. Shut it down for two days, and it would work perfect for the next 10-15 days. Sal at Kool Fun in Irwindale CA., replaced the cooling unit under warranty twice with brand new cooling units from Norcold. When the third cooling unit did the same thing, it was pitched out of the emergency exit. This thing had an icemaker which promptly plugged-up even though DISTILLED water was used exclusively. This grade of garbage is polar opposite from Swedish Servel refrigerators which lasted several decades used 24/7.

You'd couldn't give me a gas refrigerator now. I'm still fuming over the hundreds and hundreds of dollars in spoiled food and endless needless shopping trips. Bah Humbug.


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