West Island
Lun-Ven / Mon-Fri 8:30am–7:00pm
Sam-Dim / Sat-Sun: 10:00am–5:00pm

How does a propane refrigerator work?

The propane refrigerator is a device powered by profane gas that does not require electricity. It then represents a good alternative to the conventional refrigerator in places where a power outlet is not available. The propane fridge is therefore widely used in motorhomes, shelters or cottages. But, how does it work? Follow us to find out!

Features of a propane refrigerator

Young couple who select a propane refrigerator
Propane refrigerators do not have moving parts. They are only powered by the layman and do not require an external power source to operate. Unlike electric refrigerators that need a coolant to keep the cold cold, gas refrigerators only use heat to produce the cold.

Indeed, a propane refrigerator or absorption refrigerator works thanks to five (5) main elements. These are the generator, separator, condenser, evaporator and absorber. Each of these parts plays an important role in the refrigeration process.

Thus, the generator is the part of the propane refrigerator that produces heat. The separator allows to divide the gas and water. The condenser allows the high-pressure ammonia vapor to take its form as a pressure fluid. Thanks to the evaporator, the refrigerant becomes gaseous and cold. As for the absorber, it absorbs ammonia at the outlet of the evaporator.

Refrigeration process

The refrigeration process of the propane fridge is triggered by a propane flame. This flame heats the water and ammonia solution contained in the generator. When the mixture reaches a boiling point, it flows into the separator. At this level, ammonia gets rid of the water driven by its rise in pressure.

Then the ammonia gas rises and enters the condenser where it condenses to become liquid ammonia. In reality, the condenser uses metal coils that cool the gas and obtain a coolant. The liquid ammonia thus obtained arrives in the evaporator where it evaporates due to the hydrogen gas. This reaction causes cold temperatures in the refrigerator.

Finally, ammonia and hydrogen gas enter the absorber. At this stage, the mixture combines with the water collected in the separator. The ammonia therefore mixes again with the water to form a solution and release the hydrogen gas into the evaporator. To keep the contents of the refrigerator cold, this cycle is repeated continuously.


Propane refrigerators are very efficient. But, their effectiveness varies depending on the propane tanks used. Indeed, to operate the gas fridge efficiently, the choice of the propane tank is very decisive. For example, with a standard propane tank, the refrigerator can run for 11 days.

Also, the performance of propane refrigerators depends on how you use them. Naturally, these devices take time to cool down at first. So, if you plan to travel with this type of fridge, it is necessary to feed it for 11 or even 12 hours before hitting the road. It is also recommended to turn it on using electricity the day before the trip.

In addition, for the good performance of your propane refrigerator, you must avoid exposing it to the sun’s rays. Also, avoid storing foods that will only lower the temperature and increase the cooling time. The refrigerator has no airflow except what you provide. It is then necessary to avoid opening it several times.

Advantages of the propane refrigerator

propane refrigerator in a modern kitchen

The propane refrigerator has several advantages. First of all, it saves money. Indeed, it does not require the use of electricity. Its use then makes it possible to reduce electricity consumption in a residential installation. It also saves risks of power outages that could affect your food stored in the fridge.

In addition, propane refrigerators make travel smoother. In reality, with this equipment, you can travel with your supplies safely. So you don’t have to spend your energy going to a grocery store when you arrive. You already have everything in your gas fridge.

In addition, these devices do not use a compressor. They work with the pressure from distillation. They are then less noisy than refrigerators that use electricity.


To avoid rust in the pipes and the consequences that can result, the propane refrigerator requires monitoring. For it to work optimally, it is therefore necessary to call on professionals to make a diagnosis regularly and ensure impeccable focus.

Also, if you notice a cooling problem in your propane fridge, it is better to call on refrigerator repairers. If it is necessary to carry out a new installation, they will also take care of it.

How does a propane refrigerator work?