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What is a boat marine refrigeration system’s weakest link?

(And how ColdEh makes it stronger)

· Couplings,ColdEh,Leaks

Got the boat of your dreams? Check. Rigging is good? Check. Battery and power? Loaded. Radio and GPS in good order? Yes.


It’s a long list you work hard to check off to be certain you have equipment you can depend on for safe travels. But, is refrigeration on your list?


When you pack your things and come aboard – for a day, weekend or a passage - keeping food and drink cold and safe can make the difference between enjoying a great time and or facing an annoying struggle.


So how do you make sure you avoid the struggle? Check your weakest link…

What is the weakest link in your marine refrigeration system? The Connectors.

For many systems, the weakest link is the self-sealing couplings that connect the refrigerant hose between your plate and your Condensing Unit. What is critical about couplings? They have two functional ends, the line end, and the port (or "thread") end. They create the seal that avoids refrigerant leaking from your system.

Many boaters suffer the pains of weak coupling links, and the resulting poor refrigeration

performance. It’s a top maintenance concern.

What causes weak couplings? Sometimes they are not installed and attached correctly. A poorly torqued coupling may leak. A coupling that has been over-tightened may deform, strip threads, or crack the cone or seat resulting in restricted refrigerant flow and reduced system performance.

Sometimes it’s age. If your system has been sitting for many years, a tiny leak from a coupling that was never properly tightened all the way can result in a big problem. Slow leaks of only an ounce of gas per year may hold a charge sufficient enough that you don’t identify the problem for quite a while (unlike a faster leak caused by corrosion in the system).

Sometimes it’s the environment. Refrigerant systems that have couplings that depend on o-rings as the final seal against refrigerant loss can fail. Why? Exposure to heat, vibration, water and salt can make these o-rings deteriorate over time and begin to leak.

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Some systems even include replacement o-rings… foretelling the problems ahead! Unfortunately replacing o-rings is not like changing a light bulb. It typically requires a technician and the resulting service charges can be almost the cost of the system!

ColdEh Couplings Protect You from the cost of downtime and emergency repairs.

ColdEh has solved the o-ring problem by using a standardized coupling design that is not sensitive to defects and deterioration issues. The O-rings in ColdEh couplings are used during the installation tightening procedure, but are not depended on for the final seal.

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ColdEh couplings deliver a final 'metal to metal' seal that is sized to perform in any ambient temperature and with extreme temperature fluctuations.

We also make sure you get clear installation instructions to make getting a strong connection simple. The ColdEh manul is delivered to you in paper format and electronic, so it is easy to double check the pictures on your smart phone while work is in progress!

Here's another important difference. ColdEh systems use a lot of refrigerant (a minimum of 24 ounces) and are not critically charged, so a little refrigerant loss during connection (or over the years) does not impact system performance.

And, instead of replacement O-rings like other system provide, ColdEh systems come with 2 sight glasses so that you can easily confirm your refrigerant levels (the system rarely if every leaks).

Finally, the couplings we use are carefully system tested for 24 to 48 hours prior to shipping, to ensure that all connections are strong and dependable -- so you can enjoy 'leak-free' performance.

Here are a few final tips to make sure your couplings are strong!

  • don't allow any dirt to accumulate on the coupling surfaces when connecting and disconnecting the line set
  • properly tighten the couplings according to the recommended specs
  • if your couplings get damaged on the metal edge or elastomer seal, replace them
  • handle them carefully; if you frequently disconnect the couplings, be sure to inspect and clean both the coupling ends with a soft, clean brush or cloth, clean any debris from the threads and from the interface between the male half and the female half.  Before re-connecting, remember to lubricate the couplings liberally with compatible refrigerant oil only (never any other lubricant!).