Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Off the Grid Propane Refrigerator Repairs

The Never-ending Story Part I

In 2011, we remodeled our kitchen at the float cabin and added new propane appliances. We chose a Unique 11 cubic foot refrigerator to replace our old 8 cubic foot RV style Dometic. The Unique was flawless until last March when the temperature started fluctuating wildly. As long as we were home, Wayne could chase it with the temperature control knob. But if we left for more than a day, we never knew what to expect.

We came home from a trip to the States to find the fridge off, mildew growing, and food spoiled. Not much, but all those condiments cost a lot to replace. We called our good friend John to come have a look. He’s installed all of our propane devices.

To get ready, we pulled the rug up and moved the fridge into the middle of the kitchen floor. Then off came the burner’s safety cover, and we spent hours, days, even months monitoring the strength of the flame as we moved the temp knob up and down, chasing that ideal 4°C.

We talked to lots of people, but no one wanted to come up the lake. One suggested replacing the propane regulator. That was a job Wayne could do. But it didn't solve the problem. Wayne created a graph of the fluctuations and called the Unique factory for assistance.

We reached Tim, and he was very responsive, but none of the suggestions helped. We leveled the fridge to make sure the propane would flow properly. We cleaned the flue and burner’s gas jet according to instructions sent via email. Finally, we asked for a local repairman. There was only one, but he worked exclusively on Savary Island. We checked with Rona where we purchased the refrigerator, but all of their certified gas technicians said, “Bring the refrigerator to me.”

Dave from D and M Burner Services in the propane shed adjusting the flow.

John saved the day. He lead us to the perfect gas technician, Dave from D and M Burner Services.

D and M Burner Services
1-8425 Sunshine Coast Highway
Powell River, BC
(604) 487-4516

I highly recommend Dave for any of your gas and propane needs. He’s a great guy, and has years of experience in the business. And most important of all, he willingly met us at the Shinglemill dock and brought his tools and talents to our float cabin up the lake. What a relief.

Dave testing and adjusting the propane flow with the manometer.

On the first trip he tested our propane flow. He used compressed air to flush the line and tested the flow with an expensive digital manometer. This device measures the pressure of the propane in the line so it can be adjusted at the valve. While Dave worked, he talked by cell phone to Tim back at Unique in Ontario. At the end of the day we didn’t know if the problem was solved. Only time would tell. -- Margy


  1. Hope it gets fixed soon.

  2. Hope it comes out well - after all this effort.

  3. It might take a while but usually in Powell River there will be the right person for the job, it's just a question of finding them! Fingers crossed the darn thing works from now on.

    1. You are so right. But sometimes people who want to go out of town are hard to find. So far, all is well. Got my fingers and toes crossed, but I know Dave would come back to help if needed. - Margy

  4. Your John is a stud muffin! He leads you onto the right thing all the time!

    1. He sure is. But sometimes even he can't do everything. - Margy

  5. For the price one pays for Unique appliances, I would think it should be flawless for a lot of years. I suppose it could be something else that caused the problem. Hopefully you guys got it all fixed up Margy.

    1. Good to hear from you. Wish you were still posting about your place. - Margy


We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy