View Full Version : Refrigerator Outdoors in Las Vegas 115F

14-06-2016, 11:08 PM
Hello, I have a Beverage Air UCR20 fridge ( about 4 oz of R134A , 1/6 hp compressor, 2.7 cu.ft. ) .

I have the fridge in an food truck outfitted with espresso and hot chocolate equipment. The UCR20 worked well for about 15 years but I recently moved to Las Vegas. It is about 110F outside last week and the unit could not hold its set point during the day. I suspect that more air movement over the condenser coils would have helped, but alas I did not do anything to help and now the unit is failing big time. Turn it on and it makes the inside of the fridge hotter not cooler.

Right now the food truck is not in business but is parked at my work (tech job) and is serving about 10 cups a day. I sure love my mobile coffee wagon, but the fridge is caput.

BTW the wood coffee bar was custom built to fit an UCR34 (when i bought the fridge cash was tight so I scored an used UCR20 for about $400).

I am thinking to buy the UCR34y brand new for about $1500 and I called Beverage Air to ask if it would work in a 120F space, they said probably not...

My questions are:

A. If I want a fridge to work in a room that is about 115F to 120F what is the best refrigerant? R134A or R404? Or is there a better refrigerant?

B. Is there any way to 'hotrod' a fridge and give it more cooling power? The AC bill on this truck would cost over $200 per month, so thats not happening.

17-06-2016, 09:08 PM
I know you don't want to be too fancy with this: But your air conditioning bill would be a lot different too....There are a variety of indirect swamp coolers out there: Coolerado is far ahead in terms of technology and I believe would work well in your environment. How much air circulation do you need overall? Have a grill or griddle or similar in your unit?


Or work the principle only on the condensing side of your fridge: might mean you have to cut a hold in the side of your vehicle but essentially a small unit like this would make your fridge think it was in a 75-deg room.

Rob White
18-06-2016, 03:33 PM

115 F is about 45 C and that is very high for most commercial fridges.
32 C to 35 C (90 ish F) is about the highest normal commercial fridges
are designed to work in and they will struggle at that.

You do have options but they all come at a cost.

One is cool the airspace down with AC or Adiabatic cooling as Sterl points out.


Increase the condenser, increase the airflow over the condenser or place the condenser
outside of the space. The later options would in my opinion be the most expensive.

As for the existing fridge, if it is 15 years old and if it was exposed to very high ambients,
chances are the compressor has been damaged and is now not pumping correctly, hence
the high temps inside the fridge.