Zamboni & Ice Refrigeration???

03-16-2005, 03:17 AM
I'm looking into remodeling our school's old fieldhouse into an on-campus ice arena.

Can anyone tell me the pros or cons of propane powered zambonis compared to battery? At first I thought it was obvious. Propane gives off exhaust which might cause 3rd period headaches. Whereas electric engines are clean. But if that's the case, I'm wondering why all of the biggest, newest rinks in the state of MN (Xcel, Midwest Wireless, Mariucci, Engelstad) happen to use propane resurfacers? Is it simply that there's more than enough room for the exhaust to fan out?

Also, what's the difference between direct and indirect ice refrigeration? Again, my first impression was that indirect basically meant that the whole arena was freezing cold. But again, many of the bigger rinks (including Xcel) use indirect refrigeration. This is all according to Basically, my question is why do you have to wear a coat and 4 layers of sweatshirts to some high school and college arenas, while you can be comfortable in others with just a sweatshirt?

Are there any NHL arenas around the league that are notoriously cold?

Thanks in advance.

03-16-2005, 03:19 AM

First off, this might not be the right place for this thread.

Second, I can't tell you anything about refridgeration, but I can help you out with the Zamboni question.

You're right that propane Zamboni's give off some dangerous emissions, in fact just last month an arena in the Lower Mainland BC (I think it was in Coquitlam?) had to send a few hundred people to the hospital because of carbon monoxide poisining. This for the most part is not a problem though because of air filtration and just general facility design.

I think the reason many new NHL arenas use propane Zambonis as oppsed to Electric is the permanant infrastructure you need with the electric; namely you need to have a battery charger installed. Since most new NHL facilites aren't full time Ice arenas, having to reserve two rooms (as most arenas use two, if not three Zambonis) with expensive battery chargers doesn't really make much sense. With propane machines, you really only need a lockup with propane (duh!) which'll let you keep all your machines running.

Also, with propane 'bonis, you don't need to worry about running out of power mid-clean, as can happen with the electrics.

Bottom line, if you're going to have a permanant building (like what you seem to be suggesting), I'd suggest the Electric Zamboni just to cut down on emissions and since electric is, on the whole, more renewable.