Efficient Refrigerators

Discussion in 'Alternative Energy' started by SolarGary, May 23, 2006.

  1. SolarGary

    SolarGary Well-Known Member

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    Hi,

    We are in the market for a new efficient frig to replace our old one.

    I sent a note to the person who runs the refrigerator portion of the Energy Star site. The note and response are pasted in below.

    Is anyone else surprised/dissappointed that Energy Star does not appear to be on a track to do anything more about efficient frigs until 2012 at the earliest, and then only a small change?

    --

    Energy Star Response:
    Gary,

    Thank you for your interest in ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerators. It is
    very unlikely that the efficiency levels of refrigerators will change
    dramatically in the near future. Any large efficiency jump at this point
    well require radically new technology, not just improvements on the current
    refrigerator. The Federal standard will not change before at least 2012
    and even if it does change at that time, it will only be to the current
    ENERGY STAR level. There are very few models that use substantially less
    energy and most of these are made by smaller manufacturers. Any dramatic
    jumps in energy are for either niche products or are currently very
    cost-probative. The model you cite is a chest freezer and probably manual
    defrost. The 40 kWh/year may also not assume the U.S. DOE test procedures.

    We do have the defrost type of all qualified refrigerators listed in the
    Excel, Text and HTML versions of the qualified product lists available at
    http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=refrig.pr_refrigerators. The direct
    link to the Excel file is
    http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=refrig.display_products_excel
    . With the new stricter Federal standards, it is probably hard to find a
    manual
    defrost model that uses only half the energy of an automatic defrost
    refrigerator. We will update that language.

    Thank you for your inquiry.

    Richard Karney

    My Question to Energy Star:
    Hello Richard,

    We are planning to replace our inefficient frig with a more efficient
    one. I have reviewed the Energy Star ratings for fridges on your
    website, and there are certainly ones that use substantially less energy
    than our current frig. However, they still use a lot. I can't help but
    look at the frig that Dr Tom Chalko developed that runs on 40KWH per
    year ( link below), and think that there is a lot of potential left. My
    question is: Do you see any relatively near term development going on in
    more efficient refrigerators that will make me sorry I did not wait a
    while to buy one?

    A small comment on the site. The tips on selecting an energy efficient
    frig mentions that refrigerators with manual defrost "use half the
    energy of automatic defrost models". Is this true? Seems like a
    spectacular saving. I did not see any way to isolate those that have
    manual defrost in the listing you provide, and none of the models that I
    did list appear to have half the energy use of other frigs of the same
    size. I'm a bit confused (which is nothing new).


    Dr. Chalko's frig:
    http://mtbest.net/chest_fridge.html?PHPSESSID=51bfead2b5eb25eb02d458d4cf6f22a3


    Thanks for your help,

    Gary Reysa
    Bozeman, MT
    www.BuildItSolar.com
    gary@BuildItSolar.com
     
  2. Jim-mi

    Jim-mi Well-Known Member

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    Good link Gary.

    "Radical design changes"......hog wash....
    The reason the mano's don't put in 4" of insulation instead of 1 1/2" is......you guessed it ...$$$..
    It would take away 17 dollars of profit to do that.
    And on top of that it would make the interior size smaller.
    Also the customer HAS GOT TO HAVE the auto defrost.......it is just to labor intensive to defrost a fridge/freezer.......!!!!!!

    They do a hell of a job selling the sheeple the idea that "Biger IS More Better" ...and you ain't nobody unless you have the customized his and hers icecube makers.

    If the gubermint can place a penality on Big gasoline guzzlers, why do they not place a penality on big electrical guzzlers...????


    Again I'll step down from my soap box..................
     

  3. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    So why dont more folks use the parts shown at the link and convert their freezers? I had never heard of it before now it sound vantastic I skimmed it as it is bed time now.
     
  4. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    Just agree with you guys is all I can add.

    BooBoo
     
  5. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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    I agree.

    Same thing with the automobile industry. they 'talk' about lowering fuel usage, but they keep cranking out junk that burns more fuel.

    Only in a military dictatorship [like Brazil] can industry truly be forced to make advancements, recognizing that industry must shift away from fossil fuel based technology. I realize that I sound like an ad for dictators, but I really do wish that our corporations would have the strength to recognize the need to make real changes, and then to make them.

    :)
     
  6. Jim-mi

    Jim-mi Well-Known Member

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    Right ET1,
    I find it hard to believe that in all those very high priced monkey monks in the Big Corps that there isn't people able to see beyound their noses as to producing more energy efficent cars/fridges.
    I really would like to have an eye ball to eye ball with one of those guys and hear there reasoning for not putting more insulation in a fridge.
     
  7. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We bought a new refrigerator within the last year. After lots of looking and research, we decided that we wanted one with no freezer part. It was to replace our 30+ year old 14 cu ft refrig/freezer that was manual defrost. One of the problems with getting a new one was the auto defrost feature that almost all of them seem to have. After we bought a "Kill-a-Watt" meter and started checking the energy consumption of some of our appliances, I was horrified at the amount of power our refrig was using. The new one uses 1/4 to 1/3 as much and is a 17 cu ft (but it doesn't have a freezer section). Our new one is a Crosley, made by Wood's (in Canada). We had to special order it as the local dealer didn't stock it. We did find one on display in LaCrosse, WI, so we could see what it was like before ordering it.

    One site with some comparisons of refrigerators:
    http://www.aceee.org/consumerguide/topfridge.htm

    Our other refrig is a 12 volt 12 cu ft Sunfrost that is about25 years old, I think, and running fine. We use it mostly for produce, etc., from the garden.

    I also discovered that I could probably get a new chest freezer that would be as big as both of our current freezers together, and use less power than either one of them uses, so we will probably update our freezers, if I can figure out how to get a bigger one in the basement.
     
  8. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    Thats what my little 8 cubic foot freezer is.I bought it and replaced my lights with CF bulbs the same day.

    My electric bill remained the same,so putting in CF bulbs gave me 'free' electric to run a freezer.

    2 points.Thats a really efficient little freezer,and CF bulbs really save energy.

    We can get CF bulbs here from 88 cents to 1.50 with the power company paying a buydown.Go to the checkout,the 'buydown' has already been paid and that is the out the door price.

    IF the country really wanted to reduce energy use,you would see this countrywide I think.I know I would like to see my tax dollars used in reducing energy useage,instead of many other things.

    BooBoo
     
  9. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    How much is the crosley compared to the sundanzer and sunfrost? I guess with shippingfrom Canada it would be a lot. Mightybooboo I will have some photo's for you in a few weeks I just sent them to my wife for development.
     
  10. Allan Mistler

    Allan Mistler Just a simple man

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    I'm so intrigued by the power usage of a modified chest freezer - modified for refrigeration - that I just have to ask if anyone on this forum uses a chest refrigerator in their own home? My wife has agreed (at the expense of a total kitchen makeover) to part with her one year old 25 cuft 'does it all' vertical power consumer. I did an energy audit with a power meter and showed her where that ice-making, water-dispensing, part freezer accounts for 30% of our electric bill... and that was before I placed the two freezers and cattle barn on solar! Since doing so reduced our electric bill by about $40/mo the percentage is even greater now!!!
    Anyway, she agreed that we don't need all the bells and whistles especially since we do have two freezers that we fill with farm raised product and condense down to one freezer when the quantities diminish. The only concern she has is the potential inconvenience of no shelves. I'm not sure how others have adapted to that so that's my question to those who've taken the leap.
    Thanks in advance and may your Memorial Day be safe and one of joyous memories.
     
  11. frazzlehead

    frazzlehead AppleJackCreek Supporter

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    I have one! I have one!

    I've got a Sears Kenmore deep freeze (bought new on sale for just around $300) with an external thermostat widget (which was about $100, discovered online - they are sold for home brewers to make keg refrigerators from). It uses very very little electricity (I run on solar power and a generator - power consumption is a crucial consideration). I can plug in the killawatt if you really want to know. :)

    I was looking at a Sunfrost, but I got this for 1/10 the cost. That solved the question for me right there! No shipping costs, either - I picked up the freezer down at the local Sears and brought it home myself.

    I use stacking buckets down one side (got them at Ikea for a couple bucks each) and I know what goes in which level so I know where to find things. I have one basket, and then milk and so on sits on the little 'shelf' at the bottom. My son can't reach the good stuff at the very bottom of the freezer unless he leans right in, but he's growing so fast that won't last long. It might be tricky if you have lots of people in the house, nobody'd know where to find stuff unless you had a clear organizational scheme. You can't really just "glance around" for things, they are potentially buried.

    I also find it gets moisture inside, and so every so often I swipe a dish towel along the inner walls (it's like condensation droplets) and occasionally mop up whatever may have collected on the bottom. No biggie, keeps it clean. :)

    Before I install the hardwood flooring, I will be putting insulation (that silver bubbly stuff) under the spot where the fridge lives, so that the heated floor isn't heating my fridge and making it work harder.

    Another plus is that I got more cupboard space (well, more easily accessible cupboard space, for sure - I'm short!) and was able to mount a couple shelves above the freezer door for things like honey and coffee and such. Easily accessible, and the door doesn't bang into them.
     
  12. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Regarding the Wood's/Crosley refrigerators, apparently Wood's (yes, they spell it with the apostrophe) makes chest freezers for many of the other brands, and we got our refrig from a local dealer, no extra shipping charges, and the price was in line with other refrigerators that they had in stock. Sorry, can't recall the exact price at the moment.
     
  13. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    It was the bargain priced one,we got it at Best Buy.It was cheap and the best quality we could find in a small freezer,the other brand,forget name,was very flimsy.

    Amazing how light it is,and a tweeny weeny little compresser,we cool it to zero degrees if I recall correctly.Would have to check to be sure.

    There are only a few appliance makers in all of North America,you can count them on one hand.

    BooBoo
     
  14. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    Well done Frazzlehead!

    Lots of us would love you to do a killowatt meter test!If this hits sundanzer im sold,BUT.....

    If off grid,sundanzer is straight 12 volt,one model doesnt even use a battery,so we need to consider battery and inverter efficiency losses in the final equation..

    Im nit picking,if its close,Im sold.

    Booboo
     
  15. Jim-mi

    Jim-mi Well-Known Member

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    Yes I have a chest style fridge. 12vdc danfoss compressor, 4" foam insulation, Very efficient. The 12vdc comes from a Vanner 100 amp 24 to 12 unit
    And yes it takes a bunch of getting use to, but if you put your mind to it, you can make the change.
    The energy savings are well worth it.
    I also have a new 21cf Fridgee---dair (on purpose) energy star and all that---------I'm sorry I bought it, even tho with my system I've got enough power to run it, it still uses way to much power.

    If some one is starting from scratch, I think one way to go would be to get two (2) Crosley chest freezers--Backwoods $590 no shipping charge-- A plug in external thermostat--$75. Then you would use one unit as a fridge and the other as a freezer..........
    The Crosley has 3.25" side walls and 2.5" top insulation.
    Of course they are Not as efficient as a SunDanzer, but then again look at the price difference.

    It amounts to the same ole same ole.
    Pay for the "insulation" up front or pay for more electrial energy over time..............Take your choice.........

    It would be interesting to know just how many folks have used >just< a PV pannel, a battery, and a Sunfrost, and kept their food kool/cold, for how many years ... ???

    Allen M- I wish you well converting from your vertical HOG to a chest unit.........Good move
     
  16. Allan Mistler

    Allan Mistler Just a simple man

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    My thoughts exactly... After enduring over two weeks of rain and overcast skies, I've become attached to my centralized PV-Battery-Inverter-Generator system (and looking forward to the hookup of the 40" water wheel generator for just such occasions) since I had to light up the genset twice in that timeframe.
    Regarding the response to my request for info from users of chest refrigerators/modified freezers, I want to thank you and frazzlehead for your honest evaluations of the pro's and con's of making the change. It appears at this time that I too will use a modified chest freezer with an external thermostat (incidentally you can get the thermostat for under $45 at Grainger in their Catalog #397 on page 3709)
    I should have minimal difficulty selling my spouse on the benefits of saving money with a practical alternative! Thanks again!!!
     
  17. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    Question-does the inverter need to be on to run the thermostat,or does the inverter shut off if no loads,then come on when the refer needs it?

    BooBoo
     
  18. Jim-mi

    Jim-mi Well-Known Member

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    The thermostat just opens and closes contacts to turn a load on or off.
    But is it like a 24vac furnace stat-- not shure.
    If it does it would come under the "phantom load" heading---a problem for the off grider who wants his inverter to sleep.
    Gotta find out
    good question.
     
  19. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    This thread has been most educational I need to get rid of the ancient 70's refrigerator and chest freezer we have when I get home from Kosovo. It is costing us we hardly use anyother electric and our bill is $46 or so a month.
     
  20. Allan Mistler

    Allan Mistler Just a simple man

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    Jim-mi, the thermostats listed with Grainger and Crosby are strictly mechanically activated dry contacts which close on a temperature rise within the remote bulb sensor. The thermostat identified in that article where the Australian created a solid state switch would indeed create a phantom load although it probably wouldn't be great enough to even activate the 5 watt threshold on most inverters. That's why the totally mechanical units are preferred since they draw no power and yet will cause the freezer compressor to call for power upon a preset temperature rise. This allows the inverter to 'sleep' and not create a problem for the very low power solid state thermostats.