energy efficient refrigerators?

Discussion in 'Alternative Energy' started by Nancy in Maine, Aug 19, 2006.

  1. Nancy in Maine

    Nancy in Maine Well-Known Member

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    Hi all! I"m usually hanging out in the Cooking and Crafts forum, but we're going to have to replace our old (approx. 20 yr) fridge so I came over to pick your brains....

    Our electric bill shows our usage keeps going up and up and up. We're thinking the main culpret may be the fridge. We're going to have to replace it anyway, and we figure we should get one that is as energy efficient as possible. I know they make very well insulated refrigerators for solar homes. Does anyone here have any sources they can share?

    Web sites, company names, etc.?
     

  2. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You can always get a SunFrost or one of the chest type refrigerators, but if you want a "regular" refrigerator that you can buy locally, check the energystar listings that shaycool posted. We replaced a refrigerator a year or so ago, and ended up with a Crosley (actually made in Canada by Woods) all refrigerator model, as we have a chest freezer close by. We wanted a unit that was NOT auto defrost or selfdefrosting, because those features can waste a lot of energy and aren't especially good for long term food storage. The one we got does have cycle defrost on the cooling coils in the refrigeration compartment, but at least doesn't have the heating coils that many self defrosting units have.

    The electric consumption used by refrigeration dropped measurably and we are very pleased with the unit we got.http://www4.wcwood.com/servlet/PrintProduct?loc=int&hertz=60&lan=eng&brand=Wood's&product=refrig&model=R17NAB

    We also have a SunFrost 12 cu ft unit that we have had for 20 years or so, and it works as advertised, uses minimal power, and would be worth having for an off-grid situation with no inverter. It was, and they still are, expensive.
     
  3. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Formerly LisainN.Idaho Supporter

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    You could get a propane fridge like we have off-grid, but you have to defrost them and they just aren't as big.
     
  4. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Short term gain can probably be had by pulling out the frig you have and giving the coils and air openings a good vacuuming and a careful gentle brushing to dislodge gunk. I measured the amp draw on mine before and after and it cut usage in half. They become energy pigs when dirty at any rate, this could buy you some time to shop carefully.
     
  5. Jim-mi

    Jim-mi Well-Known Member

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    Sorry Nancy but those "well insulated fridg's" are for any and ALL homes-------not just for *solar* homes.
    Scroll down a ways and you'll find a recent thread about fridg's.
    I suspect that an awfull lot of people would never be happy making the transistion from the typical upright to a chest type fridge/freezer......but those that do see a hugh savings in power useage.

    my .03 cents
     
  6. Nancy in Maine

    Nancy in Maine Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the information and especially the sites I an go to compare and check on prices, features, etc. I haven't had to think about refrigerators for a couple of decades, but since we're going to be buying one soon of necessity, might as well make it a good buy this time.

    Jim-mi--A chest refrigerator? I've never heard of them. I'll check them out. I'm having a hard time picturing it. I do have a chest freezer. It's a bit hard to keep the food organized and to get what you want with out pawing through everything, but when the power was out for 4 days we didn't lose a thing in that freezer. Everything was warm in the fridge in a matter of hours. So I gotta figure the chest freezer has more insulation than the refrigerator, which can't have much at all. :flame:

    Ross--ummm...good idea. I know you're supposed to clean them every now and then. Will do that first thing Monday morning. :eek:

    LisaInN.Idaho--yeah, we could go propane, but then we'd be trading one energy bill for another. I wasn't clear enough on the solar home comment. We are on the grid at our present home (would love to someday rebuild and go solar/other alternative energy, but it's a future dream) and the reason I mentioned fridges for solar homes is because they make ones that use very little energy specifically for solar homes, or so I've heard. Like I saw in the Backwoods home catalog.

    WisJim--Sunfrost, I'll check that out. Thanks

    Shaycool--thanks for the link
     
  7. Nancy in Maine

    Nancy in Maine Well-Known Member

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    ...But if anyone else has a recommendation, please post it!

    I checked out the chest refrigerators but I can't get a good look at the inside of one. How are they compartmentalized?

    I also looke at the SunFrost refrigerators. Those are the ones that are in the Backwoods catalog. I bet they're efficient! Pricey, but they'd pay for themselves. I'll have to think on that.
     
  8. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The Sunfrost is worth considering if you are off grid and don't want to be dependent on an inverter to run the refrigerator. Otherwise, to be honest, many new refrigerators are so much more efficient than they were even 10 years ago, that it can be worth getting a regular efficient one instead. But I am glad we got our Sunfrost back when we were off grid, as it paid for itself compared to buying propane for the old Servel that we had, and eliminated gas exhaust from the burner in the propane Servel.
     
  9. SolarGary

    SolarGary Well-Known Member

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    Hi Nancy,

    The link below shows the list of things we did to reduce our electric bill, and how much effect each change had on the KWH used. The frig was a big help -- the frig yearly power use went from 1170 KWH/yr down to 448 KWH/yr. But, some of the other changes saved even more -- like 1600KWH reduction for putting our two PC's on a power diet.
    You can go down the list, and see if any of the changes we made apply to you, but the best way to get a handle on your electric bill is to buy a Kill-A-Watt or WattsUp? meter, and measure how much each or your electric applicances is using both when switched on and when switched off.

    http://www.builditsolar.com/References/Half/ProjectsConservation.htm

    The Kill-A-Watt:
    http://www.builditsolar.com/References/Half/KillAWatt.htm

    If you live off grid, and every KWH is like gold, then the SufFrosts and the like start to make a lot of sence, but for us on-griders, the best of the conventional Energy Star rated frigs look pretty good at a moderate price.


    Gary
     
  10. offGridNorthern

    offGridNorthern Well-Known Member

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    when we were moving to our new "off grid" home, I had to replace my top of the line, fancy freezer on the bottom, icemaker, gadget, almost window-washing fridge with an energey efficient one.

    Fortunatley, the Canadian gov't had (and probably still has) a web site that listed all the appliances made by various companies and how they were rated!!! I just printed that off, went to the appliance sotre and bought the one that had the lowest rating.

    No icemaker, though.
     
  11. Jim-mi

    Jim-mi Well-Known Member

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    Well golly gee offGridNorthern............If you don't have matching his and her icemakers in a 36cf side by side.........well your just nobody...
    Gotta have ALL the bells and whistles on your fridge iffin you want to amount to something.


    lol
    sarcasm.............wouldn't think of it
     
  12. tulsamal

    tulsamal Well-Known Member

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    I just bought a new Samsung 26 CF side by side fridge this week. With the outside cold water and ice. I was tired of my old fridge that ran all the time and which you could hear while you were in bed. I _thought_ the big new style fridges would eat a lot of juice but look for the Energy Star ratings and check out yellow tags. For the big Samsung at Lowe's, the yellow tag says it only uses $50 worth of electricity in one year! You know how they always have a scale that shows the electricity use of other devices in the same class? Least use on the left and most use on the right. The Samsung tag was firmly pressed to the left side. The only full size side by side I saw that was lower was a Jenn-Air that only used $48 a year in electricity.

    This is the one we bought: http://tinyurl.com/fddr7

    Now if I could just pay $50 a year for my electric hot water heater, that would really be something!!

    Gregg
     
  13. Nancy in Maine

    Nancy in Maine Well-Known Member

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    I finally got those fridge coils vacuumed. (they needed it) I hope it makes a noticeable difference. But you know, I just got my electric bill this morning and not having the extra 2 college kids in the home knocked off $30. This is just from having fans and computers on in the bedrooms. Plus the few loads of laundry they didn't hang out, but used the dryer for.

    I couldn't get my vacuum hose in between the coils, so I took a swiffer duster and was able to get in between. Most of the dust came free.
     
  14. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    Got mine vacuumed,surprised they were as clean as they were actually.

    booboo
     
  15. Allan Mistler

    Allan Mistler Just a simple man

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    Gregg, though quite low for a refrigerator, that's still 1,652 watts per day on average. For an alternative energy system I think that would be too high to tolerate unless it was a very large system or one devoted to merely power the refrigerator. I like the idea of a chest refrigerator at about 200 watts/day as some have reported here in the past. If I can learn to put the seat down, I know I can adapt to the replacement of the milk bottle to the same bin I took it out of. :D
     
  16. Shinsan

    Shinsan Keeping the Dream Alive

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    Anybody supply ventilation to the back of their fridge? One house I lived in had holes drilled in the floor at the back of the fridge, allowing cold sub-floor air to flow up around the fridge's radiator coils. Fridge didn't run so often and our electriic bill was right down because of this. Unfortunately our new modern fridge has a 'clean' back so I can't do the same here. (It has a fan that sucks air down the back and blows it out at floor level at the front - which can be good if you're raiding the fridge in bare feet during a winter night.)
     
  17. Txsteader

    Txsteader Well-Known Member

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    We were in much the same situation.......old fridge compressor kept running & electric bill kept going higher. Bought a new fridge, decided to buy a chest freezer while we were at it. Our electric bill actually decreased $20/mo, even with the additional freezer. I was pleasantly surprised.

    As with any major electrical appliance, newer models are designed to be more energy efficient. My advice is just to shop for the best energy rating for the size unit you need. You can't help but save money.

    Now, if we could just get the electric company to stop hiking their rates.........:(
     
  18. joe

    joe Active Member

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    http://www.sundanzer.com
    "These highly efficient units with exceptionally low energy consumption require a smaller photovoltaic (PV) system for your refrigeration needs. SunDanzer units feature 4.33" (110 mm) of polyurethane insulation and coated steel cabinets. The brushless DC motor compressor operates on 12 or 24 VDC. A patented low-frost system reduces frost build-up for low maintenance."
     
  19. jgbndaudio

    jgbndaudio Well-Known Member

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    Hello,

    Two things to keep in mind.

    The yellow energy rating tags use an average KWH price from 2003, if I remember correctly. So the $$ it says to run it per year is probably not what you're really going to be paying to run it, unless you utility company is charging 2003 rates.

    Also side by side fridges are generally more energy consuming than other models per sq. foot.

    Scott

    PS - I'm also currently looking for a new fridge as ours in on it's last legs. I used to think I'd buy a Sunfrost when the time came but they're so expensive and with no plans to go off grid any time soon I figure I can save a lot of money now and still get a very efficient fridge.

    Hopefully by the time this fridge is on it's last legs there will still be electricity to run it!