Old Betsy has gone to refrigerator heaven

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by HermitJohn, Sep 19, 2005.

  1. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Ok, one of those days. My last electric bill was ten dollars higher than its ever been and this morning found out why. Fridge severely dimmed lights and flickered the computer monitor. I turned it off. Tried turning it on half hour ago again and nothing. She's went to refrigerator heaven.

    So been looking on net a bit for refrigerators and what they cost to run. Keep finding references to such a list but apparently it doesnt exist, just links to some other site telling me to buy a new more efficient refrigerator and how energy saving they can be, but not telling me what those efficient models actually are.

    So comes down to bottom line. Right now I am paying 12c per killowatt hour. An old manual defrost 8 to 12 cu ft fridge from 50's (I dont care what it looks like, would just spray paint it) shouldnt run over 500 killowatt hours per year. Probably much less since it would be manual defrost. And if I can still find one (used refrigerators now seem to be from 70's and 80's with all the defrosters and gadgets and high energy consumption) for nominal amount money then is it better to go that way or think about investing in something like a Sunfrost. At 12c per killowatt a Sunfrost using a fouth of the energy still wouldnt pay for itself in energy savings even after 20 years not even considering the time value of money. However if electric doubled and it for sure will sometime in next ten years if not much sooner, then it starts making sense. Or if I decided to go off grid... Course if I were going off grid would want DC model and to run a DC model on grid for now wouldnt be efficient. Ah, gets complicated.

    Wonder if there are still any of those old 1930's GE Monitor refrigerators still around or are they collectable? Know I bid on one at auction once several years ago, but couple antique dealer women outbid me. Think for a mainstream refrigerator, it was probably most durable and efficient ever made. Sure the Sunfrost probably beats them on efficiency, but.....
     
  2. Michael W. Smith

    Michael W. Smith Well-Known Member

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    I thought a while back when our fridge was running nonstop, that it might be time to buy a new one. But, after defrosting it, it quit running as much. I believe the fridge we have now was bought in the 80's. It is too small for our family of 3 (especially when you have chickens are they start producing eggs). We have our eye on a new model that has the crushed/ cubed ice and water in the door, and have come close several times to actually buying, but we've put it off.

    I found the same thing you did with everybody telling me to go ahead and buy a new one, they are so much more efficient etc, but they don't tell you what kind to get. :confused: The only thing I was told was to buy one with an energy star on it and they all seem to have it. Most of the new ones said they would cost $48.00 - $51.00 / year to run (can't remember how much / killowatt was figured).

    Now I do have an antique fridge down in the basement that was given to me and has been running fine. Not sure when it was made, but it would have to be from the 1960's or even before.

    Tell you what, you buy me a top of the line brand new fridge with the water and crushed/cubed ice in the door, and I'll give you the old fridge down in the basement. Sounds like a deal to me!! ;)
     

  3. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Hermit,
    Did you read the info that was here on the site recently about using a chest type freeze as a refrigerator? Seems in this mode the freezer costs almost nothing to run when set to operate as a refrigerator. Due to horizontal desiign the cold does not try to escape when the door is opened, the unit is efficient in itself, the insulation is superior to a refrigerator. To convert, the thermostat sensor is connected through the drain hole then it makes and breaks the ac on the line cord. Bypassing the thermostat reverts to a freezer without other modifications. It is super simple and does not void the warranty.
     
  4. jennigrey

    jennigrey Well-Known Member Supporter

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    when our fridge was among the walking wounded i found this site very helpful and informative:

    www.fridgedoctor.com

    check out these sections:
    http://fridgedoctor.com/frequently-asked-questions/frequently-asked-questions.html

    also:
    http://fridgedoctor.com/generic/art/305.html

    with this man's (free!) online help i was able to track the problem to its source even though i have no particular mechanical skills, diagnose and fix the problem. she runs like new again (it was a faulty cold control).

    also read through the "articles" section. here is a page on buying a used fridge:

    http://fridgedoctor.com/fridge-doctor-book/finding-the-best-used-refrigerator.html

    and this is his take on replacing your "old engergy gobbler" (his words, also in quotes) with a new, more energy efficient unit:
    http://fridgedoctor.com/generic/main/200.html

    not exactly the situation you are in, since your "old energy gobbler" is actually dimming the lights around you! how many amps is your circuit rated at?
     
  5. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We just replace our over 30 year old 15 cu ft Frigidaire with a new 17 cu ft Crosley/Wood's refrigerator only unit. Both of them were not frost free--we don''t want the extra energy expense. According to my "Kill-A-Watt" wat-hour meter, the new refrigerator is using about 1/3 of the power that the old one used--about 1kw-hr a day compared to almost 3kw-hr a day. It will be a bit less as I get the thermostat adjusted, as it was keeping things at around 33 degrees at first. I figure that it will pay for itself in 5 years or so in energy savings alone. We decided on a unit without a freezer as our chest freezer is close by.

    We spent a lot of time over the last year checking out new refrigerators and comparing operating costs before making our decision.
     
  6. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Hmm, the lights dimming were accompanied by hearing the refrigerator compressor trying to start over and over. Thats how I knew to unplug it. Glad I was at home when it decided to do this.

    Nope not going to buy some new fridge unless it seriously saves energy, like the Sunfrost, but at a price that makes economic sense. This energy star BS means nothing if I cant have access to a list of all fridges made and their energy consumption. Matter of fact Whirlpool came up with a super energy saving model (not anything near what Sunfrost can do) and discontinued it to slow sales. It was only available in monster size with all bells and whistles so wouldnt have been interesting to me anyhow. 8 to 12 cu ft is plenty big enough for me. By way look at those energy labels and they have some unrealisticly low cost of electricity. The true cost of electric delivered is my total bill divided by my total killowatts used. Yep taxes and cost added charges for those that stiff the electric company are part of what I have to pay and thus part of the true cost of my electric. Thats 12c per killowatt on my last bill. Those labels still show like 3, 4, or 5 cents per kilowatt.

    As I said unless it makes economic sense, I am not putting out beaucoup bucks for new and shiney or super high efficiency. Looks mean nothing to me and I will find another one of those ancient fridges that run forever, cost little or nothing to aquire, and that I dont have to drag along with me if I move.

    No I hadnt read about converting little freezer. Will read that with interest. I had considered getting a little chest freezer anyway, so even if it didnt work out as a fridge substitute, can use it as a freezer.
     
  7. deb

    deb Well-Known Member

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    I would probably get a new fridge and make it an energy efficient one at that. Yes, you may not save enough money from the reduced electrical use to pay off the fridge, but frankly getting a new fridge might save you a lot of food momey!

    I had a former landlord who tried to fix the fridge in my apt. and I ended up losing 2 weeks of groceries because it kept breaking down.

    This is the government website that lists energy efficient appliances and it describes how to calculate the cost of the saved energy.

    http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=find_a_product.

    deb in wi
     
  8. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Same old energy star webpage I found with google. Doesnt actually give a list of refrigerators and their energy use. Just tells how wonderful it is to look for the energystar label. Talk about worthless. If I somehow missed exact page and you found a page with actual models of refrigerators listed, I'd be interested, but I just dont see such a page. Hmm, could be it has a browser sniffer and didnt approve of my browser so sent me some other page. I'll try it on big computer with Firefox. Firefox too slow on this ancient laptop.
     
  9. Don Armstrong

    Don Armstrong In Remembrance

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    HJ, I think you're right about needing a newer browser. The info is there if you get to it off the main page, but it isn't static. It's one of those stupid Macromedia ColdFusion database things. You can pull it down as HTML, Excel file, or comma-separated variable files; so you can get the info you want presented the way you want it (sorted by nominal KwH/pa use, filtered by volume).

    You don't really want an old-model frig - their coolant will be banned CFC's, and you won't be able to top them up again at any reasonable price, if at all, when they lose coolant.
     
  10. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    I got into energy star site with model data this morning with Dillo browser on ancient laptop. Either page was down when I tried last evening or server was too busy. I have real slow dialup connection so that means I have low priority with site servers. If its busy then I just as well go elsewhere.

    Anyway the site has good info. Am waiting to hear more about conversion of small chest freezer into chest refrigerator by means of an external thermostat. Its doable as external thermostats I found are sold to make chest freezers into refrigerated storage for beer/wine. The question is how much energy does such a setup save. My guess from what I've been reading is that freezer running as a fridge will use about half or even little less energy it does as a freezer. That makes it competitive energywise with a very expensive Sunfrost. Such a setup would pay for itself in around 5 years even at my present 12cents per killowatt, since small new freezer is only two to three hundred dollars. And the compressor should last longer since it has to run less often.

    As to old fridges. You missed the point. Some of the ancient ones last forever and are giveaway or near giveaway. Nobody (except few diehard cheapskates like me) wants an ugly smallish heavy old manual defrost fridge anymore except maybe to store beer in one out in garage or basement. When they do go to refrigerator heaven, you dont pay some technician megabucks to repair it, you toss it and go find another. those old manual defrost mid 20th century fridges tend to be rather efficient compared to todays fridges even though their insulation technology was crude. They had better made motors/compressors that would last and last. Today they are made as cheap as possible and they have to battle the auto defrosters so work harder. If new fridge lasts 10 to 15 years you are lucky. Modern ones also get noisy quicker. You bet I'd jump at chance at an old '30s era GE Monitor in good working order (looked like an old timey icebox only with a big round compressor sitting on top) They were tops in efficiency compared to anything modern except the Sunfrost and other specialty fridges made with off grid use in mind. Alas they are collectable now and pricey. I looked them up on internet. People are actually restoring them. Gotta respect a 75 year old refrigerator that is still running.
     
  11. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Oops, Don is right about that macromedia crap, I still cant get to that link given by Deb, but can get the the html version here:

    http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=refrig.display_products_html

    I had been looking at other refrigerator and freezer sites and that link back to energy star came up, had assumed it was link I'd tried last evening.

    Why they think they need anything beyond plain html for just displaying table data is beyond me. KISS (keep it simple, stupid)
     
  12. sylvar

    sylvar Well-Known Member

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    Dang it John! You broke my refrigerator!!!! :)

    Its my Egg Fridge. I replaced the the Thermostat less than a year ago and here it is acting up again. I guess I will replace the thermostat again...cheaper than a new one.

    Shane
     
  13. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    When I bought a new refrigerator six years ago, I did not look at the kind that makes ice cubes and delivers ice and water in the door. These not only cost more when you buy them, but quite a bit more down the road. Those water and ice door deliveries last two to four years, then need to be repaired. You're looking at about $150 to repair the stupid thing. When you look at the price tag, add $150 ( more like $200 and more) to the price.