Solar News

Is your fridge up to speed?

19 July 2012
Category: Appliances

Dave's Column - Fridges. Refrigeration can add a lot to your energy bill. Urban myths about power consumption of fridges and freezers, including that old beer fridge.

Urban myths:

a) "My art deco 20 yr old beer fridge with 125mm thick walls, manual defrost and exposed condenser coils is efficient" - WRONG! a new auto defrost fridge with thin walls etc would use about 1/3 the power!

b) "Upright fridges are very inefficient because all the cold air drops out when you open the door" - according to a USA uni study, door opening accounts for about 7 to 11% of the power consumption. Cooling air does not take that much energy. This can be minimised by keeping your fridge full & buying a fridge with some closed drawers/ compartments (my Electrolux has a conventional veggie crisper, but also a small goods drawer, egg & butter compartments).

c) "Having the freezer on the bottom would be more energy efficient." Not true, at least for the Electrolux range.

To save power, remember:

a) One large fridge is more efficient than having a separate fridge & freezer (or a beer fridge- sorry guys).

b) A large fridge uses more power than a smaller one but only a bit more- on similar models, power used is proportional to the surface area of the fridge. eg the 420 litre Electrolux uses 318 kWh/ year while the 520 litre uses 356 kWh/ year.

c) If you do have an old clunker with manual defrost- keep it de-iced as much as possible- eg defrosting once every few weeks if needed. Replace the door seal if it is compressed or perished- It should hold a sheet of paper when closed.

d) Place your fridge in a cool location out of the sun! Keep your fridge full.

e) If you live on solar, place any warm food or drinks in it on a sunny morning if possible.

f) If you buy a new fridge - look at the Star Label - it will list kWh per year- divide by 365 to get daily power- in fact they tend to use less than the suggested amount in a 'normal' domestic situation. RPC has monitored two fridges for a full year.

Why do I keep mentioning Electrolux? Well they are the most efficient and made in Australia in the 240 volt range!

Appendices

  • watts = amps times volts
  • 1000 Watts (W) = 1 kilowatt (kW)
  • 1000 W or 1 kW x 1 hour = 1 kilowatt hour (kWh) or 'unit' and costs about $0.31
  • 200 Watts x 5 hours or 100W x 10 hr = 1 kWh ( $0.31 on your power bill)

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We install solar systems in Northern NSW and Southern QLD.


QLD:
Gold Coast (from Coolangatta to Southport), Nerang and Hinterland (Beaudesert) and out West (Warwick, Stanthorpe, Killarney)


NSW:
Northern NSW (Tweed Heads to Yamba, including Evans Head, Byron Bay and Ballina); the Far North Coast Hinterland (Grafton via Lismore to Murwillumbah) and out West (Casino to Tenterfield, including Drake and Tabulam, as well as Woodenbong and Bonalbo)

For larger system we also go up to Brisbane or down to Coffs Harbour and even Glen Innes. Other places by arrangement.