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Old 11-28-2014, 09:42 AM
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
9,255 posts, read 8,323,304 times
Reputation: 20119


Oh please, when I still lived in a house, my second fridge was my pool fridge. It is more expensive opening the doors and letting the AC escape every time someone wants a coca-cola or beer.
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Old 11-28-2014, 10:17 AM
13,050 posts, read 15,409,617 times
Reputation: 15304
We have a mini fridge in the family room in our finished basement to hold adult beverages there is no room for in the kitchen refrigerator. Neither refrigerator is even close to 15 years old.
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Old 11-28-2014, 11:10 AM
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
17,896 posts, read 54,233,163 times
Reputation: 30421
This is the type of article that makes me want to drive to the newspaper to puke on the author.

""One large refrigerator is cheaper to run than two smaller ones," adds the state of California's Consumer Energy Center. The Center also notes that a refrigerator that is full of food is better at retaining a cold temperature than a refrigerator that is relatively empty -- another fact that makes the occasionally stocked "beer fridge" problematic.

I wonder how much energy the California Consumer Energy Center uses in a year. Perhaps if we stuffed all of the pundits there into a large refrigerator, they would use less energy than by allowing them out in public.

The author borders on pathetic fallacy by giving the organization the voice of an individual. Just how does an institution speak as if adding to a conversation? Next thing we know, the center will be "feeling" and otherwise emoting distress, much like a constipated endangered newt.

It isn't bad enough that the author personalizes an entity, that paragraph he invokes is a non-sequitur. Retention of cold in the example given is an issue of mass and not energy. In a nearly empty fridge, a few cubic feet of cooled air will drop out once a door is opened. In a filled fridge, less cold air will drop out but the room air will flow more easily down across the front of cold food, transferring heat into the fridge via convection. Since the mass of the solid and liquid food is much larger than that of air, the temperature in the fridge does not drop as much. Measuring that change in temperature gives a false sense that much less cold is lost. The real reason for the "full refrigerators are good" idea is that in a power failure the greater mass of cold items will slow the heating of the refrigerator and keep food safe for a much longer time. The difference in loss of actual cold is minimal, with a full refrigerator losing perhaps 1/2 the cold as an empty one.

However, since the author has decided that the energy lost in opening the door of an empty fridge is important, perhaps we should examine his claim.

In heating, the standard formula for kilowatt hours used is to take the cubic feet of air per minute, multiply it times the rise in temperature you want to effect, and then divide that by 3000. One kilowatt hour equals a thousand watt light bulb used for one hour - roughly 13 cents worth of energy according to the article. It is important to note that this formula is for air with normal humidity, which increases the energy cost.

Playing around, if we take a completely empty 25 cubic foot refrigerator, open the door and use a fan to blow out ALL the cold air once per minute for an hour. In theory, the ideal temp in a refrigerator is 35 degrees. An average room temperature is 72 degrees. That is a delta T of 37 degrees. 37 x 25 = 925 Divide that by the 3000 constant and we will use .31 KWH or 4 cents worth of electricity.

Verifying from a yahoo site: It takes 0.240 btu's or 0.07 watts to heat one lb of Dry air 1 degree F. Density of air at standard conditions is 0.075lb/ft3. So it takes .005 watts to heat 1 cubic foot of DRY air 1 degree F. .005 X 25 (cubic feet) X 37 (degrees) X 60 complete air exchanges = 227 watt hours or .227 KWH. This figures are close enough that we can assume the range of estimation to be correct.

To sum it up, you can open a huge refrigerator that is empty once a day for a year, blow out all the cold air each time, and WASTE a quarter dollar! Oh the humanity!

What the article DOESN'T address is that most food items last much longer if refrigerated. Even canned items and dry items that are not normally refrigerated can have shelf lives extended for years by refrigeration. That can mean fewer trips to the store, greater savings, and less overall energy use.
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Old 11-28-2014, 11:40 AM
4,718 posts, read 8,969,444 times
Reputation: 2153
My Dad doesn't have a lot of frozen food so he fills the freezer with newspaper. So that way he isn't cooling a large empty space.

I am with Mack Knife on this one - it is all about control.

And as stated, Fridges don't use a lot of power compared to other items in the house.
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Old 11-28-2014, 11:56 AM
53 posts, read 44,078 times
Reputation: 170
My fridge came with the house when we we bought the place 20 years ago,and I don't know how long the previous owners used it. I could ask them -- they're family. I also happen to have a vacant second residence (yes, a mobile home, but we call it a cottage. ) It's been very handy to have an extra fridge just across the yard, and we leave it turned on. The freezer there is terrific for storing frozen foods that take up space in the main house freezer. I don't begrudge the money spent on electricity for the cottage or whatever we store in it.
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Old 11-28-2014, 11:58 AM
Location: Kalamalka Lake, B.C.
3,044 posts, read 4,020,006 times
Reputation: 3898
A climate change professor at SFU in Burnaby BC said several years ago: If you want to destroy the world, just make sure everyone in India and China gets a refrigerator.
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Old 11-28-2014, 12:09 PM
Location: The Carolinas
2,007 posts, read 2,021,287 times
Reputation: 6104
I have a second fridge, but here's what I do: I stock its freezer with food bought on-sale and the refrigerator portion as well. As the freezer and/or fridge start to empty a bit, I put in milk jugs full of water to fill the unused space.

As the freezer gets emptier, I move the jugs from the fridge part to the freezer part, or as the freezer gets filled back up, I move jugs from the freezer to the fridge. That way, I have a maximum amount of thermal mass filling the fridge.

WAY more efficient than running it with any empty space. Even in hot weather, it runs a LOT less that way. If I have to take a cooler to a party, I just grab a couple of the jugs from the freezer and throw them in--I don't hardly need any ice for the cooler.

That, and I sold my pickup truck (15 MPG) and bought a Focus (34MPH). Gotta live, but I try to keep my carbon footprint as small as I REASONABLY can.
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Old 11-28-2014, 02:03 PM
Location: CasaMo
15,488 posts, read 7,513,612 times
Reputation: 16855
Originally Posted by John1960 View Post
Maybe this scene sounds familiar: It's Thanksgiving, you're sitting and watching the football game, and you want a beer. So what do you do? If you're like many Americans, you won't go over to the kitchen fridge, which is now crammed with leftovers. Rather, you'll trek down to the basement or out to the garage to the second refrigerator (aka, the "beer fridge").
Sounds like a good day to me.
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Old 11-28-2014, 03:10 PM
Location: Maine's garden spot
3,162 posts, read 5,701,763 times
Reputation: 3292
Originally Posted by Larry Caldwell View Post
If you so an energy audit, you will find the second refrigerator pretty far down the list. Sliding glass doors are far worse.

For crying out loud! I was feeling bad enough about having four fridges and five cars, but now you have to pile on about my glass doors. Geesh.
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Old 11-28-2014, 05:15 PM
Location: Cushing OK
14,547 posts, read 17,563,101 times
Reputation: 16777
One improvement I would suggest would be a split door. Put a couple of shelves tall enough for a milk carton or two or three. And the option for shorter shelves for cans. Basically its for drinks. You open the door for cold things more than anything else, so isolate that part.

Yesterday I wiped up a bunch of yucky water under the frig from I think the leaking icemaker tube. UGH. I don't use it often since it warms up the whole freezer portion. Maybe we should improve the frig by making compartments with differing temperature needs without charging through the roof for the super deluxe version.
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