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More efficient home refrigeration.

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I will preface this post with the fact that I haven't used a Kilawatt metering device yet to test my refrigerator power use, but I was wondering if there are more efficient refregeration choices out there than the standard home frige. I have a typical frige and if the sources I have been looking at are correct, about 2/3 of my electric use is for the frige ( about 200KWH out of around 280 per month). My electrical use is very low for other needs....almost all LED lighting ( still looking for 100W equal candelabra base compact LED's for my ceiling fans), simple cast iron boiler with chimney vent ( no combustion air fans, high hp blowers, electronics, or p/s circs), no dehumidifier ( installing a sump pit for subsoil drainage eliminated that need) and a relatively new server for computer.
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Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,640
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    Refrigerators and freezers do seem to be energy hogs. I'll be watching this thread!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,472
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    If it is 10 years old or more, new fridges are quite a bit more efficient. 9% for energy star rated refrigerators typically.

    Just don’t put the old one in the garage or basement as a second appliance😳
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    flat_twin
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,915
    edited February 2023
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    I have a 1933 monitor top that uses about 30kwh per month.   There's also my son's 1935  ball top that runs about 18kwh per month with kids opening it constantly.

    I have a 1935 monitor top that will run about 20kwh per month once I finish restoring it.


    I have no idea how you have a refrigerator using 200 a month.... Our 2011 KitchenAid energy star model runs about 40 and it's the biggest pig in the house as far as refrigerators go.  I'm looking at you @hot_rod......

    Yes, a more efficient way to refrigerate is thick cabinet insulation and manual defrost.  A monitor tops cabinet has 3" thick insulation and no fans or defrost heater.


    The most efficient refrigerators I know of were all made 1935-1940ish.


    200kwh a month.... @The Steam Whisperer do you keep the door open?  Even if a typical refrigerator ran 24/7 it would only do 100kwh in 30 days!


    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • GroundUp
    GroundUp Member Posts: 1,956
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    Are you sure you're not talking about the microwave? 200kw/mo is ludicrous. 50kw/mo is steep, even for a large freezer. I added a free Craigslist fridge/freezer to my garage a couple years ago and the power bill went up 20kw/mo at most
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,472
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    Operating cost varies depending on use no doubt. The two of use open and close 4 or 5 times a day, shop once a week.

    My next door neighbor has 10 kids, 37 grandkids that visit and eat there constantly. I suspect his operating costs are higher 😂 And grocery bill!

    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    When I built my house my wife and I scoured local yard sales etc for appliances. 

    Got a 1996 side by side fridge with ice maker for $150. 

    I put a Kill-a-watt on it to see average monthly consumption, as everyone seems to think old appliances are hogs. 

    Well, average monthly consumption is $10 or 58kwh. At $120 / year operating cost I don't think a new one is much less. We use the ice maker and water dispenser often, those are known hogs. 

    I think a lot of the cost is the auto defrost heater. 
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,388
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    Hi, I got a smallish chest style freezer and added an external thermostat to convert it into a fridge. I don’t have measured energy use, so can only imagine it’s not huge. 😉
    Yours, Larry
  • The Steam Whisperer
    The Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 1,219
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    I am guessing from many of your responses that the sources I was looking at are way off. They where basing usage on a 7 amp frige running about 1/3 of the time each day or about 6.4 KWH/day. Sounds like the appliance manufacturers maybe posting this info to get people to think buying a new one is worth while. My Kill a watt is on the way to find out the truth.
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  • bburd
    bburd Member Posts: 933
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    The older, larger frost free home fridges from the 1960s and early 70s, before efficiency standards, used around 2,000 kWh a year IIRC. That's about 165 kWh a month.

    The government has progressively increased refrigerator efficiency standards for several decades. There was a huge program to replace older refrigerators in NYC public housing with new, more efficient models.

    My current home has a smart electric meter that records usage in one hour increments. When the place is unoccupied and the router turned off, the only usage is the refrigerator and a few clocks and wall warts. Multiplied out, it comes to about 35 kWh a month. This is for a 14 ft.³ frost free fridge/freezer made in 2008.

    Bburd
  • jimna01
    jimna01 Member Posts: 36
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    I remodeled (aka gut ) my kitchen 2 years ago (a remodel during the first year of CoVid is not for the faint of heart). My new 26 cuft f GE Cafe ridge arrived on Nov 1st of that year. It replaced a 18 cuft Amana 30 inch wide low end fridge because that was all that fit in the space in the old kitchen. My electric bill dropped 75 dollars that November. Yje daily Kwh usage dropped significantly from the prior November. No, the fridge wasn't cheap but at then energy savings it will pay for itself in a 4 years.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,915
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    jimna01 said:
    I remodeled (aka gut ) my kitchen 2 years ago (a remodel during the first year of CoVid is not for the faint of heart). My new 26 cuft f GE Cafe ridge arrived on Nov 1st of that year. It replaced a 18 cuft Amana 30 inch wide low end fridge because that was all that fit in the space in the old kitchen. My electric bill dropped 75 dollars that November. Yje daily Kwh usage dropped significantly from the prior November. No, the fridge wasn't cheap but at then energy savings it will pay for itself in a 4 years.
    There's absolutely no way your electric bill dropped $75 per month from changing a residential refrigerator.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    JakeCKSolid_Fuel_ManHot_water_fan
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,915
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    I am guessing from many of your responses that the sources I was looking at are way off. They where basing usage on a 7 amp frige running about 1/3 of the time each day or about 6.4 KWH/day. Sounds like the appliance manufacturers maybe posting this info to get people to think buying a new one is worth while. My Kill a watt is on the way to find out the truth.

    The first issue is you cannot go by amperage.  My machines draw around 2.4a but only 140-160w typically.  Luckily in most cases we're charged for watts not amp hours.

    Buy a kill-a-watt meter and watch it for your self.  


    And yes .... We're being lied to.
    I still haven't seen a refrigerator that used more than $5 a month in electric.   Chest freezers are by nature efficient and very cheap to run even one from the 50s.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,915
    edited February 2023
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    You can save about 15% energy by increasing your fridge temperature from 40F to 45F. You can also save energy if you reduce the room temperature in your home by 2F, or place the refrigerator in a colder location in your house.


    I personally consider 45F to be an unsafe temperature to store food at.
    40F is considered the maximum and I personally run close to freezing (33-34F) as it tends to make food last longer.


    Please do NOT run above 40 F degrees in a refrigerator. Freezers for long term storage should never go above 0F.

    Making people sick to save $20 a year at most..................
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    pecmsgJakeCKSolid_Fuel_ManHot_water_fanPeakedtoosoon
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,792
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    When you do get a kill-a-watt on there you'll see the refrigeration is super cheap. It's the resistive defrost cycle that uses all the electricity.

    And that's why heat pump water heaters are so cheap to run--they have no defrost cycle and you can pretty much eliminate any resistive heating with the settings.

    NJ Steam Homeowner.
    Free NJ and remote steam advice: https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/new-jersey-steam-help/
    See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el

  • psb75
    psb75 Member Posts: 863
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    Let's say: "you can sometimes REDUCE the resistive heating of a heat-pump water heater by using the settings." Depending on brands, no matter what mode you choose the resistive elements can energize in a "ghostly", unexplainable fashion.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,915
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    psb75 said:

    Let's say: "you can sometimes REDUCE the resistive heating of a heat-pump water heater by using the settings." Depending on brands, no matter what mode you choose the resistive elements can energize in a "ghostly", unexplainable fashion.


    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    TonKa
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,750
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    You can save about 15% energy by increasing your fridge temperature from 40F to 45F. You can also save energy if you reduce the room temperature in your home by 2F, or place the refrigerator in a colder location in your house.

    Do not do this at all. Anything above 40 is the prime area for bacteria growth. Food safety says anything between 40 and 140 is the danger zone and should be avoided. The refrigerator should be down as low as you can without freezing. Even at 40 it's too high since you can end up with warm spots above 40. Actually I'd say most modern refrigerators have some warmer spots based on my experiments with the thermometer in different areas. Food safety is the reason for the device, doesn't make sense to use it improperly.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 1,416
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    psb75 said:
    Let's say: "you can sometimes REDUCE the resistive heating of a heat-pump water heater by using the settings." Depending on brands, no matter what mode you choose the resistive elements can energize in a "ghostly", unexplainable fashion.
    It's not ghostly unexplainable. It is only under certain extremely high demand scenarios, possibly to protect the compressor. I've only seen mine do it once and we hit it hard that day and ran it down cold with the very cold incoming water. 
    ethicalpaul
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 1,416
    edited February 2023
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    ChrisJ said:
    You can save about 15% energy by increasing your fridge temperature from 40F to 45F. You can also save energy if you reduce the room temperature in your home by 2F, or place the refrigerator in a colder location in your house.
    I personally consider 45F to be an unsafe temperature to store food at. 40F is considered the maximum and I personally run close to freezing (33-34F) as it tends to make food last longer. Please do NOT run above 40 F degrees in a refrigerator. Freezers for long term storage should never go above 0F. Making people sick to save $20 a year at most..................
    Turning your fridge up to 45f is a horrible and dangerous idea. Peekedtoosoon I hope you cook for no one but yourself. 

    And I agree with keeping it as cold as possible with out freezing. Food just keeps longer too. The prolonged shelf life of food in the fridge probably more than offsets the cost of the electricity to keep it colder.
    bburd
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 1,416
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    jimna01 said:
    I remodeled (aka gut ) my kitchen 2 years ago (a remodel during the first year of CoVid is not for the faint of heart). My new 26 cuft f GE Cafe ridge arrived on Nov 1st of that year. It replaced a 18 cuft Amana 30 inch wide low end fridge because that was all that fit in the space in the old kitchen. My electric bill dropped 75 dollars that November. Yje daily Kwh usage dropped significantly from the prior November. No, the fridge wasn't cheap but at then energy savings it will pay for itself in a 4 years.
    Not a chance that is true unless your electric costs are astronomical. I run a mini fridge, a deep freezer, and a side by side with a bunch of bells abd whistles and they don't cost half that.
  • Matt_67
    Matt_67 Member Posts: 295
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    jimna01 said:

    I remodeled (aka gut ) my kitchen 2 years ago (a remodel during the first year of CoVid is not for the faint of heart). My new 26 cuft f GE Cafe ridge arrived on Nov 1st of that year. It replaced a 18 cuft Amana 30 inch wide low end fridge because that was all that fit in the space in the old kitchen. My electric bill dropped 75 dollars that November. Yje daily Kwh usage dropped significantly from the prior November. No, the fridge wasn't cheap but at then energy savings it will pay for itself in a 4 years.

    If the fridge is running properly, pretty unlikely. I wonder if a leak to ground from a frame heater or maybe a defrost heater stuck on could have that effect?
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 1,416
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    Matt_67 said:
    I remodeled (aka gut ) my kitchen 2 years ago (a remodel during the first year of CoVid is not for the faint of heart). My new 26 cuft f GE Cafe ridge arrived on Nov 1st of that year. It replaced a 18 cuft Amana 30 inch wide low end fridge because that was all that fit in the space in the old kitchen. My electric bill dropped 75 dollars that November. Yje daily Kwh usage dropped significantly from the prior November. No, the fridge wasn't cheap but at then energy savings it will pay for itself in a 4 years.
    If the fridge is running properly, pretty unlikely. I wonder if a leak to ground from a frame heater or maybe a defrost heater stuck on could have that effect?
    I can run an 8k btu window shaker for all of July and have it cost me less than that. If there's a short or a defrost heater stuck on using that much juice I'm going to be looking at it with a fire extinguisher. 
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,105
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    Whisperer.....280 KW month??
    You make me feel like I live in a private jet.

    750 to 850 KW/month here. On rare occasion might get down to 700 KW.

    July and August was 1200 and 1600....2 stage 4 tons AC.

    The consistent suspects are 2 standard fridges, ( 2009 Maytag and 1981 GE) wine cooler and chest freezer which energy guide claims 397 KW annual usage.

    Also electric clothes dryer, ModCon boiler with 4 circs, and a variety of lighting.
    Electric range with gas cooktop.

    I did ditch a 1970's fridge from our rental unit that was the early mode of self defrosting.
    The cold control was a double throw unit that when low temp was reached it switched over and the heaters would defrost until it warmed up requiring cooling. Constant cycling back and forth.
    It did end up being a garage fridge for a neighbor's beer and bait storage.

    BTW, if fridge is on a GFCI outlet (today's code), any draw to ground of any heater will trip the GFCI.
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    GFCI outlets should be avoided on refrigerator/freezer circuits.....even though they are code now. 

    Just a FYI, each GFCI outlet draws between 5 and 10 watts, just to be there. 
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,792
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    5-10 watts sounds higher than reality

    NJ Steam Homeowner.
    Free NJ and remote steam advice: https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/new-jersey-steam-help/
    See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el

  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,915
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    GFCI outlets should be avoided on refrigerator/freezer circuits.....even though they are code now. 

    Just a FYI, each GFCI outlet draws between 5 and 10 watts, just to be there. 

    5-10 watts sounds higher than reality


    I've seen around 2 watts per GFCI,
    I used to have one on the 1933 Monitor Top because it's not grounded, and I didn't want any extra wires as it's plug to the compressor is at eye level and visible. Never had a problem, but didn't go out of my way to continue it when I switched things around.

    Refrigerators on GFCI...... I can take it or leave it. It shouldn't trip unless something is wrong and it takes a decent amount of leakage to trip a GFCI.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,388
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    Hi, I can add that Square D GFCI outlets draw one watt. Their GFCI breakers draw 1/4 watt.
    Yours, Larry
    ChrisJ
  • bburd
    bburd Member Posts: 933
    edited February 2023
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    I am guessing from many of your responses that the sources I was looking at are way off. They where basing usage on a 7 amp frige running about 1/3 of the time each day or about 6.4 KWH/day. Sounds like the appliance manufacturers maybe posting this info to get people to think buying a new one is worth while. My Kill a watt is on the way to find out the truth.
    They probably used the full amperage rating of the fridge and figured that was what it draws when running. But as we know, most of the amperage in that number is for the defrost heater which runs very little. The compressor / fan running current is quite small compared to the full rating of the unit.

    A clear case of "garbage in, garbage out" in the calculation. 

    Bburd
  • The Steam Whisperer
    The Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 1,219
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    bburd said:



    I am guessing from many of your responses that the sources I was looking at are way off. They where basing usage on a 7 amp frige running about 1/3 of the time each day or about 6.4 KWH/day. Sounds like the appliance manufacturers maybe posting this info to get people to think buying a new one is worth while. My Kill a watt is on the way to find out the truth.

    They probably used the full amperage rating of the fridge and figured that was what it draws when running. But as we know, most of the amperage in that number is for the defrost heater which runs very little. The compressor / fan running current is quite small compared to the full rating of the unit.

    A clear case of "garbage in, garbage out" in the calculation. 


    Make's sense. And the data I was looking at was from multiple sources. This seems to be typical of the pop culture "Green" crowd.
    When we went from a 1973 GE avacado green side by side to our 2002 Maytag freezer on the bottom, we saw no drop in our electrical usage. All this I keep hearing about new friges being so much more efficient so far appears to be BS. It really makes me wonder because typical electric motor efficiency has been going up in most applications due to more efficient designs being used, so why haven't refrigerators been improving? I am guessing that the manufacturer's are still using the cheapest compressors they can get to meet the cheaper is better U.S. market mentality..... which is usually the expensive solution.
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  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,915
    edited February 2023
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    bburd said:



    I am guessing from many of your responses that the sources I was looking at are way off. They where basing usage on a 7 amp frige running about 1/3 of the time each day or about 6.4 KWH/day. Sounds like the appliance manufacturers maybe posting this info to get people to think buying a new one is worth while. My Kill a watt is on the way to find out the truth.


    They probably used the full amperage rating of the fridge and figured that was what it draws when running. But as we know, most of the amperage in that number is for the defrost heater which runs very little. The compressor / fan running current is quite small compared to the full rating of the unit.

    A clear case of "garbage in, garbage out" in the calculation. 
    Make's sense. And the data I was looking at was from multiple sources. This seems to be typical of the pop culture "Green" crowd.
    When we went from a 1973 GE avacado green side by side to our 2002 Maytag freezer on the bottom, we saw no drop in our electrical usage. All this I keep hearing about new friges being so much more efficient so far appears to be BS. It really makes me wonder because typical electric motor efficiency has been going up in most applications due to more efficient designs being used, so why haven't refrigerators been improving? I am guessing that the manufacturer's are still using the cheapest compressors they can get to meet the cheaper is better U.S. market mentality..... which is usually the expensive solution.
    Well.

    The way I see it, if an appliance costs me $3 to $5 a month to run, and is reliable and long lasting does it make sense to "improve it"? From what I've seen on here "improving it" will mean doubling it's cost and halving or quartering it's life span.

    I don't see that as an improvement, and since refrigerators are already so cheap to run you'll never improve the efficiency enough to justify the changes in my book.

    Instead, just lie to everyone and tell them old ones cost a fortune to run (when they don't, and never have).

    I've also seen many comments about how disgustingly expensive gas tank water heaters are to run. They're not. And honestly, neither are resistive electric ones in typical use.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    CLamb
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,915
    edited February 2023
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    I forgot to mention, there have been some refrigerators sold recently with different style compressors to gain efficiency.

    They're horribly unreliable.

    I think one of them is called an inverter linear compressor.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,956
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    ChrisJ said:

    I forgot to mention, there have been some refrigerators sold recently with different style compressors to gain efficiency.

    They're horribly unreliable.

    I think one of them is called an inverter linear compressor.

    Just a Linear Compressor.

    Inverter compressor is different.
    ChrisJ
  • CLamb
    CLamb Member Posts: 298
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    Reading this discussion makes me contemplate modifying my refrigerator to change the auto-defrost feature to a manual one.
    ethicalpaul
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,915
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    You can save about 15% energy by increasing your fridge temperature from 40F to 45F. You can also save energy if you reduce the room temperature in your home by 2F, or place the refrigerator in a colder location in your house.

    So many wankers on this **** forum



    If your first post on this thread isn't literally the definition of "wanker" I don't know what is......

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    ethicalpaulpecmsgKC_JonesSolid_Fuel_Man
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    I'm going to do a test again on my GFCIs. I know when I was playing with the thermal camera they were all "warm". I seem to recall the 5 watt number when I was doing off-grid solar installs. 

    I'll check mine and report back. I can also test several brands of GFCI breakers, including Square D QO. 
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
    ethicalpaul
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,915
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    I'm going to do a test again on my GFCIs. I know when I was playing with the thermal camera they were all "warm". I seem to recall the 5 watt number when I was doing off-grid solar installs. 

    I'll check mine and report back. I can also test several brands of GFCI breakers, including Square D QO. 


    How long ago did you do the tests?
    I'd easily believe that for ones from the 1980s
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment