Is your fridge an electricity-gobbling monster?
Posted by Cathy Debenham on 22 November 2010 at 8:46 am
Did you know that 23% of domestic energy use comes from fridges? That's a big percentage of electricity bills. Aaargh! Is your fridge a guzzler?
Have you got an A++++ rated fridge? Well that's great, but it isn't the only way to lower the consumption of your fridge. The energy ratings system measures a fridge's energy use over a 24 hour period, in a lab. There's no food in it, and no one opens the door. So it's not entirely surprising that this doesn't necessarily reflect its performance in real life.
Conventional wisdom has it that how full your fridge is, and how often you open the door (and how long you leave it open) are what impacts most on a fridge's energy performance. Well Robert Furness who researched this as part of his MSc at the Centre for Alternative Technology's Graduate School of the Environment, found that has little effect on energy consumption.
Using his own fridge, he examined what affected its performance over a 600 hour period. He found two really significant impacts:
1. The difference between the temperature in the fridge and the temperature in the room. The greater the difference the harder the fridge has to work to keep cool.
2. The amount of (or lack of) air circulation around the fridge. The less air circulating, the more energy consumption.
Given these findings it may be time to rethink the convention of putting the fridge in your warm kitchen, tucked neatly out of sight under the worktop, and surrounded by cupboards. A cold larder area, with plenty of space around the fridge sounds ideal - but how many houses have space for that? Any other suggestions in the comments please...
Photo by terren in Virginia
If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.
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