, MSc, PhDMt Best, Australia, mtbest.net
This article describes a household refrigerator that requires about 0.1 kWh per dayto operate. The refrigerator offers excellent food-preserving performance, becausetemperature fluctuations in its interior arenaturally minimized during everyday use. This fridge is 10 to 20 times more energy efficient than typical household fridges on the market today. It seems that the biggest obstacles inincreasing the energy efficiency and food- preserving performance of household refrigerators are strange human habits and lack of understanding of Nature, not technology or cost.
Comparing the daily energy consumption of various refrigeration devices available on themarket reveals that well-designed chest freezersconsume less electricity per day thanrefrigerators of comparable volume, even thoughfreezers maintain much larger interior-exteriortemperature difference (their interiors are muchcooler). While chest freezers typically havebetter thermal insulation and larger evaporatorsthan fridges, there is another important reasonfor their efficiency.Vertical doors in refrigeration devices areinherently inefficient. As soon as we open avertical fridge door – the cold air escapes, simplybecause it is heavier than the warmer air in theroom. When we open a chest freezer – the coolair stays inside, just because it’s heavy. Any leakor wear in a vertical door seal (no seal is perfect)causes significant loss of refrigerator efficiency.In contrast, even if we leave the chest freezerdoor wide open, the heavy cool air will stillremain inside.Designing and marketing refrigeration deviceswith vertical doors is clearly an act against the Nature of Cold Air. Shouldn’t we cooperate with Nature rather than work against it?In 2004 I became really curious just howefficient a “chest fridge” can be. After contactingsome leading fridge manufacturers anddiscovering they never made and tested aconcept of a chest fridge, I decided to make myown test. I bought a well-designed chest freezer(Vestfrost SE255 chest freezer with 600arefrigerant) and converted it into a fridge.
Converting chest freezer into fridge
The main difference between a freezer and afridge is the temperature maintained inside.Freezers maintain sub-zero (freezing)temperatures down to –25
C, while fridgesoperate somewhere between +4
C.Hence, turning a freezer into a fridge meanschanging the temperature control. Rather thaninterfering with the thermostat of the freezer, Idecided to install an external thermostat to cutthe power off when the temperature of my choiceis reached. The block diagram in Fig 1 illustratesthe idea.Connection diagram (Fig 1) is really simple.Thermostat relay cuts the power to the freezer.Thermistor (the temperature sensor) is placedinside the freezer at the end of a thin 2-wireflexible cable. I used the freezer drain hole topass the thermistor cable inside the coolingcompartment.I have also removed the fridge interior light bulb,rated 15 Watts, because I avoid wasting energy
ChestfreezerElectronic thermostatJunction boxthermistorA NECOM NC
Fig. 1. Wiring diagram of the chest freezer convertedinto chest fridge. Active (A) connection passes viarelay terminals inside the thermostat.