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Run Your Fridge More Efficiently

Our cost of power last summer for a two-person household was significantly higher than it had been on the farm, in the dead of winter, raising cattle. Four heated watering bowls, barn and yard lights, tractor and vehicle block heaters, furnaces, diminished daylight, steady use water well pump, all were run for less cost in total than now when we run household use only.

When a city newspaper headline declared Alberta power bills were projected to double, we looked for ways to make power savings.

Most household refrigerators are slid into a confined space built specifically for such use. This leaves little room for air to flow around the cooling coils.

Our fridge location fits this classification and it used to run virtually non-stop. Buying a newer model (a costly option) wouldn’t address the main problem which was air circulation. Moving it around in our compact kitchen wasn’t a choice either.

We needed cooler air to reach our fridge coils. I cut a 5×12-inch hole (making sure the cut was between the joists) in the kitchen floor directly behind the fridge. This opened a passageway to cool air under the floor above the basement ceiling tiles. No visual disturbance from either direction and since that location would never be used for anything other than a refrigerator there was no harm done.

It’s difficult to gauge the percentage of time our fridge is now “down” but a casual estimate would be a couple of hours per day minimum, perhaps closer to three. This may not seem like much and hardly worth the bother but over a year it suddenly becomes a meaningful number— 365 x 2 = 730. Divided by 24 we have approximately 30 days or one month of unused power for our fridge each year.

Stan Harder writes from St. Brides, Alberta

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