Refrigerators and Energy Savings
The Energy Star
program brought new life to refrigerator design and to reducing energy consumption. As one of the major appliances in our homes, the refrigerator is also one of the major electrical consumers. To succeed at making our homes energy efficient, with lower power bills and less carbon footprint, we need to evaluate our refrigerators and make sure they are part of the conservation solution and not part of the energy hog community.
Everything is sailing along smooth, ice cream is frozen, butter firm, lettuce crisp, it’s all good. Some things in life we take for granted. Things like the car starting, the furnace firing up, and the refrigerator keeping our food fresh and safe. With the refrigerator, we reach for a bottle of pop or a little mayonnaise without really even seeing our old friend. The refrigerator is just there, always there, like a rock.
The refrigerator melds into our lives as we take everything this cooling appliance does for us for granted. The only time this handy and needed appliance is noticed is when it goes on strike and we end up getting soggy leftovers and melted popsicles.
I’ve had my fill of refrigerators for awhile. Three in one day, that’s a record for me. The usual concern of the homeowner is that the food is not being kept cold enough and in every case, they’re right. The temperature in the freezer compartment can be cold enough, but the temperature in the refrigerator too warm. Seems that the cold air is not getting from the freezer compartment to the refrigerator below. Probably have a fan or fan switch not working and that adds up to balmy temperatures down under.
So, who calls the repairman and who heads for the appliance store for a new one?
Repair or Buy New?
I know what the little women is saying about now, “I’ve always wanted a new refrigerator.” and the husbands response, “Hey, they’re expensive and we just spent $3,400 on the riding lawn mower.”
Here’s my advice, based on energy efficiency and household power conservation, if the refrigerator is 10 years old or more, replace it. If it is less than 10 years old and has an Energy Star
sticker, repair it for $90.
How old is my refrigerator?
Not sure why the appliance industry feels the need to put the manufacture date in secret code. Perhaps this habit started during WWII and has gone unchanged to this day. No, really. The more refrigerators manufactured during the war would be an indication of how many tanks were being made. The more manpower and material that was directed towards refrigerators would be an indication of the number of tanks on production lines. The more refrigerators, less tanks. Information the Gastopo would find valuable.
You will need to search inside your refrigerator for the sticker that contains the model and serial numbers. It is usually a white sticker about 1.5 inches by 3 inches in size. If no one has removed it over the years, it has to be there someplace. If the manufactured date is not written in plan letters and numbers on the sticker, then you will need to move to the CIA department.
Anyway, the manufactured date is hidden “in code” as part of the serial number. The code tends to start over every 10 years, so you may only be able to determine the age of your refrigerator within a ten year window and only if it is newer than 1970. If it was constructed before 1970 and it is still keeping the pickles cold, don’t mess with it, just throw it a party, give it a trophy, and cross your fingers.