An off-grid experimenter in Australia, Tom Chalko, has retrofitted a chest freezer to create a fridge that uses only 100 watt-hours (0.1 kWh) per day! Why a chest freezer? Tom points out that vertical door refrigerators are inherently inefficient. As soon as you open a vertical fridge door the cold air escapes, simply because it is heavier than the warmer air in the room. When you open a chest freezer, the cool air stays inside, just because it's heavy. Any leak or wear in a vertical door seal causes significant loss of efficiency.Tom took a standard chest freezer (a Vestfrost SE255), added a $40 external thermostat, then wired the freezer to turn off when the desired temperature was reached. The thermostat runs on 2 AAA batteries which last for months. The freezer runs for about 90 seconds per hour and then shuts down completely, making it not only very efficient but very quiet.
Full article from Build It Solar (PDF File)
Small fridges make good cities, but if you want to conserve energy with the fridge you currently use, be sure to fill your fridge the energy efficient way and consider using a fridge curtain to keep in the cold air.
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