Timer on the Refrigerator to save money??

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Don2222

Minister of Fire
Feb 1, 2010
8,933
Salem NH
Hello

Did anyone do this yet? Sounds like it could save some money!!

I found this on the net.
A timer on the Frig to turn it off 10 hours per day saving 30%. That will bring down the electric bill !!

Preparing for peak oil.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUCl1TruUfo&annotation_id=annotation_901181&feature=iv#t=8m45s

Also this link suggests doing it!
http://www.conservationcenter.org/e_tightenUp.htm

Consider putting a standard programmable timer on your refrigerator and set it to cycle off for a few hours at night when the fridge stays closed. If you put a gallon jug of frozen water in the freezer, you should be able to safely program the timer to turn the fridge off from 10 PM to 1:30 and from 2:30 to 6 AM without impacting your food.
 

BrotherBart

Modesterator
Staff member
I wouldn't do it. Fridges these days have defrost timers and heaters. Yout external timer turning the thing back on about the time the defrost heater comes on could not be a good thing for the food.

I can tell when my defrost kicks on because the fridge stops running and I can see the KWH usage jump up on my whole house power monitor.
 

Don2222

Minister of Fire
Feb 1, 2010
8,933
Salem NH
BrotherBart said:
I wouldn't do it. Fridges these days have defrost timers and heaters. Yout external timer turning the thing back on about the time the defrost heater comes on could not be a good thing for the food.

I can tell when my defrost kicks on because the fridge stops running and I can see the KWH usage jump up on my whole house power monitor.

Thanks I will check into that.
What type of monitor do u have and where did u get it?
 

heat seeker

Minister of Fire
Feb 25, 2011
3,216
Northern CT
You won't save much, if anything. The temperature swings in the cabinet will not keep your food fresh, and as mentioned, power on and off will mess up the defrost timers and timing. The compressor will have to run longer to remove the heat that's entered the cabinet while it was off, negating any savings.

My fridge senses how long each defrost cycle takes, and adjusts the next defrost cycle accordingly. For instance, if it only needed a short defrost cycle the last time, it waits longer to start another cycle. If it takes longer, it defrosts sooner the next time. Turning the power off resets the processor to a default value, which will probably waste electricity one way or the other. Modern reefers use surprisingly little electricity. They seem to run a long time, because it's more efficient to run a small system longer, than run an oversized system a shorter time - and it's cheaper to manufacture a smaller system. I'd leave well enough alone. There are plenty of other areas in which to save electricity.
 

BrotherBart

Modesterator
Staff member
Don2222 said:
What type of monitor do u have and where did u get it?

I have the Blueline monitor. I have had it for several years. It is pretty basic. It just reads how many times the wheel in the meter spins and converts it to KWH and cost if you input the rate. I don't use the cost computation because we just record the usage once a day in a spreadsheet. Started doing that when our meter quit and the electric company royally ripped us off with an "estimate". When I was the one that called and told them it had quit. They used a "default" estimate. We heat with wood in an all electric house, have no kids and don't use the clothes drier or watch much TV. They hit us with three times what our average daily usage really runs.

A side benefit of the thing is that it told me when the check valve in our submerged well pump broke. The pump would pressurize the tank, cut off and then let the water run back into the well and then start all over again. Within an hour of it happening I knew it because of the electric usage of the pump showing on the meter. Of course it was twelve hundred bucks for a pump replacement but...
 

heat seeker

Minister of Fire
Feb 25, 2011
3,216
Northern CT
I rewatched the video - this guy spent $700 to save money on - WATER!!!??? And he claims it will save $10,000 plus? What is he smoking?

He disconnects the stove to save 10 watts - that would save about 5¢ a day, even with our really high electric rates.Turning the power on and off to the stove is tough on the electronics, shortening their life span. Same with the fridge. He thinks he's saving money because the ice packs keep the fridge cold overnight. He seems to forget that while the fridge is on, it has to re-chill those ice packs. There's no free ride.

I hope he never has a fire in his basement - those vents will allow the heat, flames, and smoke right into the living area. I don't really believe that sucking basement air into the living area is going to replace an AC unit.

I can't watch any more of this guy. I've said enough, don't mean to offend anyone, but I don't like seeing people misled.
 

flyingcow

Minister of Fire
Jun 4, 2008
2,549
northern-half of maine
Didn't watch the video, but my 1st thought is the walls of the new frigs seem thinner. Maybe less R-value? IMO opinion, Build a frig that was like the old days. Put the unit on top. easier to clean and not get the dirt and hair sucked up from the floor. Still can't figure what the genius' were thinking when they put the coils on the bottom? Just thinking out loud.
 

heat seeker

Minister of Fire
Feb 25, 2011
3,216
Northern CT
My guess is - either styling, or more likely, it's cheaper this way. It seems to be a bit more efficient space-wise on the bottom, and that helps get the box up a bit higher for easier access.
Of course, I might be blowing smoke here, I dunno….just thinking at the keyboard, which can be dangerous.
 

BrotherBart

Modesterator
Staff member
I spend a lot of time knocking on wood about our fridge. It is 26 years old, the coils on the bottom are virtually impossible to get to to clean and the darn thing uses less electricity than they list for the new energy star models. I don't know what the deal is but it isn't getting replaced until it grabs its chest and falls over.

Yeah you can go overboard trying to save KWH. The Blueline monitor has helped us just know what makes usage spike. But it sometimes makes you think too much about it just because it is there. Some fifteen cent decisions are just not worth worrying about.

I hope to never get as bad as a guy I worked with in the nineties. He put a timer in the bathroom when the kids took a shower and it would ding when they had to stop. But of course I know everyday what that big screen TV I just bought for my invalid wife did to the bill. It ain't pretty. :ahhh:
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,483
South Puget Sound, WA
You can heat a room with a plasma screen. They draw about 3 times the power of an LCD screen.
 

heat seeker

Minister of Fire
Feb 25, 2011
3,216
Northern CT
Our fridge is about 4 years old, and I can see where they tried to make it more efficient. Our old one had a deflector door that apportioned the chilled air to the freezer and the box. The new one has a sensor in each area to monitor the temp., and if only one area needs cooling, only that area gets cooled. The evaporator has a thermal switch that tells when it's 34º during the defrost mode, so it quits defrosting. As I mentioned, it then calculates the next defrost cycle depending on how long it took to defrost the last time.

All this technology sounds great - but when the fridge was about a year old, the food compartment got up to 50º, although the freezer was still cold. The service people couldn't get to me for at least 5 working days - with my food spoiling, yet! The local guy didn't work on "computerized" fridges, and the company in the nearby city still needed 3 working days, which meant 5 days with the weekend in there.

I decided that I was going to kill it or cure it. I found the instructions buried underneath on the coils that told how to get into the test mode, so I ran all the tests available. All came back good. I then noticed that the evaporator (hidden behind the freezer wall) was a solid block of ice. That's why no cooling - no air flow to the box! I used a hair dryer to defrost it. It was late at night, and dark in the kitchen, and when I was done, I was standing in a large lake about ¼" deep in water. I forgot to remember that melted ice had to go somewhere! Anyway, the fridge started cooling again, and all was well - I thought. I kept checking the evaporator over the next few days, and it started icing up again. The manual defrost mode would work, so I knew the heater and relay were good. Only thing left was the firmware on the control board. A new board ($100) later, and it's been working fine for a few years now. I should have contacted the manufacturer to see if there was a recall on the board, or to try to get some compensation. It was a learning experience, and now I understand all the little noises it makes.

So, in summary, my point is that sometimes simpler is better, even if it's not as efficient. I can buy quite a bit of electricity for the $100 I spent, and only hope that there is a payback over time. If the fridge had been out of warranty, and I had to pay someone to come and fix it, I bet the bill would have been around $300 - if they diagnosed it correctly the first time. Plus the ruined food and lost time.

Okay, I'm done -if you read this far - thanks!!!

BTW - the fridge is rated to run 85% of the time at 75º ambient temperature. That's how close they've sized the chilling.
 

Don2222

Minister of Fire
Feb 1, 2010
8,933
Salem NH
BrotherBart said:
I wouldn't do it. Fridges these days have defrost timers and heaters. Yout external timer turning the thing back on about the time the defrost heater comes on could not be a good thing for the food.

I can tell when my defrost kicks on because the fridge stops running and I can see the KWH usage jump up on my whole house power monitor.

Hello BrotherBart

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...mp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B002ZNGBT4

Description
Frigidaire Westinghouse OEM Defrost Timer 215846602 NEW 215846605 8 hour 30 minute Defrost Timer

1st Pic below is a standard OEM refrigerator defrost timer.

Also there is a thermostat
http://www.amazon.com/Frigidaire-5303917954-Thermostat-Defrost/dp/B002ZNE54W/ref=pd_sim_k_1
See 2nd pic below

Description
# - POPULAR GIBSON -STYLE THERMOSTAT WITH SPECIAL SHAPE TO FIT TUBING - CUTS OUT WHEN THE TEMPERATURE
# REACHES 55 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT AND KICKS IN WHEN IT DROPS TO 25 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT

Do you know how these work?

When turning the fridge AC off with a timer, the freezer will defrost naturally (Like my mother used to do!) instead of an expensive Heater coming to do the same job. Would that save alot of electricity????
 

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heat seeker

Minister of Fire
Feb 25, 2011
3,216
Northern CT
The defrost timer stops the compressor and turns on the heating element. The defrost thermostat indicates when the evaporator area is above a certain temperature, indicating that the defrost cycle is done.

IMO, it would take month of Sundays for the evaporator to defrost naturally. The systems are designed to operate a certain way. I realize that the heating element uses power, but it also saves power by keeping the system working at peak efficiency. We can help by keeping the condenser coils clean.

I had a defrost timer go bad years ago. Of course, it stuck in the heat position, and the fridge actually got warm inside. That was the start of my education on how reefers work.
 

Don2222

Minister of Fire
Feb 1, 2010
8,933
Salem NH
heat seeker said:
The defrost timer stops the compressor and turns on the heating element. The defrost thermostat indicates when the evaporator area is above a certain temperature, indicating that the defrost cycle is done.

IMO, it would take month of Sundays for the evaporator to defrost naturally. The systems are designed to operate a certain way. I realize that the heating element uses power, but it also saves power by keeping the system working at peak efficiency. We can help by keeping the condenser coils clean.

I had a defrost timer go bad years ago. Of course, it stuck in the heat position, and the fridge actually got warm inside. That was the start of my education on how reefers work.

Hello heat seeker

Great info, Thank-you very much!!!
 

Don2222

Minister of Fire
Feb 1, 2010
8,933
Salem NH
Hello

Well in summary, if a timer is used and the AC is cut off during a Defrosting cycle the freezer would be too cold and would take longer to come down to bring the evap down to temperature. That might save some electricity and money. However if the AC is cut off during the Cooling Cycle, the freezer would be too warm and get even warmer when the AC power is off. When the AC power comes back on, then the compressor would run a little longer to bring the temperature back down to where it should be. Using a little more electricity.

So turning the Fridge off for a long time would save energy if there was no food in there to spoil like on a long vacation.

In the short run turning the fridge off for a few hours would keep the freezer from being at the correct working temperature and may or may not save electricity depending upon what cycle is being interrupted.

Any more comments on this??

Can anyone test this with a Watt Meter to verify no savings??
 

benjamin

Minister of Fire
Nov 7, 2009
693
SW WI
Don2222 said:
Do you know how these work?

When turning the fridge AC off with a timer, the freezer will defrost naturally (Like my mother used to do!) instead of an expensive Heater coming to do the same job. Would that save alot of electricity????

That will save a lot of electricity if you don't mind your freezer compartment reaching 55 every week!

A better way to save energy (for those that keep a separate freezer already) is to eliminate the freezer compartment and the need to defrost.

I hacked a standard 18cu ft fridge from the last decade by turning the freezer compartment into the cold section of the fridge and removing the failed defrost stuff. Works great so far with electricity use equal to under 150kwh/year=$15 here, or less than half it's previous use. We'll see if it builds up frost in the summertime.
 

Don2222

Minister of Fire
Feb 1, 2010
8,933
Salem NH
Franks said:
Hello Don

Hello Franks

So what's your assessment of the refrig timer setup??
 

WES999

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2008
1,047
Mass north of Boston
http://www.leaningpinesoftware.com/hot_water_heater_vacation.shtml

Here is an interesting web page where the guy shows the heat loss calculations for turning off a hot water heater.

His conclusion is that it takes almost as much energy to energy to bring the tank back up to temp as was saved when it was off.

I would think the situation with a refrigerator would be similar.

Now if you have a cheaper electric rate at night there may be some savings but there is the risk that the fridge may become too warm and your food may spoil. :mad:
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,178
Sand Lake, NY
I read the other day that the feds will be targeting a feature of the refrigerator which is wasting energy: the icemaker. You wouldn't think so, but apparently the motor that turns the auger has to be heated and eats up juice. While I haven't done anything about it, I've noticed that even though I have my icemaker 'off' (lever up), I can still hear the auger turn and mix up the ice once in a while.
 

heat seeker

Minister of Fire
Feb 25, 2011
3,216
Northern CT
The ice maker motor isn't heated, the mold gets heated just enough so the ice slips out. The ejector motor puts pressure on the ice to eject it. The mold heats a bit, and the ice slides out. The ejector motor finishes its cycle, and the heater shuts off. The electrical use is minimal, and probably less than someone fiddling with ice trays would waste opening the freezer door to dislodge the ice trays and put them back.


An ice maker and ice dispenser are two different devices, although they are often combined into one unit.
I am not familiar with an ice dispenser. Its auger may operate occasionally to keep the ice from forming a blockage, electric use next to nothing. I don't think the motor needs to be heated.

IMO, this targeting is just another witch hunt by people looking to justify their overpaid jobs. There are lots more important issues that need addressing.
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,178
Sand Lake, NY
I guess I had it wrong, sorry.
We typically shut off the ice maker (arm up) because we don't use it that much and it piles up, and may not shut off automatically. Then it can becomes a congealed chunk out of the range of the auger.

Here's a link: http://www.nist.gov/el/building_environment/ice-041211.cfm

Some text from that link:

The Heat Is On: NIST Zeroes In On Energy Consumption of Ice Makers
From NIST Tech Beat: April 12, 2011

Contact: Mark Bello
301-975-3776


In tests of four different types of new refrigerators, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) researchers found that ice makers increased rated energy consumption by 12 to 20 percent. About three-fourths of that additional energy cost is due to the electric heaters used to release the ice bits from the molds.



One of four types tested by NIST researchers, this top-mount refrigerator freezer was outfitted with three thermocouples in each compartment, sampling the temperature every 30 seconds. In all units tested, about three-quarters of ice-maker energy consumption was directly and indirectly attributed to the electric heaters used to free ice from molds
Credit: NIST | View hi-resolution left image | View hi-resolution right image

With only one-fourth of the extra energy actually used to cool and freeze water, "there are substantial opportunities for efficiency improvements merely by optimizing the operations of the heaters associated with the ice makers" or by introducing a more efficient alternative technology, report NIST mechanical engineer David Yashar and guest researcher Ki-Jung Park.*

Since refrigerators account for 8 percent of the total energy consumed by 111 million U.S. households according to the Department of Energy (DOE), the potential savings are significant.

Currently, ice maker energy consumption is not reflected in federal minimum efficiency standards for refrigerators or in the voluntary Energy Star program, which requires energy usage to be significantly lower than the regulatory limit.

DOE, which helped to fund the NIST study, has announced that it will increase the minimum efficiency standard by 25 percent over the current level, starting in 2014. DOE also intends to incorporate the energy used by ice makers into their regulatory test. Because no widely accepted test for ice makers was available when they announced these intentions, DOE plans to add 84 kilowatt hours to the energy efficiency rating of every refrigerator equipped with an ice maker, Yashar explains.

Once a reliable, straightforward test is available, he adds, DOE will eliminate the "placeholder" energy consumption and use actual ice maker test results in efficiency ratings.

To speed progress along this path, Yashar and Park evaluated several different approaches to measure the energy consumption of ice makers. Their goal was to identify a method that consistently yielded accurate results but did not add substantially to the complexity of appliance energy consumption tests under current regulations.

Yashar and Park examined four refrigerators, which sampled a variety of ice maker technologies. Their study used a uniform test setup, consistent with current regulatory procedures, and measured the energy consumption of the four units while their ice makers were actively producing ice and, again, while the ice makers were not operational.

The results point the way to a standard test methodology that appears promising for several different ice maker technologies and configurations. Next steps include sharing their approach with other laboratories, which also will test ice makers and compare results for similar units. Also, Yashar says he intends to evaluate the measurement techniques on other styles of automatic ice makers.

*D.A. Yashar and K.J. Park, Energy Consumption of Automatic Ice Makers Installed in Domestic Refrigerators. NIST Technical Note 1697, April 2011.
Edited on Apr. 14 2011 to make minor correction to photo caption.



Sign Up for NIST E-mail alerts:


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
 

smokinj

Minister of Fire
Aug 11, 2008
15,980
Anderson, Indiana
Don2222 said:
Hello

Did anyone do this yet? Sounds like it could save some money!!

I found this on the net.
A timer on the Frig to turn it off 10 hours per day saving 30%. That will bring down the electric bill !!

Preparing for peak oil.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUCl1TruUfo&annotation_id=annotation_901181&feature=iv#t=8m45s

Also this link suggests doing it!
http://www.conservationcenter.org/e_tightenUp.htm

Consider putting a standard programmable timer on your refrigerator and set it to cycle off for a few hours at night when the fridge stays closed. If you put a gallon jug of frozen water in the freezer, you should be able to safely program the timer to turn the fridge off from 10 PM to 1:30 and from 2:30 to 6 AM without impacting your food.

Clean the back of it and coils super clean will save you more than anything Else you could do with a fridge
 

heat seeker

Minister of Fire
Feb 25, 2011
3,216
Northern CT
It appears that NIST was running the ice maker continually. We use little ice, so the maker rarely runs. Like most, we leave it shut off most of the time.

3/4 of the energy used by the maker was due to the heating. That amounts to 3/4 of very little. The motor uses next to nothing, and cooling the water takes little. So, a little heat would make up a large percentage of the usage.

"Tempest in a Teapot"

I'm not trying to pick on anyone here, but this is another example of too much effort and money spent for no real return. And, it's taxpayer money being used to control every aspect of our lives.

My apologies if I've given any offense!
 
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