Updating and Antique Fridge? - Home Brew Forums
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Old 01-09-2011, 09:59 PM   #1
Natron008
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I have a sweet-looking old Fridgidaire from the 50's as my beer fridge and was wondering if there is any way to update it in order to make it more energy efficient. Anyone have any experience or knowledge on this subject?

 
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Old 01-09-2011, 10:08 PM   #2
Sea
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I'm not an expert, but I think there are two ways to increase efficiency:

1. More insulation. This makes the most difference, and is also the hardest to accomplish.

2. New compressor with different refrigerant. Very expensive, and will only produce a minimal gain.
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Old 01-09-2011, 10:25 PM   #3
Natron008
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Hmm. I was afraid of that. I really love this fridge and I'm debating whether its worth it or not to keep using it and upgrading it to more faucets, or just going and getting a brand new one for a few hundred dollars.

 
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Old 01-09-2011, 10:36 PM   #4
Hermit
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It may use less energy than you think. The difference between what it uses and what a new one costs probably would not justify a new unit. It would take years, maybe decades, to make up the difference from a cost stand point. I commend your "green" stance, but you also have to take in the ecological foot print of making a new one at this point. That is the knock against ethanol right now. Depending on size, you may find it uses less than a 100 watt light bulb while running.

 
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Old 01-09-2011, 10:56 PM   #5
Natron008
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Cool. Thanks Hermit. That makes me feel better. Since I have most of the parts, I might as well go ahead and upgrade to a few more taps!

 
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Old 01-09-2011, 11:21 PM   #6
trigger
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Also, you should plug one of those kill-a-watt deals into it. I have a 50's Philco that I thought must be chugging through the power. Turns out that it uses less energy than my 8 year old kitchen fridge. When I installed the taps I found out why. There's about 2 1/2" of asbestos in the walls and door. Plus, it's still got the original cast compressor in it. Thing's a tank.

 
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Old 01-09-2011, 11:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trigger View Post
Also, you should plug one of those kill-a-watt deals into it.
NO! The similar products that I have run into are 'defective by design' in my opinion and are cashing in on green. They lower the voltage once the appliance starts. This is bad for the compressor. The compressor already has a start winding to account for the extra power during start. Just about every major appliance uses a start winding so the premise is flawed from the start. I'm not sure if the current goes up to compensate for the voltage drop or not. That may induce the heating you get from motors with lowered voltages.

 
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Old 01-10-2011, 12:28 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermit View Post
NO! The similar products that I have run into are 'defective by design' in my opinion and are cashing in on green. They lower the voltage once the appliance starts. This is bad for the compressor. The compressor already has a start winding to account for the extra power during start. Just about every major appliance uses a start winding so the premise is flawed from the start. I'm not sure if the current goes up to compensate for the voltage drop or not. That may induce the heating you get from motors with lowered voltages.
I believe the 'Kill-a-Watt' merely measures the wattage the appliance is consuming. It doesn't reduce it in any way.

 
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Old 01-10-2011, 01:25 AM   #9
JRems
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I just restored a 1940 kelvinator refrigerator and turned it into a kegerator. What I did was remove all the old insulation( it was cardboard insulation.) and replaced it with thick 2" foam insulation. Along with some expanding Foam. It really doesn't use much electricity. The old refrigerant is actually more effecient than the new stuff. I wouldn't worry about the asbestos insulation like mentioned above. It was most likely wool insulation which was common for the period. Mine fits 3 cornys. I have it set for 37 degrees with a 3 degree differential and my probe hanging in a tube of star san. Once the kegs are cold, it only turns on every 2 hours for about 10-15 minutes. Also it is easy to work on and fix these old refrigerators. The parts were made to be fixed not replaced like all the new refrigerators. There is also very little to go wrong with them since it basically has no electronics, just a compressor motor

 
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Old 01-10-2011, 02:11 AM   #10
BrewBeemer
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My grandparents 1947 Philco in the patio exposed to 2 hours of sunshine daily. It runs 3-4 minutes every 45 to 53 minutes then rests holding 39 degrees inside in 78 degree day temps.
The 4 year old side x side Maytag in house runs 55 to 70% most of the time for 12 to 17 minutes, Maytag techs checked it out many times called it normal with the smaller size compressors they use.
I call it total bunk on old fridges wasting energy like cars of the 50's vs new plastic crap they call a car.
The 57 Olds Holiday Coupe 3x2 setup pulls 19.6 mph for a heavy tank on the highway, 2002 Chebbie Malibu never touched that mileage just the scrap yard, the worse vehicle ever owned even as a freebie.
New isn't necessarily better.

 
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