Updating and Antique Fridge?

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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?
 

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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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.
 

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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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!
 

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.
 

Hermit

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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.
 

Conesus_Kid

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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.
 

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
 

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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The government has been very hard on the fridge makers. I know, I used to do service for one. Problem is that people expect more capacity. It is absolutely incredible what the makers now due to shave a few watts of usage off. Yeah, they run longer, but per cubic foot, they do use less electricity. The Maytag guy is right. Been there, done that....
 

BrewBeemer

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What blew me away 20 years ago the house i'm in has an Amana furnance, I would of thought they only made microwaves. At 82% efficiency i'm happy vs the 1930 "Cyclops Monster" it repaced by the PO just before I purchased the house due to his divorce.
 

trigger

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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.
Hermit,

I've heard of the things you're talking about, but never seen one. The Kill-a-Watt deals are a passive meter. They just tell you how much power whatever you have plugged in has used in a period of time, and then they'll do predictions as far as cost, projections across a year, etc.. Surprised me to find out that my old fridge is more efficient than the new one, but then again the walls and door are about 3x thicker.
 

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Hermit,

I've heard of the things you're talking about, but never seen one. The Kill-a-Watt deals are a passive meter. They just tell you how much power whatever you have plugged in has used in a period of time, and then they'll do predictions as far as cost, projections across a year, etc.. Surprised me to find out that my old fridge is more efficient than the new one, but then again the walls and door are about 3x thicker.
The "Kill-a-Watt" made me think it was an active device. One of the "green plug" devices. So it doesn't really "Kill-a-Watt" after all? Sounds like deceptive advertising to me. :D I haven't seen any of those other devices for a while. Hopefully dealers got wise to them and didn't want the liability involved.
 

BrewBeemer

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Besides the inital starting inrush current that can be up to 8 times higher than running current use a AmpProbe or the refrigerator specs on operating current to judge wattage use. You will be surprised, fleased is the better word by the "Energy Greenies" crying wasted energy on appliances more than 5 years old. Follow the sheep and waste your money it helps the economy with increased cash flow.
 

csabi

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I have a delimma, the compressor in this fridge died (confirmed). I'd like to throw in a new or used compressor and take the risk that it may not last forever.

Having trouble finding how to info on retrofitting. I know there are a lot of differences in the freon that is in there and now available (such that they don't mix well).

If anyone has any experience repairing or retrofitting I would really appreciate any suggestions/ideas.

Thanks in advance,
 

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mjloyack

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Is it possible to remove the refrigeration unit in a mini-fridge and put in an antique fridge 1947 if there is space available? Just looking to keep drinks cool.
 

matt_m

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What blew me away 20 years ago the house i'm in has an Amana furnance, I would of thought they only made microwaves.
Its just a licensing thing. They are made by Goodman. We have a higher efficiency one, no complaints knock on wood.
 
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