Making an IH Fridge More Efficient?

Discussion in 'Irma's Place' started by orangeblood, Jul 21, 2009.


  1. orangeblood

    orangeblood Farmall Cub

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    I know there are some refrigeration folks out there who can hopefully answer my question. I have heard that keeping bags of ice stored in the freezer will improve the efficiency of the unit because the cold air from the freezer is blown into the fridge to cool it. If this is true for a modern fridge does the same theory hold true for our IH fridges that have the dorm-room-style freezer (the cold plate that periodically needs manual defrosting)? The reason I ask is I use my fridge (pic in sig) to store cold drinks in the garage. I don't use the freezer so if placing some extra ice in it would save me a little on the electric bill I'll do it.
     
  2. Greg R

    Greg R Dreams of Cub Cadets

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    What I've recommended to people is just plain 'ol water. Put a tub or two in your freezer compartment, as much as can fit. What you end up with in effect is a thermal "flywheel". The pulldown to temperature times will be a bit longer,(runtime), but it'll take a lot longer to warm up as well. With reduced cycling, you can save a few watts in a 24 hour period.

    A huge factor also is the door gasket. It must seal to keep out moisture as much as possible, which is what brings in the heat, coats the cold plate with ice and takes longer to make cold, and makes for mold or smells. If the gasket is intact with no cuts or missing edges, you can check the fit with a dollar bill. Shut the door with the bill crosswise across the sealing surface. You should be able to pull it out with some firm resistance. Do this all the way around in case the door might be tweaked and a corner is not sealing. Another tip is to chalk the gasket with some blue string line chalk, shut the door. When you open it, there should be a chalk line all the way around. Some of today's gaskets have a silicone in them, and the chalk might not stick well enough to show a ring on contact.

    By far the single biggest improvement I've helped with are the door gaskets, installing a "flywheel" helps even out the run times and together they can save a few watts.
     
  3. Colin Rush

    Colin Rush Man of Voive Staff Member Moderator

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    Greg,

    Wouldn't you achieve the same effect by just keeping the fridge as full as possible rather than just running it with only a few items in it? All that mass of food, beer, soda, et cetera should accomplish the same thing. If you only have a few things, maybe they should just be put in your other fridge and your IH fridge shut down until you have enough to justify its use.
     
  4. Greg R

    Greg R Dreams of Cub Cadets

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    All true Colin.
    The question was for a "drink cooler" or beer locker.
     
  5. orangeblood

    orangeblood Farmall Cub

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    Thanks for the advice Greg. I'll load the freezer compartment as you recommend. To address Colin's statement, the fridge area is usually loaded with beer. I use it to store three to four 5 gallon kegs of homebrew. I try to keep the thermal mass at a high level and only open the door a few times a week. I'm just looking to use some additional tricks to save a little extra coin, and the freezer compartment wasn't being used.

    I recently replaced the door seal, and she's sealing tight. One night I put a battery operated lantern in the fridge, turned off the garage lights, and looked for any light sneaking past the gasket. Although, I'll double check with your dollar bill trick. It seems like it would be more effective at checking the seal. Thanks again!
     
  6. Colin Rush

    Colin Rush Man of Voive Staff Member Moderator

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    I think maybe sharing a couple mason jars of homebrew with us would also help. ;-)
     
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  7. Eric VanBuren

    Eric VanBuren Lives in an IH Dealership

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    The advantage of a solid block(s) of ice or a big jug of water is that it's thermal mass is much denser than food, beer ect.

    The fear that I would have with shutting it down for long periods is that it wouldn't come back to life after a period of inactivity.
     
  8. orangeblood

    orangeblood Farmall Cub

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    Look me up if you find yourself in Central Texas. I'll have a pint or two waiting for you :)
     
  9. glenfoxman

    glenfoxman Farmall Cub

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    Making an IH Fridge More Efficient

    Isnt another way to make your fridge more efficient to fill up all the empty space with polystyrene or similar - cut blocks to shape with sharp blade - so that when you open the door all the cold air doesnt fall out and have to be chilled again.
    This applies even more so to freezers - keep them full and they run more efficiently and keep cold better when the power goes off.

    Is this correct or is it an urban myth?
    _______________________________________
    Website I designed for faxless payday loan canada company.
     
  10. Bill Bennett

    Bill Bennett High Wheeler

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    I keep some small sealed boxes filled with the styrofoam 'popcorn'. When there is empty space in the freezer, I just add a box to fill the space. Seems to help cut down on the amount of air that has to be re-cooled after opening the door.
    BB
     
  11. KereAffiste

    KereAffiste Banned

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    Making an IH Fridge More Efficient

    Well we wouldnt get a meet organised in a week, so was thinking more the beginning of may onwards really, but just ideas of places people would like to go for a start.
     
  12. MeadmakerDave

    MeadmakerDave Farmall Cub

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    A word on efficiency.

    I just compared my old IH to our modern Energy Star rated fridge.

    The "new" fridge draws 4.7 amps while the IH draws only 2.5 amps.

    As long as your seals are good, the old units are pretty darned efficient.
     
  13. gillis51

    gillis51 Farmall Cub

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    My gasket is in very good shape but the door is not as tight as I would like in the lower left side. How do I tweak it. Fridge is a 1950 model H-84.
     
  14. Bryan G

    Bryan G Farmall Cub

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    The real energy-suckers, the units that give old refrigerators a bad name, are older frost-free models. You don't want to have one of those from the 60s or 70s out in the garage. The IH machines, and similiar "old timers", are very efficient.

    In the early 80s somebody wrote in to the appliance Q&A column in Popular Mechanics saying they needed a new gasket for their IH refrigerator. According to the article, at that time IH still carried the part!
     
  15. Greg R

    Greg R Dreams of Cub Cadets

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    Do the "dollar bill" test. Put a dollar bill across the gasket as you shut the door. With the door shut, pull the bill out. There should be a slight to moderate drag when you pull it out. That's all you need. Another test is put some blue carpenter's chalk on the gasket, then close the door. You should see a faint blue ring where ever the gasket touches. Some times the door is tweaked, or the box, from years of getting moved around like someone's junk. If you can't adjust hings or cinch up on the strike, the best you can do is re-tweak or shim something. If the gasket is collapsed or rotted, there's nothing else to do besides replace it. Try looking up a vintage appliance parts house or take the gasket to an appliance shop.
     
  16. nicks1

    nicks1 Farmall Cub

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    Can any one please tell me what kind of seal will work for a 158 ih freezer?
    My freeze is a 1950 and the front part is ripped off. It looks like the seal gets clamped down by sheet metal. Well sheet metal sandwiches the seal with the door.

    Thank you for any help
     

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