Do you really think about energy & environment while buying a refrigerator?

Do you really think about energy & environment while buying a refrigerator?

Are you buying the energy efficient home appliances? If yes, then you don’t have to worry about this post. However, there are some important guidelines which should be followed while replacing your old appliances with new one. Most of the time, we generally focus on price tag of the appliances and select whichever is the cheapest. This could have the direct effect of higher energy bill and subsequently increases the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

                                                               

As a matter of fact, household appliances release more CO2 compared to our cars as our electricity is generated from the coal fired thermal power plants which emit huge amount of CO2. This will have dampening effect to our environment. This is very well seen in the climate changes around the world. As per estimates, the household appliances contribute up to 30 percent to our energy bill and of course, burn our pockets.

In this series of energy efficiency posts, initially we will focus on appliances which have major energy requirement. The various criteria of selection, sizes, types, tips to reduce energy consumption of a refrigerator are explained below.

As we know that due to technological advancement, today’s refrigerators require much less energy than older ones. A refrigerator is a cooling appliance that transfers heat from its thermally insulated compartment to the external environment and cools down the materials stored inside. Saving energy in the kitchen starts with the refrigerator. It is typically one of the largest energy drains of all major home appliances.

Do you know that refrigerators use more than 1100 kWh/year! This is almost 5 times the electricity as an average television set.

Refrigeration System Basics
Let’s discuss about basic components of the refrigeration system which include an evaporator, compressor, condenser, and an expansion device. A refrigerant circulates in these components. It vaporizes in the evaporator absorbing the heat from the warm inside air drawn across the evaporator coil. This cools and dehumidifies the air. The compressor raises the pressure and temperature of the refrigerant vapors. The condenser condenses the refrigerant and transforms the high pressure vapor into high pressure liquid. Heat is rejected via outside air drawn across the condenser. The expansion device transforms the high pressure high temperature liquid refrigerant to low pressure low temperature mixture of refrigerant liquid and vapor. The refrigerant goes to the evaporator, and the cooling cycle continues.

Type of refrigerators
Generally there are two types of home refrigerators available in the market; first type is Direct Cool Refrigerator where cooling of food is primarily obtained by natural convection within the refrigerator. Other is Frost Free Refrigerator where cooling takes place through continuous internal movement of air that restricts the formation of frost and sticking of food items with each other. More efficient compressors and better insulation have greatly improved the energy performance of new refrigerators.

Focus on important points before buying
There are two types of cost for buying any appliances; fixed purchase cost and operating cost to run the appliance over its lifetime. Before buying a refrigerator, our main focus should be on the energy requirement or energy efficiency aspect instead of price, warranty, after-sales service, aesthetic, etc. Look at the ‘Energy Star’ rating which is pasted on the refrigerator and compare the number of stars with other models. Subsequently, verify these details at‘Energy Star’ website as this will give you more bargaining power with sales guy. 'Energy Star' certified refrigerators are approximately 9-10 percent more energy efficient than minimum energy efficient models. The following some of the important points which should be taken care before buying a refrigerator:

  • ·  Recycle your old refrigerator and get a reduction in overall cost of new refrigerator as most of the dealer now accepts the old refrigerators. It reduces the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere & save our environment. Most of us are reluctant to replace the existing appliances which are somehow working. However, these old appliances consume more energy than new ‘Energy Star’ refrigerator. Select an energy efficient program called ‘Appliance Recycling 50/50/150 which goes as per below:

o   Receive a $50 rebate for an old refrigerator
o   Recycling ($50 rebate on new energy efficient refrigerators)
o   Save over $150 a year on energy costs

  • ·   Select a refrigerator which has the lowest annual energy consumption and maximum ‘EnergyStar’ labeled on it. You may find that although ‘Energy Star’ rated appliance costs more to purchase, it could end up costing you less over the lifetime of the unit. Older models of refrigerators are generally cheaper than a new ‘Energy Star’ labeled. Don’t buy the cheaper version as these are less efficient (minimum of 20%) and increase your energy bill in future. The Bureau of Energy Efficiency comparison chart for 250 liters Frost Free Refrigerator with different Star ratings is illustrated below. This gives you clear idea - how Energy Star rating is important to you for reducing the energy bill and save the environment.

  • ·  Then comes to the type of a refrigerator whether you want a built-in or freestanding. No-frost of static type or double door, and water dispenser? Generally, top freezer type consumes less energy than a side freezer type of refrigerator. Choose the top-mounted freezer configuration over side-by-side.
  • Next is the required size of a refrigerator to your household need. First, calculate the storage and cooling needs as these are the basic requirements and can't be ignored. If select bigger storage refrigerator against your comparatively smaller need then you are losing money on excess energy bill. Also, wasting your home space due to the larger size.
  • ·         Select the proper space for the new refrigerator as there are some minimum technical requirements. Such as it should be away at least 100 mm (4 inches away) from the walls to facilitate the effective heat rejection particularly from the rear side. Also, the care should be taken for the appliances which are hotter in nature like stoves, oven or direct solar radiation as this will lead to more energy consumption. Leveling should be proper so that the door closes due to its own gravity and moments.
If you really think about energy and environment then just start this initiative by today itself. Selecting the right and energy efficient products not only save your energy bills but at the same time we contribute for the healthy environment as reliance on fossil fuel electricity reduces.

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