My new refrigerator adventure (part green, part noise rant)

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CA_Steve
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My new refrigerator adventure (part green, part noise rant)

Post by CA_Steve » Tue Nov 25, 2008 10:41 am

I finally got around to plugging my old fridge into a Kill-a-Watt last weekend to see how the old girl was fairing (circa 1985). I was also overdue on cleaning dust off of the coils, etc...

So, I pulled it out of it's cabinent enclosure and was greeted by a pile of rust and a large water stain on the cardboard it sat on (another story - but things that may leak and sit on my wood floor annoy me). Not good. It turns out that the metal plate covering the condenser (or is it the evaporator?) coils had rusted through, exposing a coil in it's frost covered glory. Really not good.

Time to shop for a new refrigerator. In the mean time, I cleaned up the mess, tossed out the cardboard - it had done it's job well, and plugged in the Kill-a-Watt.

I found a basic Sears Kenmore model with a dampened compressor, Energy Star rating (383kWh/yr), and decent reviews. Went to the store, ordered it, came home, and looked at the 4 hour power usage for the old girl -> 0.74kWh, which translates to 1630kWh over the course of a year. Yow! That translates to 38% of last month's usage for my home. Ok, it was only a four hour window. Perhaps I caught it during a defrosting event.

A couple of days later, it's time to unplug the old girl and plug in the new one. The annualized usage came to 1556kWh; 130kWh/mo, or 36% of my monthly electrical usage. Given PG&E's tiered rates, it was 44% of my electrical cost. This is about twice of what refrigerators of this generation used. I'm guessing the exposed coils and advanced age caused the efficiency to drop causing the compressor to fire up twice as often.

The new refrigerator *should* use about 32kWh/mo, keeping me in tier 1 rates and saving about $200/yr. This is about a three year ROI.
Not bad...except for one thing....the new refrigerator is noisy as hell. A loud vibrating kind of noise. The delivery guys shrug and say it'll quiet down and if it doesn't call Sears (aka - we just drop stuff off and leave). So, they leave. I pull the fridge out, remove the back cardboard cover and put my hand on the compressor. The noise abates. I push down hard and it disappears. Lo and behold, the dang thing is missing one of the four cotter pin and washers that tie it down to the big honking rubber mount/vibration dampeners. Gotta love how this passed final inspection.
:D

Repair guy is scheduled for Wed. I'll plug in the kill-a-watt after the temps stabilize.

/rant off

AuraAllan
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Post by AuraAllan » Tue Nov 25, 2008 10:49 am

Wow ! !

1630kWh/year ?
1556kWh/year ?

Thats more then my girlfriend and I used the last 12 months :shock:

Hopefully your new fridge is ALOT better.
Good luck with it. :)

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Post by scdr » Thu Aug 12, 2010 4:54 pm

Sorry to hear about your problem - but good you found the issue.

My experience with a Kill A Watt and refrigerator was rather the reverse.

We have an old refrigerator in the basement (don't know age, but old enough that it is all rounded, and does not have automatic defrost).
When I got around to plugging in the Kill A watt - I don't remember the average watts, but works out to about $17/year to run it.
(It is in a cool location, and rarely opened.)

Makes me wonder what they could achieve if they used modern levels of insulation, etc. and got rid of the stupid frost free feature (which messes up your food as well as costing big bucks).

(I did find a dehumidifier which is sucking up about 16% of our energy use - now to find an efficient, quiet, reliable dehumidifier.)

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Post by m0002a » Wed Aug 25, 2010 2:08 am

Consumer Reports rates refrigerators on noise and electrical efficiency. LG and Samsung are generally quieter than most others, but there are some exceptions (a few others just a quiet, sometimes because they are actually made by LG or Samsung under contract).

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Post by tima » Wed Aug 25, 2010 6:45 am

AuraAllan wrote:Wow ! !

1630kWh/year ?
1556kWh/year ?

Thats more then my girlfriend and I used the last 12 months :shock:
Where do you live? In a shoe? I'd give anything to use < 700 kWh/mo, which is the bare minimum, and I even have gas heat. During cooling season, it goes as high as 1800 kHw/mo.

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Post by AuraAllan » Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:22 am

tima wrote:
AuraAllan wrote:Wow ! !

1630kWh/year ?
1556kWh/year ?

Thats more then my girlfriend and I used the last 12 months :shock:
Where do you live? In a shoe? I'd give anything to use < 700 kWh/mo, which is the bare minimum, and I even have gas heat. During cooling season, it goes as high as 1800 kHw/mo.
We moved since then.
It was a 80 m2 appartment.
Now we live in a 136 m2 appartment with loads more appliances.
+ we got a 1½ year old boy now. (and expecting a girl dec. 19) :D
We use ~2500vkWh/year now.

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Post by AZBrandon » Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:52 pm

AuraAllan wrote:Now we live in a 136 m2 appartment with loads more appliances.
+ we got a 1½ year old boy now. (and expecting a girl dec. 19) :D
We use ~2500vkWh/year now.
That's still crazy-low. That's less than 7 kw/h per day. Are you sure that's right? I use more than 7 kw/h just to do two loads of laundry (I'm also a family of 3, so we do laundry regularly). Average usage in my part of the country for a home of similar square footage with modern, efficient electric heating & cooling and appliances runs at least 35 kw/h day over the year.

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Post by tima » Wed Aug 25, 2010 1:30 pm

AZBrandon wrote:That's still crazy-low. That's less than 7 kw/h per day. Are you sure that's right? I use more than 7 kw/h just to do two loads of laundry (I'm also a family of 3, so we do laundry regularly). Average usage in my part of the country for a home of similar square footage with modern, efficient electric heating & cooling and appliances runs at least 35 kw/h day over the year.
Indeed. Over the year, I use an average of 40 kWh/day for about 1650 ft^2 (deep south USA, hot and humid), which is not much larger than AuraAllan's 136 m^2 (~ 1460 ft^2). Even in the winter, when I'm not using the A/C, it's still in the low 20's kWh/day.

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Post by DaveLessnau » Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:43 pm

In our 2600 square foot (195 square meter) house here in Florida, we used 2100 kWh last MONTH (air conditioning). Back in February, our low point was 669 kWhs for the month.

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Post by CA_Steve » Wed Aug 25, 2010 5:35 pm

I use 8-12kWH per day (the higher # is in the winter for lighting). I also live in a cool climate and don't have AC.

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Post by AuraAllan » Thu Aug 26, 2010 5:36 am

I'm totally stunned by your numbers.
They are HUGE !

Edit: Why are your using so much? Extremely low efficiency on appliances or what? I just don't get it.

I'm 100% sure of my numbers.
We can watch them online directly from our supplier.

Here is June, July and August:

Image

Image

Image

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Post by CA_Steve » Thu Aug 26, 2010 6:55 am

I overestimated mine a bit...here's my 2 yr usage history. ~6.7kWH in the summer and ~11 in the winter. I have a 2700sq ft home. Almost twice your footage. My winter usage increase is due to more lighting hours and also the furnace blower (old 1 stage gas furnace with crappy efficiency).

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Post by tay » Thu Aug 26, 2010 6:57 am

Month kWh
07/06 173
06/03 148
05/05 154
04/05 153

Those are my numbers for a 1 bedroom apt ~700 sq ft that I share with my wife. No laundry, which makes a big difference as someone mentioned above. I would say we do 10 loads a month mostly because of the cat. 1 window AC only operated on hot evenings (not overnight). 1 apt size (~1/2 regular) dishwasher. No car. Pretty fucking great, although our water use could be better.

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Post by AZBrandon » Thu Aug 26, 2010 7:53 am

AuraAllan wrote:I'm totally stunned by your numbers.
They are HUGE !

Edit: Why are your using so much? Extremely low efficiency on appliances or what? I just don't get it.
Are you using gas or heating oil for anything? I don't have any way to attach a power gauge to my water heater, but I know for a fact that's a significant part of my power usage. As was mentioned by another person, if you don't have the washer/dryer in your home you are still using all that energy, you're just not seeing it on your personal power bill. Likewise, anybody using natural gas, heating oil, propane, wood pellets, etc for heating is still using energy, it's just not showing up on the electricity bill.

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Post by sea2stars » Thu Aug 26, 2010 8:44 am

Per capita, North Americans use twice the total energy (electricity, gas, oil, etc) of Europe and roughly 6 times as the rest of the world.

True. We're still using energy, but all of our gas appliances (furnace, hot water heater, clothes dryer) are much more efficient than their electric/oil counterparts.

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Post by AZBrandon » Thu Aug 26, 2010 11:56 am

Natural gas is still a fossil fuel and by definition it is unsustainable. Worse yet, it's subject to political manipulation. See what Russia did last winter, cutting off the gas? That's garbage - we, the developed world, need to get away from ALL fossil fuels, especially any time you are importing those fuels from other countries.

For Europe, that means get away from using natural gas. For North America, that means get away from using oil. For some nations, coal is imported and is the resource that should be abandoned. Ultimately, every nation would end up with electricity being the primary energy method, and how they produce it (dams, solar, wind, tidal, geothermal, etc) is up to them to figure out based on their geography and what's at their disposal.

I love reading about improvements in the efficiency of electrical appliances, be it computers, LCD's, refrigerators, heating & cooling, or whatever because I truly believe the future is in electricity. There's just no way that we can expect the world to rely on fossil fuels this heavily 20, 50, or 100 years from now the way we do today. We NEED to move towards ever-more efficient electrical appliances or else we end up with more wars, more shortages, and truly horrible ideas like using food crops for energy and letting the poor starve.

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Post by sea2stars » Thu Aug 26, 2010 4:36 pm

I apologize for the thread hijack.

Anything is subject to manipulation; political or otherwise.

"efficient electric heating" sounds just as plausible as "clean coal"

Seeing how this house was probably heated with coal when first built and then oil at some point, natural gas was the best option available when the old oil furnace died. I'd like to implement more of the ideas here, but a toddler, wife, job, and working towards a 2nd degree tend to hamper plans.

Oil and natural gas are used for more than just power generation and transportation. Plus I'd say coal is the worst of the three fossil fuels currently used in North America.

Creating more efficient buildings, more efficient waste reduction/reuse and more efficient lives is what people should focus on; fossil fuels will still be in use long into our grandchildrens lifetimes. Our homes are the biggest waste of energy and their basic design hasn't changed much over the years. Our next house will hopefully meet the Passivhaus standard and not even require a furnace.

More energy efficient appliances aren't going to save the world. People changing their lifestyles will; something most Americans find abhorrent. Too bad the developing world wants to emulate our way of life.

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Post by AuraAllan » Fri Aug 27, 2010 10:47 am

AZBrandon wrote:
AuraAllan wrote:I'm totally stunned by your numbers.
They are HUGE !

Edit: Why are your using so much? Extremely low efficiency on appliances or what? I just don't get it.
Are you using gas or heating oil for anything? I don't have any way to attach a power gauge to my water heater, but I know for a fact that's a significant part of my power usage. As was mentioned by another person, if you don't have the washer/dryer in your home you are still using all that energy, you're just not seeing it on your personal power bill. Likewise, anybody using natural gas, heating oil, propane, wood pellets, etc for heating is still using energy, it's just not showing up on the electricity bill.
No gas, heating oil or anything like that.
We have district heating here.
We have a washer. No dryer though. They are still too inefficient for my liking. Also I love the smell our clothes has when it has been hanging outside. :D

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Post by NeilBlanchard » Fri Aug 27, 2010 5:45 pm

There is such a thing as efficient electric heat -- dual stage heat pumps are very efficient:

http://www.gotohallowell.com/Acadia%E2% ... ia-30.html

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Post by AZBrandon » Sat Aug 28, 2010 9:17 am

AuraAllan wrote:No gas, heating oil or anything like that.
We have district heating here.
We have a washer. No dryer though. They are still too inefficient for my liking. Also I love the smell our clothes has when it has been hanging outside. :D
That's great to hear - I did a search and learned a bit about district heating. Phoenix has something like that for cooling in downtown. They have a big central cooling system that uses surplus power from the grid overnight (since nuclear reactors can't be turned off at night) and then it does the heat transfer during the daytime when it's needed. That's mainly for the big sports arenas, but hey - it works, and saves power. Anything where you get economies of scale is bound to help, and from what I read about district heating, that's the idea; to have highly efficient industrial heaters which pump that heat out to the surrounding area.

That's interesting about the clothes drying. That's not uncommon here at all, but we have plenty of sunshine and warm air outside. How do you dry your clothes in the winter time? Indoor clothes lines in the bath area? I've seen that too, in fact that's what my wife does for her hand-wash laundry that isn't durable enough for machine drying. My washer and dryer are about 10 years old now and although they were good when I got them, I know the new stuff is more efficient. My clothes dryer doesn't even have a moisture sensor, it just runs on a timer!

Now back on topic, I've had my kill-a-watt collecting the usage from my refrigerator for the last 68 hours. It shows usage at 7.06 kw/h, which works out to about 2.5 kw/h per day. Not bad considering it's from the previous owner of the house, which means it's likely from when the home was built in 1994. Still, if that usage trend keeps up, that's 912 kw/h per year, which is certainly more than new ones use. By my calculations, if a new fridge uses 400 kw/h a year, that would save me 512 kw/h a year, which at the annual average of $0.115 I pay, would be $58.88 a year in savings.

With a new fridge running $800 or so, that would take close to 13 years to pay for itself in energy savings. I think my washer and dryer use a lot more power in the big picture, so I will likely replace those before I replace the fridge. It sounds like the OP's fridge was using something like 80% more power than my fridge and that the OP's paying more for electricity than me. While replacement made sense for him, I don't think I've gotten there yet, not to mention I sure don't have $800 laying around right now either. It's on my list though, I'm all for saving resources!
NeilBlanchard wrote:There is such a thing as efficient electric heat -- dual stage heat pumps are very efficient:

http://www.gotohallowell.com/Acadia%E2% ... ia-30.html
I use a heat pump for my house heating and cooling. Unfortunately, there were no cost-effective dual-stage pumps when I had mine done two years ago. I got the most efficient one available, a 16-SEER unit which actually wasn't working correctly until about a month ago. That's a whole different story, but now that it's working right, I already just saw a 30% drop in my power bill year-over-year from my old usage. Of course, the new dual-stage heat pumps cost only a couple hundred dollars more than I paid and are rated at 18 SEER versus my 16 SEER unit. What can you do though - there's always something newer and better just around the corner.

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Post by AuraAllan » Sat Aug 28, 2010 12:26 pm

AZBrandon wrote:
AuraAllan wrote:No gas, heating oil or anything like that.
We have district heating here.
We have a washer. No dryer though. They are still too inefficient for my liking. Also I love the smell our clothes has when it has been hanging outside. :D
That's interesting about the clothes drying. That's not uncommon here at all, but we have plenty of sunshine and warm air outside. How do you dry your clothes in the winter time? Indoor clothes lines in the bath area? I've seen that too, in fact that's what my wife does for her hand-wash laundry that isn't durable enough for machine drying. My washer and dryer are about 10 years old now and although they were good when I got them, I know the new stuff is more efficient. My clothes dryer doesn't even have a moisture sensor, it just runs on a timer!
Clothes dries in cold weather too. I take a while longer but that doesn't really matter to us. Just remeber to get the clothes in before the frost kicks in or you get stiff clothes. :D
When it's too cold we dry it on indoor clothes lines in our bathroom. There's plenty of room in there.

I plugged our refrigerator/freezer in for a 7-day measuring period the other day. It's about 6 years old.
I chose 7 days to get a more accurate result then a 1 day period would give.
I'll post the numbers when I have them. (in 5 days or so)

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Post by CA_Steve » Sat Aug 28, 2010 12:27 pm

My old fridge's energy use was pushing me into higher cost tiers, From the baseline of ~$0.11/kWH into $0.13 and $0.21/kWH. So, it was an easy return on investment. Note that the energy use ratings for refrigerators assumes an average sized household. Your power use will depend a lot on how often the door is opened up. My (now almost 2 yr old) refrigerator uses maybe 80% of the rated energy.


(anyone notice this was a 2 year old thread that got resurrected by a spammer?)

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Post by CA_Steve » Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:50 am

it's baaack.

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