Thoughts & Ideas

refrigerator efficiency

21 August, 2008 (11:58) | Thoughts & Ideas

Does the amount of food in your refrigerator matter in how much it runs?  Does an empty fridge use less energy because there’s nothing in it to cool?  I guess you can take that further and say does the contents of the fridge make a difference.  Does a fridge full of liquids require more energy than a fridge full of fruit?  I guess it all comes down to how much energy does it take to cool air…If I were to make a prediction, i would say a vacuous space would take more energy because a solid or liquid would act as an insulator…I googled, but couldn’t find anything…

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  • ryeinn

    Josh,
    Of course it takes more energy to cool food than air. If you want evidence, look at the concept of specific heat. Or just picture what happens to the temp of your fridge if you stick a bowl of hot soup in to cool down. The entire fridge heats up.

  • ryeinn

    Josh,
    Of course it takes more energy to cool food than air. If you want evidence, look at the concept of specific heat. Or just picture what happens to the temp of your fridge if you stick a bowl of hot soup in to cool down. The entire fridge heats up.

  • sixf00t4

    haha! You’re the first person that came to mind to ask this question to! Funny that you’d be the first to respond.

    You’re right, obviously it would take more energy to cool food, what i was wondering was to keep it cool after the initial cool down. Is the same amount of energy required to maintain the cool temperature once it’s cool? Do certain materials have a higher tendency to “decool” ? Compared to air?

  • sixf00t4

    haha! You’re the first person that came to mind to ask this question to! Funny that you’d be the first to respond.

    You’re right, obviously it would take more energy to cool food, what i was wondering was to keep it cool after the initial cool down. Is the same amount of energy required to maintain the cool temperature once it’s cool? Do certain materials have a higher tendency to “decool” ? Compared to air?

  • Kallie

    More energy to cool an empty fridge for sure! Why? Because the food stores energy and works as an insulator like you say. Think about when the power goes out; in a fully stocked fridge it will take way longer for the items to warm up and go bad than if there is next to nothing in the fridge.

  • Kallie

    More energy to cool an empty fridge for sure! Why? Because the food stores energy and works as an insulator like you say. Think about when the power goes out; in a fully stocked fridge it will take way longer for the items to warm up and go bad than if there is next to nothing in the fridge.

  • Kallie

    http://www.ucfoodsafety.ucdavis.edu/Consumer_Advice/Power_Outage.htm

    UC Davis says a full freezer stays cold twice as long as a half full freezer. Do you think we could extrapolate that the fridge is the same? My experience says yes, but I can’t find the source to back it. Does more conserved energy = less energy needed too cool…or at least keep cool?

  • Kallie

    http://www.ucfoodsafety.ucdavis.edu/Consumer_Advice/Power_Outage.htm

    UC Davis says a full freezer stays cold twice as long as a half full freezer. Do you think we could extrapolate that the fridge is the same? My experience says yes, but I can’t find the source to back it. Does more conserved energy = less energy needed too cool…or at least keep cool?

  • sixf00t4

    So here’s an idea then:

    A fridge that when shut, the walls (made of some flexible/rubber material) will fill the cavity of the fridge to reduce surface area needed to be cooled.

    infact, most modern refrigerators are already connected to a water system for the ice dispenser and such, so you could UTILIZE water as an insulator and “filling agent”.

    Try to envision what I’m suggesting here…fridge shelves where you can adjust how much space is available on them for your food items, but the rest is filled with these bladders of water. So each shelf would have a bladder from the top, back, sides, and maybe from the middle of the tray itself, that you could fill completely with the bladders, or adjust them to the desired space.

  • sixf00t4

    So here’s an idea then:

    A fridge that when shut, the walls (made of some flexible/rubber material) will fill the cavity of the fridge to reduce surface area needed to be cooled.

    infact, most modern refrigerators are already connected to a water system for the ice dispenser and such, so you could UTILIZE water as an insulator and “filling agent”.

    Try to envision what I’m suggesting here…fridge shelves where you can adjust how much space is available on them for your food items, but the rest is filled with these bladders of water. So each shelf would have a bladder from the top, back, sides, and maybe from the middle of the tray itself, that you could fill completely with the bladders, or adjust them to the desired space.