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Refrigerator - The Icebox

Sep 1, 2008
From the simple working model created by John Goriie in 1844 to the modern fridge units of today, the refrigerator has become one of the essential part of every modern kitchen. From storing our favorite foods to providing refreshing ice, the refrigerator is one device that most of us would not want to live without. It replaced the ice box, which had been a common household appliance for almost a century and half a prior.

Although it does so much for the household and most dependable of all large appliances, they do fail to do their jobs sometimes, and when they do, the results can be disastrous because expensive food can spoil in a hurry. There are a few simple repairs you can handle yourself by checking the power, controls, condenser coils, and other parts outside of your refrigerator's sealed, hermetic system. Remember that the best way to lengthen the life of a refrigerator is to clean the condenser coils once a year or more frequently if they get dirty.

Also, an environmental concern is the disposal of old refrigerators because of the freon coolant damaging the ozone layer, now the destruction of CFC-bearing insulation is highly most concerned. Modern refrigerators usually use refrigerants called HFC-134a (1,2,2,2-tetraflouroethane) which has no ozone layer depleting properties. Disposal of discarder refrigerators is mandated to the removal of doors. As it is the largest power-guzzlers than any other appliance in the kitchen, some current models were manufactured to encourage energy efficiency. A fross-free unit uses a blower fan to keep moisture out of the unit. Some units have heaters on the side of the door to keep the unit from "weeping". Side-by-side refrigerator/freezers are not only less energy efficient (particularly if they include water or ice dispensers), but also are more likely to need repair. The most energy-efficient unit was made in the US designee to run on 12 or 110 volts and consumes about half kilowatt/hour per day.

Other problems and solutions:

1. Some refrigerators have a "high humidity" switch, or equivalent, usually located in the freezer door frame and attached to a small heater element. It controls the humidity that may collect around the door opening during very high humidity situations. This circuit draws about 6 amps and will drain a battery in less than 12 hours. There's an easy solution to this. Flip the switch to the "off" position when you're running the refrigerator on battery power.

2. Refrigerator isn't staying cool? Check the absorber .Is it cool, and the boiler section hot? If the boiler section is really hot, you've probably got a blockage that's typically caused by running the refrigerator when it's not level. Try tipping the refrigerator upside down to dislodge the particles. You may replace the cooling unit, or replace the whole refrigerator. However, for a rather complex problem, like rebuilding of the ammonia cooling units that power the fridge, you need to have an expert's eye on it to get the details just right.

Refrigerator Maintenance Tips

1. Keep it clean.

To make it operate efficiently, the most important thing is to keep it clean and prevent any obstructions in the venting system. That is, clean out the soot and rust particles that accumulate on the inside surface of the flue.

2. Keep a thermometer in your refrigerator.

Make sure you turn it on for several hours (at least over night) before putting food into it. It can take up to 24 hours to cool. Then, always keep a small thermometer (preferably in water to ensure accuracy) in your refrigerator.

3. Give your refrigerator a hand during hot weather.

When the temperature gets really high outside, your refrigerator has to work extra hard to stay cool. Get a good ice chest, fill it with ice, and store your drinks in the cooler. This will help to keep the door of the refrigerator closed during the heat of the day. Also, make sure your refrigerator isn't so crammed full of stuff that it can't "breathe". Refrigerators need good air circulation to work efficiently.

You can also install a fan in the rear part of the refrigerator to help the air flow through the condenser fins at the top of the cooling unit. Slip a piece of paper between the door and the refrigerator cabinet; then close the door. If you don't feel a slight resistance when you pull the paper out from the door, then the seal is leaking. Replace the seal as soon as possible.
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