For ‘Thrifty Thursday’ this week, run by Gina over at Cold Tea and Smelly Nappies I’m going to talk about something particularly related to saving energy in our homes.
Thankfully, it’s now widely known that an old central heating boiler can be very inefficient, wasting gas and therefore costing money unnecessarily. And slowly, the message about energy-saving lighting is getting across. (I might do a post about that another time.) But, drawing on my own experience, I’m going to highlight a potential waste of energy that rarely gets due consideration.
That old fridge or freezer.
Perhaps others have been on this journey (or one like it.)
A good few years ago, I replaced my freezer. The one I had was fairly old – no, very old – and I was scared of its possible sudden failure.
Well, actually, that’s not quite true. ‘Replaced’, I think, gives the idea of instead of. But in this case, it was a case of as well as. I had the space, so I thought, why not keep it going for now, for the fruit season, and… you know the rest. Story of my life. I can’t bear to get rid of something that still works, just for now.
After a few months, though, I noticed that, whereas when I went to the new one, it was rarely running (no motor noise) the old one was almost always running. (They were near to each other, so a difference in ambient temperature wasn’t a factor.) Now, it so happened (I’m an electrician) I had handy a watt-hour meter (just like the ones electricity companies fit in your house.) I rigged this up to one socket, to feed the old freezer. Then I took readings of this meter, and the one for the whole house, a week apart. The results were staggering; this thing I couldn’t part with was using 22% of my total electricity consumption! It had to go!
Now, I’m not saying that every less-than-up-to-the-minute fridge of freezer is a money sink. I’m just trying to highlight a situation that’s easy to overlook. The ‘sealed system’ can spring a leak and lose refrigerant gas, or the thermal insulation can deteriorate. And certainly, modern domestic fridges and freezers are cheaper to run, thanks to improved cabinet insulation and other factors.
So… Running that old one might not be so… cool!
I’m sorry that this highlights a potential problem, but doesn’t give you the money to buy a new appliance! But this truly is an example of a situation where it’s worth spending to save. Next time, I’ll show you how you can re-use something, in a worthwhile way. That’s a promise.