A cool idea revisited

27 11 2019

It’s quite amazing what difference a few years make….. I often dump on technology as a problem within itself, but occasionally I find something that truly astonishes me. Anyone who’s been here long enough will remember my cool idea, now a staggering ten years old….. I wonder if that old freezer is still going as well as it did back then?

Anyhow, shortly before moving into Mon Abri in Tassie, we needed a new fridge, and I started shopping around for a suitable energy efficient freezer that we could run off our batteries. There aren’t anywhere near as many freezers to choose from as there are refrigerators, and thank goodness for that, it took me long enough to find what I wanted!

In the end, I opted for the same brand as the Cooran unit, which was discontinued many years ago. The brand is Haier, and interestingly, it seems they make a dual range of appliances; one is OK, the other is outstandingly better… Our new freeedge is a 220L upright unit. It’s actually a bit bigger than the previous one which was 175L. It’s a bit smaller than your average fridge, but you know me, I think everyone else’s fridge is way too big!

Remarkably, while searching for a clean photo of it, it no longer appears on Haier’s website, with the nearest freezer like it being 258L… We bought it online, which necessitated driving the ute to Hobart to pick it up, but I had to get our tiles at the same time so not such a waste of fuel.

Me being me, I immediately plugged it into an extension cord, the power station having not yet been connected to the house, via the usual thermostat switch I’ve been using for years, and my trusty energy monitor which I brought down from Queensland four years ago. To my amazement, the motor only draws 60W….. I was truly gobsmacked, because every other freezer I’ve used around the country has consumed at least 175W, and some as much as 250…..

The end result is that 39 days later when I finally wired the power station up and had power coming out of all the power points, I discarded the extension cord and moved the freedge to its final position in the new kitchen. The monitor said that it averaged 0.1kWh/day, and that at 30c/kWh (which I think is pretty average for grid pricing these days, it would cost $11 a year to run as it currently is.

The proof is, as they say, in the pudding. The battery bank, even in the current spate of bad weather we are experiencing, with winter refusing to go away except for a day or three now and again, are behaving as though there is no fridge in the house! After all, 0.1kWh is hardly a load at all…….

It can be argued that that it’s significantly cooler here than in Cooran, but the previous freedge consumed 0.25kWh/day, which even that was, I thought outstanding.

Not being a fridge, it doesn’t have all the convenient – and in my opinion un-necessary – fancy door trays etc, but it does have a light, and the drawers inside keep all the cold air where it belongs when you open the door.

Unrelated to the above, our first water tank pad is in place. Matt from next door finished cutting the footing trenches, I put all the steel in, and Caleb came back with his father Trev, an old hand at concreting, to help me pour the truckload of panic into the void. I was again lucky with the weather, not too hot, not too cold, and no rain, which I have to tell you is a bit rare this year for the cusp of summer….

Now all we need is for Mark to come back and lay the blocks we need to retain all that soil in the banks, and a stainless steel tank sitting atop the new pad to give us running water…… everything comes to those who wait, and I’m getting very good at waiting!


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6 responses

27 11 2019
Hugh Spencer

OK – which model of Haier is it – I gather it’s not a DC freezer. Do you have a link? We had 2 Sundanzer chest freezers – one of which was modified as a refrigerator (with external control) – however – past warranty, as you might expect, the refrigerator died (leak in the evaporator circuit, which is unrepairable – as it is a wall-integrated unit). The freezer works a charm – but is overloaded. So I’d be really interested in getting one.

Cheers – Hugh (hugh@austrop.org.au)

27 11 2019
1 12 2019
gbell12

I read that running freezers like this leads to some sort of early failure… something about the copper pipes failing or something?

1 12 2019
Hugh Spencer

A lot of failures of this sort probably have to do with 2 issues – failure to clean up after brazing – and the increasing use of steel pipes connected to copper – so we get an electrochemical corrosion issue. Plus modern domestic refrigeration systems have the condensor firmly attached to the outer wall and covered with urethane insulation – and the evaporator equally firmly attached to the inside wall. From a thermal point of view it’s stupid – as the temperature gradient across the rather minimal polyurethane insulation can be over 100C – not a good design look – but hey, the cabinets are sooooo sleek. We need externalized condensors, if nothing else (but ughhh! – the cobwebs and stuff).

1 12 2019
mikestasse

Both the Haier freezers we’ve bought have external condensers. I think it’s one of the reasons they are so efficient.

5 12 2019
JB

HI Mike,
Where are you getting your stainless steel tank from. I got a small one (about 7000 litres) from TankTec a few years ago, and I’m looking at getting another one so just wondering if you have found a different source.

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