Fridges and Freezers

Freezer in need of defrosting, Image by Julio Pablo Vázquez

Refrigerators and freezers can run inefficiently and ineffectively if you forget a couple of key points. The less kilowatt-hours you use, the less climate-killing CO2 gets into the atmosphere.

  • the grill on the condenser coil at the back should be dusted off yearly to facilitate heat exchange with the air
  • there must be enough ventilation space all around for the warm air to escape from the heat exchanger (not having this ventilation is also a fire risk!)
  • the door must close properly or cool air will escape and ice can form. The rubber door seal can break too and is easily replaced for £30 to £50.
  • the thermostat should be adjusted according to needs, and can be easily replaced (like the light bulb) on most machines by the owner
  • under no circumstances should you risk puncturing the refrigerant pipes and allowing the refrigerant gas to leak out. It is a very strong greenhouse gas, thousands of times more damaging to the climate than CO2. So don’t be tempted to de-ice the fridge with a knife when defrosting.

By the way, fridges and freezers are basically heat pumps. Don’t believe the misinformation out there about heat pumps being ineffective. The only problem is the lack of trained installation engineers to put them in to replace gas boilers.

By Adam Hardy

Zoologist at heart. Environmentalist by necessity. Stage hand, financial trader, secretary, card payments designer, software developer, fossil fuel big data warehouse consultant. Amateur psychologist. Now climate change salvage engineer.