1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

January 24, 2008

:024 Fridge Condensate

Suggested Review – :005, :019, :022, :023

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

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http://www.american-appliance.com/catalog/newsdesk_info.php?newsPath=14&newsdesk_id=39

1:5:10:024 Tip: Yesterday I told you how to clean your refrigerators cooling coils. At the same time you should plan on cleaning the condensate pan.

The condensate pan is used to collect water that drains from the refrigerator during the defrost cycle. The water is collected in a collection pan and then evaporates into the room air. The pan can become quite dirty and support bacteria and mold growth. If you can remove the pan for cleaning, it should be taken outside so that any mold growth it has won’t release spores into the house. Clean the condensate pan frequently enough so that microorganisms don’t have a chance to become established and released indoors.

Don’t forget to record the energy use in your journal before you clean the coils and condensate pan.

Tomorrow you will be recording the clean coil energy use, so you can compare the before and after values. I will also talk about the Energy Star Appliance program.

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Additional Information

In order to clean the condensate pan and cooling coils you may need to remove a protective grill or panel. It is best to check the owners manual for detailed instructions.

When you reinsert the pan, make sure the drain line is unobstructed and is positioned properly to drain into the pan – otherwise the water may drain out onto the floor, or back up in the unit.

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January 23, 2008

:023 Clean Fridge Coils

Suggested Review – :005, :019, :022

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

images-refrig.jpg  graphic source: www.hometips.com/content/refrigerators_ef.html

1:5:10:023 Tip: Yesterday you began monitoring your refrigerator for 24 hours to see how much electricity it uses. Today you should record the electric use and learn to clean the cooling coils. Once the coils have been cleaned you can see how much energy is saved by monitoring for another 24 hours. Manufactures and energy conservation experts are recommending the coils be cleaned twice a year. Even more often if you have indoor pets like dogs or cats since their hair tends to dirty up the coils faster. When the coils are dirty, heat builds up and more energy is used to keep your foods cold or frozen. The extra heat will also shorten the life of the refrigerator. Some estimates indicate that dirty coils can add up to $150 dollars a year to your energy bill. Spending ten minutes twice a year to clean the coils can really pay off. When I checked it with my energy use meter, I determined dirty coils would add an extra $3 dollars a month to my electric bill.

Record in your journal the energy use and let the monitor run for another day to see if it is fairly constant. While your cleaning the coils, it is a good time to also clean and check the condensate pan. Tomorrow I will tell you how.

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Additional Information

According to Whirlpool: “the cooling coils for your refrigerator and freezer look like thin tubes, sometimes with connecting fins like a radiator on your car. Some coils are mounted at the rear of the refrigerator. Other are located below the refrigerator, where a fan moves air across the coil. When you stand next to the refrigerator in the winter and feel a warm breeze at your feet, it means the condenser coil and fans are working.”

“If the exterior condenser coils become dirty, they are less efficient at transferring heat into the air around the refrigerator. To clean the coils, you can carefully vacuum them or remove stubborn dust with a condenser cleaning brush”.

 If your refrigerator has coils and a fan below the refrigerator, you will need to remove some access panels to reach the coils. We suggest that you follow the specific instructions for your refrigerator and unplug the unit before you attempt to clean the coils.”

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January 22, 2008

:022 Frige Energy Use

Suggested Review – :005, :019

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

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1:5:10:022 Tip: In comparison to other appliances the refrigerator uses more electricity – for example – five times as much as a typical television set, but of course the refrigerator must be kept operating 24/7. To find out your refrigerator’s energy use, plug it into your watt monitoring meter and let it run for 24 hours. Also check how many watts of electricity are being used when the door is open versus closed, and when the compressor is running versus off. If your door seal has a heater to prevent condensation at the door gasket, switch it on and check its electricity use as well as when the refrigerator is going through its defrost cycle – if you can catch it. Depending on your unit, it may be time to consider replacing it with a more energy efficient model.

Our refrigerator is about 5 years old and is using about 1.6 kilowatts per day. That’s not too bad considering an older energy hog model may use 5 or more kilowatts each day. At that rate, it may be time to buy a new refrigerator. But before you buy a new model, you will probably want to consider the 1:5:10:365 tips for the next few days.

Tomorrow we will find out how much energy our refrigerator can save by cleaning the cooling coils.

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Additional Information

Make sure you record your refrigerator’s kilowatt use in your journal.

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