Sun Frost Refrigerators -OR- Recommend a Refrigerator?

shinyshiny Registered Users Posts: 10
After lurking here and reading many discussions here about refrigerators I'd like to ask your advice. Here's the sitch:

My refrigerator is old, its seals are bad and it's running almost constantly. It has to go, but what to replace it with? My kitchen gets very hot in the Phoenix summer. I want something super efficient. Something that doesn't generate heat and is easy to maintain.

I have a chest freezer so really don't need another fridge/freezer combo. Maybe a freezerless refrigerator? Danby makes a 17.7 cu.ft. freezerless refrigerator, but the coils on the bottom need frequent cleaning. I have a bad back- I can't bend over or get down on the floor to vacuum dirty coils, nor can I pull a fridge out from the wall to clean coils on the back. Some new refrigerators have coils that supposedly never need cleaning. I called a few repair shops and they told me it's a lie- they said all coils need cleaning, especially if you have pets (which I do). So this is a problem.

~~~~~~~~~~

I've read about converting a chest freezer into a super-efficient refrigerator, but can that be done with an upright freezer? If yes, how efficient is it, how hard is it to do, and aside from having to clean the coils, are there any other downsides?

~~~~~~~~~~

Sun Frost makes an R-19 freezerless unit with 16 cu.ft of usable space. I've read all the comments here about Sun Frost: bad latches, seals that need frequent replacing, condensation pooling... I called Sun Frost and asked about each of these issues. Here's what they told me:

- They've replaced the latches with a magnetic closure system that can't break.

- They changed manufacturers for the door seals; the ones they use now are made from a different material that doesn't shrink. He said the seals don't go bad anymore.

- As for water condensation pooling in the bottom of the fridge- they now use a bigger drain tube, and that as long as food doesn't get into it, it should never clog.

*IF* these claims are true, the Sun Frost fridge has some features that appeal to me:

Supposedly it generates almost no heat.

All I would have to do to maintain the condenser coils is wipe the the top with a damp cloth once a month. Even if it wasn't particularly energy-efficient, this convenience alone is almost enough to make me want one.

The entire refrigerator works like a crisper drawer and doesn't dry out produce. I do a LOT of juicing, going through about 10-12 pounds of veggies a day. With a fridge like this I could buy large quantities of produce and not have to go shopping every day. It would also have enough room to store things that I currently keep in a mini-fridge, so I could retire that appliance.

They say it should last at least 20 years. None of the common refrigerators made today are built to last.

The downside: it's VERY expensive. I could live with that if it's the last refrigerator I have to buy.

So I'm asking you guys...

Do you think that Sun Frost might now be making a fridge worth buying? Are there any other negatives I haven't considered? Any other options?

Sorry to be so wordy- thanks for your time!
«1

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,002 admin
    Re: Sun Frost Refrigerators -OR- Recommend a Refrigerator?

    First, it sounds like you have utility power (120/240 VAC)?

    Next, the current crop of Energy Star Refrigerators and Freezers are just about as efficient as the typical Sunfrost/etc. devices.

    The "off grid" fridge and freezers do have an advantage that they can connect directly to a 12 or 24 volt battery bank. And sill save the ~15% losses of a DC to AC inverter (needed to run normal home appliances).

    However, by the time you look at the price of an off-grid fridge/freezer vs a Home Depot on-sale unit--You could easily buy a new/larger off grid inverter and extra solar panels, and still come out ahead.

    There are some other things that off-grid refrigerators do not do (ice makers, water in fridge, auto defrost, etc.). Those features are not fun to give up for many folks.

    Here is a thread from a couple years ago that tried to answer the same question:

    Is a Sunfrost Fridge worth it?


    If you are on grid power (and/or have 120 VAC appliances), get a Kill-a-Watt meter (or equivalent). They are great for conservation. You plug your appliance in for a couple days, and you will have a very accurate kWH / day rating and can quickly figure out how much power the device is costing you.

    For example, a typical refrigerator runs 120 Watts on about 40% duty cycle in cool weather. If yours is running 100% of the time, roughly:
    • 0.120 kWatts * 24 hours per day * 0.40 run time * 30 days per month * $0.10 per kWH power cost = $3.46 per month (40% on time)
    • 0.120 kWatts * 24 hours per day * 1.00 run time * 30 days per month * $0.10 per kWH power cost = $8.64 per month (100% on time)
    And you are correct, the electricity that runs your refrigerator goes 100% into heating your home. And in summer, you are paying to remove that heat with the A/C system.

    If this was an off-grid system, where the typical cost per kWH is around $1-$2 per kWH (system cost, battery cost, maintenance, battery replacement, etc.), then you are talking about 10-20x your utility power costs. And finding the most efficient fridge you can, almost regardless of price, is a good thing to do.

    Regarding converting a chest freezer to refrigerator--Might be worth it for you. Not very expensive to convert, use 1/4 to 1/2 the amount of electricity--and many freezers use the metal skin to dissipate the heat--No cooling coils to keep clean.

    Chest freezer
    as a chest refrigerator

    Sun Electronics 12/24 vdc refrigerator/freezer

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • shinyshiny Registered Users Posts: 10
    Re: Sun Frost Refrigerators -OR- Recommend a Refrigerator?

    Thanks for the speedy reply, Bill.

    I do have power- live in a city actually. Someday I hope to have some solar panels, but I doubt I'll ever get completely off the grid in this mobile home.

    The new Energy Star fridges are indeed a lot more efficient than they used to be, and are definitely a lot cheaper than the Sun Frost. Price isn't so much the issue though as is maintenance (I can't clean the coils), trouble-free operation (modern refrigerators are prone to breakdowns), long life (they aren't built to last) and they dry out the produce (the Sun Frost doesn't require special produce bins). I don't want any of the bells and whistles like water dispensers and ice makers in a fridge.

    I did read that thread on "Is a Sun Frost Worth It?", that's where I learned about all the problems people have had with them. Supposedly they've addressed those issues... I just wonder if they really have.

    In a few years I suspect we will have much higher electric bills than we do now, so I want to do everything I can to make my house as energy-efficient as possible. I've replaced light bulbs with LEDs, built a super low power consumption computer, replaced windows, reduced my electric use every way I can think of. But the kitchen gets very hot though in the summer. I'm getting rid of the worst offender- the gas range with pilot light. Replacing it with a portable induction cooktop that doesn't throw heat out into the room when it cooks. I've been using one with a pressure cooker and it's awesome. Meals cook in less than half the time.

    I want to learn if an upright freezer can be successfully converted into an ultra-low energy use refrigerator.
  • Volvo FarmerVolvo Farmer Solar Expert Posts: 209 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Sun Frost Refrigerators -OR- Recommend a Refrigerator?
    shiny wrote: »
    Thanks for the speedy reply, Bill.

    I do have power- live in a city actually. Someday I hope to have some solar panels, but I doubt I'll ever get completely off the grid in this mobile home.

    The new Energy Star fridges are indeed a lot more efficient than they used to be, and are definitely a lot cheaper than the Sun Frost. Price isn't so much the issue though as is maintenance (I can't clean the coils), trouble-free operation (modern refrigerators are prone to breakdowns), long life (they aren't built to last) and they dry out the produce (the Sun Frost doesn't require special produce bins). I don't want any of the bells and whistles like water dispensers and ice makers in a fridge.

    I did read that thread on "Is a Sun Frost Worth It?", that's where I learned about all the problems people have had with them. Supposedly they've addressed those issues... I just wonder if they really have.

    In a few years I suspect we will have much higher electric bills than we do now, so I want to do everything I can to make my house as energy-efficient as possible. I've replaced light bulbs with LEDs, built a super low power consumption computer, replaced windows, reduced my electric use every way I can think of. But the kitchen gets very hot though in the summer. I'm getting rid of the worst offender- the gas range with pilot light. Replacing it with a portable induction cooktop that doesn't throw heat out into the room when it cooks. I've been using one with a pressure cooker and it's awesome. Meals cook in less than half the time.

    I want to learn if an upright freezer can be successfully converted into an ultra-low energy use refrigerator.

    My opinion is that no way is a Sunfrost worth it in a grid tied situation. Back when Sunfrost was 4x more efficient than anything you could buy from the bog box stores, it was often worth it for off-gridders. Now that they are less than 2x more efficient, and still 4x more expensive, I would recommend getting the best energy star frig in the $500 range, don't worry about the longevity, because they aren't really designed to fail, they are just designed to be built cheaply. And if you have to buy four of them in the next twenty years (which is highly unlikely), you would be about equal to a 20 year lived Sunfrost in initial investment.

    The thing that makes a chest freezer remarkably efficient is that when you open it, the cold doesn't run out on the floor and the 90F air in your kitchen doesn't run in to replace it. So you could convert an upright freezer to a refrigerator, but I think you would not see much energy savings in the process.
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,239 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Sun Frost Refrigerators -OR- Recommend a Refrigerator?
    shiny wrote: »
    .......

    I want to learn if an upright freezer can be successfully converted into an ultra-low energy use refrigerator.

    I would say yes, if you can get one that has open wires shelves, with the coolant flowing in S shaped tubes between the wires. Set it as warm as it can go, and if it still freezes, you would have to wire another thermostat in, as mentioned in the chest freezer conversions. You will still have to mop the undersides of the shelves, as they will get condensation on them. And the water may cause rust, because they are supposed to be iced up, not just wet.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,239 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Sun Frost Refrigerators -OR- Recommend a Refrigerator?
    ..... The thing that makes a chest freezer remarkably efficient is that when you open it, the cold doesn't run out on the floor and the 90F air in your kitchen doesn't run in to replace it. So you could convert an upright freezer to a refrigerator, but I think you would not see much energy savings in the process.

    I think there is very little energy invested in the cold air. I've heard the example of stick your hand in a 400F oven, it does not get burned. Now stick it in 150F water. Big difference in latent heat capacity, air has very little heat capacity.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Sun Frost Refrigerators -OR- Recommend a Refrigerator?

    I've used converted chest freezers, but found them very inconvenient to use over time, so I now use a converted upright freezer and love it! What I find, is yes, the chest type don't let the cold air pour out, but far more important, is the fact that freezers in general are designed with far more insulation than fridges. The insulated walls etc are far thicker, the seals far better designed, thus keeping the heat from soaking in through those walls far better than any standard fridge. And in many cases, for some strange reason, at a much lower purchase price. My present upright freezer converted to fridge uses roughly 300 watt hours per 24 hour day. Runs 5 minutes, then is off for 60 minutes, making a 65 minute cycle time. AND since I like drinks etc to be ice cold, the temp is set to +2C, and what amazes me is how long things last at this temp compared to in "normal" fridges! I would never have expected that, and it's one more reason I'd never want go back to a regular fridge!
  • Ralph DayRalph Day Solar Expert Posts: 885 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Sun Frost Refrigerators -OR- Recommend a Refrigerator?

    Wayne,
    I have a Wood's all fridge, uses about 800watt hrs per day. If something is touching the "cold plate" at the top, it will get frost damage. How do you keep perishables from damage when in your upright unit? Is it a new manufacture? My bro-in-law's cottage upright freezer runs 60minutes and is off for 5 (or so it seems), but it's old.

    Dimensions? Cost to retrofit freezer to fridge?

    Thanks

    Ralph
  • Volvo FarmerVolvo Farmer Solar Expert Posts: 209 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Sun Frost Refrigerators -OR- Recommend a Refrigerator?
    mike90045 wrote: »
    I think there is very little energy invested in the cold air. I've heard the example of stick your hand in a 400F oven, it does not get burned. Now stick it in 150F water. Big difference in latent heat capacity, air has very little heat capacity.

    While I would agree that air has little heat capacity, I have observed that almost every single time I open the door in my energy star refrigerator, it comes on one to three minutes later. The thermostat is measuring the temperature of the air, not the food, and it is the air flowing around that transfers the heat to the evaporator coil.

    Seems since Wayne has already made one and measured it, I was wrong about the potential savings. I would be interested in knowing whether he has condensation problems though. I can not imagine how those coils could frost up and then thaw several times a day without becoming dripping wet.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Sun Frost Refrigerators -OR- Recommend a Refrigerator?

    Ralph, sometimes I do get frost damage, depending on what I put where. lol And Volvo Farmer, this will also answer the question re condensation - -
    The refrigerant goes first to the top shelf coils, then to the rest, including the coil set above the top shelf. Since the compressor only runs 5 minutes after being off for an hour, in my case it's that top shelf that is coldest, and tends to cool the rest of the "fridge" before the rest of the shelf coils get super cold. Thus if I put vegies on that top shelf, they will sometimes get damage if left there for a few days, while other items usually don't. The other thing is, with the thermostat set as cold as I have mine, that top shelf itself stays below the freezing point, thus collects condensation from the rest of the "fridge". Once in a while, depending on the humidity of the atmosphere, I do have to defrost that shelf. Roughly once every couple of weeks in Summer, once every 6 to 8 wks in Winter, although if the door accidentally gets left ajar, the compressor runs non-stop and the frost really builds up. I've learned to make sure that door is properly shut. :)
    To defrost, I just put a big folded towel under that top shelf and shut off the compressor. It can take all day before the ice has completely melted, as modern freezers make great ice boxes. So for me, this works far better than the chest type I used to have. Those required a drip catcher on all 4 walls, installed just below where the walls frost and melt, and have them installed so they drain liquid to a common drain point. Otherwise whatever is in the bottom of the chest fridge will soon be sitting in a mini-lake. Keeping that drain system working was a real pain in the butt. I'm far, far happier with the uprite, and in so many ways. No, it's not perfect, but on the whole, for me, it's the best yet. The chest type was awash in way too much humidity, not so the uprite with that top shelf staying below the freezing point.
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Sun Frost Refrigerators -OR- Recommend a Refrigerator?

    I don't consider the Sunfrost a good option for either on or off grid. As you noted, they are very expensive - as much as 4x a standard Energy Star rated off the shelf refrigerator.

    But the biggest problem is that compared to modern refrigerators they are just not that efficient. I recently bought a new Whirlpool 22 CF bottom freezer version, and after running for 28 days it has used a total of 25.2 KWH. That is actual measured power usage - and is about 15% LESS than what the RF19 Sunfrost is rated at - for almost 1/4 the cost.

    It cost me around $900 with the internal icemaker. Compare that to the Sunfrost RF19, which is $2900 + around $300 shipping. For that extra $2500 or so you could get a set of thermopane windows, or upgraded insulation, or 80 LED light bulbs, or... etc. Any of which will save you far more than the Sunfrost.
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,738 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Sun Frost Refrigerators -OR- Recommend a Refrigerator?

    The sunfrost, sundanzer, and many (most?) ultra-efficient freezers and refrigerators use the Danfoss compressor. The currently available Danfoss compressors run on DC and will self-configure themselves to use either 12 or 24 volts. If you look in a marine catalog (such as Defender or West marine) you will see that they sell kits to build your own refrigerator and/or freezer unit. Basically, you build your own cabinet and install the kit. The better your insulation and gaskets, the more efficient it will run.

    The main reason I went that route is because I can't bear the sound of refrigerator motors and fans (I find the sunfrost and sundanzer noise to be obnoxious). In my case the compressor unit is six feet below the cabinet (in the basement). The only thing I can hear in the kitchen is a faint gurgling of the refrigerant, sort of like a propane fridge.

    Another advantage of my approach is that the compressor unit is dumping its heat into the basement (lower ambient temperature) which lets it operate more efficiently.

    I do agree with the other posters who point out that some of today's energy star fridges are impressively efficient and lower in cost than the approach I took (and certainly less costly than a sunfrost).
    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • PhilSPhilS Solar Expert Posts: 370 ✭✭✭
    Re: Sun Frost Refrigerators -OR- Recommend a Refrigerator?

    For a few hundred dollars more you can get a service contract on a regular efficient fridge. When we replaced our twin propane refrigerators with a Sears electric, we bought the extended warranty simply to insure we'd get timely service even at our backwoods location.

    The warranty included an annual visit by a tech to clean the coils which, for the total money invested, could be a solution to your physical inability to do that and STILL cost much less than a Sun Frost. I THINK it was a 5 year extended warranty which I may be getting a renewal offer for this year or next. And, as are most, Sears replaces it if they can't fix it.

    We also live in a warmer climate (tho NOT like Phoenix!!). I had our propane fridges vented out the roof of our mobile and did not seal it off for the electric. Yeah, I must lose some heat during cold times which only involves using maybe a little more firewood but the rest of the year the fridge heat is exiting out the roof vent. It hasn't been noticeable enough for me to design and build an "on-off" vent door. Not much interior air goes out the vent because it's baffled to only vent the fridge, whether the unit is running or not.
  • shinyshiny Registered Users Posts: 10
    Re: Sun Frost Refrigerators -OR- Recommend a Refrigerator?

    Thank you all for sharing your thoughts.

    A freezer running as a fridge that stays a little humid inside would actually be better for storing vegetables than a refrigerator that dries everything out.

    The Sears Outlet has refrigerators and freezers on sale now so I'm going to go check them out. A renewable service plan is a great idea! It'll cover anything that could go wrong and would take care of the maintenance issue.
  • Sun DogSun Dog Solar Expert Posts: 115 ✭✭
    Re: Sun Frost Refrigerators -OR- Recommend a Refrigerator?

    Sounds like Wayne may have the best option for you (coupled with a service plan) but here are some more numbers for you. We purchased a basic 18CF GE fridge with a top freezer. It is rated for 311Kwh/year or 852wh/day. Over a 2 week period in the summer it averaged 820wh/day and over a 2 week period in the winter it averaged 521wh/day. Of course I live in a much cooler climate so your results may differ.
  • shinyshiny Registered Users Posts: 10
    Re: Sun Frost Refrigerators -OR- Recommend a Refrigerator?

    I came across a discussion about running a freezer as a refrigerator. If what they're saying is correct, it doesn't seem like something I want to try. Some quotes from the article:
    Running a freezer at higher temps, say to be a fridge, is hard on them. The compressor will be working much harder because it's moving more heat, even though you don't have to get it as cold. It will also cylce more, more starts and stops as opposed to one long run cycle trying to get to zero or -10*F.


    The freezer systems are designed to work at a low temperature, typically about -10*F, whereas the refrigerators work at about +20*F, so for a converted unit, the suction pressures are about 30 psi higher at the higher temperature and more gas (a greater mass) is being moved which overloads the compressor, assuming it was originally designed to run at a high efficiency and without much capacity reserve.


    Freezers use lo-back compressors that have a larger displacement/valve plate arrangement for low volume suction gas. Fridges and coolers use medium and hi temp compressors or hi-back compressors that use a lower displacement for the higher volume/density suction gas.

    I have no doubt that people are doing it successfully, but since I don't have the skills to work on a fridge it's probably not something I should do.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Sun Frost Refrigerators -OR- Recommend a Refrigerator?

    Well "shiny", I have to laugh at the quote you found. I've used both a chest type, and now an upright. Still have the chest, but retired it after 4 years because I found it too inconvenient to use. The upright has been in operation for two years. In BOTH cases, the compressors never even get a chance to get warm, other than initial startup when new and the interior is at room temperature. In freezer mode they get so hot you cannot hold your hand on them without heat damage to your hand. After that, the Upright runs 5 minutes, then is off for 60 minutes, making one start every hour and 5 minutes, using 0.3 kwh/day, definitely not the consumption of an overloaded compressor. The chest type was very much the same, running 5 minutes, then off for 50 minutes. The compressors are definitely not overloaded, their wattage consumption while running is exactly the same in freezer or fridge mode, and they actually start less often in fridge mode than in freezer mode where they run 20 minutes and are off 20 minutes, making one start every 40 minutes instead of every 65 minutes. And the amount of "heat moved" is actually far less, because it only has to drop the temp +2C instead of all the way down to minus 18C.
    But don't take this as my telling you, or anyone else what to do. I'm only relating my experience. Any decision must be yours and yours alone.
  • shinyshiny Registered Users Posts: 10
    Re: Sun Frost Refrigerators -OR- Recommend a Refrigerator?
    Well "shiny", I have to laugh at the quote you found. I've used both a chest type, and now an upright. Still have the chest, but retired it after 4 years because I found it too inconvenient to use. The upright has been in operation for two years. In BOTH cases, the compressors never even get a chance to get warm, other than initial startup when new and the interior is at room temperature. In freezer mode they get so hot you cannot hold your hand on them without heat damage to your hand. After that, the Upright runs 5 minutes, then is off for 60 minutes, making one start every hour and 5 minutes, using 0.3 kwh/day, definitely not the consumption of an overloaded compressor. The chest type was very much the same, running 5 minutes, then off for 50 minutes. The compressors are definitely not overloaded, their wattage consumption while running is exactly the same in freezer or fridge mode, and they actually start less often in fridge mode than in freezer mode where they run 20 minutes and are off 20 minutes, making one start every 40 minutes instead of every 65 minutes. And the amount of "heat moved" is actually far less, because it only has to drop the temp +2C instead of all the way down to minus 18C.
    But don't take this as my telling you, or anyone else what to do. I'm only relating my experience. Any decision must be yours and yours alone.

    Thank you, Wayne. I've always believed that "People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."

    Can you tell me what model you're using? (I'd like to find something similar)

    Did you change the thermostat or are you using the equipment it came with?

    Is the room it's in particularly warm or cool, or would that matter?

    I really appreciate your help.
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Sun Frost Refrigerators -OR- Recommend a Refrigerator?

    I have to ask - if you want a refrigerator, why buy a freezer? I just don't see any significant advantages. Kind of like buying a lawnmower because you want a hedge trimmer.
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,239 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Sun Frost Refrigerators -OR- Recommend a Refrigerator?
    Windsun wrote: »
    I have to ask - if you want a refrigerator, why buy a freezer? I just don't see any significant advantages. Kind of like buying a lawnmower because you want a hedge trimmer.
    Why, because you can and you have access to a crane !

    Attachment not found.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • shinyshiny Registered Users Posts: 10
    Re: Sun Frost Refrigerators -OR- Recommend a Refrigerator?
    Windsun wrote: »
    I have to ask - if you want a refrigerator, why buy a freezer? I just don't see any significant advantages. Kind of like buying a lawnmower because you want a hedge trimmer.

    Fair question. I would like to store more greens and carrots than will fit in those little humidity-controlled bins that some fridges provide. My original interest was in the Sun Frost R19 because it's an all-refrigerator that doesn't require special bins to keep produce from drying out. All the other all-refrigerators will dry out my produce faster. They're cheaper than the Sun Frost, but my food won't keep as well in them. The fridges with humidity-controlled bins have a bunch of space devoted to a freezer that I don't want.

    As far as I've been able to tell from my reading, freezers running at just above freezing have more humidity inside and draw less power than refrigerators. This could be an affordable option to a Sun Frost.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Sun Frost Refrigerators -OR- Recommend a Refrigerator?
    Windsun wrote: »
    I have to ask - if you want a refrigerator, why buy a freezer? I just don't see any significant advantages.

    Efficiency. It's all about efficiency. Fridges have by comparison, half or less than half the insulation that freezers are endowed with, so for a given temperature differential between inside the unit and outside room temperature, the heat that seeps back into the unit per hour, is less than half, thus the compressor hardly runs at all compared to a regular fridge. If manufactures would substantially improve the insulation of fridges, then there would be no advantage to using a freezer as a fridge. Freezers have to be built with thicker/better insulation than fridges, otherwise when used as intended, their compressors would never stop.
    Re higher humidity than a regular fridge, DEFINITELY! A huge difference keeping vegies, compared to keeping them in a fridges "wilter".
    I left the original thermostat in circuit because it's always on anyway at these higher temperatures, and use an electronic thermostat, with it's sensor thermistor or whatever it uses, remotely located inside the freezer, and modified the thermostat to operate at lower than intended temperatures. It then powers a relay that supplies power to the freezer only as needed to maintain the temp wanted. I understand there are thermostats available for such use, but since I could build it myself, hey, why spend the money. As the thermostat I used is very sensitive, too sensitive for this use, I attached the sensor to a small thermal mass which is glued to the inside wall., thus preventing compressor starts every time the door was opened.
    Re the question of power consumption in a cooler or warmer room, cooler is better, as the less the temperature differential between inside and outside the unit, the less heat will find it's way back inside, thus the less the compressor will have to work to pump it back out again. Just like the air conditioner (if you have one) in your home, the hotter it is outside, the more it must run to keep it cool inside.
    The "freezer" I have is a SEARS 461.27432.
    Other than for increased efficiency, I love doing such things for the same reason a dog licks certain of his parts - - because he can :)
    Such freezer conversions are definitely not for everyone, especially as some of the newer high efficiency fridges are vastly improved over past offerings, but if you can manage it - - why not?
  • shinyshiny Registered Users Posts: 10
    Re: Sun Frost Refrigerators -OR- Recommend a Refrigerator?

    Wayne, I've printed up what you said to show to my neighbor who's an electrician, to see if he can do something like this for me. This is a project my husband would have loved to do but he passed earlier this year. I don't have his skills.

    A few more questions if I may:

    I'm not hooking it into solar. If you were simply on city grid power would you rig it up differently?

    Could it be done with this freezer?

    How often would I be mopping up water or emptying a drain pan?

    The reason I asked about the room you have yours in is because my kitchen (the only place I can put it) gets warm in the summer- maybe 80-82 degrees. Part of the reason is the pilot light in the gas oven putting out heat. I'm getting rid of it so the kitchen should be maybe 5 degrees cooler, but it won't ever be like a cold garage. It's only me here, so the door won't be getting opened a lot.
  • Sun DogSun Dog Solar Expert Posts: 115 ✭✭
    Re: Sun Frost Refrigerators -OR- Recommend a Refrigerator?

    There are different ways of doing this but I don't see why this wouldn't work for you. What do you more technically minded folk think?

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002EAL58?ie=UTF8&tag=selfsufficientlife-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0002EAL58
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Sun Frost Refrigerators -OR- Recommend a Refrigerator?
    shiny wrote: »
    A few more questions if I may:

    I'm not hooking it into solar. If you were simply on city grid power would you rig it up differently? Answer: No I wouldn't.

    Could it be done with this freezer? Answer: I don't see why not, but that said, I'm not familiar with that unit.

    How often would I be mopping up water or emptying a drain pan? Answer: I seriously have no idea. Would depend on the internal temperature you select, that is, will one "shelf" remain frozen an collect the moisture like mine does. And room humidity has a huge affect on this. Time will tell what moisture problems you may or may not have.

    The reason I asked about the room you have yours in is because my kitchen (the only place I can put it) gets warm in the summer- maybe 80-82 degrees. Part of the reason is the pilot light in the gas oven putting out heat. I'm getting rid of it so the kitchen should be maybe 5 degrees cooler, but it won't ever be like a cold garage. It's only me here, so the door won't be getting opened a lot.
    On sunny WINTER days, the passive solar heat gains often drive my kitchen temperature up to 85F or 90F, no matter how cold it is outside. I'm sure the compressor runs more on those days, but it means nothing to me, don't notice it, as it's then that I'm getting more solar electricity than I can use.
  • shinyshiny Registered Users Posts: 10
    Re: Sun Frost Refrigerators -OR- Recommend a Refrigerator?

    I found this wireless dehumidifier that can be placed inside a fridge. One of the reviewers said he kept it in a beer keg refrigerator that collected water in the bottom. It kept the bottom dry for about 7 months.

    I want it to have some humidity, but if it gets too wet this would probably make it so I don't have to empty a drain pan all the time.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Sun Frost Refrigerators -OR- Recommend a Refrigerator?
    shiny wrote: »
    I found this wireless dehumidifier that can be placed inside a fridge. One of the reviewers said he kept it in a beer keg refrigerator that collected water in the bottom. It kept the bottom dry for about 7 months.

    I want it to have some humidity, but if it gets too wet this would probably make it so I don't have to empty a drain pan all the time.

    It may well help, but a keg kooler usually doesn't have the moisture volumes of a fridge,the door isn't opened that often. As well, having to plug this unit in and run it's built in electric heater for up to 14 hours for recharging - - - gotta wonder about the combined savings, or not, over a new HE fridge. Unless you're off grid, may be more bother than it's worth.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,136 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Sun Frost Refrigerators -OR- Recommend a Refrigerator?

    Had one of these in the old camper .. http://www.drizair.com/ ...might work for you
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • erneerne Solar Expert Posts: 41
    Re: Sun Frost Refrigerators -OR- Recommend a Refrigerator?

    If you order a jonsons controls manual thermostat from beveragefactory.com cost 54.00
    has 6 foot cord and you plug the freezer in and turn the thermostat all the way up (on freezer) and use the thermostat on unit to control the freezer. Mine works gereat and uses 300 watts per day.
  • shinyshiny Registered Users Posts: 10
    Re: Sun Frost Refrigerators -OR- Recommend a Refrigerator?
    erne wrote: »
    If you order a jonsons controls manual thermostat from beveragefactory.com cost 54.00
    has 6 foot cord and you plug the freezer in and turn the thermostat all the way up (on freezer) and use the thermostat on unit to control the freezer. Mine works gereat and uses 300 watts per day.

    Thanks erne. What kind of freezer are you using, how long has it been working for you, and what kind of condensation do you get inside?
  • SteveKSteveK Solar Expert Posts: 277 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Sun Frost Refrigerators -OR- Recommend a Refrigerator?

    Just bought a 4.5 cu/ft GE fridge at Wally's. For $129 we got a fridge that cools to 39 - 41F, on setting #2.2, and uses .38 KWh/day at an indoor temp of 72F... after 5 hours there was just a hint of ice in the cube tray..lol.

    Bought this for the new to us travel trailer to replace to old leaky propane/electric that was there. Installed it out there and so far it uses much less power because the refrige alcove is unheated and the trailer heat is set to 55F.

    We will certainly run the entire trailer from solar this year using 3-180W panels.
Sign In or Register to comment.