Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Tips on Improving your Fridge Efficiency when Camping

Here are some simple techniques you can use to reduce the amount of electricity or gas used by your refrigerator, or to get by with a smaller refrigerator.

  • Cover your fridge with thicker insulation to reduce the amount of heat leaking into the fridge. If you have room, you can cover the refrigerator with a removable insulated soft cover; you can either buy it or do it yourself. Make sure the cover is a light colour; this will absorb less heat than a black cover, especially in the sun.
  • Cover the fridge with a wet towel; this will cool the outside of the fridge below air temperature.
  • Keep the sun off it and in a cool area. If the outside of the fridge gets hot it will get hot on the inside as well and using up valuable energy in the process. If inside a closed vehicle, open a window to let the air in.
  • Consider painting your fridge white. As we all know black attracts the heat and lighter colours stay cooler.
  • Make sure that all vents to the fridge are clear and there are no blockages. That way the hot air won’t be drawn back into the fridge. For permanent installations, cover air vents to the outside with air-conditioning filters to keep out dust – and be sure to clean them regularly.
  • If your fridge has no air circulation, consider installing a fan to circulate air over the cooling system this will improve its cooling ability. A computer-style 12 volt fan is perfect and these only draw one-fifth of an Amp.
  • Absorption (3-way fridges) need to be Level to work efficiently, attach a spirit level to the top of the fridge so you can be sure it is level when you leave it.
  • TIP: When storing gas fridges away always cover up the gas connection. Insects love to nest in these small openings, leading to blockages next time you use them.
  • Add Cold Food. This will reduce the work the fridge has to do, because the food will already by cold. If possible, add frozen food. A full fridge will stay colder longer than a half full fridge because the cold food acts like a block of ice.
  • Start the fridge a couple of days before adding cold food.
  • Don’t leave the fridge door open and only open when you need to. Make sure you get what you need quickly.
  • Don’t leave food out of the fridge, ie milk, butter, it will make the fridge work harder when you put the food back in.
  • Make sure to use an Adequate Cable, this will ensure that the fridge will get the full power available from the battery.
  • Consider using Cryovaced meat. Cryovaced meat doesn’t need to be frozen and will last a long time just in the fridge, this means less cooling power needed.
  • Where possible use non-refrigerated foods, that way your fridge can be used for things that really need to be cold and you will be able to make do with a small fridge

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