My old trailerstead has an ancient avocado green refrigerator that has now quit working. It has the freezer door inside and ices up all the time. For three years I have expected it to die any minute. It did good.
So I have done a lot of research and perused appliance stores. My small house plan has room for a 36 inch side by side and I initially thought to buy the final size when this small refrigerator died. Unfortunately the trailerstead exterior doors are a dead stop to that plan… 28 inch door is not big enough for a large refrigerator to enter.
Second problem is energy usage. I am going off grid with the new home, and a refrigerator is an energy suck. I don’t want to go all the way down to Zeer Pots, although they are a good emergency cooler and are awesome for stationary camping because you don’t have melting ice issues.
I have decided to go with a chest freezer to refrigerator conversion, which only entails buying a chest freezer and adding a freezer temperature controller. I already have a good thermometer to check temperature. This allows refrigeration at a much lower energy use which is easier to attain with solar panels.
I want off grid panels with battery backup like I had in Texas. Lucky for me, my Physics Prof had an extra credit lab and showed us how to set up an off grid solar system. If you don’t have a handy professor, this is well covered online. If it looks too hard, find a different web site, they are components like old stereo systems. All that is in the future, after my small bermed house is built.
A different alternative is converting a chest freezer into a chest refrigerator. All it takes is a freezer temperature controller. I found one I liked for $65. A new chest freezer is less than $200.
The biggest advantage to chest style is why you see so many in commercial applications… cold air sinks. When you open a chest freezer or refrigerator, you don’t lose all the cold air inside. The motor runs less because it stays cold inside.
My freezer is not completely full but is headed in that direction. When I bought it, I filled one gallon plastic containers with water and froze them. I lined the bottom of the freezer with them. This old trick will reduce energy usage and is most helpful if your power goes out, it extends the time you have frozen food.
Crazy me, I forgot I had gallons of water in the freezer. I may replace them out with drinking water. Our tap water is nasty.
In any event, bottles of ice water in the bottom of the chest refrigerator also help it last longer and use less electricity. For that matter, it could be why the avocado ugly lasted 3 years! I will get a little larger than I strictly need and use drinking water in the bottles. It would add a few days of water in case of emergency, a good thing.
I added a second 5 gallon bucket for snow melting. When I am snowed in, it makes enough fresh water for my plants. I won’t have a big need for it, but it was nice this week when I was getting low on drinking water. They do poorly on tap water. Me and Little Guy get clean water.
Right now my milk and eggs are in my small under counter refrigerator. I considered just using it, but it will not hold a soup pot or leftovers.
Now that I decided on a conversion, I will order the controller and look for a freezer. I will not put it in my 32 inch cubby where the old refrigerator sits in ample luxury. I have room next to the freezer.
Now I can buy another deep wire frame shelving unit and place it in that cubby. I hope to match my others, purchased at Target and storing my stuff in the closets. I will add a couple 24 inch fluorescent fixtures with grow bulbs, and create another inside food garden like I discussed in Gardening in the Dungeon. These will recycle later to my new closets and garage storage. They recycled from my first apartment here.
The old refrigerator will get recycled into a water storage tank behind the shed for its rainwater catchment. It should hold 100 gallons or so. The location is about 4 feet above my garden, so it will provide gravity feed water for the raised beds. I planned this part 3 years ago thinking the fridge would die any minute. I already cut the tree back, repaired the fascia board, and bought the new downspout. I still want to change the roof from conventional toxic shingles to metal. Best laid plans of mice and women!
For beauty’s sake, I plan to adhere small stones in a swirling pattern on the outside of the fridge. I have a big pile of these stones already and it would only use a small percentage of the pile.
Shifting things around and reducing my dependence on the grid. Even now it will lower my electrical bill. Cost less up front! Paid out of current income instead of raiding savings.
I am finally pleased with my refrigerator options.