Letter Re: Constructing a High Efficiency (Low Current Draw) Refrigerator

Hi Jim
There was an article on your blog a few weeks ago about converting a chest freezer into a low wattage refrigerator. I decided to make one of these as it is a great idea. I purchased a 7 cu ft freezer at Home Depot for $200 and then bought this device (the Johnson model) and that was all that I needed.

I first used it as a freezer and put a Kill A Watt [current monitor] on it. It averaged 1.13 KW per 24 hours. I then used the thermostat and used it as a refrigerator and tested it with the Kill A Watt and [found that it then] used .536 kw per 24 hours. The freezer is in the garage (average 80 degrees now) and as summer heats up, I’m sure the usage will increase. (I’m in Florida) but I’m sure it will still draw less current than a 100 w light bulb.

I do not have a photovoltaic (PV) system yet, but I am designing it so that it will power the fridge, as well as other basic electrical needs. Best Regards, – The Other Other Kurt

JWR Replies: Many thanks for sending those details! There are millions of diabetics whose lives might be saved with effective refrigeration of insulin during a natural disaster, localized power failure, or a widespread power grid failure (such as the U.S. blackout in August of 2003). I am surprised that the various charitable organizations involved in diabetes research and prophylaxis haven’t made this sort of information widely available. A small PV panel powered system is affordable for most diabetics in First World countries.
OBTW, your letter just won you a Blinding Flash of the Obvious (BFO) award. I will be sending you an autographed copy of one of my books.