|Old Abandoned Root Cellar|
What we plan on doing is digging what can be considered a combination root cellar / storm shelter as our first major project when we get there. It's tornado country so a storm shelter is an absolute must, especially since we'll be living in a
The layout of our property being on the hill means it'll be easier to dig into the side of the hill for the cellar/shelter so it'll be a bit bigger than the standard root cellar. My goal would be for us to be able to have hammocks up that we could sleep in in the event of a bad stormy night.
|Inefficiency On Display|
Basic thermodynamics is that hot air rises and cold air falls. By design then the standard front door refrigerator is inefficient. When you open the door, all the cold air you've spent money on creating has now been instantly turned into a foot chiller. It may be really convenient, but in a time where we all need to conserve a little more and save some of those hard earned slave wages, we could do better. Have you ever wondered why they can keep food in the store in refrigeration units with no lids? It's because the cold air stays inside and they're actually cheaper to run than those with the glass doors. The real question though is how inefficient are standard upright units?
|How much did you use this month|
480 kWh per year equals 40 kWh per month. At a rate of 0.23 that means a modern day "energy efficient" refrigerator costs $9.20 a month to run. Not horrible but that's still $110.40 a year just to keep your food cold. By the way, that old clunker in your garage you use for extra food uses about 2.5 times as much energy so that's another $23 a month or $276 a year.
Also to make them hold as much as they can yet still fit in your kitchen using the same footprint, the insulation in the modern units is a lot thinner. It's basically a thin layer of styrofoam.
|Photo by Tom Chalko|
Even better for us is the fact that using those calculations, you could run the Freezerator on a 600 watt pure sine wave inverter and a 12v battery. Doing the math a battery with 120Ah of reserve means I could run it for about 5 days and still have the battery above 50%. A 50 watt solar panel in Oklahoma would keep the battery charged and other than replacing the battery every 5 years or so we'd have ourselves a solar powered refrigerator for much less than one that is designed for solar power yet still uses the inefficient front door design. I'm speculating that keeping it down in the root cellar would also mean it would run less often. The only possible issue I can think of is ventilating the heat it generates while running outside the cellar.
This is one of those things that I'm going to buy now and we'll take it with us when we go. No mater how you look at it, it's an investment in our future. I've found the best prices I can and have come up with a cost of $885.00 for everything including the solar power. That's only about $200.00 above a basic no frills refrigerator/freezer combo that we wouldn't be able to run anyway.
I'll write another post whan I get things here and running and let you know if the numbers all work out right.