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Archive for the ‘Refrigerator’ Category

Defrosting your refrigerator- A small guide

Posted by Vivek on November 14, 2007

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We first covered refrigerators here:

Refrigerator – An introduction

Refrigerator – Selection criteria

For those of you who use the normal refrigerator, we are sure you are familiar with the sight of a frost covered freezer like the one shown below:

Freezer frost

Image Courtesy : unknownroad.com

The major difference between traditional refrigerators and the “frost free” refrigerator is the formation of frost in the former type.

So what is frost?

Water vapor from the food, ice trays and even the moisture tends to get accumulated into the coolest part of the fridge. Here they get converted to a solid ice like structure. Over  a period of time, due to constant opening of the fridge and contents of fridge there can be a build-up of frost around the freezer. This is called “frost”.

How do we prevent frost?

Well, there is no avoiding frost in a normal refrigerator. The only option is to regularly defrost the equipment.

How do we perform defrost?

Usually in most refrigerators, there is a small and tiny red button (see in the picture above). This is present on the thermostat dial.  Pressing this will initiate the defrost process.

What happens during defrost process?

The compressor of the fridge would stop working and the built up frost would start melting naturally. Typically refrigerators have trays and ducts to collect the melted water and it can be collected in the tray at the bottom of the unit. At the end of the preset time, the compressor would start to function again.

Can we defrost while the fridge is fully loaded? Would the food get affected?

Yes. Defrosting can be performed even if there are contents inside the fridge. Just make sure that it is not a long pending one as the internal tray may overflow.

Usually the cycle time of defrost is short and the insulation of the fridge would keep the food intact without any problems.

How often should we defrost our fridge?

This is a good question. The recommended cycle for most Indian users would be once in a week. If done regularly we not only prevent the build up of ice, but also minimize the amount of water that is ejected from the refrigerator. With optimum usage, there would be almost no water to collect as most refrigerators channel the drain water through the hot portions of the compressor where the water would potentially evaporate.

What are the problems if we do not defrost?

– The ice formed can reduce the overall efficiency of the refrigerator.

– If there is a power failure, the built up ice will melt and mess up the interiors of your refrigerator. This will not only spoil the food items but also cause the interiors to smell.

– Items inside the refrigerator will stick to each other.

– The water which would result from a long pending frost would not evaporate and tend to reside in the tray. This can be an excellent spot for mosquito breeding.

So, we hope that this article prompts you to defrost your fridge at-least once in a week.


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Refrigerator – Selection criteria

Posted by Vivek on September 8, 2007

We first covered refrigerators on 22 August ’07.  It is indeed a tough task to select the right product given the different choices out there. In this article we intend to make you familiar with certain terms which might come in handy while purchasing one for your home.

Fridge

Image Courtesy : Godrej India

First a pointer to start the topic. We perfectly understand that price is really a differentiating factor for any appliance purchase. Refrigerators are no exception. But if there is not much of a difference in price, we would recommend:

  • Higher capacity – People, especially young married couples tend to buy the smallest capacity because they feel that it is more than adequate for them. This is a misconception. A family would grow. People would have guests in which case they need to stock food. But most of all, we have seen poorly managed refrigerator overflowing with articles inside. One of the biggest contributors to faults and high electricity bills is overloading a refrigerator beyond its rated capacity.
  • Technology – There could be a theoretical difference of about 5000 rupees between a normal refrigerator and a frost free refrigerator. But at the end of the day, this cost is quickly recovered by the convenience factor. The biggest drawback of a normal refrigerator is that it needs periodic defrosting. This tends to be cumbersome. If we forget to do so, prolonged frosting can cause lot of dripping water inside damaging contents of the refrigerator.

As we mentioned before, the water is normally collected outside in a tray beneath the refrigerator. This can cause foul smell and also insects like moist places. So choose wisely. If you are prepared to do the regular defrosting then it should not be an issue.

 Now let us cover some other terms involved in the refrigerator jargon:

  • CFC/HFC free – Chloro fluoro compounds and Hydro fluoro compounds are notorious for messing with the ozone layer. All respectable companies avoid these common refrigerants in their products. Just make sure they are not there in your fridge.
  • Space – Make sure there is a proper correlation between the advertised space in litres and the actual space inside. Don’t be taken for a ride. Try and avoid including door space as it is of little practical value in storing bulk items. The door stores eggs, bottles , butter perfectly. But nothing more.
  • External controls/displays – It makes sense to change the setting of the refrigerator without opening the door. An external display (could be a light or a digital panel) would be nice as well, although this could be present only in present in high end models.
  • Quick Ice maker/dispenser – This would come in handy for beating those summer days. Refrigerators come with a twist and turn ice dispenser. Gone are the days when you had to wrestle with the ice tray to get the cubes out.
  • Plastics – Plastics are more durable components which sit inside the fridge. However make sure they are high grade ones (if possible covered by warranty). We have seen some of them failing/breaking within a few weeks of usage.
  • Alarms – Some refrigerators come with high temperature or low voltage alarms. This would be useful to prevent permanent damage to your refrigerator.
  • Power save mode – Some products are designed to be energy efficient. If you invest in these, your electricity bills can be kept in check.
  • Castors – Makes sense if you want to relocate your refrigerator yourself at home. We would advise you to only shift empty refrigerators with extreme care and only for smaller models. Expensive models are heavy and may require professional assistance for relocation within your home.

Tip from the article : Plan the location of your refrigerator and also the electric socket in advance!

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Posted in Appliances, Kitchen, Refrigerator | 4 Comments »

Refrigerator – An introduction

Posted by Vivek on August 22, 2007

  • Years back refrigerators were seen as a necessity for storing milk based products, eggs, butter vegetables and so on.

Today this hasn’t changed much in Indian market, but there is an awareness about options. For those who are looking to buy a new refrigerator, here is an article which hopes to introduce the miracle gadget which is probably the next most wanted on every homemaker’s list after television.

Typically a refrigerator is a cooling device and offered in many flavors. Each has a unique advantage and a disadvantage associated to it. Lets try and analyze the types out there.

  • Single door , normal refrigerator
  • Double door, normal refrigerator
  • Single door, frost free refrigerator
  • Double door, frost free refrigerator

In the above classification the single door predominantly has another smaller door inside for the deep freeze section.

Similarly, the double door is a stacked option. There exists two doors one on top of another each opening the normal and freezer sections respectively.

Apart from these categories there are also more expensive 2 door refrigerators which are placed adjacent to each other. Here even advanced features such as cold water/ice dispenser are present in the refrigerator.

 The frost free refrigerator is definitely superior as it requires no periodic maintenance. The regular refrigerator however requires periodic defrosting otherwise the freezer portion becomes highly crowded and inaccessible.

Some refrigerator types have water collecting trays located at the bottom. You may want to avoid these as they can be good spots for mosquitoes to breed.

You may also want to buy a plastic stand on which your whole refrigerator rests. This is just a trick to cause more space under the refrigerator for cleaning the home.

 We highly recommend that you use a 15A socket and plug point, 3 pin of-course to avoid nasty shocks while operating the refrigerator.

Depending on the voltage fluctuations we would also advise usage of a stabilizer with some kind of an auto timer which only resumes power to the refrigerator after 3 minutes or so.

Periodic cleaning of the refrigerator inside and outside ensures odor free operation.

More on this topic in the coming days…..

freeze

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Posted in Appliances, Kitchen, Refrigerator | 3 Comments »