Fix old refrigerator or buy new one?

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Fix old refrigerator or buy new one?

Postby fsrph » Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:06 am

I have a refrigerator that is about 15 years old. Recently, there has been a problem with the automatic defrost system. Frost builds up on the coils and I have to manually defrost the coils every 5-7 days. I did some reading on the defrost system and it seems to only have 3 main parts --- the defrost timer, the thermostat, and the heating element. I did some troubleshooting myself and here is what I observed. The defrost times does shut the compressor off for about 30 minutes in an 8 hour cycle. The unit should be self-defrosting then. But the defrost heater doesn't come on during the defrost cycle. I don't think I have the ability to replace the heater myself, and I'm not even sure if that is the problem. My options are:

1. Continue to manually defrost as needed. Unit works great as long as I defrost, but I really don't think this option is practical.

2. Try and replace the the thermostat and see if that helps.

3. Call a repair service. I figure even if they fix the problem it would probably cost at least $150 counting parts and labor.

4. Buy a new refrigerator. I only need a smaller size refrigerator, and saw what I though was a great deal from Home Depot. They were selling a G.E. 18 cu foot refrig for $549 -$50 rebate. It is an Energy Star unit .... the sticker listed a yearly energy cost of $35 (I'll believe that when I see it). They also offer free delivery, set up and will haul away the old unit for no charge.

Anyone have any ideas what they would do? Thanks.

Francis
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Postby Tom_T » Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:12 am

I would definitely get a new one. They are more efficient, and you'd be getting a smaller one.
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Postby Sidney » Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:19 am

Get a new one. Also look at a range of sizes. We recently bought a new one. We initially looked at a 19cu inch one to meet our needs but as it turned out, a slightly larger one was actually more energy efficient (less total energy required than the smaller model) and fit as well in the space.
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Postby john94549 » Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:19 am

My Mom's refrigerator had a similar problem. The frig was 30 years old. She called the repairman. The repaiman urged her to buy a new frig. She did.

I got a really good deal for her at one of those "dings and dents" stores. The new frig had a dent in the back, where you you couldn't see it anyway. Saved about $150 off the best Home Depot could do on a comparable unit on sale.
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Postby mmmodem » Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:22 am

Use the energy star sticker as a guide. Look up the electricity cost of your old refirgerator and then do the math. For example, my grandmother's fridge is 20 or so years old and electricity is $130/year according to the sticker. That means it would take ~4 years to recoup the cost of a new fridge according to your numbers subtracting for the cost of repairs. (My grandmother still refused to buy a new one citing she won't last 4 more years. But that's another story)

Also look up PG&E in your area, they might rebate you an additional $35 rebate for turning in your old fridge. All that it requires is the fridge turn on which yours does. I did this 2 years ago. I left it plugged in with a long extension cord on the driveway and they picked it up.
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Postby dcnut » Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:01 am

Our Amana frig is almost 30 years old, and we recently considered replacing it to get a more modern color (current one is avacado). I love the current frig since it is very easy to clean the coils, and our old repairman once told us to keep this frig as long as possible because its coils are very accessible.

When we checked out new refrigerators at a local appliance store, we were shocked that it is no longer possible to buy a refrigerator with coils that can be cleaned. This may be the reason why new refrigerators have an average lifetime of only ten years. This is build-in obsolescence. We found one refrigerator where you could clean less than half of the coils, but never all the coils. If someone has found a new refrigerator where you can easily clean all the coils, I would be grateful to know about it.

Glenn
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Postby dbonnett » Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:17 am

new
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Postby fsrph » Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:04 am

Thanks everyone for the thoughts. It seems like new is the way to go.

Francis
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Postby fsrph » Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:06 am

mmmodem wrote:Use the energy star sticker as a guide. Look up the electricity cost of your old refirgerator and then do the math. For example, my grandmother's fridge is 20 or so years old and electricity is $130/year according to the sticker. That means it would take ~4 years to recoup the cost of a new fridge according to your numbers subtracting for the cost of repairs. (My grandmother still refused to buy a new one citing she won't last 4 more years. But that's another story)

Also look up PG&E in your area, they might rebate you an additional $35 rebate for turning in your old fridge. All that it requires is the fridge turn on which yours does. I did this 2 years ago. I left it plugged in with a long extension cord on the driveway and they picked it up.


That was a good tip on the local electric supplier having a rebate. Actually my supplier is UGI. A quick look on their website only shows a rebate for certain hot water heaters, but I'll call them to be sure.

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Postby fsrph » Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:13 am

dcnut wrote:Our Amana frig is almost 30 years old, and we recently considered replacing it to get a more modern color (current one is avacado). I love the current frig since it is very easy to clean the coils, and our old repairman once told us to keep this frig as long as possible because its coils are very accessible.

When we checked out new refrigerators at a local appliance store, we were shocked that it is no longer possible to buy a refrigerator with coils that can be cleaned. This may be the reason why new refrigerators have an average lifetime of only ten years. This is build-in obsolescence. We found one refrigerator where you could clean less than half of the coils, but never all the coils. If someone has found a new refrigerator where you can easily clean all the coils, I would be grateful to know about it.

Glenn


Hmmmm ..... I didn't know that it's difficult, if not imposible, to clean the coils on new refrigerators. Just to be clear, the coils I am talking about are behind the inner freezer back panel (I have a side by side). These are the coils that frost up and I have to defrost. It isn't a problem to manually defrost them .... I just leave the screws out of the back frezer panel and it slides right out. But there are other "coils" under the floor of the refrig that are very difficult to clean.

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Postby jeffyscott » Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:37 am

dcnut wrote:Our Amana frig is almost 30 years old

...new refrigerators have an average lifetime of only ten years.


Of course, a new refrigerator may pay for itself in about 5 years, so even if you get 10 years out of it you would save money.

If a new refrigerator costs $1000 to buy, $60 per year to operate and lasts 10 years your cost is annual cost is $160. Meanwhile, your old refrigerator probably costs something like $250 per year to operate.

http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fus ... calculator

Also, the repairman would seem to have a conflict of interest. If you keep the old one there is chance that he can earn some money by fixing it.
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Postby ryuns » Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:41 am

dcnut wrote:Our Amana frig is almost 30 years old, and we recently considered replacing it to get a more modern color (current one is avacado). I love the current frig since it is very easy to clean the coils, and our old repairman once told us to keep this frig as long as possible because its coils are very accessible.

When we checked out new refrigerators at a local appliance store, we were shocked that it is no longer possible to buy a refrigerator with coils that can be cleaned. This may be the reason why new refrigerators have an average lifetime of only ten years. This is build-in obsolescence. We found one refrigerator where you could clean less than half of the coils, but never all the coils. If someone has found a new refrigerator where you can easily clean all the coils, I would be grateful to know about it.

Glenn


As mentioned, even IF a new fridge only lasts 10 years (do you have a source for that by the way?), you're still likely to come out ahead based on energy savings. Per the chart here http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/r ... ators.html you're looking at saving $200 a year in electricity.
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Postby Valuethinker » Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:18 pm

dcnut wrote:Our Amana frig is almost 30 years old, and we recently considered replacing it to get a more modern color (current one is avacado). I love the current frig since it is very easy to clean the coils, and our old repairman once told us to keep this frig as long as possible because its coils are very accessible.

When we checked out new refrigerators at a local appliance store, we were shocked that it is no longer possible to buy a refrigerator with coils that can be cleaned. This may be the reason why new refrigerators have an average lifetime of only ten years. This is build-in obsolescence. We found one refrigerator where you could clean less than half of the coils, but never all the coils. If someone has found a new refrigerator where you can easily clean all the coils, I would be grateful to know about it.

Glenn


EDIT: realizing everyone else is on this one.

If you have a fridge pre 1998 then it usually pays to replace-- check calculator below.

A 1980 fridge would use about 1800 kwhr pa say (2000 would be the average). $189 at 10.5 cents/ kwhr. At California electricity prices, it could be $400 pa.

A 2012 Fridge energy star would use about 550 kwhr pa or about $58 pa.

The old fridge is costing you an additional $28.50 pcm at 10.5 cents/ kwhr.
Add about 1/3rd more to that in summer due to waste heat which air con has to deal with (in winter, that waste heat is to your benefit, but unless you heat electrically, it's far cheaper to burn gas to heat, than to waste electricity to heat-- gas is c. 3 cents/ kwhr for heat).

http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fus ... gw_code=RF

there is a spreadsheet down the right hand side which will show you the savings.
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Re: Fix old refrigerator or buy new one?

Postby Valuethinker » Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:26 pm

fsrph wrote:4. Buy a new refrigerator. I only need a smaller size refrigerator, and saw what I though was a great deal from Home Depot. They were selling a G.E. 18 cu foot refrig for $549 -$50 rebate. It is an Energy Star unit .... the sticker listed a yearly energy cost of $35 (I'll believe that when I see it). They also offer free delivery, set up and will haul away the old unit for no charge.



$35/ .105 cents/kwhr = 333 kwhr pa. I think the average US fridge now is about 550kwhr pa?

$35/ .064 cents/kwhr = 550 kwhr pa

So if your local rate is 6.4 cents (low!) that's credible.

(FYI my electricity rate is about US 20 cents. Not quite California but on the way!).
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Re: Fix old refrigerator or buy new one?

Postby ryuns » Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:01 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
(FYI my electricity rate is about US 20 cents. Not quite California but on the way!).


Just curious, are your rates tiered (pay more for using more)? Is 20 cents your average, marginal, or baseline? I wish consumers would pay a little more attention to that, since it could literally cut in half the payback period of appliances that pay off big in the summer (duct insulation, sealing, weather stripping, high eff A/C).

Just as a point of reference, in California, you have service territories and little choice in from whom you buy electricity. While your 20 cents/kWh reference might be pretty close for average rate for PG&E customers, our municipal utility sells it for <11 cents at the low tier and <18 cents for the high tier. Relatively clean too, from a CO2/kWh perspective. Not a big deal for us (as you might guess, we don't burn a lot of Watts), but for a big house, with a swimming pool, that likes to keep the temp at 72, you're talking hundreds of dollars a month.

This is also the case in the Imperial Valley and Sonoran Desert, where the local irrigation district sells power for cheaper than SoCal Edison, and electricity for AC is such a big expense, that entire housing developments will advertise that they're in the cheaper service territory.

As with so much else about the state, electricity in California can't really be painted with a broad brush ;)

Ryan
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Re: Fix old refrigerator or buy new one?

Postby Valuethinker » Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:24 pm

ryuns wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:
(FYI my electricity rate is about US 20 cents. Not quite California but on the way!).


Just curious, are your rates tiered (pay more for using more)? Is 20 cents your average, marginal, or baseline? I wish consumers would pay a little more attention to that, since it could literally cut in half the payback period of appliances that pay off big in the summer (duct insulation, sealing, weather stripping, high eff A/C).Ryan


EU law requires universal smart metring: I think the UK has targetted 2020. It's an almost impossible job (30m+ meters!).

Right now virtually all electricity is flat rate. There is a 'dual' day/ night rate for those who use electric storage heaters (called Economy 7) where the night rate is about 6p = 9 cents/ kwhr.

There are over 30 suppliers but 6 have 99% of the market. They move prices in lockstep :? :? Gas has just gone up +20% and electricity +12-13%.

My new rate is 12.5p which is about 20 cents I think. Varies with exchange rates.

Ironically my rate goes *down* as I use more: there's a fixed charge and then a flat rate above a certain number of units (kwhrs).

The highest rates are paid by those without bank accounts, who 'prepay' by charging up their electric meter at a gas station or corner store (key system). So the poorest get scrawed, again, as per usual.

Very large customers can negotiate low rates.

I do do things like washing and drying on the weekend. Not because it is cheaper but because the UK CO2 content per kwhr averages 0.59 kg/ kwhr (and the *change* is much higher: so if you flick on a switch at 4pm-8pm the impact is much bigger-- ie the marginal (gas and coal) is much higher than the average (which includes nuclear and renewables)). Best estimate I could get is that I am saving c. 0.1-0.15 kg/ kwhr by doing this (because on the weekend the nuclear baseload is a much large proportion of total consumption).

AFAIK I cannot find an 'app' which tells me the CO2 content of a kwhr at any given moment (the National Grid operator should have that data, they know who is selling them the power).

it's not feasible to do the washing and drying after midnight, when nuclear is c. 16-20% of electricity (ie at least half of demand) and when it's quite possible the marginal kwhr is wind or hydro generated. Then I really would have 'carbon free' electricity.

A load of laundry (7 kg) is 1-1.5 kwhr (although the standard washing temperatures are 40 degrees and 60 degrees C, here, there's nothing wrong with washing most things at 30, saves about 1/3rd energy) and a dryer load about the same. Washers here always connect to the cold tap.

Also try to use natural gas whenever possible eg to heat water (0.19 kg/kwhr ie 1/3rd as much).

We have 'green' tariffs but I don't really believe in them. Because all that happens is someone else consumes my 'dirty' kwhr at a lower price to them. If someone would offer me a 'carbon free' tariff that included nuclear, then I would probably go for it.

Average UK household (2.7 people I think) uses about 5500kwhr I think. I am hoping we will be down around 4000 kwhr pa with LED/ CFL lightbulbs etc.

Residential AC is almost unknown: I think the US average is more like 12000 kwhr pa, but c. 6000 of that is AC.

On fridges, there are vaccuum panel designs: would take a 550kwhr model down to under 300 kwhr. But they are not commercially available.

My freezer (110 litre) is rated at 180kwhr pa (upright not chest) which I think is pretty good.
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Postby Toons » Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:28 pm

Get a new one
Go to Lowes :D :D
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Postby dcnut » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:09 pm

Perhaps I should take another look at getting a new refrigerator based on the electricity savings. Thanks for pointing out the potential savings with Energy Star appliances. We pay less than 10 cents per KWH, so the old Amana fridge does not break the bank. I believe that I read somewhere in Consumer Reports that new refrigerators last only about ten years on average.

Glenn
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Re: Fix old refrigerator or buy new one?

Postby fsrph » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:15 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
fsrph wrote:4. Buy a new refrigerator. I only need a smaller size refrigerator, and saw what I though was a great deal from Home Depot. They were selling a G.E. 18 cu foot refrig for $549 -$50 rebate. It is an Energy Star unit .... the sticker listed a yearly energy cost of $35 (I'll believe that when I see it). They also offer free delivery, set up and will haul away the old unit for no charge.



$35/ .105 cents/kwhr = 333 kwhr pa. I think the average US fridge now is about 550kwhr pa?

$35/ .064 cents/kwhr = 550 kwhr pa

So if your local rate is 6.4 cents (low!) that's credible.

(FYI my electricity rate is about US 20 cents. Not quite California but on the way!).


I am looking at the Energy Guide sticker right now and your assumptions are very close. The updated guide lists a yearly operating cost of $33 with usage of 311 kwh/yr at an average cost of 10.65 cents per kwh. I can't believe how low cost these new units are.

Francis
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Re: Fix old refrigerator or buy new one?

Postby Valuethinker » Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:27 pm

fsrph wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:
fsrph wrote:4. Buy a new refrigerator. I only need a smaller size refrigerator, and saw what I though was a great deal from Home Depot. They were selling a G.E. 18 cu foot refrig for $549 -$50 rebate. It is an Energy Star unit .... the sticker listed a yearly energy cost of $35 (I'll believe that when I see it). They also offer free delivery, set up and will haul away the old unit for no charge.



$35/ .105 cents/kwhr = 333 kwhr pa. I think the average US fridge now is about 550kwhr pa?

$35/ .064 cents/kwhr = 550 kwhr pa

So if your local rate is 6.4 cents (low!) that's credible.

(FYI my electricity rate is about US 20 cents. Not quite California but on the way!).


I am looking at the Energy Guide sticker right now and your assumptions are very close. The updated guide lists a yearly operating cost of $33 with usage of 311 kwh/yr at an average cost of 10.65 cents per kwh. I can't believe how low cost these new units are.

Francis


http://www.energy.ca.gov/commissioners/ ... s/NRDC.pdf

Dubbed 'the Art Rosenfeld effect'.

Rosenfeld in the 70s persuaded Jerry Brown, the California Governor, (whatever happened to Jerry Brown? ;-)), that instead of building 2 new nuclear plants, Brown could simply drive through energy conservation.

The big jumps in US domestic energy savings that California has achieved since then are due to Art Rosenfeld's efforts. The National Labs set to work on common household appliances like refridgerators and worked wonders.

p11 has the goods.
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Postby Valuethinker » Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:29 pm

dcnut wrote:Perhaps I should take another look at getting a new refrigerator based on the electricity savings. Thanks for pointing out the potential savings with Energy Star appliances. We pay less than 10 cents per KWH, so the old Amana fridge does not break the bank. I believe that I read somewhere in Consumer Reports that new refrigerators last only about ten years on average.

Glenn


Looks like yours is costing you about $200 pa in electricity.

Based on numbers here (lower than mine) a new one would cost about $35pa in electricity (I was estimating a bit higher). You can decide if those numbers make it worth it to you.

Remember though this is a nearly risk free investment (reliability is not risk free, but there would be a warranty). So you'd have to compare it with paying down the mortgage or investing in US Treasury Bonds.
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Will this depression last for long???

Postby Jethro2007 » Wed Aug 24, 2011 2:16 pm

Hey Y'all,

You would be boosting the economy by buying new, anything new;
Hopefully its made somewhere where they employ american workers...

You and I can beat this depression(recession, its all the same thing)...One purchase at a time!!!
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buy new

Postby derek51 » Wed Aug 24, 2011 3:05 pm

Buy new!

We wasted $400 attempting to fix our 15 year old fridge before we did the math and realized a new fridge would quickly pay for itself due to the electricity savings.

Our research showed that whirlpool had some of the best reliability. This website will tell you which fridges are made by whirlpool:

can't post links so google "appliance411 sears" for a helpful list of who really makes what.

Many of the various "brands", Maytag, Amana, etc... are really made by Whirlpool so you don't need to limit yourself to just the whirpool brand when you're at the store.
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Postby Frobie » Wed Aug 24, 2011 3:29 pm

Buying new is probably the way to go in this instance.

That being said, I am pretty much an idiot and was able to replace a defrost timer in our late 90s-vintage fridge a couple of years ago. It was having the same problem that it sounds like yours is having.

I found information and ordered the part online. I think the cost was $60 or so.

I likely would have just bought a new fridge except that it's going to be a huge pain getting the old one out and a new one in. Our kitchen is on the 2nd floor with a tight U-turn on the stairs. But unless our house was built around it, they must have gotten the darn thing in there somehow.
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Postby Valuethinker » Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:38 am

Frobie wrote:Buying new is probably the way to go in this instance.

That being said, I am pretty much an idiot and was able to replace a defrost timer in our late 90s-vintage fridge a couple of years ago. It was having the same problem that it sounds like yours is having.

I found information and ordered the part online. I think the cost was $60 or so.

I likely would have just bought a new fridge except that it's going to be a huge pain getting the old one out and a new one in. Our kitchen is on the 2nd floor with a tight U-turn on the stairs. But unless our house was built around it, they must have gotten the darn thing in there somehow.


Hi

With my parents' bed mattress, it was by taking the second floor window out and using a hoist.

Think laterally, there is usually a way (taking the door off is usually the first step).
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Postby MekongTrader » Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:02 am

Buy a new one! No wonder the economy is in the toilet when people want to fix up their 15-year old refrigerator!

:lol:

No seriously, I think a new fridge which is more energy-efficient is the way to go.

MT
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Postby bottlecap » Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:02 am

1 would definitely be out. Who wants to do that every 5-7 days?

2 is a possibility, how much is the thermostat? Can you replace that yourself? If so, for $50 or less, that may be the way to go.

3 is worth it if the newer refrig would better suit your needs. Energy efficiency is a bonus, but wont make up the difference for the remaining life of the frig.

And don't worry, you're not hurting the economy if you don't buy new...

JT
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Postby Valuethinker » Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:14 am

bottlecap wrote:1 would definitely be out. Who wants to do that every 5-7 days?

2 is a possibility, how much is the thermostat? Can you replace that yourself? If so, for $50 or less, that may be the way to go.

3 is worth it if the newer refrig would better suit your needs. Energy efficiency is a bonus, but wont make up the difference for the remaining life of the frig.

And don't worry, you're not hurting the economy if you don't buy new...

JT


Careful.

If you are saving $18 a month on electricity by buying a new fridge, and that's certainly possible, then your payback is c. 3 years. $18 pcm is not impossible and we have not factored in the wasted air conditioning. At a CA electricity price, the savings could be over $30 pcm.

That's independent of whether you 'bring forward' replacement of the fridge. You'd have to compare the 2 Net Present Values (fridge now vs. fridge then) but you'd find, at a 4% discount rate (remember cost savings are risk free) that it would pay off in 3-4 years.

I went through this with lightbulbs:

- LED bulb to replace halogen costs £25 ie $40 US

- my electricity price is more or less 20 cents/ kwhr US

- there are 8760 hours in a year

On an assumption of 2000 hours pa (not unreasonable for a kitchen lightbulb) payback was *in 18 months*.

You got it, throwing out a perfectly good 50 watt halogen, replacing it with a 4 watt LED costing $40, paid for itself in 18 months.

The Net Present Value I added to my net worth, discounting at 4%, was something around £130 ie $200USD.

That was throwing out *a perfectly good lightbulb with 1000 hours to live*.


I had to pinch myself and run the spreadsheet a couple of times to convince myself of this. But the numbers stack up.
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Postby Valuethinker » Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:24 am

MekongTrader wrote:Buy a new one! No wonder the economy is in the toilet when people want to fix up their 15-year old refrigerator!

:lol:

No seriously, I think a new fridge which is more energy-efficient is the way to go.

MT


Normally it seldom pays to replace capital equipment early.

Fridges are this incredible exception-- Art Rosenfeld at work-- courtesy of US scientists, fridges now burn c. 1/6th what they did in 1980 (but not a lot less than they did in 1940: but Grandma's fridge was a far simpler thing).

There were legislative 'steps' and I think 1998 (?) was the big one, after that, modern fridges are perhaps twice as efficient (ie 750kwhr pa then) but not more than that-- diminishing marginal returns. that EIA website calculator helps you out on this.

Other exceptions:

- washing machines *if* you make the switch to front loader (water savings too then) *and* you are OK with the smell risks (we have not had a problem but some have). That's certainly more tendentious than fridges

- air conditioning - maybe, if your existing room air conditioner or central system is *old*. If you are down at SEERs of 6 or 7, and you live in the sort of place where AC is on a lot, then doubling that to 14-15 could actually pay off

- furnaces. Ditto. the jump from a 30 year old furnace now could be 60% efficiency to 90%. At US gas prices, probably doesn't pay off. At mine (roughly 4.5p/ 7-8 cents/ kwhr, 1 kwhr = 3416 BTUs) it does have a pretty good payback. Newer US furnaces are probably 70-80% and that's not as clear

- lightbulbs- payback on a CFL or LED can be well less than 2 years

- cars- if you've got, say, a 1998 era American SUV, then it might pay off to replace early. I do say might because there are variables around mileage driven etc. And of course you have not (usually) destroyed that vehicle from the economy-- someone else will use it to guzzle gas

10,000 miles pa 15 mpg = 666 gals

25mpg = 400 gallons

At my gas price that is, more or less $1600 pa but at yours, less than $1k (but here, a lot of the SUVs are *only* sold with diesel engines).
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Postby dcnut » Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:19 am

Valuethinker wrote:
dcnut wrote:Perhaps I should take another look at getting a new refrigerator based on the electricity savings. Thanks for pointing out the potential savings with Energy Star appliances. We pay less than 10 cents per KWH, so the old Amana fridge does not break the bank. I believe that I read somewhere in Consumer Reports that new refrigerators last only about ten years on average.

Glenn


Looks like yours is costing you about $200 pa in electricity.

Based on numbers here (lower than mine) a new one would cost about $35pa in electricity (I was estimating a bit higher). You can decide if those numbers make it worth it to you.

Remember though this is a nearly risk free investment (reliability is not risk free, but there would be a warranty). So you'd have to compare it with paying down the mortgage or investing in US Treasury Bonds.


After some research, we are going out this afternoon to price-out/buy a new Whirlpool fridge that is Energy Star Tier 3 (about $35/year). Will start at Lowes and compare with at least one other appliance store. Thanks Valuethinker and others.

Glenn
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Postby Valuethinker » Fri Aug 26, 2011 7:10 am

dcnut wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:
dcnut wrote:Perhaps I should take another look at getting a new refrigerator based on the electricity savings. Thanks for pointing out the potential savings with Energy Star appliances. We pay less than 10 cents per KWH, so the old Amana fridge does not break the bank. I believe that I read somewhere in Consumer Reports that new refrigerators last only about ten years on average.

Glenn


Looks like yours is costing you about $200 pa in electricity.

Based on numbers here (lower than mine) a new one would cost about $35pa in electricity (I was estimating a bit higher). You can decide if those numbers make it worth it to you.

Remember though this is a nearly risk free investment (reliability is not risk free, but there would be a warranty). So you'd have to compare it with paying down the mortgage or investing in US Treasury Bonds.


After some research, we are going out this afternoon to price-out/buy a new Whirlpool fridge that is Energy Star Tier 3 (about $35/year). Will start at Lowes and compare with at least one other appliance store. Thanks Valuethinker and others.

Glenn


We'll have you swapping your halogens for LEDs next ;-). To be fair, I would test that, one bulb at a time. LEDs are great (2700K ie yellow light, 4 watts minimum) but they are not *quite* a perfect replacement-- yet.

One slightly strange thing with your fridge is your kitchen will be *colder* than it was in winter, and you might notice that (when I took out 350 watts of halogens out of the ceiling of our kitchen, we did). But gas is cheaper than electricity for heating, and even using a heat pump is way cheaper than wasting watts in a fridge (as long as the outside temperature is above about 10 degrees F, the heat pump moves 2-3 watts of heat for every watt it burns).

It's amazing how people don't realize that that old fridge out in the back or the basement is costing them more than the new one in the kitchen. It's counterintuitive.
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Postby jeffyscott » Fri Aug 26, 2011 9:00 am

Valuethinker wrote:It's amazing how people don't realize that that old fridge out in the back or the basement is costing them more than the new one in the kitchen. It's counterintuitive.


However, the old one is likely costing less than various calculators would say as it is opened much less frequently.

Also, it appears that CRs (more realistic :?: ) tests come up with a bit higher energy use. They have the most efficient models they tested costing around $50 per year in electricity, looking up a 1992 CR report, they had operating costs of maybe around $80 in their tests back then. Electric rates have risen about 50% since then, so the $80 would be $120 now vs. $50 for a new model. Still, that's at least a $70 per year savings. However, I don't know if they changed their test protocol over that time, nor do I know if the government changed theirs.
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Postby bottlecap » Fri Aug 26, 2011 9:04 am

Valuethinker wrote:Careful.

If you are saving $18 a month on electricity by buying a new fridge, and that's certainly possible, then your payback is c. 3 years. $18 pcm is not impossible and we have not factored in the wasted air conditioning. At a CA electricity price, the savings could be over $30


I don't know that "Pa." is California, but I agree if changing fridge's saves you $18 per month, you might have a different story. Most fridge's, however, don't consume that much energy in the first place.

JT
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Postby Valuethinker » Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:20 am

bottlecap wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:Careful.

If you are saving $18 a month on electricity by buying a new fridge, and that's certainly possible, then your payback is c. 3 years. $18 pcm is not impossible and we have not factored in the wasted air conditioning. At a CA electricity price, the savings could be over $30


I don't know that "Pa." is California, but I agree if changing fridge's saves you $18 per month, you might have a different story. Most fridge's, however, don't consume that much energy in the first place.

JT


Apologies, I may have my numbers wrong (but I am certain about that 1980 fridge figure) *but*

Average US fridge 1980 - 2000 kwhr pa at say 12.5 cents = $250/ $21 per month

Energy star fridge now 350kwhr pa = $43.75 pa = $3.65 pcm

Difference is c. $18pcm.

I cannot remember the key dates for US fridge efficiency standards (but the EIA/ Energy Star website lets you check by model number and vary the electricity price) but 1992 and 1998 seem familiar-- ie a 1998 fridge would be using something like 1100-1200 kwhr (complicatingly, fridges have become far more efficient, but also bigger).

OP was working on numbers like that. 3 years at that saving would be $1296.
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Postby Valuethinker » Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:42 am

jeffyscott wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:It's amazing how people don't realize that that old fridge out in the back or the basement is costing them more than the new one in the kitchen. It's counterintuitive.


However, the old one is likely costing less than various calculators would say as it is opened much less frequently.

Also, it appears that CRs (more realistic :?: ) tests come up with a bit higher energy use. They have the most efficient models they tested costing around $50 per year in electricity, looking up a 1992 CR report, they had operating costs of maybe around $80 in their tests back then. Electric rates have risen about 50% since then, so the $80 would be $120 now vs. $50 for a new model. Still, that's at least a $70 per year savings. However, I don't know if they changed their test protocol over that time, nor do I know if the government changed theirs.


Without looking it up I don't know, but I suspect for most Americans electricity prices have gone up a lot more than 50% since 1992-- more like double?*

http://205.254.135.24/cneaf/electricity ... ile7_4.pdf

that says +50% since 1998 (+8.26 cents to +11.5 cents)

Just on door opening:

- yes now frequency of door opening matters a lot
- for an old fridge it does not: the heat leaked in (the coolth leaked out) through the walls, inefficient compressors etc.

(I know this latter all too well: my house has solid brick walls w/o insulation, which are about as insulative as leaving the window open on a cool day).

Assuming 8.5 cents/ kwhr then CR is saying the average US fridge was burning 941 kwhr pa in 1992. That seems too low however *new* fridges sold then appear from the below to have had about that consumption.

Assuming it is correct then at 12.5 cents/ kwhr it would cost $117.65 pa now.

http://www.engage360.com/images/stories ... e_2009.pdf

p 6 has the data on efficiency imprevements.

* UK experience. We deregulated. Prices dropped by something like 30%. Since when, they have doubled (more than) so we are back well above where we started.
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Postby bottlecap » Fri Aug 26, 2011 11:10 am

Valuethinker wrote:
bottlecap wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:Careful.

If you are saving $18 a month on electricity by buying a new fridge, and that's certainly possible, then your payback is c. 3 years. $18 pcm is not impossible and we have not factored in the wasted air conditioning. At a CA electricity price, the savings could be over $30


I don't know that "Pa." is California, but I agree if changing fridge's saves you $18 per month, you might have a different story. Most fridge's, however, don't consume that much energy in the first place.

JT


Apologies, I may have my numbers wrong (but I am certain about that 1980 fridge figure) *but*

Average US fridge 1980 - 2000 kwhr pa at say 12.5 cents = $250/ $21 per month

Energy star fridge now 350kwhr pa = $43.75 pa = $3.65 pcm

Difference is c. $18pcm.

I cannot remember the key dates for US fridge efficiency standards (but the EIA/ Energy Star website lets you check by model number and vary the electricity price) but 1992 and 1998 seem familiar-- ie a 1998 fridge would be using something like 1100-1200 kwhr (complicatingly, fridges have become far more efficient, but also bigger).

OP was working on numbers like that. 3 years at that saving would be $1296.


Consumer reports says a 15 year old refrigerator is about half as efficient: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/home ... o-save.htm

This is still significant, but on an 18 cu ft capacity, let's say it's a $55 per year difference. That's nearly ten years. Where you live, although not necessarily where OP lives, electricity is expensive, so maybe 6 years to recoup?

JT

P.S. The consumer reports info is from 2009.
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Postby Valuethinker » Fri Aug 26, 2011 12:06 pm

bottlecap wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:
bottlecap wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:Careful.

If you are saving $18 a month on electricity by buying a new fridge, and that's certainly possible, then your payback is c. 3 years. $18 pcm is not impossible and we have not factored in the wasted air conditioning. At a CA electricity price, the savings could be over $30


I don't know that "Pa." is California, but I agree if changing fridge's saves you $18 per month, you might have a different story. Most fridge's, however, don't consume that much energy in the first place.

JT


Apologies, I may have my numbers wrong (but I am certain about that 1980 fridge figure) *but*

Average US fridge 1980 - 2000 kwhr pa at say 12.5 cents = $250/ $21 per month

Energy star fridge now 350kwhr pa = $43.75 pa = $3.65 pcm

Difference is c. $18pcm.

I cannot remember the key dates for US fridge efficiency standards (but the EIA/ Energy Star website lets you check by model number and vary the electricity price) but 1992 and 1998 seem familiar-- ie a 1998 fridge would be using something like 1100-1200 kwhr (complicatingly, fridges have become far more efficient, but also bigger).

OP was working on numbers like that. 3 years at that saving would be $1296.


Consumer reports says a 15 year old refrigerator is about half as efficient: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/home ... o-save.htm

This is still significant, but on an 18 cu ft capacity, let's say it's a $55 per year difference. That's nearly ten years. Where you live, although not necessarily where OP lives, electricity is expensive, so maybe 6 years to recoup?

JT

P.S. The consumer reports info is from 2009.



Good grift and thank you. I had the end points but not the middle one.
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Postby jeffyscott » Fri Aug 26, 2011 12:18 pm

Valuethinker wrote:Without looking it up I don't know, but I suspect for most Americans electricity prices have gone up a lot more than 50% since 1992-- more like double?


No, the article from 1992 said it was based on average rate of 8.25 cents per kWh. Average residential rate in the US was 11.6 in 2010.

Assuming 8.5 cents/ kwhr then CR is saying the average US fridge was burning 941 kwhr pa in 1992. That seems too low however *new* fridges sold then appear from the below to have had about that consumption.


To be clear, what I did is look at a CR article from 1992, rating new refrigerators and that article showed typical cost of about $80 and usage of about 1000 kWH. So that is in agreement with your source.
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Postby interplanetjanet » Fri Aug 26, 2011 4:56 pm

Valuethinker wrote:- for an old fridge it does not: the heat leaked in (the coolth leaked out)

"coolth"?

How about "contracalor"? ;)

-janet
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Postby ataloss » Fri Aug 26, 2011 8:38 pm

I replaced the heating colils on as mid 90s GE side by side and got a few more years out of it, replaced it with a better rated over under style. It wasn't hard to do but I don't think I'd do it again. People used to think an 18 cf was big enough now it is considered small.
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Postby bru » Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:47 pm

Consumer Reports' August cover story was their annual "Repair or Replace It?".

They only go up to year eight and for refrigerators the only one they would replace would be a top-freezer in year 7 or beyond. The other types they recommend repairing or consider repairing.

Obviously you are way beyond that time frame. I replaced my first bought new refrigerator after 15 years. But that's nothing compared with my father, he still has his original fridge from when his house was new, going on 50 years. I tell him he probably would save enough electricity in 30 days to almost pay for the new one. That's not really true of course, but can you imagine how inefficient that old one is compared to a new one.

He's the reason I never want to replace any appliance. But at some point you have to. You only live once. Get a new fridge.
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Postby Valuethinker » Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:57 am

bru wrote:Consumer Reports' August cover story was their annual "Repair or Replace It?".

They only go up to year eight and for refrigerators the only one they would replace would be a top-freezer in year 7 or beyond. The other types they recommend repairing or consider repairing.

Obviously you are way beyond that time frame. I replaced my first bought new refrigerator after 15 years. But that's nothing compared with my father, he still has his original fridge from when his house was new, going on 50 years. I tell him he probably would save enough electricity in 30 days to almost pay for the new one. That's not really true of course, but can you imagine how inefficient that old one is compared to a new one.

He's the reason I never want to replace any appliance. But at some point you have to. You only live once. Get a new fridge.


Here's the strangeness. According to those charts, average US fridge in 1940 used about 550kwhr pa. By 1980 it was 2000, now it's back towards 550.

of course fridges got massively bigger.

But with a 50 year old fridge (1962) it's *possible* (although not likely) that, actually, the fridge is fairly efficient (the reason may be size 'efficiency' is often measured per cubic foot, but total *size* of course matters as well).

Things were generally built simpler then (consider a 1960 car under the hood vs all the electronics, emission controls, fuel injection, safety equipment of a 2012 car) and so 1). easier to repair 2). more robust.

There is, also, something to the notion that appliances are now built 'throw away'. The manufacturers know the customers will get rid of them inside of 12 years (moving house, changing kitchen etc.) so they don't worry about very long life spans.

Exceptions:

- German Miele appliances - Miele cost twice as much, but they are at least by reputation designed to last *forever*

- I don't know if the Japanese sell appliances in USA? Japan as a domestic market is obsessed with quality (I remember a guy from British Steel telling me about supplying Toyota-- Toyota would X Ray the steel, and send it back if they found invisible scratches).
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Postby bru » Sat Aug 27, 2011 9:55 am

I suppose it is possible. It's certainly not very big. Maybe 15 cubic feet. It's the style with one door and then the freezer has it's own little plastic door you open. I know he has to defrost pretty frequently and he has kept it running by adding freon over the years. I don't think he has access to the gas any more so at some point he may have to replace. Or more likely I will inherit it :shock: .
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Postby jeffyscott » Sat Aug 27, 2011 10:47 am

I don't know how true it is but this site: http://www.denisbyrne.com/fridge.html

says the move to frost free caused a big increase in power consumption.
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Postby jeffyscott » Sat Aug 27, 2011 11:06 am

Valuethinker wrote:- German Miele appliances - Miele cost twice as much, but they are at least by reputation designed to last *forever*



Or maybe 4-6 times as much?

Appears their refrigerators start at about $6k, I suppose some do spend $3K on other models that are more comparable, but I would guess that most spend more like $1000-1500 for ordinary models that have similar capacity.
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Postby Valuethinker » Sat Aug 27, 2011 12:50 pm

jeffyscott wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:- German Miele appliances - Miele cost twice as much, but they are at least by reputation designed to last *forever*



Or maybe 4-6 times as much?

Appears their refrigerators start at about $6k, I suppose some do spend $3K on other models that are more comparable, but I would guess that most spend more like $1000-1500 for ordinary models that have similar capacity.


I was thinking washing machines (which is irrelevant to this topic, but that's where I have encountered Mieles).

Looks like washing machines are 2-3 times


http://www.johnlewis.com/231240430/Product.aspx

Basically consistent with what you suggest.

http://www.johnlewis.com/230995634/Product.aspx

2.5 times!

http://www.johnlewis.com/231240430/Product.aspx
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Postby minesweep » Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:17 pm

I don’t know who your electric provider in PA is but you may be eligible for a rebate (perhaps you are already aware). When the deregulated rate freeze came to an end for PPL customers back in January of 2010 the utility offered a $50 customer rebate for energy star refrigerators. They also removed the old refrigerator and gave you another $35.

Electric Utility Residential Appliance Rebates

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Postby ataloss » Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:51 pm

My aunt and uncle had an old compressor on top style fridge into the 70s. I thought it was pretty cool. No fan required of course. I was interested in Sun Frost (250 kwh/year ) but it is very expensive. Quiet no fan needed.
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Postby Sam I Am » Sat Aug 27, 2011 3:33 pm

Message deleted.
Last edited by Sam I Am on Wed Oct 16, 2013 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Skiffy » Sat Aug 27, 2011 3:39 pm

Our electric bill went down $20/mo when we got a new frig--

The new refrigerator actually has less door storage even though it was larger. Maybe that is a good thing as you can clutter up the door with outdated sauces/dressings etc
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