Boy! These RV frig’s are not very frugal with energy. RM-2611 energy usage test results:
time on station: 102 hours
energy rate: $0.15 per KWHR
control panel setting: 2 (medium low)
power used: 16 KWHR
est cost for 102 hour run: $2.41
projected costs: 0.56/day, $3.93/week, $16.84/mo, $204/yr.
Wow! That’s almost a full order of magnitude greater than the mini refrig. It’s at least 5 times as much. Another thing to note that the driving force in the process is heat, not mechanical. So the heat used adds directly to the heat load within the structure. It could be vented off, but that’s adding yet more complexity to the installation. In RV installations, these refrigerators are vented to the outside. This makes good sense ’cause the RV is a small space and any added heat to the interior would be noticed quickly. Conventional refrigerators using compressed gas are starting to look pretty good.
Maybe going mainstream and staying on the grid(!) isn’t such a bad idea. I still want to be frugal so I need to do more research on this subject. How much do I save if I plunk down a fair amount of cash on an energy star rated refrigerator as opposed to buying a refer cheap on craigslist? The bigger picture is would it be wise for people to junk their old refers and spend money on upgrading? Our federal government is trying to encourage this ideal with the energy ratings they publish.
I find it particularly bothersome when there is encouragement to push a throw-away mentality. Is the new stuff really that much better than the old? And what about the energy consumed in melting down the old stuff and manufacturing the new? An article I was just reading was complaining about the new refrigerators breaking down way more often that the old ones. Hence the old proverb: Penny wise and pound foolish. So you save a few nickels on your energy bill, but that efficient refrigerator breaks down after two years and the blasted thing costs near a thousand dollars. That’s counter efficiency.
I remember I was talking once with a group of engineers about the unacknowledged down-side to hybrid vehicles. The high cost of the monstrous battery pack, lugging around all the extra weight with the resulting reduced payload capacity, plus the order of magnitude complication of the machine itself. If our vehicles gain an additional 10% increased in efficiency while the number of vehicle miles over the road increase by 20% within a given time frame; we are not really gaining, we are losing. My Toyota Echo get’s darned near 45 MPG. It’s simple and reliable. Sure it’s a dog on power, but it gets me from point A to point B in comfort.
My point is; you have to look at the big picture. Use the resources we have intelligently, but don’t rip and tear willy nilly without due consideration.
So back to the refrigerator problem. What I am thinking is I’ll buy 2 inexpensive used refrigerators: one 5 cu ft. and a standard size 15 cubic foot. I use the 5 cu ft for daily use. When company comes and I need more space I’ll start up the bigger one. It doesn’t hurt to idle a refrigerator. The motors are sealed.