Author Topic: The false economy of a used refrigerator or freezer  (Read 1117 times)

Offline S. cerevisiae

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The false economy of a used refrigerator or freezer
« on: March 28, 2014, 05:12:19 AM »
I see a lot of people raving about their Craig's List used refrigerator and freezer finds.  However, those $50.00 refrigerator and freezer finds are often old, inefficient technology. I found my first dedicated brewing refrigerator for $50.00 in a local paper back in the early nineties.  Five years later, my wife convinced me to replace it with a modern same-size refrigerator.  My electric bill went down almost $25.00 a month. That purchase was definitely a case of being penny wise, but pound foolish because it cost me almost $1,500.00 in additional power usage during the period that I owned it.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: The false economy of a used refrigerator or freezer
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2014, 05:26:08 AM »
I agree, if the fridge is old it is probably not very efficient and it's going to be more expensive over the long term. I do have a fridge for fermentation that I picked up on craigslist for fermentation but I only went that route because it was the only fridge I ever found that fit my fermentors without going up to a full size fridge for which I don't have space. It actually fits two cornies inside but I don't want to run an old fridge constantly.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: The false economy of a used refrigerator or freezer
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2014, 05:37:56 AM »
Just like a chest freezer on an external thermostat has proven to be more efficient than a refrigerator for me.
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Offline beersk

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Re: The false economy of a used refrigerator or freezer
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2014, 06:37:33 AM »
Just like a chest freezer on an external thermostat has proven to be more efficient than a refrigerator for me.
Why do you think that is? After my chest freezer dies, which may be a while, I plan to switch to a fridge conversion. No external temperature control needed, freezer for hops; it's a multi-purpose kegerator.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: The false economy of a used refrigerator or freezer
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2014, 06:53:00 AM »
The efficiency comes from the difference in electrical consumption by the two - the chest freezer doesn't "spill" the cold out like an upright freezer or refrigerator, so opening it to remove something isn't causing a surge of warm air to enter to displace the cold air that falls out of an upright device.  Of course, if all other things are equal, it makes sense that unopened vessels that are equally well insulated will be the same efficiency, but I open my freezers and refrigerators relatively frequently - weekly, if not more, but I try to minimize openings whenever possible.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: The false economy of a used refrigerator or freezer
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2014, 07:26:49 AM »
I have been saying this for years. All of mine are Energy Star rated. The ancient ones that some friends have double as garage heaters.
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Re: The false economy of a used refrigerator or freezer
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2014, 07:34:40 AM »
I have been saying this for years. All of mine are Energy Star rated. The ancient ones that some friends have double as garage heaters.

In that case you have to factor in the energy not spent heating the garage!  ;D
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Offline denny

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Re: The false economy of a used refrigerator or freezer
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2014, 08:09:09 AM »
I see a lot of people raving about their Craig's List used refrigerator and freezer finds.  However, those $50.00 refrigerator and freezer finds are often old, inefficient technology. I found my first dedicated brewing refrigerator for $50.00 in a local paper back in the early nineties.  Five years later, my wife convinced me to replace it with a modern same-size refrigerator.  My electric bill went down almost $25.00 a month. That purchase was definitely a case of being penny wise, but pound foolish because it cost me almost $1,500.00 in additional power usage during the period that I owned it.


I agree with you completely.  Buying an old used freezer is false economy.
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Offline beersk

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Re: The false economy of a used refrigerator or freezer
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2014, 09:16:48 AM »
The efficiency comes from the difference in electrical consumption by the two - the chest freezer doesn't "spill" the cold out like an upright freezer or refrigerator, so opening it to remove something isn't causing a surge of warm air to enter to displace the cold air that falls out of an upright device.  Of course, if all other things are equal, it makes sense that unopened vessels that are equally well insulated will be the same efficiency, but I open my freezers and refrigerators relatively frequently - weekly, if not more, but I try to minimize openings whenever possible.
That's true. Once a week really isn't often enough that it'd make much of a difference, I wouldn't think. But I don't know. I do like having my chest freezer open while I'm kegging and noticing that the temp doesn't change much in the 5 or 10 minutes it might be opening (closed transfer from primary keg to serving keg, without having to lift the keg into the freezer, is a nice luxury of doing close transfers).
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Offline jeffy

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Re: The false economy of a used refrigerator or freezer
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2014, 09:37:28 AM »
On the other hand, I have a working refrigerator from circa 1934.  It's still running on sulphur dioxide.  I don't care how inefficient it is, it's just cool.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: The false economy of a used refrigerator or freezer
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2014, 09:44:44 AM »
The efficiency comes from the difference in electrical consumption by the two - the chest freezer doesn't "spill" the cold out like an upright freezer or refrigerator, so opening it to remove something isn't causing a surge of warm air to enter to displace the cold air that falls out of an upright device.  Of course, if all other things are equal, it makes sense that unopened vessels that are equally well insulated will be the same efficiency, but I open my freezers and refrigerators relatively frequently - weekly, if not more, but I try to minimize openings whenever possible.
That's true. Once a week really isn't often enough that it'd make much of a difference, I wouldn't think. But I don't know. I do like having my chest freezer open while I'm kegging and noticing that the temp doesn't change much in the 5 or 10 minutes it might be opening (closed transfer from primary keg to serving keg, without having to lift the keg into the freezer, is a nice luxury of doing close transfers).

Meh.  I leave my kegerator open when I'm bottling.  It's small, the kegs take up most of the space.  I can't imagine it takes that much energy to cool down the air again once I close it.  The temp of the kegs doesn't drop, so the amount of additional cooling isn't really all that much.  I suppose with a larger fridge it could be an issue and I wouldn't want the kids leaving the fridge open while they make a sandwich, but as far as pulling a pint now and then it's not something that concerns me.  Plus, the wife pays the bills so I really have no idea what anything costs.
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Offline denny

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Re: The false economy of a used refrigerator or freezer
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2014, 10:16:27 AM »
On the other hand, I have a working refrigerator from circa 1934.  It's still running on sulphur dioxide.  I don't care how inefficient it is, it's just cool.
https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=3705.msg42203#msg42203

Well. yeah, there's that!
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: The false economy of a used refrigerator or freezer
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2014, 10:38:44 AM »
Not to mention that with very large chest freezers (20+ CF), you'll pay only a little more for a brand new delivered appliance than you will by buying a used one off CL and having to go get it and get it into your house.

I ended up paying around $550 for my 25 CF freezer with free delivery, whereas CL prices for the same item, but older and no delivery, is around $450-500 in this area. Easy decision.
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Offline riverrat

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Re: The false economy of a used refrigerator or freezer
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2014, 10:59:32 AM »
Just like a chest freezer on an external thermostat has proven to be more efficient than a refrigerator for me.
Why do you think that is? After my chest freezer dies, which may be a while, I plan to switch to a fridge conversion. No external temperature control needed, freezer for hops; it's a multi-purpose kegerator.

Another part of it could be that most chest freezer do not have a defrost cycle or any de-humidifying, while most uprights do.
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Offline Herminator

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Re: The false economy of a used refrigerator or freezer
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2014, 11:31:15 AM »
I have recently come to the same conclusion that used appliances (freezers or refrigerators) are false economy because of the same reasons Amanda has stated.  The prices on CL are rather high when you compare to a local big box store, especially when they are offering %'s off, which happens frequently.  I have been very happy with my new freezer and glad that I decided to go new as opposed to used. 

Now, I can't say much about energy usage, but I have seen no noticeable increase in my electricity bill. 
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