Environment and energy savings!
People often tell me that my old appliances must consume a lot more electricity… It is true for some models, but most are very close to today’s models consumption. I am convinced that they’ll never see the difference on their electricity bill.

Cookers for example: no matter the year of construction, a spiral 8’’ burner of 2400 Watts would consume about 9 amperes, maximum. At medium on today’s cookers, the control sends a make-and-break 240 Volts current to maintain the wanted intensity. Before the 1960’s, the burners were divided in 2 serpentines and the control sent a combination of continuous current of 120 Volts and of 240 Volts to get the wanted intensity. So we obtain about the same consumption at the end of the cooking. Before the arrival of the 240 Volts (220 V at the time) current in our houses, around mid 1930’s I think, cookers were built for 120 Volts (110V). To get the same power, a burner of 8-9’’ would consume about 16 Amps, which is almost the double, but contrarily to what I thought, the consumption is calculated in kWh and you have to consider the 120V current and the resistance of the burner itself. All of which gives us about the same operation cost…

About the refrigerators: Most of my refrigerators have been built between 1945 and 1960. At the time, what is the most common is the one door fridge, since the freezer is used to cool by gravity
the refrigerator part that is located lower. This principle is simple and efficient. Those models are about 8 and 12 cu. ft. A 1/8 power compressor is then enough and it consumes about 2 Amps. Refrigerators from the 1930’s and before that I’ve seen have about the same consumption but they are a lot smaller, between 5 and 7 cu. ft.. The most “energy-guzzler” I know are the first 2 doors no frost refrigerators. They appeared in the mid 1960’s, were equipped with a bigger freezer and a ventilation system that carries the cool air to the refrigerator part; the same principle is still used today. For those models of 15 to 18 cu. ft., a ¼ power compressor, a fan and a defrosting device contribute to a consumption of 4 Amps in refrigerating mode and up to 5 Amps in defrosting mode. It’s only at the end of the 1980’s that manufacturers equipped compressors with a condenser and decreased a lot their energy consumption. They succeeded to bring the consumption down to 1 Amp for a 20 cu. ft. fridge, and that keeps going down… Since 2000, a new technology appeared: a variable speed compressor controlled by a current inverter: the greater the demand, the faster the compressor rolls. This new technology is very expensive and is only used in costly models and in big size models of 22 to 30 cu. ft. I’m wondering, if a customer has to pay a $700 to $900 repair bill to change the compressor, that would have cost about $350 to $400 for a regular one, where would be the economy for that customer, who’d already paid more for the fridge?

Ulysse Vallée, a friend and colleague, has reduced the consumption of the 1970’s refrigerator he has at home. That old harvest yellow Inglis now consumes about 2 Amps after it had consummated over 4 Amps during the 30 first years of its life. This young technician had already made successful tests on other compressors and electric engine. His technique consists of adding condenser to the electric supply of the engine. He has to determine the right total capacity of the condenser to obtain the maximum savings and keep the effectiveness and power of the engine. His technique will soon be on trial on my “antiques” (to be continued)

Let's talk about environment!
At the beginnings of refrigeration, the gases used were ammoniac, sulphur dioxide or methyl chloride. Those gases were not too dangerous for the environment, except maybe for acid rains, but were toxic and disagreeable to manipulate. To contain those gases, manufacturers were doubly careful in the building of the fastening system. We often see 70-75 years old refrigerator that has not lost its contain. The oldest fridge I’ve seen is a Westinghouse built around 1937, working with Freon 12. It’s only after the 1945 War that the General-Electric company changed sulphur dioxide for Freon 12. For its part, Frigidaire is the only one that has used F114 (dichlorotetrafluoroethane). This cooling gas is, from what I know, the first non-toxic one to be used, at the beginning of the 1930’s. As Freon 12, it was preferred because it was non-toxic and non-flammable Freon 12 has been the most used worldwide until about 1994. This popular cooling gas has been withdrawn from the market when governments realised that it was in part responsible of the hole in the ozone layer. Since the beginning of the 1990’s, manufacturers had no other choice but to find a new cooling gas. That’s how they began to use R 134a, a non-toxic, non-flammable gas that doesn’t damage the ozone layer. However, what people don’t know about that great discovery is that if the gas were liberated in the atmosphere, it would stay in suspension and cause a green house effect… What an improvement!

For its part, Green Peace organisation knew back in 1991 an ecological solution, but it was not unanimous: an hydrocarbon cooler, which is a mix of propane, butane and isobutane. In addition to extending the life expectancy of the cooling parts, it is non-toxic, non-corrosive and has no bad effects on our environment. It is true though that it is flammable, but non-explosive, but in close circuit and carefully manipulated by cooling experts, risks are minim, almost non-existing. For reasons I would call “political” almost nobody chose that solution. This technology is used in Germany and maybe in other European countries. Here, in Canada, we have DuraCool products that distributes hydrocarbon coolers since 2000. You can visit www.DeeCool.ca to find out about their car cooling products and their home cooling products.

For many years, Ulysse has experimented uses of hydrocarbon in refrigerating. Even before he knew DuraCool products, he successfully worked on an air-conditioning system, on a dehumidifier, some car air-conditioning and on a water cooling system…

Very soon, I hope to be able to sell you a unique refrigerator, that I would have got just before it ended at the dump. I would have changed the Freon 12 of the system for refrigerating hydrocarbon. I would have equipped the compressor with a condenser to make it as economic as a new. I would have gave it back its brand new look with biodegradable cleansing products… And it would all have been done with passion!

… that day, I will feel that, as a citizen, I did something tangible in what we call today SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT… (to be continued)