Are fridges cool?

24 Sep 09 03:58PM EST
Post by Geoff Day
Testing a fridge

I must be very strange: I love fridges. Well I don’t actually love fridges, but I find them really interesting. The messages I pick up from most people is that fridges are just there. A fridge just does its job of keeping stuff cold and that’s it. What’s to be interested in or to know about?

Except maybe if you’re buying a fridge, it’s cool if it looks great; and when you open the door in the dark - this cool blue light comes shining out. And while it has to fit the space in the kitchen, it’s important to have the right finish and a look to suit the new kitchen; and have the freezer in the preferred place - top, bottom or side plus the inside looking good too.

Well I’m involved with testing fridges and other temperature testing at CHOICE. We test a lot of things about fridges and a lot wouldn’t do the basic job of keeping food very well at all. I’d like to see the perfect fridge (obviously I still have dreams) but nothing ever seems to come close, although most new ones are energy efficient.

OK maybe you don’t need the perfect fridge but would most people want to avoid buying one that really doesn’t do much of a job of keeping food well for very long? I’d like to think that many of us really do want to buy appliances that do their jobs well and have ‘quality’, even if it costs a little more initially.

So are fridges cool?

My opinion is yes and no. OK I’m weird and think they’re generally cool (and to older series Top Gear TV watchers, definitely on the cool side of the cool wall, even if they don’t have a steering wheel). Why I think they’re ‘cool’ is because of the complexity of what you’d think was a really simple machine (i.e. most refrigerator/freezers); and how hard it appears to be for manufacturers to get everything right. Also some of the newer ones have interesting electronic management systems and things like inverter (varying speed) compressors and it’s a challenge for us in testing to see what they do and why; and its interesting to check how well they do their main cooling job, as opposed to just minimising their energy figure for their label.

Why I think sometimes they’re not cool is when we see really bad ones. I’d really be unhappy if I had one of those at home.

Because we consumers mostly only have experience with our own home fridge, which we might have for years or even decades, we don’t have a yardstick to compare ours with one that's really good at maintaining best food quality and safety, for longer.

I’ve hardly touched on energy, but that’s another story.

What do you think? Do you have a fridge story? What’s happening inside your fridge? I need to know!


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