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Trinity Valley EC News

You Live In A Refrigerator

Message from TVEC Energy Management Supervisor Chris Walker, BAP

As we head toward the heat of summer, air conditioning will be the driving force of energy usage. If you are looking for a great example of energy efficient design for space cooling, you can find one in your kitchen.

Refrigerators and air conditioners use the same process for removing heat from the air, so it makes sense that there are some parallels when it comes to keeping your home cool.

Appliance manufacturers go to great lengths to make sure that everything seals well, walls and doors are well insulated and temperature control is managed in an efficient way.

Of course you don’t want to live in a small, windowless box, so there are some compromises that must be made for house design.

You wouldn’t put a heater in the refrigerator, but you have a lot of different heat sources inside the house. Computers and electronics, clothes dryers and ovens all generate heat. Turning off those electronics and minimizing heat-producing activities, particularly during the heat of the day, will go a long way toward helping the A/C do its job.

Leaving the refrigerator door open is always a big no-no, but did you know some studies have shown that an average house has the equivalent of an open window in air leakage? Doors and windows are the biggest culprits and easiest to fix. But you may also have air leaking through unsealed attic openings, electrical plugs and switch boxes and exterior wall penetrations.

System maintenance also makes a big impact on the efficiency and longevity of both refrigerators and your home air conditioning. Clean coils, ducts and air filters are essential for your AC, with the added bonus of reducing home air contaminants and dust. That might mean a professional cleaning is in order, but well worth the cost.

Finally, you wouldn’t want to keep your refrigerator sitting out in the summer sun. Using curtains wisely can keep the heat rays mostly outside which can help tremendously. If you have large glass surfaces, an investment in solar screens may be in order.

So enjoy your walk-in refrigerator this summer, but you don’t have to turn off the lights when the door is closed.