Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How to make your fridge even more efficient than a chest freezer: Use a chest freezer as a fridge.

Sometimes when you hear a solution to a problem it seems so obvious you wonder why you hadn't thought of it. This is one of those solutions.

Refrigerators either use a lot of energy or like a SunFrost cost a lot of money. Plus in a building that is largely soundproof to outside noise such as buildings built of Compressed Earth Block, SIP, ICF or SCIP the whirling and rattling of a refrigerator can be really irritating and loud.

On the other hand a chest freezer is quiet (because it doesn't need to run very long) , very energy efficient and cheap.

The solution from Tom Chalko of is to use a chest freezer as a chest refrigerator by modifying the chest freezer so that it cools to between 35 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit degrees rather than the 5 degrees Fahrenheit proper for a chest freezer. He even designed and built thermostats to do it and published an article on it in 2005, which was picked up by Treehugger and back then.

Apparently homebrewers and keg drinkers have been modifying chest freezers for their needs for some time, but the idea comes to this blog of Boing Boing which published on it today and linked to the 2005 pdf of an article by Tom Chalko of on

On Mt. Australia you'll find these items by Tom concerning freezer to fridge conversion: Chest Fridge, an essay putting out some reasons that energy saving chest fridges ought to replace uprights, Freezer to Fridge Conversion, which shows a kit for making a freezer to fridge thermostat and assembled thermostats both of which are for sale, a pdf of two articles by Tom Chalko explaining and diagramming his thermostat and a pdf of a parts list for building the Tom Chalko freezer/fridge thermostat. (I don't know enough about electricity to say whether these would work as is on freezers made for the USA market.).

In the USA chest refrigerators are available but since they are made for the commercial market or for patio kitchens they are not cheap.

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