Energy efficient refrigeration for an off the grid home

SunDanzer DC Refrigerator and Freezer

Chillin’, with the SunDanzer DC Refrigerator and Freezer.  Freezer on left and Refrigerator on right

See update on July 23rd, 2016 “How to turn a freezer into a refrigerator

Refrigeration in an off grid home is a reality, and there are only a few minor differences from a conventional home. Our freezer and fridge are both 24 volt DC appliances. They are wired to a 15 amp breaker that connects directly to the battery bank. Our refrigeration is independent of the inverter. During the winter months, we power the house down at night by turning off the inverter. By doing this, we save between 2% and 4% of our stored power each night, which can add another few days to the next sunny day to get recharged. Our cistern pump is wired the same way. When the inverter is off, we still have refrigeration and water. The reason we went with a DC fridge and freezer is because they are super-efficient. For example an energy star refrigerator uses in one hour what both our fridge and freezer us in one day. We purchased our fridge and freezer from a US company named SunDanzer, and based our decision on storage capacity per dollar spent. We have been very happy with the results for the past four years this Christmas. Also, notice the blueberries to the left, perfect for muffins and pancakes during the winter and spring.

Pyrex stack-able storage containers. Pyrex is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

Pyrex stack-able storage containers. Pyrex is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

The downside to this type of system is that our fridge is a chest design. In order to get to the milk jug at the bottom, everything above it must be removed. We have learned that convenience is often sacrificed for efficiency when living off grid. However, we did compensate by purchasing glass Pyrex storage containers with BPA free lids also made in the USA and designed specifically for stacking. On a side note, I realized Pyrex is celebrating their 100th year anniversary this year, 2015.

If you don’t like the idea of a chest refrigerator, but would like an upright DC equivalent, you can visit Sun Frost which specializes in upright DC refrigeration.

See update on July 23 2016 “How to turn [an upright] freezer into a refrigerator”

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