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Fridge, whats more efficient, fully stocked or just what you need.


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#1 roguekiller23231

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 23:53

so what would be more energy efficient, filling the fridge full or just putting in a few things?

the way i see it, if you fill the fridge, the items keep the fridge colder for longer, but it will take long to cool them. meaning longer periods before the compressor kicks in.

partially full, there is less items in the fridge that hold the coldness, so the fridge has to come on more often but for short periods to cool the few items.

obviously it would take more energy to cool the items from room temp to the fridges set temp, but i'm talking about maintaining the temps once they are atcheived.


#2 z0phi3l

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 23:55

I'm not a Hippy, things like this don't bother me

#3 vetneufuse

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 23:58

I'm not a Hippy, things like this don't bother me


oh be quiet, I'm not a hippie either, but I don't like wasteing my darn money on electric... it DOES cost me something for a fridge to run less efficient... saving money != hippie

I bought the most energy efficient fridge I could when I bought my new house, why? because I spent all my darn money buying a house, I wanted to save money on electric bills!

#4 spikey_richie

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 00:02

We have 5 levels of chill on our fridge, when it's not very well stocked I knock it down to the lowest. When it's rammed, I turn it up to the highest.

#5 Growled

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 00:03

the way i see it, if you fill the fridge, the items keep the fridge colder for longer, but it will take long to cool them. meaning longer periods before the compressor kicks in.

partially full, there is less items in the fridge that hold the coldness, so the fridge has to come on more often but for short periods to cool the few items.


That's what I say too. A fridge has a sensor and the compressor kicks in when the temp reading is above the set temp. Less things in there should mean less run time, and therefore it should be more efficient.

#6 vetneufuse

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 00:10

That's what I say too. A fridge has a sensor and the compressor kicks in when the temp reading is above the set temp. Less things in there should mean less run time, and therefore it should be more efficient.


but then you get people say the complete opposite, more things = more cooling stored so less cooling needed... no idea what to believe... i think what people need is better insulated fridges, and higher efficiency compressors not more or less in it

#7 +Xinok

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 00:11

I'm guessing there's a peak efficiency somewhere in between near empty and near full. If the fridge is too full, then the fridge has to work harder to move enough air to keep everything cool. But if the fridge is too empty, this will mean greater fluctuations in temperature, though I'm not sure if this mean the fridge runs more often or for longer.

#8 DonnieJim

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 00:13

I always get a kick out of some of these questions that get asked on a tech website.....you could have had a correct answer with google...but, maybe it's just for bored conversation

#9 HawkMan

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 00:13

We have 5 levels of chill on our fridge, when it's not very well stocked I knock it down to the lowest. When it's rammed, I turn it up to the highest.


firstly that's a temperature setting, unless your fridge is from like the 50's. secondly it should be set to 4 unless your fridge setting is wrong, put a thermometer in it, and set it to whatever setting gives it 4 degrees Celsius inside. in fact it's likely that when you turn "down" the fridge, you're actually setting it colder and this using more energy. depend on the manufacturer though.

either way you shouldn't adjust the setting based on the amount of food, it should be adjusted to whatever setting gives you 4 degree celsius.

#10 leesmithg

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 00:17

Only fill your refrigerator around 3/5 full.

Otherwise there will not be a good flow of cooling and some will stay warm (usually the top) and the other parts will ice up.

#11 HawkMan

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 00:20

oh be quiet, I'm not a hippie either, but I don't like wasteing my darn money on electric... it DOES cost me something for a fridge to run less efficient... saving money != hippie

I bought the most energy efficient fridge I could when I bought my new house, why? because I spent all my darn money buying a house, I wanted to save money on electric bills!


Actually, a fridge, uses EXTREMELY little energy, provided you don't keep the door open. but among the electric goods in your house, the fridge uses least of all most likely.

the amount of food in the fridge doesn't matter, as the OP sort of figured out in his original reasoning, it'll use the same amount of energy, just either take longer between using the compressor or using it shorter for more often. but even this won't matter much.

The only thing you have to check, and this has nothing to do with energy use is that you don't put hot food in the fridge. the reason for this is that it increases the temperature in the fridge, won't really affect energy use, but you shouldn't increase the temp it causes food to go bad faster and condensation. some fridges allows you to lower the temperature two r so degrees before putting in food. But this button has to be pressed well in advance of actually putting in food. (Think the day before when you know you're going to the store to buy food for the whole month). Freezers often also have this setting and allows you to press the freeze in button the day before shopping, and will lower the temperature from -18 to -22 to -24 freezing the food faster and reducing/preventing the temperature increase in the freezer.

But for anyone who wants to save energy, the Fridge, freezer and dishwasher are the least of your problem, the one thing that costs you most energy in your house, hot water. (provided you're the one providing the power to the water heater.

#12 Growled

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 00:21

I have a Fridge/Freezer combo unit and I can set the temp for each compartment. I'm glad we got that kind instead of a 5 setting deal. We usually set the Fridge for 36 and the Freezer for 0. I have no idea if that is the ideal settings but it works for me.

#13 Enron

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 00:23

I use a Sub Zero refrigerator/freezer. It's awesome. Costs about $3 a month in electricity to operate it.

#14 HawkMan

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 00:24

but then you get people say the complete opposite, more things = more cooling stored so less cooling needed... no idea what to believe... i think what people need is better insulated fridges, and higher efficiency compressors not more or less in it


Provided the fridge is fairly new (less than 30 or so years) the insulation isn't a problem. the fridge is efficient enough anyway. The new fridges do however have better insulation, however, this is used to make thinner walls on the fridges and give more usable volume. as the fridge insulation is already efficient enough, after all, your fridge walls don't feel cold to the touch do they.

I have a Fridge/Freezer combo unit and I can set the temp for each compartment. I'm glad we got that kind instead of a 5 setting deal. We usually set the Fridge for 36 and the Freezer for 0. I have no idea if that is the ideal settings but it works for me.


if it translates to +4 celsius and -18 celsius, it's correct.

#15 pack34

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 00:28

so what would be more energy efficient, filling the fridge full or just putting in a few things?

the way i see it, if you fill the fridge, the items keep the fridge colder for longer, but it will take long to cool them. meaning longer periods before the compressor kicks in.

partially full, there is less items in the fridge that hold the coldness, so the fridge has to come on more often but for short periods to cool the few items.

obviously it would take more energy to cool the items from room temp to the fridges set temp, but i'm talking about maintaining the temps once they are atcheived.


Figure out how much space you need and fill the rest with two liter bottles of water.



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