You've probably heard that keeping your refrigerator and freezer fully stocked is a simple way to keep them running efficiently. But what if you happen to lack for food, or want to optimise even further?
Photo by monkeyc.net.
If you're willing to do a little re-thinking of food storage, you're in luck. The New York Times' Science Times write-in question this week details supplements and alternatives to having a freezer full of Hungry Mans and a fridge stuffed with fruit and leftovers. Containers of water, for instance, can serve as a buffer in either the freezer or fridge:
If there is not enough food to fill the freezer, many suggest putting in more ice trays or some containers of water ... Some extra water containers in the cooling section will also minimise the amount of inrushing warm air that has to be cooled when the door opens and shuts.
Along with the stuff your handy dad or uncle will tell you about keeping the condenser coils clean and making sure they have enough room, there's also some Thermodynamics 101 knowledge you can implement to reduce the amount of cooling work the fridge has to do:
It is permissible to let hot food cool somewhat before refrigerating it, as long as the cooling period is not long enough to permit bacterial growth. Never use warm or hot water to make ice cubes. Cover moist food, so the refrigerator does not waste energy evaporating the moisture.
Q and A - Keeping the Cold In [New York Times]