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hack of all trades
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is probably a completely stupid thought: does anything exist in refrigeration that takes advantage of the fact that there are times when its 10° f outside and a refrigerator is cooling itself in a room heated to 68°? I do basic plumbing and electrical on remodeling jobs but I'm definitely not educated in refrigeration.
 

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dielectricunion said:
This is probably a completely stupid thought: does anything exist in refrigeration that takes advantage of the fact that there are times when its 10° f outside and a refrigerator is cooling itself in a room heated to 68°? I do basic plumbing and electrical on remodeling jobs but I'm definitely not educated in refrigeration.
There is a company started in Colorado here that manufactures something that uses the same principal. Basically they make ice at night with the refrigeration system when the electric rate is much lower. Then the next day when there is a call for cooling a pump (not a compressor) circulates refrigerant through the ice and uses the ice as the condenser. It's mostly for large commercial applications.
 

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hack of all trades
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Interesting. I was thinking something even more complicated like a temp sensor that decides to draw outside air if its below a certain temp. Turn a $1000 fridge into a $10,000 one fast
 

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There is a company started in Colorado here that manufactures something that uses the same principal. Basically they make ice at night with the refrigeration system when the electric rate is much lower. Then the next day when there is a call for cooling a pump (not a compressor) circulates refrigerant through the ice and uses the ice as the condenser. It's mostly for large commercial applications.
Ice storage banks usually circulate a medium through the ice bank and then into a chilled water coil in a fan coil unit. Bypassing the mechanical refrigeration system completely. Until the ice is melted.

144 BTUs of latent heat per pound of ice.
 

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beenthere said:
Ice storage banks usually circulate a medium through the ice bank and then into a chilled water coil in a fan coil unit. Bypassing the mechanical refrigeration system completely. Until the ice is melted. 144 BTUs of latent heat per pound of ice.
The system I speak of actually circulates r-410a through the ice and then to fan coils around a building. I met the manager of the company once and he explained the whole operation very detailed and from an engineers standpoint
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
This is a system that doesn't actually use less electricity, it uses less peak hour electricity, correct? Anything exist that is similar to passive solar hot water? In the case of hot water - water runs through a solar collector before entering the system/tank where it is heated.
 

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dielectricunion said:
This is a system that doesn't actually use less electricity, it uses less peak hour electricity, correct? Anything exist that is similar to passive solar hot water? In the case of hot water - water runs through a solar collector before entering the system/tank where it is heated.
There is always the old hot rocks system. Before I was born my grandfather built one in his cabin in the mountains.
The system he made was basically free heat. Water circulated on the roof and heated rocks in the basement. Later in the night when their was a call for heat air would be blown across the hot rocks to heat the house this was backed up with a propane furnace. This system worked great and is still in operation today. I have in robed it with additional differential thermometers and found the true balance point of the system.
 

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This is done with commercial refrigeration, but for your own home, you have some choices.

1) locate the condenser coils outside, and run lines to the refrigerator. This can actually get too cold to work well.
2) Set up an insulated modification to bring cold air or chilled coolant to the condenser coils - imagine a built in, but with some air sealing. Again, this shouldn't get too cold.
3) Build a cooler closet. Similar to option 2, but you can insulate it to whatever level you want, and customize it to your needs. Air is brought in from outside (or you could use the coolant option). If additional cooling is needed, the guts from a fridge provide it, as well as any temperature control. Fan or pump efficiency is important.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
There are so many cool ways to harvest passive energy, unfortunately they're just not very practical in today's system of construction. It would be nice to have the time to tinker around with this stuff some day. Too busy trying to master and understand the conventional methods in the trades. Michael Reynolds, a guy known for building "earthships" in the southwest, has some pretty interesting setups in his series of books on the topic.
 

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dielectricunion said:
This is probably a completely stupid thought: does anything exist in refrigeration that takes advantage of the fact that there are times when its 10° f outside and a refrigerator is cooling itself in a room heated to 68°? I do basic plumbing and electrical on remodeling jobs but I'm definitely not educated in refrigeration.
I was just at the ihaci show in Pasadena, there was someone there with such a system for air conditioning. I don't know the name though.
 

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There are so many cool ways to harvest passive energy, unfortunately they're just not very practical in today's system of construction. It would be nice to have the time to tinker around with this stuff some day. Too busy trying to master and understand the conventional methods in the trades. Michael Reynolds, a guy known for building "earthships" in the southwest, has some pretty interesting setups in his series of books on the topic.
I think it would make sense if one had a walk-in reefer to make use of passive cooling. But, with a standard setup, one would have to deal with installing pathways behind walls, or other logistical headaches. Kitchen designers probably have enough issues.;)
 
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