Refrigerator Emission

Old Refrigerator

Old Refrigerator Harms.

I bet you cannot live a day without refrigerator. You open your fridge, wow… beers, cheese, milk, eggs, veggies, fruits, meat, or even your valentine chocolate you are trying to keep forever, are there. Every time you need something to fill your thirst, hunger or just delight, you just go to your refrigerator to find that they are all freshly kept there, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all through the year. Not just in summer, but in winter we do cool our supplies, from breakfast until supper. Our refrigerator seems to have been faithfully storing our food for years with no problems that we fail to remember one thing: how long has it been there?

Old refrigerator harms your wallet.

Due to its nonstop running, refrigerator becomes the biggest consumer of electricity in your house. The US Dept of Energy says that refrigerator eats 14% of the home electricity. The problem is, the older the type, the hungrier it is. No matter how good you maintain your old fridge and steadily exercise the energy saving tips, it will still gulp twice or three times energy than the new model will. This is because the newly made is designed in energy saving systems.

Refrigerators and freezers manufactured today use 30 percent less energy per cubic foot than similar models did in 2001, and 60 percent less per cubic foot than models sold in 1980, thanks to Federal Efficiency Standards.

If your refrigerator is of newly made, that will simply means that it consumes 30% less energy and emits 30% less than the above illustration. But if your refrigerator is manufactured 1980, than the quantity of energy consumption and emission produced should be added with extra 60% of the illustration. Just imagine what a difference you can make to the environment by deciding the kind of refrigerator you use. The energy cost accounts at the same percentage. Old refrigerator is energy hungry.

Old refrigerator harms the environment.

Refrigerator and freezers produced before 1995 contain hazardous chemical compound, chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerant. CFCs were invented in the 1930s and are containing chlorine, fluorine and carbon, to be used in refrigerators and aerosols. When tossed to the atmosphere, they will become solid greenhouse gases that linger for a long time. They break down at high altitudes where they contribute to the depletion of the protective ozone layers. As cause of this ozone depletion, Ultraviolet (UV) light penetrates to our planet, bringing down health risk to human. With awareness of this harmful effect, in 1992, 86 nations agreed to end the production of CFCs in the industrialized world by the end of 1995, and in the developing world by 2005.

So, since 1995 refrigerator manufacturers replace the CFCs compound to HFCs, which are energy efficient, low in toxicity, cost-effective, while can be used safely and are reusable. However, CFCs compound were still used on the foam for the insulation of refrigerator and freezers manufactured before 2005. Therefore only units manufactured since 2005 contain foam blowing agents that are ozone and climate friendly. You can easily find this eco friendly type nowadays.

Mercury, another hazardous chemical compound are also found in some components ( such as switches and relays) in some refrigerators and chest freezers manufactured prior to 2000. When released to the environment, mercury amassed in the tissues of plants and animals which when consumed by humans can cause impairs neurological development and causes other problems related to the nervous system.

Above are the harm that come from the compounds, now let’s think about the energy consumed by an old refrigerator, lets say one produced after 2000. A standard unit of this type averagely consumes 37.9 kilowatt-hours per month, or 450 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year (source: Wisegeek), releases 660 pounds (272 kilograms) of carbon dioxide. Since each gallon of gasoline burning generated 19 pounds of CO2, then this is equal to the amount of CO2 generated from the combustion 35 gallons of gasoline (EPA). Alas, cooling your daily supplies in a year costs CO2 to the environment as much 1.300 km driving does.

Sadly, millions of old refrigerators are still in use in US and many other countries, including Canada and UK. It was said that if everyone in the UK upgraded their refrigerators and freezers to Energy Saving Recommended ones, energy wastage would be cut by two thirds, saving nearly £500 million and the equivalent CO2 emissions of 350,000 homes. Indeed, replacing an older refrigerator freezer can cut your carbon footprint to 335 pounds of CO2 per year.

If your eyes are now wide opened to see what your old refrigerator does to environment ( and your energy bill) , and you are desperately concern about the effect on the green house gas, then say good bye to it. Switch to a new model, an energy-saving refrigerator and you can say hello to the greener days to come.

As I wrote this article, it struck me that you might want to learn about how to recycle your old refrigerator and some  guides on buying a new refrigerator.

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