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Apr 26, 2008 11:37 AM

Thin refrigerator power conditioner?

Anyone know of a thin power conditioner (energy saving device that goes between the fridge plug and the outlet for it) for a refrigerator? We would like to get one before we put the refrigerator back where it goes but can't ahead to have the fridge stick out further into the room to accommodate one of the thicker conditioners.

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  1. I'm pretty sure that there is no such thing as a "power conditioner" or any kind of energy saving device. There may be some gizmos that advertise that they will save energy but are all rip offs. The best way to save energy is to buy energy star appliances or be sure your existing unit is well maintained. Keep the coils clean and make sure the gaskets are sealing properly and keep the door closed as much as possible. If I'm wrong, I would like to know.

    1. I think it's next to the snake oil on Aisle 5.

      But seriously, if you want to save some energy, I've heard that you can stuff some crumpled up newspaper in the empty spaces in your fridge. It apparently helps keep the inside of your fridge cool. Just FYI.

      6 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        I've read the same thing, especially as it pertains to the freezer. The more items in the freezer compartment, the less the unit has to run (assuming that the cold air inlets aren't blocked). No reason that wouldn't apply to the refrig. compartment also.

        1. re: SonyBob

          In that case, I'll expect a rebate instead of a bill next month! I would guess most of the electricity mine uses is for the light bulb...

        2. re: ipsedixit

          I have heard that containers of water are much more effective than newspaper. In short, a full fridge is more able to keep a consistent temperature and therefore saves energy.

          The Consumer Energy Center has this to say:

          "As your food budget permits, keep your freezer and refrigerator full-but not so full that air can't circulate. The mass of cold items inside will help your refrigerator recover each time the door is opened. Here's a hint: If your refrigerator is nearly empty, store water-filled containers inside."

          1. re: Aimi

            yah, newspaper has very little thermal mass. you want something dense. the more thermal mass you have in the refrigerator the easier it is for the machinery to keep a constant temperature. A bottle of water or even some bricks work well.

            power conditioners are designed to keep power surges from burning out motors, electronics, etc. It isn't a bad idea, but it probably won't reduce your electric bill.

            1. re: KaimukiMan

              Plus, a refrig. compressor moter doesn't require a clean signal. The killer is a brief power outage while the motor is running. This would require a UPS for protection. I can't imagine any UPS big enough to handle handle a refrigerator compressor. Just plug it in and use common sense maintainence.

              1. re: SonyBob

                I've never head of an inexpensive device like this, but but wide/r swings in voltage, can also unduly stress compressors. But it'd take something a lot bigger than, say, the kind of voltage converter you take to other countries. If the OP goes with it, they should certainly make sure it's rated for motors and the appropriate power draw.

                For much the same reasons that I'd bet neither the device's nor the fridge mfr would approve/warrant its use with something like a fridge, I'd sooner take my chances with the regular power supply than insert something questionable in front of a strong motor/compressor appliance. Stressed compressors can get hot enough to start fires, and of course fail early. And if you can't even see let alone easily get at the device, that just seems like bad news all the way around.

        3. They existed and worked (as documented by utility bills) in the olden days but apparently that was before the more energy efficient refrigerators. Thanks for all the replies. They don't seem to exist any more.

          1 Reply
          1. re: lgss

            It might be some kind of capacitance to balance the inductance in the compressor motor.
            You can get cheaper power if you keep the power you use in phase (large organisations spend lots of money doing this).
            Might be this is no longer needed/useful for some reason.

          2. I have to assume you're talking about some sort of surge protector/line filter that will protect your refrigerator from damage courtesy of the electric company. There are "line conditioners" available for computers, but I haven't heard of anyone using them for refrigerators, which isn't to say it's not possible. The ones for computers are fairly pricey, but then "pricey" is a relative term. I have a list of things I plan on doing to the house, and surge protecting/line conditioning the whole house is very near the top! I've had a lot of damage to electronics in the springtime due to power surges, courtesy of the electric company, and lightning, courtesy of Mother Nature. If that's the reason you're asking, you might want to get some estimates on doing the whole house from a good electrical contractor. It's not exactly a do-it-yourself job unless you are an electrician. Good luck!

            4 Replies
            1. re: Caroline1

              They were an energy saving device which went between the plug and the outlet, very simple to install.

              1. re: lgss

                Thanks! If that's what the claim was, I totally agree with the snake oil assessment. Be grateful you can't find one as it would likely damage your refrigerator!

                1. re: Caroline1

                  As I said above, they used to exist and used to work (as documented by utility bills) in the olden days before the more energy efficient refrigerators. We're no longer looking for this.

                  1. re: lgss

                    They were available in the 80s, since then, refrigerators have "it" built in. The one I had reduced my electric bill.

                    It wasn't "snake oil", it worked, they worked so well refrigerators now come with them. They were not a surge protector/filter. Mine cost ~$20.

            2. Yes there use to be a conditioner made for refrigerators. All electricity has frequency. Most are 60hz. BUT some areas the electricity does not send or run on that frequency. The frig runs on 60hz and this is what the little box you plug into the wall then plug the frig into is try to keep it at 60hz. Use to be sold at Home Depot but have not seem them in a while.

              Its not snake oil. No newspaper needed. Frig does need clean power to run correctly, efficiently and longer life. As does any thing that runs off electricity. Especially newer TVs(plasma, lcd or led), even computers and games consoles will last longer and use less power.

              So all you people that think you time dont post unless you know.

              "They dont make such a thing!"(mocking) OH YAH!!! check this out. Might be more for suppression but says condition.


              5 Replies
              1. re: robertguero

                Well, first of all the device you link to is from Monster Cable. As one who spent many years in the high-end home electronics business I can state unequivocally that 98% of Monster Cable's products are 98% marketing hype (with a margin of accuracy of +/- 2%).

                Secondly, are you seriously suggesting that in the U S of A some electric utilities produce their juice for home consumption at other than a nominal 60 Hz? Uh, no. They don't, and have not for many, many years. And if they do fluctuate a bit, no "power conditioner" is going to change the frequency of AC current.

                Surge suppressors CAN be useful in some instances, but more for delicate electronics than the heavy-duty compressors used in refrigerators.

                1. re: BobB

                  So what if its made or just restickered by Monster Cable. Really doubt they made this. If it works and its inexpensive why not use it. HUH hype??? what, your paying for a name...just like everything else...clothes especially. And honestly $25 is not that expensive compared to other things with the Monster Cable name on it.

                  "juice for home consumption at other than a nominal 60 Hz? Uh, no."

                  Read a little next time BOB. It does and can happen. But wait it doesn't happen where you are cause you probably live in downtown Manhattan or somewhere there are no power sugres or issues. Us backward ass fok that live out here with just the out-house have those issues. Frequency can change going thru should know this BOB if you are actually someone who works with audio. Going thru the grid, transformer, breaker box and especially passing by or over a light transformer can change a frequency. Wiki it.

                  "And if they do fluctuate a bit, no "power conditioner" is going to change the frequency of AC current."

                  So what do they do????

                  "than the heavy-duty compressors used in refrigerators."

                  You must buy the glass front stainless steel frigs. Regular home frigs ARE NOT HEAVY DUTY COMPRESSORS.

                  "Unless specified by the manufacturer to operate on both 50 and 60 Hz, appliances may not operate efficiently or even safely if used on anything other than the intended frequency."

                  1. re: robertguero

                    Home power conditioners just filter out voltage spikes and can't boost voltage drops or change the signal frequency. Take a look at equipment suppliers like WW Grainger and you'll see that devices that can change the frequency by several percent are both large and expensive.

                    The Wiki article that you cited deals with situations like operating a 60Hz device at 50Hz. The frequency stability of AC power is much better than that. Just for kicks I sampled my wall power and the variation was less than 0.01% from 60Hz. Admittedly low statistics but here someone with much more time on his hands put together this:

                    This company was able to show that a very accurate clock could be made based on AC power frequency and not a crystal:

                    That clock uses the 60Hz signal to generate a stable 32MHz signal which is much faster than any frequency a refrigerator compressor works at so I'm skeptical that any variation in the AC power frequency would be enough to affect the operation of a refrigerator.

                    1. re: PorkButt

                      Good artical. But from what it read:
                      "I know of no electric appliance that cares if the frequency is 59 Hz or 60 Hz or 61 Hz. With the exception of a wall clock, perhaps even as low as 50 Hz or as high as 70 Hz is ok"
                      It just refers to other appliances not keeping time as a clock does. And from what I understood was that the clock uses the 60Hz to ACTUALLY keep time. of which this is probably the reason the world clock does not run off of electricity.

                      Now read another forum that says that if a compressor gets less than 60Hz it will run slower:

                      I know that if a motor is not run on the correct frequency it will make noise and whine.

                      1. re: robertguero

                        Again, your citation refers to running a device designed to run on 60Hz power with 50Hz power. That's a huge constant difference of 10Hz. The amateur article shows that the largest observed fluctuation in frequency from a US power utility is about 0.05Hz and that rarely occurs. The Intersil clock project shows that if you rely on the actual real-time frequency of AC 60Hz wall power as its reference source, it is both accurate and stable from drift. Just how small of a frequency variation do you think a compressor is sensitive to?