Archive for February 2016

The old platitude “Use it or lose it” is applicable even in the world of home refrigeration. In other words, if you want your refrigerator or freezer to work more efficiently, you have use all possible space or you’ll lose some of your refrigerating capabilities.

enery efficientThis is because each time you open your freezer, you allow cold air to escape and warm air to flow inside. Studies have found that the majority of the energy your freezer uses, for example, is attributed to simply retooling the air that flows inside the freezer when you open it. If your freezer is totally full, there’s less room for warmer air to take up and the items in there help to cool down any air that does sneak in. That means keeping your fridge full will translate into less energy used to keep it cool.

However, only big families can fill their fridge to the brim without food inevitably going bad. That’s where it becomes helpful to back your fridge or freezer with non-food items, just to keep your cooling efficiency up. There’s a lot of items that you can choose between, but here’s a few examples.

Newspaper will help you if you move food items towards the outer sides of your freezer and stuff the interior spaces with newspaper. Bag of shipping peanuts can help too; they take up lots of room in mostly empty freezers, and the bags can be molded to fit whatever spaces your food has left.

Ziplock bags full of water also help with energy efficiency. They’ll take up space and even freeze and keep your food cold if there’s a power loss or a busted fuse. Don’t want to risk a leakage? Fill plastic to-go containers with water for the same purpose and stack them on top of each other like building blocks. They’re much easier to take in and out according to how much space you have, and they can still fill small gaps in your fridge. Another possibility? Fill a milk jug with water for the same purpose.

packing peanutThis is, of course, all assuming that you don’t have enough food to keep your refrigerator or freezer full. Maybe you do, in which case placement of the items can also help you to achieve top freezer efficiency. It all starts with defrosting and drying your freezer and moving your food items towards the front and sides so that you can grab them quickly and easily when it’s time to take them out. Then you fill the interior central cavity with whatever non-food item best fills the gap; that means milk jugs, packing peanuts, tupperware full of water, and the like.

A word to the wise: when you’re packing your freezer for energy efficiency, you can go too far. Don’t fill it to the brim with packing peanuts or newspaper. In fact, you’re going to need to leave air space around the edges and top of your freezer’s thermostat can sense the temperature of the freezer and keep your food frozen.

Your fusebox holds the secret to the control and distribution of the electricity in your house. It’s important to know where it is in case you ever need to turn off the electricity due to an emergency, and in general it’s safer for you to understand how it works so you don’t make any mistakes and are better prepared to deal with emergency electrical situations.

The fusebox is sometimes locate din the garage or outside the main house. Sometimes they’re inside the house, however.

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Once you’ve found the box, you have to see if it’s a Fuse or Circuit box. The difference lies in whether you see round, glass topped shapes or small tubes with metal ends. If you see either, you’re looking at fuses. If there’s switches that you can toggle, you’re looking at a circuit breaker box.

If you’ve got a fuse box, you might want to go to the hardware store and purchase a few extra fuses just in case one fails. Be sure to pick fuses with the proper amperage (amperage is the measure of the amount of electricity that an electrical appliance uses).

It also makes sense to keep a flashlight near your fusebox, and to make sure that flashlight’s batteries work and are fully charged. It’s also helpful to keep some rubber gloves near the fusebox.

So contained within your fusebox is a main switch, fuses and/or circuit breakers, and Residual Current Devices.

The main switch allows you to turn off the electricity supply to your home. You might have more than one main switch if your home has electric storage heaters or something of the like. In that case, you may have a separate fusebox.

The residual current devices are switches that trip a circuit under dangerous conditions, instantly disconnecting the electricity.

The circuit breakers are automatic protection devices in tech fusebox that switch off a circuit it they detect a fault. They’re about the same size as the fuses but give more precise protection so that only the faulty circuit is switched off and you don’t lose access to the electricity in your entire house. When they ‘trip’, you can just reset the switch once you correct the fault and everything should function swimmingly.

circuit breakerSometimes instead of circuit breakers you’ll find fuses, which are rewirable and have a special fuse wire running between two screws. When a fault or overload flows through the fuse wire, it heats and melts, breaking the circuit and disconnecting the faulty circuit. This is the easiest way to keep you safe.

If and when a fuse blows, the first thing you should probably do is unplug all appliances that are plugged in to receive electricity from the overloaded circuit. Then be sure to turn the main breaker off within the box. This is very important for your safety! Toggle the main On/Off switch to the “Off” position. Find and wear your gloves when working in the fuze box and remove any jewelry, and also be sure to wear rubber-soled shoes. If you need a ladder to reach the panel, use a non-conductive wood or fiberglass one.