The time has come to bite the bullet and get a new fridge. At the moment we have an aged gas fridge gifted to us by my partner’s uncle. It is at least 30 years old and doesn’t really keep anything cool any more. It is capricious about keeping things frozen and seems to find amusement in allowing greens to turn to slime overnight.
We need to do something about the fridge; which leaves us with two options. We can buy a new gas fridge at the cost of around $2000 plus ongoing gas costs…or we can spend around $15000 on an upgraded solar system and get an electric fridge. Our current solar system can not produce enough power to run a fridge.
The gas stove seems to be the cheaper option, but the solar system upgrade also has other advantages. We have needed new storage batteries for a very long time as the old batteries are over 15 years of age and like to give the fridge a run for it’s money in the capriciousness grand finals. The extra electricity can be used to run our various pumps and filters on the ever increasing fish tank collection and means we can literally turn on the fan whenever we want to…without checking the battery charge levels first (an almost mythical luxury here).
We decided, eventually, after much argument and discussion (in which fan use figured heavily), to go for the solar upgrade option. This involves getting a personal loan (something we have been trying to avoid) and many hours of work putting the new system in place.
After securing a personal loan (groan) and shopping around for the best deal, we picked up our new solar system.
The solar panels, batteries and other associated bits have been stored in the shed waiting for time to put them together. Several jobs need to be completed before the new fridge can be installed.
First; the generator needs to be moved closer to the shed so the batteries can be attached to it for charging when there is no sun (they will need to be charged on the generator until the solar panels are connected too).
Second; the batteries need to be arranged in their box in the shed and wired to the regulator and other bits of technology that keep them balanced and operational.
Third; the solar panels need to be connected to each other and then to the batteries (via the regulator).
Fourth; the fridge can be put in the kitchen and turned on. This step involves putting down a cement pad to make sure the fridge is level (our kitchen floor is NOT level).
My partner has done the majority of the work on this project, between working and fixing things I break. He has done a great job getting it all going and is now able to enjoy turning on the fan any time he likes…just in time for winter. Having a fridge that seems to enjoy keeping things cool and having a LOT more freezer space has allowed us to cut our shopping down considerably and we no longer have much food waste. The chooks don’t like this turn of events, but there is a downside to everything.