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Old 09-07-2007, 03:21 PM   #1
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Air Curtain Refrigeration

So, we're exploring several refrigeration solutions....

Check this out.

Is anyone in this industry? Or know anything about air curtains? Apparently, that refrigerator can stay at refrigerator coolness for 45 minutes, with the door open.

So apparently those open case refrigerators you've probably seen at grocery markets and such as a curtain of compressed air to keep cold air in. I'm curious of the efficiency versus an insulated door and seal.

At the moment, I don't see how to modify a refrigerator to have an air curtain - without significant changes to the interior... But it's an idea I'd like to explore

I'll be bringing m thermometer probe to the grocery store next visit
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Old 09-08-2007, 01:00 AM   #2
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I can't picture it being efficient for a home fridge. The amount of energy to keep this on standby, quickly turn this on and force air downwards is probably as much as if not more than what it takes to cool the fridge after opening. I think that it would be more efficient to know what you need, and get it quickly instead of searching through the fridge like the rest of my family does.
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Old 09-08-2007, 05:47 AM   #3
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per http://www.dinex.com/spec_sheets/AIRCURT002.pdf, it requres 1800 watts (120*15), imagine leaving that open for 6 years
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Old 09-08-2007, 06:41 AM   #4
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Open air or an insulated door? Whats the coldest section of every store with open air refrigerated display cases? The dairy isle. Think I'll keep the door on my fridge.

A stores motives are a bit different than consumers. There just trying to display the goods in the best light, easy access, and sell as much as possible.
At least over the years most stores have moved away from the open freezers to ones with double glass doors.
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Old 09-08-2007, 08:08 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skewbe View Post
per http://www.dinex.com/spec_sheets/AIRCURT002.pdf, it requres 1800 watts (120*15), imagine leaving that open for 6 years
I imagine that's a peak rating. But what I really want to know is what the consumption of the air curtain is and consumption with it on v. off in a normal home use situation (I guess I'm pretty demanding ).

Quote:
The amount of energy to keep this on standby, quickly turn this on and force air downwards is probably as much as if not more than what it takes to cool the fridge after opening. I think that it would be more efficient to know what you need, and get it quickly instead of searching through the fridge like the rest of my family does.
This is exactly the problem I'm working on. I have an 8 year old sister - opening the door, getting a step stool and looking for food for a few minutes isn't uncommon And the power consumption is what I'd need to test It shouldn't be as high as a refrigerant compressor and hopefully it's lower than the cost of re-cooling.

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Open air or an insulated door? Whats the coldest section of every store with open air refrigerated display cases? The dairy isle. Think I'll keep the door on my fridge.
I'm not looking to remove the door from the refrigerator I'm looking to adapt an existing technology A grocery store's motivation is to sell fast. But imagine how much more it would cost them without the curtain.

Quote:
At least over the years most stores have moved away from the open freezers to ones with double glass doors.
I've never seen an open freezer before... Always refrigerator - produce, prepared meat, cheese, yogurt, etc.
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Old 09-08-2007, 08:57 AM   #6
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There's a grocery store near me that has three long rows of open top freezers. They keep ice cream in one section. It's freezing down inside the actual freezer area, cold right at the level of the top, and actually warm a foot over it. Very impressive. It's almost like it has a bubble top on it.

If you want to modify the fridge so you can look and see without wasting energy, I have two possible, yet extreme, solutions.

How about having a window frame made up for the door? A double pane window with a quarter inch or so between the panes, would allow you to see what's inside the fridge. Having the panes vacuum sealed will provide insulation, so there should be very little cold loss through the panes. It won't be as efficient as leaving it alone, but far better than leaving the door open 10 minutes at a time. It will require more thorough cleaning of the fridge though, since everything would be on display. And, you'd have to find another place than the door to store stuff since you'd want to be able to see inside.

Another possible solution using technology, install a tiny camera with an LED light for each shelf, then you can look at a monitor until you see what you want, then open, grab, close. This would probably use less power than the air curtain would. Mount the screen to the door with a pushbutton on/off, and a pushbutton selector for cameras F1, F2, R1, R2, R3, D1 and D2 (F for freezer, R for refrigerator, D for drawer) and all would be revealed to you. This rates high on the geek factor, nothing else.

My solution to this problem has been the same as everyone else's, just know what's in there, and make quick decisions. As the big dog of the house, I also yell at anyone I catch leaving the door open for more than a few seconds at a time.
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Old 09-08-2007, 09:18 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Telco View Post
There's a grocery store near me that has three long rows of open top freezers. They keep ice cream in one section. It's freezing down inside the actual freezer area, cold right at the level of the top, and actually warm a foot over it. Very impressive. It's almost like it has a bubble top on it.
Slaps hand on forehead! I guess I was stuck in vertical cabinet mode


Quote:
How about having a window frame made up for the door? A double pane window with a quarter inch or so between the panes, would allow you to see what's inside the fridge. Having the panes vacuum sealed will provide insulation, so there should be very little cold loss through the panes. It won't be as efficient as leaving it alone, but far better than leaving the door open 10 minutes at a time. It will require more thorough cleaning of the fridge though, since everything would be on display. And, you'd have to find another place than the door to store stuff since you'd want to be able to see inside.
I'm in an apartment -- I can permanently modify this refrigerator :/ But, my family used to have a fridge with a mini door on the door. So you could reach through to grab milk etc. without opening the entire door

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Another possible solution using technology, install a tiny camera with an LED light for each shelf, then you can look at a monitor until you see what you want, then open, grab, close.
The MIT media lab (I think it was them) uses/d a camera and a projector. Every time the door status changed, a picture was taken and then projected onto the refrigerator door. Somehow, I can't see a projector bulb being more efficient given the warm up/start up times. A small wide angle camera would be nice, but cost prohibitive :/ Geek factor is a plus though

Quote:
My solution to this problem has been the same as everyone else's, just know what's in there, and make quick decisions.
I've found good refrigerator organization to be useful too. Daily use things on the door etc. etc. But I'm willing to bet that not everyone is like the people on this forum (I mean, this is an efficiency community ). I'm also confident that given an option to make a slight change that is both cost effective and convenient, a non GS type consumer would be willing to take that option.
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Old 09-08-2007, 11:13 AM   #8
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Yep, it's pretty hard to get browns to do anything green. I've still been trying to come up with a way to do the chest freezer into a fridge mod. The wife hates the idea, so the only way I could get her to buy off on it would be to have a way to quickly and effortlessly pull a whole shelf up out of the fridge, and be easy to put it back in. The shelving itself wouldn't be hard, I'd need a way to move the shelves up and down with zero effort regardless of how much or little weight was on the shelves. I think she'd like it after she got used to it, especially when you had something large to put in like a watermelon. Right now, putting large items in is a mess because you have to play the shuffle game to get it all in. I'd prefer some sort of spring setup to a hydraulic or electric setup since the idea is to save energy, but the sticking point is how to make it automatically compensate to a neutral balance between 30 and 150 pounds. The wife is green-minded, but likes her conveniences too much to do without them, and it's far more convenient to just open the fridge like it is to get what you want.

Course, my other option would be to just forget it, wait till I can build an offgrid place, then slap in a Sunfrost 12V system.
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Old 09-08-2007, 11:23 AM   #9
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Telco, would it still be an issue if the chest was lifted off the ground? So that you never have to do a toe touch to get items from the bottom?

Perhaps building a cabinet that the chest sits on so the top of the chest is around counter height would make things more convenient. Think of front loading washer/dryers with those storage cabinets underneath -- so you don't have to bend down so far to put in a load.

In any case "normal" chest refrigerators (larger ones that is), have tiered shelves that slide left/right such that they never hit each other and have enough room for taller items etc. Put one shelf, half the size of the unit per tier and put the shelves on roller skate bearings and they move very easily

It doesn't move up and down, but if you raise the lowest point and make access easy with shelving.

Just shooting ideas
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Old 09-08-2007, 12:50 PM   #10
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Not for me at 6ft 4, but she's only 5 ft 3. She already has a hard time reaching anything on the bottom, putting it on a shelf would just make it hard for her to reach stuff closer to the top. My mom's got a large chest freezer, and it's pretty funny seeing the wife trying to get stuff out of it. . She needs a foot stool and something to hold onto while she reaches. Nope, I can only do it if I can come up with a lifting shelf mechanism. I also want to make full use of the unit.

No matter though, there are other solutions. I just liked this one a lot.

Ya know, now that I think about your idea with the baskets, if I did give up the idea of using the whole thing, and just got a larger unit and only used the top half... I could line the bottom half with water jugs to act as a backup chiller. Excellent.
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