Preparation: Protecting your fridge from Blackouts and Brownouts

As energy becomes more expensive and we all start our descent, we will no longer be able to depend on constant, reliable, electricity through the electricity grid. Don’t believe me? Have a look at this story on the National Grid from the Times. So in a post-peak-oil world it looks like we need to get used to the level of electrical reliability that non-western countries have long experienced: random, prolonged, blackouts and brownouts (where the voltage drops).

Most electrical equipment will cope with blackouts with just a surge protector, but I hadn’t realised that it’s not the case with any refrigeration equipment – fridges, freezers, aircon units etc. In a brownout these need to be disconnected rapidly or their motors will burn out, and in a blackout they need to have a delayed re-start to prevent any problems with high-pressure gas.

Luckily other people know this stuff, and apparently what you need is a Fridge Brownout protector like the  Fridgeguard from Sollatek. The other alternative is a DC fridge, connected to your solar PV battery supply (subject of a future post!). Sunfrost make great full-size 12v and 24v fridges which might be a good future-proof purchase, as well as using around 20% of the energy of a standard fridge.

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