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27 December 2009

The Porcherator

For those of you who have been keeping up, the freezer portion of my refrigerator was on the fritz. I have been ignoring it, because I have a chest freezer. DH was convinced that it was a rice pack I keep in the freezer falling through the shelf wires and propping it open, I knew better but didn't argue.

At any rate it would take all day to get cold, and then it would be much colder than needed (I keep thermometers in the fridge and freezers) and stay cold for a day or two and then completely thaw and start the process over again.

The fridge portion of the unit was over cold. I had it on its lowest setting and it was just below the lowest temperature setting for a fridge. Then last night I noticed it had crept all the way up to the high end, so I turned the fridge up... nothing, turned it up to its highest setting and its keeping temp at about 50 degrees which is 10 degrees higher than I want.

Before going to bed, I retrieved the cooler and two milk jugs of ice, to put all the dairy and meats in overnight, hoping when I got up this morning the fridge would be back to normal temp. No such luck. So since its only 30ish degrees here and the top temp for the day is 37 its safe to keep all our refridgerables on the shelf on the porch. I have a thermometer on the shelf to check the temperature regularly. I will have to pack them in the coolers overnight and bring them in to prevent freezing. But when I do that I will empty the freezer in the basement and thaw it overnight. Technically I could probably use this plan all winter, but we do get some awfully warm days and I would have to plan for those cool days by putting everything in the coolers with ice.

I have a call into my appliance repair man. I am hoping it needs a refridgerant charge, we have after all had this machine for 5-7 years (no I don't know when we bought it). We bought the house June of 2000, and had a junky yellow fridge when we moved in (at least it matched the yellow metal cabinets).  Then we upgraded to a second hand me down from my parents (when the yellow one stopped working) and when the second hand me down bit the dust my mother in law purchased a new fridge for us as a gift.  I believe that was in the 3rd year or so that we owned the house, but I am not sure.

The last repair on the fridge had to do with the thermostat. It was all iced over in the back of the freezer and the auto thaw wasn't working. That cost me about $150. I could get a base model fridge (smaller than what I have) for $300-$500, what I have for $800+. So I am hoping the repair is reasonable. But we did just repair it last year, so if its in need of another repair already I am getting close to having bought a new fridge. I would however like to repair it and then take January and February to search out a new energy efficient base model (maybe even smaller than what we have, one without a freezer if necessary). Its a good thing I have some money in savings right now.

It does have me thinking about how I can be more frugal however. If I can rely on my porch to be cold enough then couldn't I build an cold storage box on the porch and not use the fridge in the colder months? I am not sure my family would go for it, and it would require work from me. I was thinking a shelving unit with a hay layer around all the sides, then everything that went into it would need to be cold. I could freeze ice buckets over night when the temperature drops and place them in the cold storage box when the days are going to be a bit warmer.

Its a thought for next year. I will have to track how the temps are throughout the day this winter to see if I really can do it, but in this area I could probably turn the fridge off for January and February and possibly Dec and March. That is up to 4 months that the fridge could be off.

Update (12/28) - So I spoke with DH about the porcherator and he isn't thrilled with it, particularly because it can be a lot of work, so we will be getting a new fridge. I would like to know what is wrong with this fridge, but my appliance repair guy hasn't called back. So now I am looking for a new appliance repair guy. At any rate I didn't put anything away in coolers last night. The lowest the temp got last night was 24, so some things are a bit colder than ideal, but nothing is frozen yet and when I got up this morning the porch was at a cool 25 degrees. Its supposed to remain cold today and get colder, so I will check the temp when I get home from work and probably move the eggs and milk and veggies into the coolers tonight and empty the freezer.

On a positive note, yesterday was a glass half full day for me. Even though the fridge is broken, and no one called me back, we took advantage of lovely Western New York weather to save our food. I was at the Home Depot looking at fridges and we are looking at $400 for a small cheap model. I could put it on my Depot card with no interest and make $50 payments for 6 months (which I might do), but first I want to go to a couple of other appliance places and see what they have for us.

We made more leftovers for dinner last night. I used up more of the prime rib, some holiday sausage, peppers, and onions along with the last of the cheese from the cheese trays to make Quesadillas. I also used up all the lettuce and salad (as they don't handle extreme cold to well). Everyone was happy with dinner. I have a bit of Prime Rib left over, which I am thinking I will check and see if we can push it to Wed. If I can we can use it for sandwiches for DH and I with peppers on the leftover dinner rolls, for the drive down to his Dad's. Just a thought.

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My Green is Frugal To Do List

  • Sunday Cooking Days
  • Saturday Park Days
  • Bake My Own Bread
  • Set Up Sewing Space
  • Upcycle Craft Space
  • Space for Scrapbooks
  • Rear Yard
  • Lasagna Beds
  • Clear the Clutter
  • Spend More Time w Family/Friends w/o Money
  • Eliminate Debts
  • Recycling Station on the Front Porch
  • Waste Less
  • Unplug and Turn Off Entertainment Center Every Night
  • Cloth Wipies
  • Use Hankies instead of Tissues
  • Move to Cloth instead of Paper Towels - DONE! Thanks to GreenerYet!

2012 (2011) (2010) Christmas To Do List

  • Ornaments from the girls to lots of peoples :)
  • Dad: Seeds for the garden
  • Mums: Seeds for the garden
  • SMIL: Headrest Couch Covers
  • Joe: Jets Fleece Tie Blanket
  • Billy: Homemade Goodies (pinksters); fleece tie blanket
  • FIL: Basket of Homemade Goodies
  • SFIL: ?
  • MIL: Scrapbook from Trip Out West
  • DH: Green and Black Scarf
  • A: Art Caddy; Quilt (Celestial);
  • S: Pressed Flowers Book; Button Tree Quilt;

My Wish List

  • Small Square Glass Containers
  • Glass Casserole Pans
  • Solar Oven
  • Cast Iron Pans
  • Wide Mouth Canning Jars in 1/2 pint and pint sizes
  • Pressure Canner
  • Water Bath Canner