How does a refrigerator work? One often wonders looking at one of the basic modern household appliances one cannot live without. A refrigerator has made possible to keep food fresh for a long time by cooling it. How does a refrigerator work by cooling? How does a refrigerator cool things inside?
First refrigerators for home use appeared in 1913, with the introduction of Freon in 1920’s and 1930’s the market drastically increased. The introduction of freezers as a separate compartment in 1940’s on top is a practice followed till today. Newer features like automatic defrosting, chilled water and ice from dispenser were slowly added to modern refrigerators.
How Does A Refrigerator Work
A refrigerator works by keeping the airtight compartment cool to the specified level. This is achieved by using a vapor-compression refrigeration system (VCRS). A gas or liquid called refrigerant is used as a transporter of heat by the fridge compressor to remove heat from a compartment to cool it. The 4 steps of how does a refrigerator work are::
- The refrigerator compressor raises the pressure of the gaseous refrigerant and pushes it into the coils outside the cooling compartment.
- The refrigerant when forced into pipes outside meet high temperature forcing it to become liquid, which increases the already high pressure in the refrigerant.
- Once passing the expansion valve the refrigerant enters the thick coils in the freezer, where it slowly evaporates into gas as it slowly absorbs heat, thereby cooling fridge from inside.
- The air inside the fridge cools down, the gaseous refrigerant flows back to the compressor, where the entire cycle starts all over again.
Different Types Of Refrigerators
Now that you know how does a refrigerator work, you realize it is an important appliance that a home cannot do without. Buying a refrigerator or fridge is a decision with long-term implications and should be a wise investment which is well informed too. There are different types of refrigerators commonly available with a different set of advantages and usages. Special features in refrigerators add to costs and one should consider the budget while keeping in mind what’s required and what to skip.
Fridge or refrigerators come in different shapes and sizes, from the very basic to feature-rich models that may feature LCD touch screens and even stainless steel refrigerators. These different models cater to different usages or ease of use, however, their basic function remains the same to cool and protect food from getting rotten.
Top Freezer Refrigerators
Top-freezer refrigerators are the most common of fridge types in the market and are most popular too among the customers. It is the standard type of refrigerator which features a freezer compartment on top of the fresh food section. 1/3rd of the total space may be used by the freezer. These types of refrigerators have a lot of space inside and larger dishes can be stored easily. The freezer compartment may or may not have a separate door. These are most economical too.
These need a lot of wide deep space for installation. The door is quite big which requires ample room for it to open completely. People who are short in height and children may find it hard to reach the back of the freezer. See top freezer models here
Bottom Freezer Refrigerators
Bottom freezer fridges are similar to top freezer fridges except for the fact the freezer is placed at the bottom. The bottom freezer is usually opened as a drawer, while the top section is for fresh foods and has a door. Acess to fresh foods section is more convenient. These too need deep and wide space for installation. as the models may vary, the fresh food section may not be able to store larger dishes. These are little more costly than top freezer models and access to the frozen food section is less convenient. See the best bottom freezer models here
Side By Side Door Refrigerators
Side by side fridges have 2 doors that open like a cabinet to house both a fresh foods section and a freezer unit that run along the length of the refrigerator. The fresh foods section may be a wider than freezer section, but both the sections are narrower compared to the top freezer models. This can lead to big sized dishes not getting fit inside to store. These fridges have both the foods sections conveniently accessible to the user. These are expensive and big sized.
The side by side refrigerators come with additional features like water and ice dispenser. They may have LCD touchscreen controls. Again, they may have less space for bigger items and fresh foods section is smaller than other models. Find the best side by side refrigerator models here
French Door Refrigerators
French door fridges are the combination of side by side door refrigerators and bottom freezer fridges. These fridges are elegant to look at and blend with interiors nicely. French door refrigerators are the most expensive type of refrigerators. These generally have additional features such as water or ice dispenser and may come with 3 or 4 doors. They may also have LCD touch screens for fridge controls for different sections.
These fridges have wide shelves which mean one can store big and wide dishes easily. The 4 door options have adjustable temperature control for different sections providing the best performance. The narrow doors provide more flexible installations in a modular kitchen. Some even call it the best refrigerator. See the best french door refrigerator models here
Freezerless fridges are fridges without a freezer compartment. These are useful if one has an additional freezer unit at home. These typically offer much larger space for fresh foods and can easily accommodate big sized dishes. These are available in different shapes such as upright, double door or side by side door or compact size. You can buy freezerless fridges models here
Compact Refrigerators/Mini Fridge
These are very small refrigerators ideal for a single person use or a home office. It has hardly any storage compared to other models. It is best to store liquids for cooling or small dishes.It may have little or no freezing compartment. These find their main usage in small offices or guest rooms or hotel rooms as a personal fridge. These are not so efficient as compared to the bigger refrigerators. Check out mini fridge models here
Beverage Coolers/Wine Coolers
Beverage coolers or wine coolers are special refrigerators designed to keep drinks cool. These mostly have clean glass doors that allows seeing how much or many beverages are left. These fridges vary from compact size to full-fledged models that can store hundreds of bottles. The cooling vents may be specifically designed to allow a faster throughput of beverages especially in restaurants and commercial places. Top models of beverage coolers may have different temperature zoning to maintain different drinks at different temperatures. See the best beverage coolers models here
Considerations Before Buying a Refrigerator
Buying a refrigerator is one of the basic requirements of home, an important decision, which is also an investment for good fresh food and good health. Now that you know how does a refrigerator work or how do fridges work, it will be easier to select what you want. While every person or a family have their own requirements that should help in buying a new fridge, the following considerations should be thought over too.
- Capacity – Refrigerator capacity is to be considered seriously depending upon the number of people served and eating habits. Higher the capacity, higher the price.
- Finished Look – The fridges are available in a variety of enamel color finishes or brushed steel or even wooden finishes or even a stainless steel refrigerator. You can decide what goes best with your kitchen interior.
- Features – Refrigerators are available with a host of features such as water dispenser, ice dispenser, to LCD screens and web access. Differential climate control in different areas is a good feature to look for. More sophisticated features add to a higher price, so think about what you really need.
- Energy Efficiency – this should be a major factor in buying a fridge. The higher the energy efficiency, the better the refrigerator is going to perform, and lower are the electricity bills. More advanced refrigerators are more efficient too, but they can cost a little more.
- Type Of Fridge – now that you know how does a refrigerator work and which are the different types of refrigerators in the market, you will find it easier to see what goes best for you based on your expected usage.
- Budget – budget is very important, one has to stay within limits of spending. Every added feature or higher capacity adds to price and you need to know where to make the bargain. Again everything depends on what is important for you.
Summarizing everything in simple terms, a refrigerator keeps food fresh by keeping food inside it cool. This happens by the compressor rotating refrigerant gas throughout the fridge to remove heat from within it and releasing it outside. Different types of refrigerators serve different purposes and different usages and you know the pros and cons. Go ahead buy the one you want or plan for it wisely. See some nice refrigerators models here