Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Fixing the fridge design.


I am one of those people that prepares for emergencies.  I look for potential issues, then I try to mitigate them.  If I can't mitigate the issue, I look to plan procedures to enact when an issue arises.  One such measure I adopted was buying an electricity generator.  My generator has been indispensable for saving everyone else's bacon, but so far, I've never had to use it personally for my own house.

The biggest thing my generator has been used for is to keep people's refrigerators from spoiling food during an extended outage.  When you consider the cost of replacing the contents of the average family fridge-freezer, you're normally in the range of upwards of $400.  So, my generator that itself cost about $400 has probably saved people several thousand dollars.

But there's a problem. The socket to my Frigidaire fridge-freezer is behind the appliance, and when it's loaded with food, it weighs too much to slide out and access the socket.  Such is the problem of fitted appliances.

Then it struck me:  In the same way humanity worked out it was a good idea to move some USB ports from the back of PC's to the front where users can easily access them, the common design of refrigerators is fundamentally in need of a quick change, too.  

If you add a socket to the front of the fridge - down at the bottom next to the air vent - and a power detecting switch (to re-route the input draw current from the rear of the appliance to the front), then now you don't have to move the appliance, and can still run emergency power to it from an extension cord that is plugged into an outside generator.

Someone needs to implement this, given the increase in weather disasters that affect power to so many people on such a regular basis.