My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: DIY Alternative Energy - How to make a portable Refrigerator and How to reduce your house's Electricity Bill

Friday, August 2, 2013

DIY Alternative Energy - How to make a portable Refrigerator and How to reduce your house's Electricity Bill

If you live in Jamaica, then you know how hot it gets. Thus the fan or the air conditioner in your house will be running continuously driving up your Electricity Bill. Seriously run up your Electricity Bill.

With few options other than going to the Beach to cool down, sitting in a plastic Swimming Pool or designing a Solar and Sound Powered Fan as per my blog article entitled “Global Warming and the Quest for Efficient Cooling – From Bladeless Fans to Blade Runner”, this expense can quickly overwhelm you to the point of having to choose between paying said Bill or buying Textbooks and clothes for the kids come September.
So is there any way you can make your Appliances use less Power, aside from spending on a costly Alternative Energy Gear from either ATL (Appliance Traders Limited) or JPS Co’s (Jamaica Power Service Company) ePower Store as described in my blog article entitled “ATL goes into Alternative Energy at the same time JPSCo goes into Retail of Energy Saving Gear - ATL Elite The Gransmaster in a burgeoning Alternative Energy Field in Jamaica”?

A simple alternative may be to build your own Alternative Energy Gear from Scratch or modify Appliances to use less Power. My article will reveal how to do this in a series I’d like to call DIY Alternative Energy and this article will be the first in the series.

Air Conditioners and fans - Cooling is the thing to save on Power Usage

The main thing in most houses that sinks your power Bill is Cooling, contributing to a whopping 65% of your house’s Electricity Bill as revealed by Dr. Michael Taylor, Climatologist and Head of the Department of Physics, Pure and Applied Sciences, University of the West Indies at the Energy Conference 2011 on Monday September 19th 2011AD in my blog article entitled “Dr. Taylor's states Global Warming increasing Jamaica's Energy Bill - Vybz Kartel's Summertime Soylent Green”.

So that’s the first thing you can attack. Not lighting, as realistically, they are only turned on at night. Lighting’s only important if the majority of your electricity usage is based around Incandescent Bulbs.
Thus talk of replacing Incandescent Bulbs with Fluorescent or LED (Light Emitting Diode) under the newly rebranded Cuba-Jamaica Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) Project as stated in my blog article entitled “Minister Paulwell revives Cuban Light Bulb Program - How to Ban Incandescent Bulbs and focus on production of LED Bulbs in Jamaica” really benefits the environment, not your Wallet!

Here are a few Tips to reduce the need to use a Fan or Air Conditioning Unit in the First Place:

1.      Have the Air Conditioning Units mounted closer to the ground. This allows the room to cool faster as it’s not cooling the entire room
2.      Install an Intelligent Thermostat that shuts off the Air conditioning Unit once it reaches the required Temperature such as the Nest Thermostat as described in my blog article entitled “Nest Labs and Honeywell locked in battle over Self-Learning Thermostat - War of the Worlds over My Science Project that Apple loves
3.      Have the Air Conditioning Unit Properly serviced so as to make sure it’s not leaking Coolant Gas and its Filters are clean
4.      Painting the Roof White and installing Black Felt under the Roof is also a good idea, if it’s your house.

The DIY Refrigerator - Refrigerators that cools when it’s hot

The Refrigerator is the hardest part though. Here are a few Tips:

1.      Anti-sweat and automatic ice making features of refrigerators are incredibly inefficient, increasing electricity consumption by 5-10% or 14-20% respectively. Disable them permanently
2.      Before going away on vacations, empty and clean fridges and leave them open
3.      Clean your Refrigerator regularly and plan for meals to avoid excess wastage.
4.      Cool hot foods before putting them in the fridge.
5.      Defrost freezers regularly as it's less efficient if thick, insulating ice coatings exist.
6.      Do not leave fridge doors open for extended periods of time. Try to conserve energy by getting all of the ingredients out at once.
7.      Ensure that there is space at the back, sides and top of fridges to allow excess heat to escape. Restricting aeration adds 15% to Fridge energy usage
8.      Get a smaller Fridge and use less power overall
9.      If a fridge has a lot of free space, try putting some bottles of water in it to use the space
10.  Keeping a fridge full is best as it means there is less space to cool. However, don't overpack as it'll work harder and air circulation can be obstructed.
11.  Keeping foods and liquids covered will reduce moisture which can cause the refrigerator compressor to work harder.
12.  Place refrigerators in cool places i.e. avoid direct sunlight or other heat sources e.g. oven or dishwasher
13.  Regularly check that fridge seals are clean and close properly. Test Seal effectiveness by placing a piece of paper over a seal and closing the door. If the paper slides easily then seals need to be replaced.
14.  Uses a thermos or insulated Ice Cooler to keep cool drinks outside on hand instead of opening the Refrigerator all the time
15.  When thawing frozen foods, place it in the fridge section. Cools the rest of the fridge and reduces electricity consumption.

Here’s a diagram for a Portable Refrigerator design. I can’t tell you how to make it, as its design requires the hands of a skilled metalworker.
It parts are obvious though:

1.      Inner Cylinder made of Stainless Steel
2.      Outer Cylinder made of Wood or Steel with 1 cm holes spaced on 1cm apart
3.      Sieve for sifting Sand
4.      Ultrafine Sand
5.      Wooden Dowel 
6.      Fine Cloth Mesh
7.      Distilled Water, which you should have tons of from the improved Solar Desalinator with the Fresnel Lens as described in my blog article entitled “How to upgrade your Solar Desalinator to a Solar Cooker and make a Solar Foundry for Vacuum Pyrolysis

The construction’s also fairly straightforward:

1.      Have a metalworker construct the Inner Cylinder made of Stainless Steel
2.      Have the same metalworker construct the Outer Cylinder made of Wood or Steel with 1 cm holes spaced on 1cm apart so that it fits with 2cm spacing
3.      Use the Sieve for sifting Sand and sieve until there are no pebbles and the sand is very fine
4.      Assemble the Inner Cylinder made of Stainless Steel and the Outer Cylinder made of Wood or Steel with 1 cm holes spaced on 1cm apart, making sure they fit ok
5.      Wrap the inside of the Inner Cylinder made of Stainless Steel and the Outer Cylinder made of Wood or Steel with 1 cm holes spaced on 1cm apart with Fine Cloth Mesh
6.      Assemble the Inner Cylinder made of Stainless Steel and the Outer Cylinder made of Wood or Steel with 1 cm holes spaced on 1cm apart and fill the 2cm spacing with the sand.
7.      Make sure to use the Wooden Dowel to pack the Ultrafine Sand until its evenly packed with no air pockets
8.      Wet the Ultrafine Sand in the 2cm spacing with Distilled water, making sure it fully saturated
9.      The portable Refrigerator is ready and as the Distilled Water evaporates, it cools the Fridge to a cool 6 Degrees Celcius, perfect for keeping Ice Cream

The Final Word - Keeping Cool is Best done Outdoors

Even better advice that that dispensed above is to not stay in the house during the summer months and dress in light coloured clothing, keeping Cool by keeping properly hydrated as advised in my blog article entitled “How to find work in Jamaica at Call Centers - Drink Bottled Water as Dehydration and Salty Foods makes you lose concentration” Keeping cool need not drain your Electricity Budget. Simple tips to reduce your houses Electricity Bill are the 2 Guns (2013) you need!

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