Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Dumb Question Of the Day

Last night, as the outside temperature plummeted toward -10 and with unlimited cold air free for the taking just outside my window, I listened to my refrigerator’s compressor running as it MADE MORE cold air. Sooooooooooooooo…..

Instead of running a compressor year-round, why can’t appliance designers create some sort of through-the-wall fitting to cool the frig’s contents with metered amounts of winter’s free, outside air?

Yes, I know it wouldn’t work during the summer. And electric utilities have all sorts of excess generating capacity during the winter months. And compressor bearings probably last longer when they’re oiled and running. And my frig isn’t on an outside wall so there’s the issue of piping the cold air TO the frig. And the fitting would need to be designed not to admit the odd, leftover chicken-seeking squirrel…blah, blah, blah. Trivial engineering problems, these.

Meanwhile, I’m paying the utility company (and by extension, some megalomaniacal oilfield-owning tinpot dictator) to run a gizmo to create something that’s freely available a few feet away. Am I missing something? It's OK to call me dumb.

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