Benefits of Evaporation Fridges

If you are planning on going off grid or living in a tiny home, a huge obstacle can be putting in a refrigerator. If you are using solar or wind power, a refrigerator can be extremely taxing on an already stressed system. You could completely forgo a refrigerator and opt instead for preserving food and a root cellar, but that doesn’t let you keep cold drinks or many dairy products for any real length of time. You could get refrigerators specifically made for solar systems, but they still require more power than just about anything else you would have run off the system. A good alternative is an evaporation fridge, a simple system that allows you to keep food cold for several days without power. In fact, all you need is a shaded area and a breeze to keep things cool.

Easy to Make

An evaporation fridge is very simple to make, a basic model only requires two terra cotta pots, some sand, a water source, and a lid. You take a small pot and put it inside a large pot with sand between the two. Water is then dripped into the sand to keep is saturated, and the system is placed in a warm shaded area with a breeze. The evaporating water keeps the inside of the smaller pot at a cool temperature. There are various benefits to using an evaporation fridge including;

Wide Variety of Designs

The ability to preserve food has been a necessity since the dawn of humanity, so it makes sense that there would be so many different variations of the evaporation fridge. We have gotten so accustomed to having refrigerators in our house that we kind of forget that there ever used to be a way to keep food cool without electricity, or that people all over the world are still doing it to this day. That’s why there are so many different varieties of evaporation fridges out there, like the zeer pot mentioned above, a burlap and shelf version that works in the same basic way, radiant cooling refrigerators that uses a device similar to a solar cooker to function, or the more modern style evaporative fridge like the Mitticool Fridge that recycles the water for clean drinking.

Good For the Environment

Refrigerators are one of the biggest energy drains in your house. They use a huge amount of electricity. If you were to switch out to an evaporation model you could easily reduce almost half of your energy usage. That also means it has less of an impact on the environment and is a great option for people looking to reduce their carbon footprint.

Inexpensive

Because you are using less electricity your monthly energy bills can go down using an evaporative fridge. And, if you are off grid you can save more since you would need a smaller solar or wind system to run your house reducing your upfront costs. The fridge itself is also very cheap. Nearly all models are DIY meaning they can cost anywhere from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars depending on how elaborate you would like to make them compared to an electric fridge that can cost nearly a thousand dollars for even a basic model they are a steal.

Evaporative refrigerators keep your food items cool and preserved without costing thousands of dollars or running on electricity. They are the perfect option for anyone looking to go off grid or reduce their impact on the environment. If you are having trouble finding an option for a refrigerator that doesn’t run on electricity, like I was, an evaporation fridge is a perfect option.

Images Courtesy: Sustainabilitybox.com – https://sustainabilitybox.com/making-pot-pot-refrigerator/

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4 thoughts on “Benefits of Evaporation Fridges

  1. I’m off grid, and my fridge and freezer would be the last appliances that I would sacrifice. They are not ” the most expensive” appliances to run, and essential for consistent food storage, since, afterall, safe food storage is necessary for survival, especially when you’re self-sufficient in food. Modern fridges and freezers are very efficient and low power usage.
    Evaporative fridges are not reliable, not thermostatically controlled, and are not even an option in humid conditions, since evaporation depends on low humidity, not just air movement. Another point – how much food does a ceramic pot hold. The concept is novel, but totally impractical.
    BTW – we only have a 3kW solar array, and our fridge and freezer amount to about 10% of our total power use.

  2. Backing Beverly’s beef, my friend Jerry Landrum recommends his customers switch to top loading freezers for numerous reasons. First, it only takes a half hour to switch out the thermostat to lock into the 30°-42°ƒ range for regular cold items. Second, the cold settles in the bin when you open it rather than spilling across the kitchen floor.

    1. I have made a chest-fridge, it works well and uses very little power (73kWh/year). However, the space it uses in the kitchen is larger than an upright, the space is more difficult to use efficiently, and if you need a freezer as well, you won’t be saving any power by having a second chest freezer used as a freezer.
      Also, make sure the freezer has suitable gas pipes for refrigerator temperatures, as most use rolled steel under the assumption that the pipes will stay frozen. My chest-freezer used as a refrigerator only lasted 3 years before they rusted and it leaked the refrigerant out.

      My 310L upright fridge/freezer uses 282kWh/year, which my <1kW off-grid system provides for. The fridge is the No.1 priority for me right now, keeping food/drink/medicine at 4°C on a 40+°C day is pure bliss, as is not driving to the shops every 3 days for perishables! :)

  3. We have used a Coolgardie safe made from milk crates, beach towels and drip dray on long camping trips. Great for keeping fruit and veges fresh.

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