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  1. #1
    jmk89's Avatar
    jmk89 is offline Son of a Handyman
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    Default Does turning off the fridge damage it?

    SWMBO learned from her father that switching off the fridge at the power point (such as when not using it) can damage it and that the fridge may not work properly when it is turned on again.

    I have never heard this and a quick Google ("turn off refrigerator") has not indicated anything either way (except that the energy saving people keep saying you should turn off the garage fridge and that you should turn off the fridge and leave its door open if you are going away). Since the fridge cycles by turning itself off and on, it seems unlikely, unless the loss of power could affect the cycling switch itself.

    Has anyone heard this? Any knowledge or experiences?
    Cheers

    Jeremy

    When a thing's done, it's done, and if it's not done right, do it differently next time - Arthur Ransome

  2. #2
    Barry Hicks is offline Senior Member
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    Can't say I have ever heard of this causing damage.

    What I was told is that refrigerators that are not in
    use should be switched on periodically to 'stop the
    seals from drying out'.

    I don't know how true this info is but to someone who
    knows absolutely nothing about their workings, it
    sounds logical. I imagine the same would apply to
    air conditioners.

  3. #3
    Stuart's Avatar
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    With all due respect to your FIL, this sounds like an urban myth. You are absolutely correct in that the fridge turns itself on and off dozens of times a day, so doing so yourself won't cause any problems.

    It might (might) have come from a situation where the fridge was left off for some time and wouldn't restart - a seized bearing or pump, but if that was the case, it was a fridge on its last legs anyway.

    (and of course with simultaneous posting, this correlates with what Barry said!)
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  4. #4
    juan is offline Senior Member
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    Default Turning off Fridges

    After many years in the furniture removal industry and seeing 1000s of fridges turned off and moved all over the place, I do not see any issues with turning them off.

    Having said that, the very old units with freezing compartment that iced up sometimes lost gas when defrosted since the pinhole that had developed in the aluminium let the gas out once the ice was gone.
    We always advised leaving the fridge for an hour before turning it on again once it had been moved.

    Virtually never had a claim for a fridge resulting from turning off and on. Had hundreds for minor scratch and dent claims though (especially those stupid stainless steel door ones).
    Juan


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  5. #5
    wheelinround's Avatar
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    If left to long the seals can dry out and perish not just the door seals the pipe connection seals for the systems little O-rings same in AC systems this is why its best to run them during winter for a bit same for your car AC.
    One side is hot the other cold in the pipe system.

    The turning on and off when in use is the same as your AC system part of the operation of transference of gases used to operate the fridge.
    valves between the condenser and evaporator have micro switches which turn the motors/fans on and off as need be.

    Old fridge prior mid 80's gas in dangerous to your health same stuff used in previous wars to gas soldiers.
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  6. #6
    Timmo is offline wood welder
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    Absolute rubbish.

    The refrigerant is hermetically sealed. No mechanical seals or anything like that. If Domestic fridge was turned off and didnt come back to life, it would have carked it anyway. As already posted, the thermostat turns the compressor on and off anyway.

    Also domestic fridges dont have any switches or anything like that, maybe a hot gas valve in an old one.

    And wheelin is referring to phosgene. Another crock of sheisse, the only risk of it is when the refrigerant is in contact with naked flame. It lets off a vinegary smell when present. The raw refrigerant wont hurt you.

  7. #7
    Dusty Dave is offline Apprentice (new member)
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    If that were true Harvey Norman would need to have a strict stock rotation policy, to make sure they only kept the 'freshest' fridges in stock...

    FWIW those of us of a home brewing persuasion frequently fit external temperature controllers to fridges (and freezers for that matter). They work by simply connecting or disconnecting the mains power supply and we often use them seasonally.

    Never heard of an otherwise 'good' machine dying because of it.

  8. #8
    China is offline China
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    If that were the case every time there was a power failure the street would be littered with refridgerators for the council pickup

  9. #9
    Stuart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timmo View Post
    And wheelin is referring to phosgene. Another crock of sheisse, the only risk of it is when the refrigerant is in contact with naked flame. It lets off a vinegary smell when present. The raw refrigerant wont hurt you.
    So how is that a crock??

    R22 - the old refrigerant decomposes to phosgene gas in the presence of a naked fire. I don't have an old fridge, but if I did and it was located in my kitchen where the current fridge it, it would be under 2 feet from the gas stove.....hmm gas stove....naked flame.....phosgene gas. Crock? No risk?

    Old fridge, house fire, bugger the poor firemen eh? Oh right - no risk.
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  10. #10
    Timmo is offline wood welder
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart View Post
    So how is that a crock??

    R22 - the old refrigerant decomposes to phosgene gas in the presence of a naked fire. I don't have an old fridge, but if I did and it was located in my kitchen where the current fridge it, it would be under 2 feet from the gas stove.....hmm gas stove....naked flame.....phosgene gas. Crock? No risk?

    Old fridge, house fire, bugger the poor firemen eh? Oh right - no risk.
    Of course r22 forms phosgene. So does any other CFC or HCFC. Maybe you'd prefer Hydrogen Flouride which forms when an HFC (r134a for example) refrigerant decomposes? HF when in contact with water also forms hydroflouric acid. I'll take phosgene any day. I also know first hand what mild phosgene poisoning is like, as most other fridgies would.

    R22 is also still in production. Why are you worried about a fridge when an aircon holds several kilos.

    Your old fridge would hold 50-150g or refrigerant. A small leak would disperse so quickly it wouldnt make it to the flame. If it dumped straight on the flame, you'd smell it. Also, how the hell is a gas stove going to touch the pipework from 2 feet away? It would also be a pretty good stove burner to melt the silver solder.

    Stuart, before you get all high and mighty defending the firies, if my house was on fire and the firies are inside, I'd bet a month's pay they are wearing breathing apparatus. I can't think of too many things that aren't toxic when burnt.

    If i was playing with raw refrigerant (as i do most days at work) i would be worried about other things. did you know that liquid r22 at atmospheric pressure sits at around -40 degrees C? why would i worry about a toxin that doesn't exist when my hands have been snap frozen? Theres certainly risks with refrigerant handling, but like other things in life we manage our risks.

    You really should pick up a few facts before you shoot from the hip, I'm happy to point in the direction of some more documentation of refrigerants and their byproducts.

  11. #11
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    I only had a short period in auto AC the bloke who I worked with had been in it from year dot. He had suffered from burns and exposure not from any naked flame around but purely from the gas having been over heated in the system. When he cracked the joining pipe nuts he copped a skin full of pressurised hot gases in the face and lungs. NO naked flame.
    If God made man in his own image he must be of good humour, as we are all so different to look at.
    Yet all the same inside.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timmo View Post
    You really should pick up a few facts before you shoot from the hip, I'm happy to point in the direction of some more documentation of refrigerants and their byproducts.
    ?Few facts? I'm not the one who called Wheelin's answer a crock of ????? because he mentioned the decomposition of R22 to phosgene.

    Just because I don't breathe the stuff day in and day out doesn't mean I was "shooting from the hip". At least when I was in situations where phosgene gas was potentially present I had breathing apparatus and toxic gas sensors. Guess I must have been a bit soft, and should have taken it like a fridgie with my dose of mild poisoning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Timmo View Post
    the only risk of it is when the refrigerant is in contact with naked flame
    I'm confused - you say it isn't a problem at all and can be ignored, yet while we are talking about refrigerators (not air con units) you state that there is situations where there is risk (ie when it contacts a naked flame, and at that stage noone was talking about a stove somehow managing to burn pipes.
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  13. #13
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    Thanks guys for answering my question (as well as providing some very heated discussion of phosgene...)
    Cheers

    Jeremy

    When a thing's done, it's done, and if it's not done right, do it differently next time - Arthur Ransome

  14. #14
    Timmo is offline wood welder
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart View Post
    it was located in my kitchen where the current fridge it, it would be under 2 feet from the gas stove.....hmm gas stove....naked flame.....phosgene gas. Crock? No risk?
    Now who started talking about the gas stove? I don't see how a stove could cause a toxic diaster in a house.

    yet while we are talking about refrigerators (not air con units) you state that there is situations where there is risk (ie when it contacts a naked flame, and at that stage noone was talking about a stove somehow managing to burn pipes.
    I mention air con units because they are just big fridges and you are talking up the phosgene risk of a fridge which dims in comparison to an A/C unit. I mentioned situations which imply a risk of toxic byproducts to explain why they won't be present in raw refrigerant.

    ?Few facts? I'm not the one who called Wheelin's answer a crock of ????? because he mentioned the decomposition of R22 to phosgene.
    Phosgene will not occur in cooked refrigerant as a result of exceeding critical temp. Thermal decomposition and combustion are two separate processes. Phosgene production requires oxygen and very high temps.

    Old fridge prior mid 80's gas in dangerous to your health same stuff used in previous wars to gas soldiers.
    wheelin suggested that phosgene was present in old systems. It isn't. simple. A spade being a spade, If its not a crock of ......, then what is it? Phosgene needs to be produced.

    Also R12 was in production in Australia until 1994.
    Automotive A/C systems dont use r22. (due to high head pressures)
    Domestic fridges don't have seals that need to be lubricated. (they are hermetically sealed)

    Guess I must have been a bit soft
    That would explain why you're so precious about this subject. (if that doesn't make stuart ban me, nothing will!)

  15. #15
    Brickie is offline Registered User
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    I think its true, the last time I moved a fridge from one house to another I ran an extension cord all the way, bit of a bugger really as it was over 130kms, still, it saved the fridge..

  16. #16
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    Every time I read this title I think its about wood turning. Turning with a frig? Never heard of it.
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    Brickie is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by tea lady View Post
    Turning with a frig? Never heard of it.
    You either turn with a frig or without a frig, from what Ive seen most dont give a frig..

  18. #18
    jmk89's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tea lady View Post
    Every time I read this title I think its about wood turning. Turning with a frig? Never heard of it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Brickie View Post
    You either turn with a frig or without a frig, from what Ive seen most dont give a frig..

    Of course it's about turning:

    See this thread - http://www.woodworkforums.ubeaut.com...hlight=freezer
    Cheers

    Jeremy

    When a thing's done, it's done, and if it's not done right, do it differently next time - Arthur Ransome

  19. #19
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart View Post
    Well that's another way to dry out the wood!!
    Cheers

    Jeremy

    When a thing's done, it's done, and if it's not done right, do it differently next time - Arthur Ransome

  21. #21
    Stuart's Avatar
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    Just trying to make some phosgene to sniff

    (anyway, couldn't find a "ducking for cover" smilie!!)
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