It may seem that “refrigeration” fashion and trends do not exist, and the design of refrigerators has not changed for decades. In fact, fashion trends and trends affect this rather conservative category of technology. Seemingly insignificant, innovations strongly influence the evolution of refrigeration units.
In this article, let’s talk about fashion trends in refrigerators.
Refrigerator form factor
The classic two-chamber arrangement of the refrigerator is in no hurry to give up its positions. The refrigerator and freezer, combined in one case, will be relevant for a long time. However, over time, the freezer “moved” down. This has nothing to do
with a change in production technology or the invention of a new refrigeration unit scheme. It’s all about ergonomics! It was calculated that the freezer is used several times less often than the refrigerator. In order not to bend over each time, taking food out of the refrigerator, in modern models the freezer is located
below the main compartment.
However, the classic model is not enough if you have a large family. Here we need high-capacity models. This segment is dominated by Side by Side refrigerators
and so-called French door units. With their external similarity, these are completely different form factors of refrigerators. On Side by Side, the refrigerator and freezer compartments are located vertically side by side.
The French door has a classic layout of chambers, in which the freezer compartment is located below the refrigerator compartment.
This system saves space in the kitchen as less space is required to open the refrigerator doors. It also uses less energy – there is no need to open all the doors at the same time. With this approach, less warm air enters the refrigerating chamber, and, therefore, it will be “easier” for the compressor to return the temperature inside to the desired values. Simultaneous opening of all “French” doors may be necessary to place large, wide dishes in the chamber.
As impressive as the volume of Side by Side refrigerators is, it still cannot compete with the capacity of two separate units. It is not difficult to pick them up in the same style now. Such solutions are called block or modular refrigerators.
Block refrigerators have several advantages:
easy transportation, which cannot be compared with the delivery to the place of the bulky Side by Side;
the ability to install units both side by side, imitating one huge refrigerator,
or separately, organically fitting them into the interior of the kitchen;
large usable volume of both refrigerating and freezing chambers.
Switching the role of the refrigerator
Block models are usually equipped with another promising technology – the ability to switch roles. Such a device can perform the functions of both a refrigerator and a freezer, and the switching of the desired operating mode is carried out by simply pressing the keys on the control panel.
Depending on the current needs, the user can easily get either a refrigerator
and freezer or one large freezer. Such functionality will be indispensable during seasonal harvesting, when even one large freezer is not enough.
Useful volume of the refrigerator
The geometric dimensions of the device are a kind of constant in the world of refrigeration fashion. They are dictated by several factors:
the width of doorways, flights of stairs, elevators;
ceiling heights in typical housing construction;
the depth of the working surface of kitchen furniture.
Being within the framework of this kind of standard, manufacturers try not to exceed the permissible dimensions of their models, so the additional usable volume of the refrigerator can be obtained in just one single way – by reducing the thickness of the device’s walls.
It is important to understand here that a few liters of additional volume in any case will result in additional costs for the user. Either due to the initial increase in the cost of the refrigeration unit, since it uses more advanced thermal insulation materials, or due to an increase in operating costs associated with increased energy consumption due to poor thermal insulation of the refrigerating chamber.
If you need a lot of volume, the Side by Side or French door models are better suited. due to their width, they give more usable volume.
Opening angle 90 degrees
In the list of curious functions of refrigerators, you can find an interesting parameter – the opening angle of 90 degrees. The name alone is already causing genuine amazement
among inexperienced users, since the refrigerator doors have long been “learned” to swing open at much larger angles.
This is a little about something else. This parameter means that when the door is opened only 90 degrees, nothing will interfere with the removal of shelves
and containers. This is very important in the limited space of the kitchen, when the refrigerator is installed close to a wall or other piece of furniture, and there is no way
to open the door wider.
In the characteristics of refrigerators, this function may not be indicated, so the user needs to be able to determine its presence on his own, if necessary. You need to carefully study the photos of the model you like. If the shelves of the refrigerator compartment and the door compartments are at different levels, then there is an opportunity to remove the shelf when the refrigerator door is opened 90 degrees.
If the shelves of the refrigerating chamber and the “balconies” of the doors are located at the same level,
then this functionality is not available and there will be problems with removing the shelves and containers in a limited space.
Or go to the nearest store and establish it experimentally.
Another fashion trend that manufacturers look up to is the so-called zero gap. We are talking about the ability to install the refrigerator close to the wall without the need to leave a small distance to open the door.
The presence of this option is highly desirable in built-in models of refrigerators or in the manufacture of a kitchen set to order. So you do not have to sacrifice precious centimeters of the working area of the countertop.
Regardless of the cooling system used in the refrigerator, its main
and main task is the correct production of cold. And this is impossible without a compressor. Fashion trends have not spared them either.
Initially, refrigerators were equipped with compressors consisting of an electric motor that drives the piston of the unit by means of a crank mechanism.
In this design, the rotation of the shaft of the electric motor is converted into a reciprocating movement of the piston in the cylinder, due to which the pressure of the refrigerant
in the system and its forced circulation in the circuit is created.
Such a compressor has a complex design and a large number of friction pairs, which leads to completely unnecessary energy losses and increases the likelihood of mechanical damage to moving parts. Conventional compressors are quite noisy and have the lowest efficiency compared to other types of designs.
A logical continuation of the evolution of compressors was the invention of linear units, in which there is only one friction pair – a piston-cylinder. In such a design, which is in essence a linear motor, the piston is pushed into the cylinder under the action of the electromagnetic field of the windings and immediately returns back due to the pressure of the return spring on it.
The movement of the piston leads to an increase in the pressure of the refrigerant in the system and its circulation. Since there are no “extra friction pairs” in a linear compressor, such units are more efficient, quieter and, most importantly, more compact.
Both types of compressors are still used in refrigerators. In conventional control circuits, they work cyclically, that is, they turn on at full power when it is necessary to lower the temperature in the refrigerator compartment and turn off when the set value is reached. This mode of operation does not have the best effect on the state of the compressor, since it is associated with the frequent occurrence of transient processes in the compressor windings, which negatively affect their state.
Inverter control of the compressor solves this problem, since the unit works constantly, only its performance (the frequency of movement of the piston in the cylinder) changes, which increases the reliability of the system and reduces its energy consumption.
In the long term, buying a refrigerator with an inverter compressor will be more profitable due to the energy savings.
However, it is worth knowing that the inverter is sensitive to the “purity” of the supply voltage. Sharp jumps and drops are unacceptable! This could damage the electronics. Inverter controlled refrigerators are strongly recommended to be connected to the mains supply through a voltage stabilizer.
Despite the conservatism of the design, refrigerators are changing and the technologies introduced into their production are developing along with technical progress. The technical part of the changes is hardly noticeable to the consumer, since it is hidden deep inside the device. The average consumer is more interested in the design and functionality of the model, and it is to these issues that most of the attention is paid when choosing. But in vain! In the first place should be the technical part, because it is she who is the key to a long and trouble-free operation of the refrigerator.
As for the auxiliary functionality, when choosing, you should sensibly evaluate the offered options and decide for yourself whether they are really needed and whether they will be useful in the daily use of the refrigerator.