Four weeks now without a fridge and going strong. We’ve had a lot of questions about the experiment and how it’s gone so far. Last week, a friend asked if we knew yet if we planned to continue, or if we were going to plug back in after the month was up. The honest answer, at this point is yes, and I don’t know yet.
Yes, we plan to continue living without the fridge plugged in, at least for a while. Partially because it’s not been that hard or that big of an inconvenience. Partially because I really want to get a full month’s billing cycle (or maybe two) from our power company under our belts, so we can compare the bills to last year. I don’t know how significant of an impact not running the refrigerator will have on our energy consumption and bills for just the one or two months. I’m hoping it’s a lot, but I realize that translating those kilowatt-hours to dollars isn’t always that huge of an impact either.
When asked what amount was significant enough to keep it unplugged, I didn’t really have an answer. I like the idea that by unplugging the fridge for a year we could save enough money to upgrade our older, less efficient freezers to new, super efficient machines. But I don’t know how realistic that is. And if it’s not, I don’t know that that will make me plug back in either. It’s sort of an open question right now I guess.
The other reason I don’t know how long the experiment will continue is that we’re coming up on summer when the CSA will be in full swing and we will have a lot of vegetables to get through every week. This was Rick’s first major concern when I originally brought up the unplugging idea to him. I plan to take it one week at a time. To try to be efficient and wise about getting veggies put away in the freezer, kept cool in water, and used up within the week as we can. But I’m not going to just let them waste or rot if it gets down to it.
I expressed the possibility of using the fridge in the summer if we are overwhelmed with produce and then re-unplugging it again in the fall and through the spring until it’s needed again. But we’ll see if that’s even an issue as the summer gets here. The CSA season starts usually in mid-June and takes a few weeks to get into full gear before we’re bring home loads and loads of food. We’ll be able to adjust and take it as it comes, I think.
So far, we’ve learned a lot already. I learned that once you open the cheese, you better use it up, and don’t store it in the door unless you want it to go moldy. Also, I learned not to buy two gallons of milk at a time. They take up too much space and we ended up giving about half a gallon to the chickens that was spoiled during the first week, simply because it’s not quite as cold in the icebox as the fridge was, and the expiration date wasn’t at the end of the week.
At this point, we’re looking to keep going. We still have a week left in the experiment, but I just don’t see us plugging in yet.