Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fridge Mysteries

It's not working.

It's a three-way fridge, which means that it runs on 12 volt (like your car battery), 110 volt (regular electricity, like in your house), and propane.  So, even if the electrical system is down, the propane should work, right?
 (Also, the fridge needs a good cleaning)

But, when we turn on the propane, it just gets SUPER hot.  So Greg decides to research the whole "how does hot propane make a cold fridge" issue.  And what he found is very interesting, and just a lot scary!

"A gas refrigerator uses ammonia as the coolant, and
it uses water, ammonia and hydrogen gas to create a
continuous cycle for the ammonia."

Um, I'm sorry, did you just say "ammonia"????  And "hydrogen gas"????

"Heat is applied to a solution of ammonia and
water to the boiling point of the ammonia."


"The water separates from the ammonia gas, which
flows up to the metal condenser, allowing the
ammonia gas to dissipate its heat and condense
into a liquid."

OK, that's not too bad.

But then........

"The liquid ammonia makes its way to the evaporator, where it mixes with hydrogen gas and evaporates, producing cold temperatures inside the refrigerator."

And it gets HOT!!!  Like, so hot, I can't believe something doesn't just catch on fire.  Of course, some people don't even use their fridge, opting instead for coolers.
And, if we can't figure out what's wrong with our fridge, that's where we're headed.  But, more to come about that mystery later, probably when the mystery is solved!

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