As energy becomes more expensive and we all start our descent, we will no longer be able to depend on constant, reliable, electricity through the electricity grid. Don’t believe me? Have a look at this story on the National Grid from the Times. So in a post-peak-oil world it looks like we need to get used to the level of electrical reliability that non-western countries have long experienced: random, prolonged, blackouts and brownouts (where the voltage drops).

Most electrical equipment will cope with blackouts with just a surge protector, but I hadn’t realised that it’s not the case with any refrigeration equipment – fridges, freezers, aircon units etc. In a brownout these need to be disconnected rapidly or their motors will burn out, and in a blackout they need to have a delayed re-start to prevent any problems with high-pressure gas.

Luckily other people know this stuff, and apparently what you need is a Fridge Brownout protector like the  Fridgeguard from Sollatek. The other alternative is a DC fridge, connected to your solar PV battery supply (subject of a future post!). Sunfrost make great full-size 12v and 24v fridges which might be a good future-proof purchase, as well as using around 20% of the energy of a standard fridge.

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