A refrigerator is a unit in the form of a cabinet designed for cooling and storing food. Devices are built into furniture, equipped with additional hanging shelves and containers.
Available from full-size to mobile devices – mobile models of refrigerators are produced in the form of bags without a compressor, instead of it a cold condenser is built in, it keeps cold for 24 hours.
Types and types of refrigerators
French Door devices are two-chamber at the top, and at the bottom there is a freezer compartment. The upper compartment opens with two doors, at the bottom freezer – doors or a drawer. Models are available with 3, 4 or 5 doors.
- compact dimensions;
- spacious shelves to accommodate bulky items.
side by side
In these refrigerators, the freezer compartment is located next to the refrigerator compartment. In such models, the volume is distributed according to the following scheme: 1/3 – for the freezer, and the rest – for the cooling compartment.
Models of this class have a zero compartment, divided into wet and dry zones. Such compartments provide for the cooling of drinks, which are stored at a temperature less than 3 degrees than in the main compartment.
The main parameters of built-in refrigerators:
- type – fully built-in or partially built-in. The first type is precisely hidden in a niche; a cabinet door or a sliding wall is provided. Partially built-in models are suitable for saving space or complementing kitchen design;
- characteristics – refrigerators vary in height from 40-220 cm, width 30-160 cm, depth 40-70 cm. The volume of the refrigerator compartment is 78-550 liters, the freezer is 12-515 liters;
- number of cameras (1, 2 or more);
- feature of the installation for arranging ventilation, purchase an additional ventilation grill.
The cost of a built-in refrigerator is affected by additional parameters: ice maker, safe shutdown in case of problems with electricity, color, antibacterial coating, zero chamber, etc.
Units of this category have a built-in forced ventilation system No Frost without the need for defrosting.
A freezer is a chamber for quick freezing of products in a freezer or refrigerator with their further storage at a temperature of no more than -18 degrees. In multi-chamber refrigerators, freezers are located on the top, bottom or side of the refrigerator compartment.
Capacity and type of wine cabinet
For optimal storage of wine, special devices are designed where bottles are placed in a horizontal position. For home use, a medium-sized wine refrigerator from Gorenje, Liebherr, Electrolux is appropriate. Or choose products from specialized companies (Transtherm), which have additional functions for the preservation of wine.
There are both home models of medium dimensions and professional volumetric cabinets.
The capacity of the wine compartment is characterized by the number of compartments for 0.75 liter bottles placed in the compartment. Models of small sizes – 6 bottles, or floor-standing for storing a whole collection of 30 bottles.
On sale there are large chambers for storing more than 100 bottles, which are used in restaurants or for private collections.
There are models with doors made of glass or opaque material. Some cabinets have charcoal filters to keep out odors. For the correct storage of bottles, temperature settings are provided.
Based on the options for temperature regimes, there are mono-, two-, three- or multi-temperature wine cabinets. Devices of the single-temperature type operate in one mode, while a constant temperature of 10-14ºC is maintained in the chamber.
Other types are regulated temperature conditions for suitable storage of different drinks. So, 2- and 3-temperature devices have 2 or 3 temperature modes at which sparkling, white and red wine are stored.
Multi-temperature units have more than 3 modes with different temperature areas, which allows you to select the appropriate conditions for storing each type of drink.
Freshness zone and its types
The freshness zone is also called the zero chamber. Some manufacturers refer to this option as Fresh Box, Flex Cool, or Fresh Zone when the chamber temperature is around 0°C.
Models with two compartments of the zero chamber, in one of them an increased level of humidity is 90-100% (to store vegetables and fruits), and in the other – up to 50% (to place meat and fish products).
Favorable solution three-chamber refrigerators, with a separate chamber of the freshness zone. But because of this, the cost of the device increases.
A mini-bar is a special compartment on the inside or outside of the door, designed to keep food chilled – drinks, cheeses, snacks.
Or it is a free-standing cabinet with a door, when opened, a special shelf with snacks and drinks is pulled out.
The bar makes the operation of the refrigerator convenient, saves electrical energy, since access to it does not require opening the main doors – only the mini-bar door opens.
The market offers a wide range of models of refrigerators, from one-door to five-chamber.
There are several types:
- without freezer – device sizes up to 1 meter, such refrigerators are intended for storing fruits and vegetables at temperatures from +2 to +14 degrees. Such models are rarely used at home, they are mainly purchased for summer cottages, where it is necessary to maintain the freshness of products for 1-2 days;
- with freezer – are intended for storing food during deep freezing, and structures where there is a refrigerator compartment and a freezer in one compartment. Models where the freezer has a separate door are also popular. The freezer is located on the side, at the bottom or at the top of the refrigerator compartment;
- household – designed for long-term storage and freezing of many products, they are made vertically and in the form of a chest (lari);
- freezer cabinets – their height is up to 2 m, they are equipped with horizontal shelves and boxes for placing products, some modifications may have trays for freezing vegetables, fruits and berries;
- freezers in the form of a chest (lari) – suitable for freezing large amounts of fish and meat. They are more economical than freezers, but it is difficult to get food that is located below. Another drawback is the footprint;
- wine cabinets – designed to store wines and other drinks.
Characteristics of refrigerators
Height, depth and width
The height of the model is 50-250 cm (depending on the layout of the chambers), width 40-190 cm, weight from 22 to 157 kg, volume 3-800 liters.
The standard depth for built-in models is 55 cm, for stand-alone models – 60 cm. But if conditions permit, then choose a unit with a depth of 80 cm. When purchasing a device with non-standard parameters, pay attention to the characteristics of the kitchen set. The area is taken into account in order to calmly open the door and not touch other objects standing nearby.
In accordance with the territorial location, refrigeration devices are divided into 3 groups: European, American and Asian. European models are considered more elongated. American models have large dimensions in terms of width and height, while Asian models have medium dimensions.
Side-by-Side modifications are considered capacious devices, where the freezer is located on the left and the refrigerator compartment is on the right. Their width is 100 cm and the depth is 80 cm, so they are suitable for storing large amounts of food. The smallest parameters are characterized by refrigerator-bars with a width of 50 cm, a height of 50-120 cm.
Compared to standard linear compressors, the operation of inverter mechanisms is smoother. When the refrigerator is turned on, the required temperature for food storage is reached in a short period.
After that, the inverter maintains this mode at an optimal level with a gradual change in compressor power. As a result, the temperature regime does not change and less electricity is consumed.
The advantages of refrigerators with an inverter compressor include:
- low power consumption;
- minimal noise;
- no intermittent on/off.
This ensures long-term operation of refrigeration equipment.
This indicator reflects the level of efficiency, indicated in capital Latin letters from A to G. Economy class equipment is marked A, B and C. Recently there were only 7 classes, but other, economical types have appeared (classes A +, A ++, A +++ ).
Intermediate class equipment is marked with the letter D, and devices with high and increased energy consumption – E, F, G.
All refrigerators are class A/B/C/D. For convenience, manufacturers of refrigerators mark each class with their own color (highly economical – green, and D – red).
Electricity consumption levels are divided into classes according to the energy efficiency index. Classes A, A ++, A +++ are considered economical – they save 50% of electricity.
The economy classes include A and B, and C and D – to the average energy consumption, since only 15% is saved. Now equipment with classes D, E, F, G is not popular due to energy inefficiency.
The power consumption of a refrigerator depends on the frequency of opening the doors, its workload, the volume of each compartment, the external temperature, this figure is reduced by increasing the efficiency of the compressor and modernizing the thermal insulation of the case.
The energy class is assigned to the equipment according to the volume, defrost system and other parameters. The indicator varies between 88-803 kWh / year.
The climate class reflects the climate conditions (humidity and temperature) allowed for the use of the equipment. This is an important indicator to consider when purchasing.
If it was known that the equipment was used at inappropriate temperature and humidity, then the consumer receives a refusal to carry out warranty repairs. The climate class is indicated on the form with the series number, which is pasted inside the refrigerator compartment.
There are several classes:
- Normal class N (normal). Operation of refrigerators of this group at temperatures from +16 to +32 degrees. Class N is considered the most common in the CIS countries, suitable for houses and apartments with air conditioning, since if the standard values are exceeded, the refrigerator overheats with a possible breakdown of the motor-compressor.
- Class SN – subnormal (moderately normal), reflects the adaptation of refrigerators to work at temperatures from +10 to +32 degrees. In addition to residential buildings and apartments, equipment of this class can be used in basements and poorly heated rooms.
- Climate class ST – subtropical. The equipment is adapted to work in temperature conditions from +18 to +38 degrees.
- Climate class T – tropical. Operation at temperatures from +18 to +43 degrees, adapted for a dry climate.
If the device operates in wider temperature ranges, then two classes are assigned to it. For example, refrigerators of the SN-T class, but their cost is higher due to the design features and the presence of parts that are resistant to temperature changes.
Dual-class devices consume more electricity, which makes it better to choose the unit according to certain conditions of use. For Russia, it is better to choose cooling equipment from the category N, SN.
Number of doors and chambers
Usually the number of doors corresponds to the number of chambers. But in some models, one door is designed for 2 compartments, while in others one chamber is closed with a pair of doors. With an increase in the number of refrigerator doors, its dimensions and price increase. In units where each chamber is closed separately, the thermal insulation performance is higher, therefore, the set temperature is constantly maintained in each compartment.
Modern models can have 1-5 cameras. The simplest design of single-chamber equipment combines affordable cost and high reliability, but it requires periodic defrosting.
Two-chamber devices with separate access to freezers and refrigerators are considered more popular.
Refrigerators with 3 chambers, where, in addition to freezing and refrigeration, there is a zero (freshness zone), where perishable products must be stored. Modifications are also made, where the zero zone is located in the refrigeration compartment.
From the Side-by-Side units, there are models with 4 and 5 compartments, where the wet, dry freshness zone, bar, wine compartments, etc. are located. With an increase in the number of compartments for storing different products, the cost of the unit increases.
Number of compressors
According to the number of available compressors, refrigeration equipment is divided into one and two-compressor. If the model has one compressor, then its work is carried out simultaneously on the freezer and refrigeration compartment – the cost of such units is lower than two-compressor ones.
Two compressors are distinguished by accuracy and independent regulation of the temperature regime of different chambers – the chambers are switched on and off separately. Such refrigerators have a long service life, since each compressor is turned on only when necessary.
This element is responsible for heat exchange by cooling and condensing the refrigerant vapor. Often the capacitor is made in the form of a coil. In large installations, it is represented by a radiator, which is placed near the compressor.
The body of the refrigerator is made of stainless steel or plastic. Plastic models have a paintwork, are considered more in demand due to their low cost and a variety of shades.
Models made of aluminum or stainless steel are more durable and more expensive (except for unpainted silver-colored equipment).
Shelf material and their varieties
Shelves are made of metal, glass or plastic. From the range, refrigerators with blind or lattice shelves are available to the user.
Lattices made of plastic are easy to care for, have a different shape. Despite the low cost, plastic is an unreliable material that cannot withstand the heavy mass of products – it cracks and breaks.
Glass shelves are popular, despite their beauty and strength, they need to be looked after and constantly cleaned of dirt.
Shelves made of metal are in the form of lattices with a plastic sheath. This option is the most reliable and budget.
There may be bottle shelves (wave type), pull-out trays with telescopic rails and double designs in the doors. Tube holders may be provided for fixing objects.
Minimum freezer temperature, freezing power
Freezers are differentiated by freezing levels, indicated by asterisks *. Single star designs have a minimum temperature of -6ºC and are not suitable for long-term storage of frozen products.
In freezers with two stars ** (at -12 ºС) food is stored longer. On sale there are freezers with 3 and four stars, respectively, for placing products in temperature conditions up to -18 and -24 degrees.
The higher the value, the longer the food can be stored when the power is turned off.
Freezing capacity refers to the freezing capacity of 1-40 kg/day. The indicator reflects the volume of fresh food that can be frozen to -18ºC in 24 hours.
Often this criterion is called freezing mass or freezing capacity. For domestic use, this figure is 10 kg / day, more powerful models can be used in catering establishments.
The total volume of the refrigerator
The total volume of all refrigerating chambers is in the range of 4.5-1163 liters, the total volume is indicated by the manufacturer in liters, while pallets and internal shelves are not taken into account.
The chambers must not be packed closely, otherwise the air does not circulate, the thermal regime and the properties of the products are violated.
The total volume of the freezer (freezer) varies from 4 to 708 liters. When choosing the volume of this compartment, you should take into account the weight of frozen food that is planned to be stored for a long time. If you plan to harvest fruits and vegetables in the winter, then choose a spacious freezer.
Zero chamber volume
The total volume of the freshness zone (zero chamber) is 9-193 liters.
The volume of the chamber should be selected according to the number of people living. The more users, the higher the consumption of electrical energy, as the refrigerator maintains the optimum temperature for longer.
The total volume of the refrigerating chamber where freezing is not needed is 25-767 liters. Based on the volume, a temperature regime is created in the refrigerator compartment in the range from +2 to +10 degrees. Placement in the cold chamber of the cold and warm areas is associated with design features.
Its parameters are selected in accordance with the number of people living:
- for a family of 3-4 people. models with one chamber up to 200 l are suitable;
- when harvesting significant stocks, you should choose two-chamber models, where the refrigerator and freezer compartments are located separately.
Such refrigerators are considered to be in demand, they are compact in width, their height does not exceed 2 m. The volume of the refrigerator compartment is enough for 3-4 people (up to 380 liters).
For spacious rooms, models with large “Side-by-Side” chambers are suitable, where large volumes of products are placed.
The presence of reversible doors allows you to change their direction of opening for comfortable use of refrigeration equipment.
For small-sized kitchens, devices are convenient, in which the doors can open in different directions without rehanging.
Handle with pusher
The handle of the refrigerator is equipped with a pusher and allows you to reduce the effort applied by the user to open the door of the refrigerator. The pusher forms a crack through which air enters the chamber, which contributes to the easy opening of the door and increases the comfort of using the refrigerator.
Refrigeration equipment differs in the type of control:
- electromechanical – such control is performed by turning the thermostat knob, but the exact temperature indicator cannot be set – only reduce or add the cooling level;
- electronic – with its help, the exact temperature mode is set – the operation of the fan and compressor is changed, creating the optimal humidity for storing food and saving energy. The digital screen reflects all the information about the current state of the equipment, which makes control over its work more accurate.
Models with No Frost and automatic defrost, with fan, use a photocatalytic charcoal filter to reduce the chance of bacteria.
The filter eliminates unpleasant odors from the refrigerator. To restore its functionality, the filter must be periodically pulled out and dried.
Designed to prevent the ingress of air from the environment into the housing. The seal is made of high-density elastic material, equipped with a magnetic insert for a tighter fit of the door.
The noise level reflects the noise level of the operating equipment. Measured in decibels. The lower this value, the quieter the device.
The noise level of an average refrigerator does not exceed 38 dB. Now many cooling devices are very quiet and their work is imperceptible.
The refrigerant is the composition in the cooling system, which, when expanding or boiling, takes heat from the cooling object, after compression, giving it to the external environment. In refrigeration equipment, SF6, freon, ammonia, etc. are often used as a refrigerant.
As a result of damage to the cooling system or long operation, the refrigerant must be replaced. These works must be entrusted to professionals who are familiar with all the details of filling, the required volume of the substance, its pressure and temperature. All criteria are essential for the efficient and correct operation of the device.
The valve is an electromechanical device designed to control the flow of refrigerant in a refrigeration system. The valve is controlled by electric current, which is passed through the coil.
Independent regulation of the temperature regime in the refrigeration device is carried out in the presence of a pair of independent compressors with individual evaporators. With the help of a valve blocking the flow of refrigerant to the evaporator, an independent system with two circuits was created.
During the shutdown, the refrigerant begins to flow through an additional pipe to the evaporative system. In such a system, the volume of the refrigerant is reduced, the evaporator does not freeze over. The temperature setting in the freezer and refrigerator compartment is adjusted according to the thermostat settings.
Functions of refrigerators
Autonomous cold storage
This function allows you to keep the temperature of frozen food below -9 degrees for a certain time. It is used for preservation of products in low-temperature conditions.
For each manufacturer and model, the time interval for autonomous cold storage varies, where 30 hours is the maximum.
This is a specialized gel, hermetically sealed in a special bag. It accumulates (absorbs) cold, freezing at lower temperatures (compared to water) within 18-24 hours.
The cold accumulator is used in thermal bags and containers, designed to cool products and maintain a low temperature for 10-18 hours.
The battery is used in the following cases:
- when unloading frozen foods from the freezer;
- when cooling drinks;
- to maintain the temperature in the chambers and increase the level of freezing.
This is a special coating with inorganic silver compounds, which is used to process the internal walls of the refrigerator.
Compared to simple surfaces, an antibacterial coating has many advantages:
- creation of an optimal biological microclimate that prevents the development and reproduction of microorganisms, the absence of an unpleasant odor;
- security throughout the entire period of use;
- extension of the shelf life of products without loss of useful and taste properties;
- ease of use, no restoration or replacement.
Built-in TV, LCD display, electronic control panel
For comfort, a refrigerator with a built-in TV was invented. The first manufacturer of such products was LG, where the monitor size was 13 inches. Siemens has released cooling equipment with a 17-inch LCD display.
Subsequently, the manufacturer Samsung introduced cooling equipment with a built-in display, adding Internet access via Wi-fi. Owners of such equipment can find out world news, recipes, order groceries and leave reminders.
On the doors of some devices, an electronic panel is built in that reflects the temperature – the user sets the required temperature. Retention calendar options are available in the control panel – registers the time and area for bookmarking products and reflects the end of their shelf life.
A dispenser is a special device for obtaining cool water and ice, sometimes combined with a filter. Dispensers are connected to the water supply or have a self-contained tank design.
This function is designed to lock the control buttons so that the child cannot change the operating mode. Models are sold equipped with a built-in lock in the door.
When choosing such options, it should be borne in mind that on many models the control buttons are high and children cannot reach them.
Power off indication
This is a special indication in the absence of power, notifying the user with a sound or light signal. With the help of this function, it is possible to respond in a timely manner to a power outage and take the necessary measures.
Door open indication
The function notifies of an open door, if the door of the freezer / refrigerator compartment is not tightly closed or ajar, the user will receive an alert with a light or sound signal.
Each manufacturer chooses the type of signal for the refrigerator model.
Temperature display and thermometer
The function signals an increase in temperature conditions. The temperature in the refrigerator compartment and freezer rises above the norm due to a loose door or a power outage.
The indication will notify the user in time with a light or sound signal, which will prevent products from spoiling.
A thermometer is provided in the freezer, with the help of which the temperature regime of the freezer is controlled – adjust the conditions in accordance with the needs.
The device is located in the refrigerator and is responsible for the formation of negative ions that prevent the formation and reproduction of microorganisms dangerous to human health.
Their principle of operation is based on the passage of air flows through a grid with a high electric field strength. In this case, oxygen molecules become active ions. They are safe for humans and have an antibacterial effect.
An ice maker is a built-in ice making device, for which the refrigerator is connected to the water supply, and the option of filling a special reservoir with water. When full, the ice maker turns off. At the same time, ice does not come into contact with other products, does not absorb odors.
In expensive refrigerators, the ice maker is equipped with a knife for cutting ice, it makes cubes or crumbs.
A model with an ice maker connected to the water supply is more expensive, so equipment with manual filling is considered a more economical option. After filling a special container with water, it will enter the ice maker through the channel, and after a while ice is obtained.
There are two types of defrosting in the freezer and refrigerator compartment: manual and “no frost” (No Frost). Manual defrost is used in budget models. Such refrigerators turn off on their own and wait until the frost and ice melt.
Depending on the quality of the thermal insulation on the freezer door, the procedure is carried out at intervals of several weeks or once a year.
The No Frost system is based on the circulation of cold air flows through a fan located at the rear of the unit. In special compartments, outside the freezer, frost accumulates. The fan turns on after a certain time and the frost turns into water. The resulting water accumulates in a special pan and evaporates.
Such units have one drawback: dehydration of products occurs faster. Because of this, it is required to adhere to special requirements for their packaging.
In addition to units with manual defrosting and No Frost, there are modern devices with a drip defrosting system. The principle of operation is based on the formation of ice on the evaporator (cooling part of the refrigeration compartment) during compressor operation.
When the compressor is automatically switched off, at certain intervals, the ice begins to melt. The water that appears flows into the tank and evaporates from the heat of the compressor. Compared to No Frost, the drip system is fanless, so the system is less noisy. In the drip system, the humidity of the refrigerator compartment is higher, which is why food dehydrates more slowly.
Before activating the economy mode, remove all food that is not allowed to be stored for a long time at a temperature of more than 15 degrees. The maximum economy mode involves the operation of the refrigerator at this temperature for storing canned food, medicines and other products.
Energy consumption is reduced by more than 30%, which allows you to save when no one is at home for a long time.
Maximum Cooling Mode (Super Cooling)
Supercooling is a special mode of operation of the freezer and refrigerator compartment, when the maximum cooling of food is carried out. This is ensured by the non-stop operation of the compressors, when the control system is stopped only to eliminate equipment breakdowns.
Supercool mode is required for a hot period when the air temperature rises to maximum values. The option is also necessary for quick cooling or freezing of products.
This is a specialized mode, when turned on, the internal lighting of the open door, the ice maker, the temperature indicator, sound and light signals, etc. are turned off.
Cold water system
In accordance with the type of equipment, water comes from a water pipe or a special container that needs to be filled periodically. Cold water is obtained without opening the door thanks to a special design similar to a soda machine.
The option eliminates the excess flow of warm air into the refrigerator compartment and the premature loss of food quality. In some models, the ice maker is combined with a cold water supply.
Super freezing is a short-term freezing function that is used to quickly cool fresh food. During the activation of the mode, the temperature of the freezer drops to -24 degrees.
But the equipment should not work in this mode for a long time, because due to high loads on the compressor, performance may decrease.
A mechanical thermostat is a device with a built-in bellows and electromechanical regulation, it regulates the temperatures of the chambers based on the temperature of the evaporator.
A temperature sensitive bellows tube is attached to the coldest part of the evaporator. The electromechanical thermostat has an increased inertia and temperature control range.
The electronic thermostat is equipped with an electronic temperature sensor and electromechanical control. The sensor has no mechanical connection with the regulator, so it reacts to temperature changes in the chambers.
How to choose
For a family of 2-3 people, it is comfortable to use a two-chamber refrigerator with compressor cooling and moderate electricity consumption.
For large rooms, large models are suitable and, conversely, in small-sized kitchens, purchase compact models. For those who want to purchase quality equipment with a lot of space, you should opt for Side-by-Side, that is, wide cabinets with vertical division of chambers and a pair of side doors. Models are suitable for use by large families.
Cost is the limiting factor for acquiring better quality products. Therefore, you should know that the price depends on the volume, number of chambers, department parameters, availability of additional functions and technological characteristics. Additional criteria that affect pricing include: number of compressors, manufacturer and energy class.
Be sure to check the quality of plastic in interior decoration, the material is in contact with food, the unpleasant smell of plastic will spoil the food.
When choosing a refrigerator, pay attention to the presence of sound and light alarms. The alarm is triggered when the door is left open and the power is turned off.
To extend the service life, experts recommend adhering to the basic rules:
- Close the door tightly after each opening. According to specialists from repair companies, careless handling and open refrigerator doors are a common cause of breakdowns, which intensifies the work of the compressor, which seeks to normalize the temperature;
- it is necessary to identify malfunctions or malfunctions in a timely manner, do not wait for the final breakdown to contact the service department;
- try not to load the cooling and freezing compartment, since with an excess content of products it is difficult for the equipment to cope with freezing and cooling, which will lead to rapid wear of the cooling mechanisms;
- a device without an automatic defrost system must be manually defrost every few months of operation.
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