Once considered as a part of luxurious life style refrigerators have become a necessary for every household. Unlike any other home appliances a refrigerator works 24*7 consuming huge amount of electricity which shows at the end of the month on your electricity bill.
A compressor of the refrigerator is the device that takes part in cooling and controlling the temperature inside the refrigerator. It works with electricity and the main reason behind the rising bills.
Through the years a lot of improvements have been made to the compressor which gave birth to the Inverter Technology that uses Inverter Compressor over a regular compressor. Japan was the first to introduce Inverter Compressor in refrigerators and now it is considered to be most efficient refrigerators available in the market today.
While the initial cost of the Inverter Refrigerators may be higher than the regular or traditional refrigerator but this onetime payment can save up to 30-50% of the total electricity (units) consumption each month.
In this article we will tell you tell you everything about the Inverter Technology and how it can help you save money but let us first understand how it is better than the regular refrigerators.
How does the refrigeration process work?
When we feel hot we sweat, this sweat takes up the heat from our body and evaporates thus cooling down the heated body. Cooling process of a refrigerator is pretty much similar to what our body does.
In simple terms, a refrigerator uses a coolant liquid or refrigerant usually HFC-13a (Hydroflurocarbon) which flows through the coils or pipes located behind the refrigerator. The coolant absorbs the heat from the food items placed inside and evaporates to gas thereby cooling them. The compressor then compresses the gas by raising the pressure and turns the gas again in liquid and the cycle keeps continuing. The compressor requires electricity to function and this is the main reason of their high power consumption.
The refrigerator also has “Thermocouple”, a device that regulates the temperature that the process always stays in hand. The Thermocouple works according the temperature set for the refrigerator, it senses when it goes down or above and turns the compressor “on” or “off”.
How does the Compressor of the Regular Refrigerator work?
The compressor is like the heart of the refrigerator that does the main function of cooling. The regular or conventional compressors operate at one speed. The cooling speed of the compressors is set to handle peak load that is required in summers when the temperature is the highest. That means whenever the compressor runs it runs in full speed with highest capacity which is not required in winters when the temperature is already low.
It runs with highest speed until it goes 1 or 2 degrees below the thermostat set temperature and the compressors stops. The compressor then again starts when the temperature goes 1 or 2 degrees above the set temperature and then again stops when it goes below. The conventional refrigerators with regular compressors work with ON and OFF cycles- you must have noticed in your refrigerator which suddenly becomes quite and then again start working. This put more pressure on the compressor and draws more energy each time it starts.
While plus or minus 2 degrees might not bother you very much, keep in mind that the ideal temperature of the chillier compartment should be 2 at degree C , plus or minus 2 degrees can vary the temperature from 0-4 degree C. The chillier compartment is made to store vulnerable foods like meat, fish to keep them chilled and not frozen. Below or above 2 degree C the texture of fish and meat is spoiled which is again a big disadvantage for the users.
What is Inverter Technology?
The Inverter Technology works like the accelerator of a car. If the compressor requires more energy it gives more energy, if it requires less it provides less. The Inverter Technology always keeps the compressor running, but draws more or lesser energy depending on the inside and outside temperature and on the thermostat settings. The compressor speed and power is adjusted accordingly and accurately.
Toshiba was the first to introduce this technology and now it has been accepted and used by the whole world in air conditioners and refrigerators. It works in both direct cool and frost free refrigerators.
How does the Inverter Compressor work?
Inverter compressor speed is regulated by varying the frequency of the incoming voltage input. At first the circuit present in the inverter regulator converts the 220V 50 Hz AC electric supply to DC current then the DC is converted back into AC current with the capability of varying the frequency of the AC current. So the inverter supplies variable frequency of Volts to the compressor and thus providing variable speed controls to the compressor. The speed of the compressor is changed to give optimum efficiency depending on the fridge load thereby saving up to 50% of energy compared to a regular refrigerator.
How can it help in saving electricity?
An Inverter Compressor can operate in various speeds; it can adapt itself according to the refrigerator load. After starting and reaching the desired temperature it doesn’t stop and runs at minimal speed required to maintain that temperature. Unlike the regular compressor Inverter Compressor runs efficiently at low speeds and doesn’t spend electricity in turning on the compressor each time after the temperature goes down.
When you open the refrigerator to load or take things out and the door remains open for a longer period of time, the compressor will sense the change in the temperature and will start operating the compressor at higher speed which will only recompense the loss of the cool air without wasting electricity on overcooling.
In summers when both the temperature and the refrigerator load is high the compressor will work with its full speed but in winters when cooling load is much lesser the compressor will work on lower speeds saving the energy consumption. Even in the nights when there is little to zero activity the compressor runs slow thereby, always using the right amount of speed and energy to maintain the optimum temperature in the refrigerator. These all in return will save up to 20-30% money on your monthly electricity bill.
Other benefits of using Inverter Refrigerator
Other than saving energy the Inverter Refrigerator has some more to offer-
Better temperature control
Refrigerators with smart Inverter Technology are designed for precise cooling. It automatically changes the compressor speed depending on the food load, outside temperature, thermostat settings and up and down of the temperature during opening and closing of the door.
Lower Noise and Vibration Levels
The conventional refrigerators make loud noise and also vibrate when it starts the compressor. A refrigerator with inverter technology uses low speeds when it starts and works on balancing the speed so it works without making much noise.
Longer Life Span
Inverter Refrigerators have much longer life span because here the compressor runs slowly and gradually increase or decrease its speed. Also, there is no sudden shock loads from the stop-start- run at full speed mechanism of the ordinary compressors. This reduces the wear and tear on the compressor and make them last long.
Higher Power Factor
Regular compressor motor has much lower power factors where the Inverter Compressor has higher power factor. For commercial and industrial use, there is penalty on lower power factor and discount on higher power factors. An inverter motor has power factor about 1 unit which will save electricity and will also provide discount.
Popular Inverter Refrigerator Brands in India
In the year 2001 L.G electronics of Korea came up with their first Inverter Refrigerator. The newest and most advanced refrigerator has Inverter Linear, with a linear compressor.
L.G Linier compressors show 20-30% better efficiency in cooling. It works very silently, use less energy and last much longer than the traditional compressors with rotary motors. Energy consumed by the L.G Inverter Linear refrigerator is equivalent to 2 CFL bubs which can save 36% on your monthly electricity bills. L.G Inverter compressors have 20 years warranty on it.
The 190L single door standard model of L.G with Inverter Technology costs around 15, 000 to 16,000 while a basic Double door 284L capacity Inverter refrigerator starts from around 25,000 and will increase depending on the capacity, higher BEE ratings and the model.
Samsung’s Digital Inverter Technology can operate with home inverter and with solar energy. The compressor has 7 different speed settings to adjust with the cooling load and significantly reduces amount of energy consumption and claims to save 30% based on the energy ratings provided.
It consumes 6 rupees per unit of power consumption and their energy saving calculation says it can save up to 1, 2180.00 rupees over 10 years.
The cheapest Single door 192 L inverter refrigerator offered by Samsung has a price range around 15,000 while a Double door with 253L around 24,000 which increases with higher storage capacity, higher BEE ratings and model type.
Whirlpool Inverter Technology has been termed as IntelliSence Inverter Technology which shows further advancements over the linear compressor. The brand claims 90% more powerful and 40% faster cooling capacity which take 1hr and 45 minutes to cool where Linear Compressor takes almost 3 hrs. Energy consumption is also lower side; it takes 190 units over 198 Units thereby saving 10 units of power. It is much more expensive than other brands using digital inverter technology but gives you 10 years of warranty on the compressor.
265 L capacity double door Whirlpool refrigerator starting price is round 26,000. However, there is no single door refrigerator with inverter technology. They have either rotary or reciprocatory compressor.
The German based company makes high-end refrigerator with world class build quality which are of course much more expensive than others. The compressors used by Bosch Inverter Refrigerators are known as Varioinverter Compressors. They are energy efficient, makes almost zero noise, can work with home UPS and comes with 10 years of warranty.
Bosch 288 L refrigerator with Varioinverter Technology starts from rupees 26,000 approx and all of them double door or side-by-side refrigerators.
Haier inverter technology is known as the Twin Inverter technology which runs both the compressor and the fan motor at inverter which causes 45% energy savings.
Most of the Haier refrigerators are cheaper than the Bosch or L.G but has rotary or reciprocatory compressor. The twin inverter technology comes only the high-end refrigerators that price above 30,000 which is a great deal.
Voltas inverter refrigerators come with ProSmart Inverter Compressors. They are one of the brands that prove you some great quality inexpensive inverter refrigerators and their compressors have 12 years of warranty back up.
Voltas Inverter refrigerators start from 23,000.
Godrej offers wide range of affordable inverter refrigerator models using Intelligent Inverter Compressor.
Their piece range starts from 15,000.