"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Friday, 2 January 2015

In for a penny...

...to save a pound in the long term.

Being a typical female I have been very, very grateful for my 320lt LG larger-than-the-undercounter bar-sized Defy fridge that we originally had here.

But, the LG was an 8-year-old fridge (B rated??) and it was chowing away at our stored solar power.  And it had a small freezer section with just enough space to hold a week or so's worth of food.  Plus, the fridge was always chockers - and needed re-arranging everytime I wanted to add something new to it's innards.  (Those damn half-full homemade sauce / jam / mustard bottles - they always take up so much space in a fridge, don't they?)

At the end of last summer I decided that I needed a freezer big enough to hold excess harvests from my garden.  It's just as well that I made that decision - as i found out 3 months ago that our local, and the only glass jar manufacturer in this country (Consol) has decided to stop making their preserving jars with the metal lid and metal ring seal!!!  What is wrong with them?

Anyway, I digress...  I have a chest freezer, but simultaneously adding the daily electrical consumption of a chest freezer to that of our old fridge would not be an ideal situation for our limited solar power.  It would effectively double up our power consumption.  Which we could handle in summer, but wouldn't be good in winter.

So, a-googling I went.

There are plenty of (expensive) imported A+ and even A++ fridges out there and which are actually available in South Africa.  But, I'm not looking to take out a bank loan.  Nor is RMan.

So, in April 2014 I wrote to the Defy manufacturer in Durban to find out if they had an A+ fridge.



At that moment.

But, they were planning on releasing their latest model available from the end of September 2014.  And it was going to be an A+ model with a consumption of 484 KwH / year - roughly 133KwH / 24 hours.


I can wait.

I have patience.


You cannot purchase directly from them (have they not heard of factory shops?) and have to purchase a Defy through a retail agent, and our closest one was the co-op in Swellendam.  I spoke to the lady in the kitchen appliances section and, after giving her the model number I had been supplied with by the manufacturing company, I asked her to please make a note in her diary and if she wouldn't mind contacting Defy closer to the time.

She did.

To make a very long story short (regarding Defy's web page and their displaying 3 models all with the same model number, but which are completely different fridges, one of which was ordered by the co-op, delivered to me, and swiftly returned the same day as incorrect) I finally, with the assistance of the Coastal Divisional Manager, received the correct fridge on Monday, 22 December 2014 - three weeks after I took delivery of the first incorrect fridge!!!  It seems none of their sales staff knew which was their latest model and which consumed 484kWh / year.  Hmmm....?

But, all's well that ends well.  It's a cracker :)
554 ltrs of
fridge and
freezer space :)
It uses only 1.33kWh / 24 hours compared to the old LG which used 2.1 kWh / 24 hours.  That gives us roughly an additional 800 watts - per day - to use on other things, or to be available during those dark, totally overcast winter days when the lights go on earlier and running the PC or laptop is required.
A+ rating with plenty of storage
It's a beauty too :)
The old LG fridge freezer on the right
and the new Defy side-by-side A+ model
on the left.  I had hoped to get a white
model, but that will only be available
in February 2015.  I don't have that much
patience LOL so the stainless steel look
will have to do.
I have gained 120% more freezer space, and 98% more fridge space.  Nothing wrong with that, is there? :)

I have cleaned out the old LG, spruced it up, and it will be sold on - thereby recouping some of the cost (roughly a fifth) of the new Defy.  The chest freezer? We debated and came to the conclusion that we will keep it - just in case something goes wrong with the new fridge/freezer and it has to go in for repairs. I'd hate to have to throw away a whole bunch of (mainly frozen) food because I have nowhere to store it.  The chest freezer is in the garage, and is not in our way.

I was very chuffed, because it arrived in time to freeze the very last of the strawberries and youngberries, and will also hold home grown tomato puree ice cubes, and peppers, swiss chard, carrots and beans, etc for use when they are out of season.

Sometimes you have to spend a bit to save a bit in the long term.


Well, not only does this freezer now allow me to freeze a good portion of what I harvest, but this larger fridge / freezer will also make it possible for us to only have to go through to town once every 10 - 14 days, instead of every week, thereby saving on the fuel cost / transport footprint.

Happy days :)


Frugal in Derbyshire said...

oooh Fridge envy here! We run two chest freezers. This means that the lamb, rabbit and chicken can be spread across the year along with the veggie and fruit glut. Like you, I can't stand any waste, so they also contain random boxes of left overs!
Happy New Year to you Dani from a pretty cool England.

Dani said...

Gill - LOL

Wow - two freezers - and, I presume, a fridge? They must consume a lot of electricity? Have you thought of purchasing a single larger freezer with a better power rating, and then selling on your two energy freezers to cover part of teh cost of the new freezer? Plus - you could end up with more floor space :)

Apparently, I have Scottish blood in me (from back in the Cherryble Borthers days) so nothing - but absolutely nothing - gets thrown out. Good for the budget, but not good for fridge / freezer space LOL

Happy New Year to you too, Gill - from a mid-30's centrigrade Western Cape ;)

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Hooray for you! Enjoy your new kitchen tool!

Have a wonderful 2015 ~ FlowerLady

Quinn said...

Wow, that's a monster! Enjoy! Will certainly make your food storage decisions a lot easier.
I have a tiny dorm-sized fridge (with a useless freezer compartment) and a small chest freezer, both with very good energy ratings. Every now and then I price "normal" fridge-freezer combos, but a) they are more expensive to buy than the big ones, which really annoys me, and b) I would not want to be leaning down all the time to get to the items in the bottom half of the fridge, because it aggravates my back. That's a big consideration, and why I have a wall oven. My little fridge sits on a sturdy metal storage cabinet, at a very comfortable height. So as long as it keeps working, I'll be happy to stick with this one. Having the chest freezer makes the difference in terms of stocking up on sales and storing portions of cooked foods, too.
I always keep my eyes open on craigslist and freecycle for old, clean, non-functional chest freezers to use for grain storage for the goats. Maybe yours could be useful that way, when you're not needing it as a freezer?
Happy New Year, Dani!

Dani said...

FlowerLady Lorraine - Oh, I am enjoy my new toy. But, try as I might, I just can't seem to fill it LOL (maybe I should add "yet")

Dani said...

Quinn - reading through my comment to Gill I seem to be implying thateveryone should ditich their fridges / freezer and buy new. My sincere apologies - that is not what I mean at all.

I completely understand about backs and bending down to access food - that is one of the problems I have with our chest freezer. Invariably, when I add something new to it, I have to take everything out in order to rotate the stock, or when I need something out of it, the exact thing I need is right at the bottom. That kills my already dicey spine, And, as for defrosting it every year - I dread that.

I find it far easier to bend down using my knees with my back straight (up), than bending straight over as though I want to touch my toes which is the position I almost assume when I have to do to get into a chest freezer. Same problem with a front loader washing machine. The top loader we now have allows me to hold onto the surface, and using my free hand, unload the machine and place the wahsing in the wash basket which I've got at waist height - so I don;t have to bend down to pick it up and carry it to the washline either :)

My doc was very specific as to how I should move - I try and heed his well intentioned words :)

A useless chest freezer is a good idea for the alpaca feed - I'll tell RMan. Thanks :)

Happy New Year Quin - hope you're enjoying your beautiful enclosed porch :)

Diana Studer said...

I unwillingly changed to a fridge freezer when we moved to Porterville. Having always resisted ANY freezer. We had the fortnightly shopping routine down pat. Now when I look in the fridge it hovers around half empty, I can see what we have.
Our solar geyser is the next on our list.

Sol said...

I hate shopping. we go once every 3 weeks. Eggs and milk are bought each week by the Mr in his lunch break. I used to get this but I can never just buy the 2 items. lol

good job on the fridge

Diana Studer said...

PS didn't realise you had brak water.
Any way to filter or process it to useful?

Sue said...

Congrats. It's a beauty--though I'm not keen on stainless either, but heck---it's BIG and is gonna be great for all the garden goodies. And 1/2 power--terrific.
Looks like your New Year is starting out on a high note.

Cherie said...

Sounds like a winner! How nice to be able to preserve more of your food - and to avoid trips to town. My big task this year is to delve into water bath canning so I we can preserve more food without refrigeration.

MsBelinda said...

What a nice refrigerator! It using less of your solar power is a real plus.

Happy New Year's to you and yours.

Harry Flashman said...

That's a tremendous acquisition. On a number of fronts, you are better off now. We bought a "Sun Frost" low energy refrigerator in 1999 when we went on the solar power system. It served us very well for 12 years, and when we replaced it, even though we were not so concerned about the load as we had been in 1999, we still got a low energy refrigerator even though they cost more than a regular one. I think your perseverance will pay off in many ways. Congratulations.

Dani said...

Diana - You surely can't still be against a fridge / freezer? Especially if you are one of the fortunate ones who can see space inside their fridge? ;)

You won't regret the cost of a solar geyser. Our old town house electric geyser was the main culprit of our high(er) electricity account, even though we used to only switch it on half-an-hour before using it. Heating up an entire 250lt geyser, when you only use say 100lt - what a waste. Due to the authorities requiring an electrical back-up for a solar geyser, we have an LP gas geyser here, and it only heats the water going through it. The result is that 14kgs of LP gas lasts us over 3 months.

Nope - apart from a reverse osmosis machine, and they require a lot of power to run them. We do, for what it's worth, have mains water - but it's very high in manganese which turns the loo bowl, etc brown...

Dani said...

Sol - That is what I am aiming for. I even want to freeze milk so that it lasts between shopping trips :)

Dani said...

Sue - White would've looked more in keeping for our farmhouse, but what the heck - at least I have the wherewithall to chill / freeze so much more now :)

2015 definitely started on a high note :)

Dani said...

Cherie - I have been water bathing my excess harvest in the past, but our only wide mouth preserving jar manufacturer has just decided to stop producing them :( Thus my excitement regarding the larger freezer :)

Dani said...

MsBelinda - Thank you. A definite plus, and gain on our solar power usage.

Happy 2015 to you and your Mom too :)

Dani said...

Harry - It cost an arm and a leg, but even RMan has commented that it was definitely worth it. And he now has more than enough room for his beers - which are more than chilled :)

Thanks :)

It's never easy, nor cheap, purchasing large appliances for the home, but I am confident that this one will last us many years...

Mum said...

Very smart indeed.

Dani said...

Thanks Mum :)

Bill said...

Congrats. You make an excellent point about how the extra space will save fuel in other ways.

We try to be mindful about our energy use, but don't have the same kind of limitations you do of course. We have two chest freezers that we use for food storage. One is for the pork we sell and we unplug once that's all gone.

Dani said...

Bill - Notwithstanding the current reduction in the fuel price wihch we are about to be given here, fuel is a major expense in the cost of the food we purchase. Unfortunately though, those suppliers who raised the cost of food because of the higher fuel price, are NOT likely to reduce it in keeping with the new lower fuel cost. A bit unequal all round I fear, and it certainly doesn't assist the poor and underpriviledged.

Little Home In The Country said...

Your new unit should really help you in the long term. We had to purchase a new fridge/freezer a few months back (ours burned up and was not repairable due to smoke damage inside). I have NO regrets with our purchase either - it's more energy efficient, has more space, better lighting (LED) and much better quality drawers and shelves. It has served me very well so far and fingers crossed will continue to do so for many years. Hope you enjoy yours as much I do mine!

Dani said...

LHITC - LOL we also have LED lighting, and something alled a "Blue Light" which permanently shines on the fruit and veggies to keep them from spoiling.

I'm loving it, and have yet to fill the fridge to capacity with leftovers - something I'm well known for... ;)

Jayne Hill said...

We also run two freezers. I do lots of cooking in bulk (casserole-type meals) and it's wonderful to have our own 'convenience food' available. I ignore the additional cost of running two appliances knowing how much we save by cooking like this - and we eat better too.

Dani said...

Jayne - That is the ideal situation - making your own ready made meals. Unfortunately, this single freezer won't stretch to that in a big way, but it will allow me to have a few at hand... ;)