The grating sound of efficiency

It was a resplendent morning, full of fair ideas, and one of mine was a fair idea that our refrigerator’s compressor was in death throes.

I called my husband, having a fair idea of his client load for the day, and relayed the possibility of a Hornet (the F-18 kind, not the stinging insect) in our freezer. I opened the freezer door and held up my phone so he could hear it too. He had the same fair idea.

I put some Blue Ice blocks in a cooler with Coolidge’s insulin, and shut the fridge off with the breaker switch.

We’re of the generation that grew up with old appliances because appliances lasted about 30 years. Now the average refrigerator life expectancy is 14 years, according to the nice man at Deranleau’s, the locally owned appliance store where we purchased our new refrigerator this afternoon. The refrigerator that should faithfully chill Coolidge’s insulin and see us into 2028.

We went to Deranleau’s after nixing a similar model at Home Depot that had a higher price, freight damage, and uncertain delivery prospects. Our new refrigerator is pristinely undamaged and we hadn’t been home more than half an hour when Deranleau’s delivered our new refrigerator. They even offered to help us switch the food from our old fridge to the new one; they insisted on helping clean up and put the screen door back up, and they hauled our old fridge to a recycling center. Consumer choices aren’t always hard in the Lewis-Clark Valley.

Our 12-year-old refrigerator had always been noisy, but the compressor’s last dirge was incompatible with my sound tolerance. The new refrigerator isn’t awfully quiet, but at least it isn’t driving me to choose between evacuation and insanity.

The nice man at Deranleau’s told us that the government energy efficiency obsession is the actual reason for the increased noise that things like refrigerators nowadays make. Little micro-compressors are noisy objects. Quiet would be worth a lot to me, but it’s simply no longer for sale at any price in our country. In any case, it seems a little amazing to me that less energy goes into making several new refrigerators over the years, than it takes to power one.

But hey, our cat’s insulin is safe, our frozen foods are intact, and it’s time for dinner.


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