22 Aug 2014
69° Mostly Cloudy
Patch Instagram photo by bubu_kitty_fick
Patch Instagram photo by firethecanon

Ambient Air Fridge

A little labor will save a lot of electricity

Ambient Air Fridge Ambient Air Fridge

One question and one question only, at least until the next column: Why use electricity to keep food chilled and fresh when the thermometer outside reads 20 below? Precisely, I do not quite understand it either. I suppose I could delve into a spiel on the pros and cons of modern kitchen appliances, but the ensuing article seems to fare better, coming off as less preachy and more informative.

As we sit in the middle of October, soon to enter the months of November, and then, yes, December, the change in temperature has become a definite physical presence. From 60 degree days, we have moved to 50, followed by a scattering of low-40s with a chance of rain days. As soon as the snow begins to fall, anything dipping below freezing thereafter is fair game. Unlike myself and a few select others I have come across, many people dread the thought of unrelenting white stuff falling from the sky and ground solid from layers-deep permafrost. I do not intend to sell you on the upside of winter weather (as I have tried with others to no avail); I do, however, intend to share something I came across at TheDailyGreen.com. Regardless of your aversion toward the winter months, the ambient air fridge can take the natural weather patterns you happen to find bothersome and inconvenient, and turn them into something useful and beneficial—environmentally and financially. For full instructions on how to fashion this nifty fridge, see TheDailyGreen.com; for all things other, just keep reading.

Basically, the idea is to build an insulated box to attach to the outside of your house and then put your regularly refrigerated items inside. If you can do it in the kitchen area, great; and even better if you can do it using a pre-existing opening, like a door leading to a seasonal back porch, or a window. Wherever you decide to place your ambient air fridge, and whatever size you choose to make it, you want your end result to be an airtight box, insulated from every angle with pink board, ready to house your perishables.

You will need to collect some supplies to construct and implement the ambient air fridge. To start, a stack of 2x4s; four sheets of 2-inch “pink board” for insulation; four sheets of ½-inch CDX plywood (proportionally as strong as steel, minus the weight, so it will stand up to many years of use without warping for breaking); enough cedar tongue-in-groove paneling to cover the inside of your walls, which is dependent on the size of the fridge you construct; two small 24v computer fans; one ¾-inch hole saw; nails, and at last, some general carpentry tools. Whatever you cannot scrounge from your basement, you can find over at The Hardware Station (637 Wyckoff Ave.).

After you have gathered your supplies, along with some mental stamina, let the games begin. No, it’s not actually that difficult, just some calculating and minimal labor, all of which are very worth it.

Even if you have since abandoned your days of waging holy snowball war with the neighborhood kids, and you no longer take reverie in school closings due to 8 inches and counting—although for the sake of humanity I hope some folks still do—perhaps you can still take pleasure in the fact that your wallet will frolic at the notion of winter weather advisories, dropping temps and the familiar sound of salt trucks. While winter, nature’s refrigerator, may cause heating bills to rise, you now have the option to do the opposite with your electricity, and feel good doing it.

While writing this article, in the periphery of my vision, there began a flickering of white in between the rain falling outside the back window. Excitedly, I got up to see if indeed it was the very thing I had been writing about—sure enough, it was snowing! The very first snowfall of the season… how’s that for the Law of Attraction. 

Share This Article