Quiz: Could you go without your refrigerator?

By: Staff

Which of the following was a precursor to the modern home refrigerator?

Ice boxes held food and large blocks of ice that chilled the food. Ice boxes were typically made of wood, lined with tin or zinc on the inside and insulated with wood chips or sawdust. They had a pan to collect water from the melting ice, which had to be replaced daily.

When were people first able to buy refrigerators for their homes?

When refrigerators first came on the market in the late 1800s, they transformed the way people shopped, stored food and ate. Nowadays it seems like we need an invention to help us eat all our leftovers!

If you have a refrigerator made within the last 10 years, about how much electricity does it use each year?

Those kilowatt-hours translate to roughly 660 pounds (272 kilograms) of carbon dioxide, which is about the same amount emitted by burning 35 gallons (132 liters) of gas in your car. Newer, energy-efficient refrigerators save so much money that it's worthwhile to replace your old one.

Assuming your refrigerator was manufactured in the last 10 years, about how many miles would you need to drive to equal the "carbon footprint" that the fridge makes in a year?

Figuring your mileage at about 23 miles (37 kilometers) a gallon (3.8 liters), you'd have to drive some 800 miles (1,280 kilometers) to equal your refrigerator's carbon footprint. That’s more than the distance from New York City to Chicago!

Which of the following condiments should always be refrigerated?

Mustard and other condiments that have a high acidity typically require no refrigeration. Food that contains no preservatives or that has dairy products in it should be refrigerated. Mayonnaise is made with eggs, so it should always be chilled.

About how long can your cheese and butter last without refrigeration before they start to go bad?

Unless you enjoy eating moldy dairy products, one week is about the longest you should leave them out of the fridge. Even though blue cheese gets moldy as part of its aging process and tastes best at room temperature, it should be refrigerated before and after serving.

What is one method of cooling food without a refrigerator?

If you live in a cold climate or if your power goes out in the winter, your food should be fine in the chilly outdoors. Think of it as nature's refrigerator!

How might you need to alter your buying habits if you plan to stop using your refrigerator?

While all these answers might be eco-friendly, buying smaller amounts of food would be essential. You'd have to eat everything before it spoils, so smaller quantities leave fewer leftovers to eat before they go bad.

Which is NOT a common method of preserving food without the need for a refrigerator?

Methods for pickling, smoking, drying, salting, canning and curing foods have been around for hundreds of years, in some cases millennia, and were the norm for preserving foods before refrigeration.

What appliance in your home typically uses less electricity than your refrigerator?

Next to your washing machine, your refrigerator uses less electricity than most other major appliances. Start by turning off your air conditioner if you want to really save money and be more eco-conscious.

Which of the following makes going without your refrigerator less environmentally conscious?

Without a refrigerator, you probably will buy less food during your shopping trips, but the smaller portions you buy often use more packaging materials than larger portions of the same thing.

In addition to needing to buy smaller portions, why else might unplugging your refrigerator end up costing you more money?

When you unplug your fridge, you have to be ready to eat leftovers very quickly before they spoil -- or throw away your money when you throw away food.

What greatly reduces the energy savings of many people who go without their refrigerators?

A small freezer uses nearly a third of the energy that a good quality refrigerator uses. So is it really worth it to do without the fridge?

What is one way that you can improve your refrigerator's efficiency?

The more food you keep in your refrigerator, the less time it takes to cool down after you open and close the door.

How often should you clean the coils of your refrigerator?

Cleaning your refrigerator coils once a year should be enough to make sure they work well and don't waste too much energy.

What can you do to your refrigerator door to ensure that it doesn't waste energy?

Older refrigerators often waste energy by letting cool air leak out around the door. Check the rubber seal of yours to make sure it closes tightly all around.

How much electricity is consumed by the refrigeration device invented by Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard?

British scientists are trying to revitalize a refrigerator invented by Einstein and his colleague. Amazingly, it has no moving parts, runs on pressurized gas and consumes no electricity at all!

What other sources of energy could be used to power refrigerators in the future?

Researchers in the U.S. are working on a refrigerator design that runs on a biodiesel- and solar-powered generator and uses a thermoelectric coolant.

What is a problem with using Freon?

Freon is poisonous, so other coolants are preferable. An older fridge that leaks Freon could be hazardous.

In the U.S., what rating can you look for that indicates you're buying an energy-efficient refrigerator?

In America, the Energy Star rating indicates the efficiency of your appliance; the higher the rating, the more efficient the appliance. Doing your research on what type and size of refrigerator you actually need helps too.

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Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

For some, driving a hybrid vehicle is not enough. Some even want to save energy by no longer using their refrigerator! Before deciding to give your fridge the cold shoulder, take our quiz to see how you can do it best and whether it's even worth it.

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