This article was originally published in the January/February 1998 issue of Home Energy Magazine. Some formatting inconsistencies may be evident in older archive content.


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Home Energy Magazine Online January/February 1998


An AHAM Update

Careful readers of the June 1997 directory of refrigerators from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) noticed remarkable improvements in efficiency. Some identical units appeared to have cut their energy use by over 50%. In fact, all of the energy consumption data are incorrect and AHAM is distributing a replacement issue. If you have a June '97 AHAM directory, throw it out and get a new one from AHAM--(312)984-5800, Ext 329.

Also, many energy-related tips and documents are now available on AHAM's new Web site ( Even though the Web site fails to mention the defective refrigerator directory, we particularly enjoyed reading an explanation of why the noises made by appliances in your kitchen are changing.

Here's what AHAM says: Most new refrigerators are significantly larger and have such added conveniences as automatic defrost systems, icemakers and perhaps even a built-in look. These features can cause changes in the sounds commonly associated with refrigeration operation, including: a high-pitched whine--from energy-efficient compressors that have smaller, higher speed motors; a soft hum--from the evaporator fan in the freezer and/or condenser fan under the refrigerator; clicks--from the automatic defrost timer's switching on and off, the thermostat's turning the refrigerator on and off, or the water valve's refilling the icemaker; boiling or gurgling/trickling water--from the refrigerant circulating in the sealed system or the trickling of defrost water into the drain pan when the refrigerator shuts off; or running water and thuds--from the filling of the ice cube tray and ice cubes falling into the storage bin. To help reduce these new sounds, make sure the refrigerator is level and the defrost water collection pan is in position (usually reachable behind the bottom front toe plate). Put carpet or sound-absorbing ceiling tile on the wall behind the refrigerator, and allow enough space between the back of the refrigerator and the wall, unless the refrigerator is designed to be built in.

--Alan Meier



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