LED Refrigerator Light

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Introduction: LED Refrigerator Light

About: Tim Anderson is the author of the "Heirloom Technology" column in Make Magazine. He is co-founder of www.zcorp.com, manufacturers of "3D Printer" output devices. His detailed drawings of traditional Pacific...
Why is there a 60 watt heater inside my refrigerator? An incandescent lightbulb is a heater, and I don't want it in my refrigerator wasting energy, even if it only does it when the door is open.

For that matter why is the door on the side instead of the top so all the cold air runs out whenever the door is opened?

How can you find out if the light turns off when you close the door or not?
Arthur Schwieger of St.Cloud MN figured out this nifty way to do it:



Step 1: Replace the Incandescent Bulb With an LED Bulb

Good LEDs aren't any better than fluorescents in efficiency, but they deal with temperature swings better.
Also they don't have mercury in them.

A final advantage is the festive colored light show to be had from this Color Kinetics unit.
http://colorkinetics.com
It's the "Lighttro" model available online for $20. There's a button on the side to change what pattern of colors it plays. Hey vendor- gimme free ones or I'll prostitute myself to your competition !! :)

Here's the fridge after and before changing the bulb. Actually it looks nothing like these pictures thanks to an automatic camera. But I'm happy cuz the bulb burns 2 watts versus 60 watts.
The fridge isn't as brightly lit as before, but that doesn't matter. The only reason for a fridge light is to remind you that your fridge is still working anyway.

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    116 Comments

    Hey. Can anyone comment on humidity/water condensation??
    What if the condensed water droplets gets into the led driver circuit?
    Even in 1w led, there are electronic components.

    Our refrigerator (Samsung, I don't know exactly which one) has a really bright LED panel on the top...

    I also didn't exactly understand what is the point of this 'Ible, anyone can just replace the incandescent light to an LED light... Is there something I missed?

    Hmmm.

    Why not just climb inside and close the door?

    Actually, you will find that the lght will go out just before the door is clompletely closed, if the switch is properly adjusted.

    --Terry

    LEDs ARE more efficient than fluorescents!  Look at the heat that fluorescents put out -- that is wasted.  LEDs put out almost ALL of the electrical energy they consume as light -- very, very little as heat.  And they last much, much longer!

    --gromit

    1 reply

    thank you for saying what i was thinking

    Another easy and quick option is to use a CFL. I know its not exactly the same, but it is cheap, readily available, and fairly effective. I didn't read all the comments, so I don't know if this was touched on.

    1 reply

    I tried using cfl's in the frig. they dont handle the cold well, burn out fast and you risk getting mercury on the food should something break the bulb.

    LED's put out little or no heat?!? What ... are you kidding? Um, what do you think those heat sink fins are for? Look at any good par30 LED. FINS all the way around ... for diffusing heat. Little or no heat.
    HA ! No ... only the useless junkie LED's put out no heat. They self destruct in record time too. The electronics that drive good LED's do put out heat.

    Help please. I have an Electrolux refrigerator that has regular incandescent light bulbs. I would like to replace them with LED lights the only problem is the Electrolux has a feature whereby the light slowly illuminates when you open the door. Kind of a reverse dimming effect. So, I am guessing the LED bulb will have to be dimmable. Is there such a thing as a dimmable LED bulb that is not expensive? Thanks. Snakerog

    My fridge actually has four bulbs in it. 60w each. Ouch.

    If I imagine it is on for .5 hour per day (it is probably open less), then I can save the following:

    4x15watt bulb= $4.86/year savings in bulb consumption, ignores heat.

    4x1 watt LED bulb= $6.37/year savings (LED= very little heat, thus slightly more savings)

    The 15w bulbs cost... $1.25/ea? The LED's cost $10/ea (or more).

    4x15w bulbs: year 1= $0, year 5= $20 savings year 10= $43 savings
    4xLED: year 1= -$33, year 5= -$8, year 10= $23 savings
    3x15w bulbs: year 1= $1.50, year 5= $22.50, year 10= $49 savings

    The LED's savings= 4x15w at year 23. The LED's= 3x15w savings at year 33.

    It is unlikely that you will need to replace any of the bulbs. If you do, it was probably due to faulty bulbs or to power spikes, not bulb age. If you do replace a bulb... it throw the LED "benefit" into the garbage, but only makes a small effect on the 15w bulb.

    My conclusion: better to buy 3 15w bulbs than to buy 4 LEDs. They will produce as much light and cost less up front, while still returning solid savings vs. the 60w bulbs that are there.

    This is, as an aside, also a good argument for why it isn't such a great idea to phase out the incandescent light bulb. In areas where you only need light for short durations, and infrequently, incandescent is hard to beat.

    probably if u do not have a fridge with a light, or a freezer without d light, you can just get a small pen light and somehow attach it to the fridge and put a contact or a reed switch.

    The Point of this is to show off. it also saves money in the long run 'cause u don't need to replace the bulb EVUR!! i think it's cool =]

    8 replies

    When was the last time you had to replace the bulb in an appliance? Seriously.

    2 in the last 5 years, and both appliance were much less than 10 years old. one in an oven, and one of the 3 lights in my fridge. 10 years is nothing for appliances anymore, any fridge made in the last 10 years is efficient enough and will last a good 20 years. Mines 8 years old and is still quiet and doen't kick on nearly as much as the 20 year old one that came with my house (I brought my fridge from the old house and sold the 20 year old fridge with the old house)

    when i was 3 years old

    and that was a fridge which lasted for 10years at that time
    westinghouse,shame on you your old fridges were better

    The Miele refrigerator I had lasted for 10 years because I kept fixing it.

    We did nothing on our Westinghouse.Made in USA,used in TR.

    Although an LED light will outlive most fridges, this application is really pointless. For the amount of time most people have their fridge open the energy and heat load saved is tiny. As to the energy waisted by airflow out the fridge, also very small. Air has a low heat capacity. This is why you can stick your hand in an oven and not get burned, but the moment you touch anything metal in the oven you get a nasty burn. If anyone really wants to save energy then a better idea would be to route the air off the condensing coils (the tubes on the back of the fridge that get hot) to the outside like a dryer vent. This prevents the heat that is removed from the fridge from being deposited into the house where the AC will again have to remove it.

    I don't have a AC, so the problem of removing heat twice does not exist in my house. However, the cabinet in which my refrigerator is enclosed wasn't made with enough room for the hot air to move around properly. So, when we reworked the kitchen, we placed a 15W, 180 cubic meter/hour blower sucking that air. It works so much better, the motor doesn't even work half as much as it did before.