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TRB on Wed September 02, 2009 3:43 PM User is offlineView users profile

A wave of violent refrigerator explosions in Britain reportedly is believed to have been caused by an attempt to make the machines more "green."

The five reported explosions — which destroyed the refrigerators and the kitchens that housed them — appear to coincide with a widespread switch to 'Greenfreeze' technology, the Daily Mail reported.

The new refrigerators use a different cooling system running on gases that are supposed to be less harmful to the ozone layer, but refrigeration contractor Graeme Fox told the Daily Mail that if the flammable natural gases leak into the fridge, they could trigger a powerful blast.

One woman whose fridge exploded three weeks ago told the Mail it caused more than $16,000 worth of damage. Another told the paper she thought an earthquake had struck when she and her sleeping family were rattled awake by her exploding fridge.

An independent engineer confirmed that a gas leak is suspected in the most recent fridge explosion, the Daily Mail reported.

Institute of Refrigeration President Jane Gartshore told the Mail that it's theoretically possible that the blasts could be caused by an isobutane leak but added that "there are hundreds of millions of these fridges and these incidents are very, very rare."

There are more than 300 million Greenfreeze fridges worldwide, the Mail reported.



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MikeC5 on Wed September 02, 2009 4:05 PM User is offlineView users profile

I thought maybe Lucas was to blame (why the British drink warm beer)....

Probedude on Thu September 03, 2009 12:05 AM User is offline

In comparison to 'standard' home fires and explosions (grease fires, natural gas leaks, etc) I wonder how these explosions from refrigerators stack up statistically.

TRB on Thu September 03, 2009 12:21 AM User is offlineView users profile

Quote
Originally posted by: Probedude
In comparison to 'standard' home fires and explosions (grease fires, natural gas leaks, etc) I wonder how these explosions from refrigerators stack up statistically.

Irrelevant, only data that matters is how many refrigerators blew up without an "Green Gas"!



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When considering your next auto A/C purchase, please consider the site that supports you: ACkits.com
Contact: ACKits.com

bohica2xo on Thu September 03, 2009 11:01 AM User is offline

Exactly right Tim. Since the reporter indicates 5 such explosions in the UK, the sample size is small. The incidence of explosions is greater than it seems...

B.

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"Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest."
~ Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi, An Autobiography, M. K. Gandhi, page 446.

Karl Hofmann on Thu September 03, 2009 7:52 PM User is offlineView users profile

Huh? This is news to me..... R600 has been used in fridges for years without incident... Even if the refrigerant did leak, then the ratio of air to refrigerant in even a small kitchen would be nowhere near the required explosion limit...

C5, I always make sure that I keep my American beer nice and cold to ensure that it is not contaminated by nasties such as flavour....

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Never knock on deaths door... Ring the doorbell and run away, death really hates that!

mk378 on Thu September 03, 2009 9:05 PM User is offline

Maybe people trying to make meth or TATP in their fridge? The latter would certainly take out the kitchen too.

bohica2xo on Fri September 04, 2009 12:29 AM User is offline

Karl:
I agree that the room size would usually prevent a combustible mixture if all of the gas was well mixed with room air... But it is certainly possible that an evaporator leak could build a small bomb if the box volume was right.

I wonder if this is one particular model? Some sort of ignition source (arcing contact?) that is part of the design perhaps?

B.

-------------------------
"Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest."
~ Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi, An Autobiography, M. K. Gandhi, page 446.

Peter_Coll on Fri September 04, 2009 9:57 AM User is offlineView users profile

Quote
Originally posted by: Karl Hofmann
Huh? This is news to me..... R600 has been used in fridges for years without incident... Even if the refrigerant did leak, then the ratio of air to refrigerant in even a small kitchen would be nowhere near the required explosion limit...



C5, I always make sure that I keep my American beer nice and cold to ensure that it is not contaminated by nasties such as flavour....

Excellent! BTW, we spell it "Flavor"!

Here is the article...

Edited: Fri September 04, 2009 at 9:58 AM by Peter_Coll

Karl Hofmann on Fri September 04, 2009 2:44 PM User is offlineView users profile

Hmmm, four in three years is hardly a wave..... More like a quality control issue... Poor quality copper tubing being porous perhaps... A very good reason why HCs should not be used in cars

My own Samsung fridge freezer contains 88 grams of R600a so next time I get the munchies, I shall remember to wear my fireproof shorts and to duck to avoid the high velocity flaming pork pie that may be coming my way..

Peter, we'll start on your English lessons soon

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Never knock on deaths door... Ring the doorbell and run away, death really hates that!

bohica2xo on Fri September 04, 2009 7:18 PM User is offline

Karl:

It may seem funny, but 88 grams of R600 mixed into a cubic metre of atmosphere is a decent bomb. Stoch is 15:1 or so, and 88 grams x 15 = 1320 Air is 1.25 g/L, so 1,060 litres of air is a very good mix. An arcing door switch would send you across the room - and then some.

So what is the interior volume of this refrigerator?

B.

-------------------------
"Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest."
~ Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi, An Autobiography, M. K. Gandhi, page 446.

NickD on Fri September 04, 2009 8:00 PM User is offline

My 22 cubit foot Amana is using 134 grams of R-12, enough to blow a hole in the Antarctic ozone layer during their sunless winter over 100,000 square miles. Since R-12 is magnetically monopolarized to a north pole, it would be attracted to the south pole in seconds.

But if it would use HC's, would burn my house down and generate enough CO2 to cause enough global warming to raise the sea levels by 600 feet.

Don't you just love all this BS that is floating around?

Karl Hofmann on Fri September 04, 2009 8:13 PM User is offlineView users profile

Bohica, yes indeed, if the gas was to leak to the inside of the cabinet, then the potential for an explosive mixture is very real, but having pulled apart a few fridges, I cannot see how the gas could be inside the cabinet... the inside lining is a one piece plastic moulding with the evaporator moulded in just below the surface. The exposion which was obviously inside the fridge cabinet has done some considerable damage to the side walls which is a little surprising to me as the door is only held closed by magnets built in to the door seal and has no locking mechanism and so would blow open easily unless it was an inbuilt unit with the added inertia of a wooden door on the outside... I have seen a fair few brand new fridges where the refrigerant has leaked but it is normally where pipes are brazed and on the outside of the fridge...

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Never knock on deaths door... Ring the doorbell and run away, death really hates that!

NickD on Sat September 05, 2009 7:54 AM User is offline

Could go back to using ammonia. So what if it kills a family now and then, still self contained and doesn't start a major neighborhood fire where many can be burnt to death.

What was wrong with using door locks on refrigerators, dang magnetic stripping, always have to watch that with kids spilling stuff, that was killed when I was a kid for people tossing out refrigerators in their yards where kids could be locked in. Could have put a handle on the inside.

Lots of electrical arcing goes inside the box, compressor motor, fans, high wattage defroster heaters, even that thing that turns off the light, occasionally have to clean those contacts or replace them the way crap is made today. Probably should have just painted my 1965 refrigerator, they don't make them like that anymore, copper tone was out.

And what's wrong with R-22, just a small fraction of the so called ozone depletion value of R-12 that was never proven anyway.

Is it really true you can only be a politician if your IQ is less than two?

bohica2xo on Sun September 06, 2009 1:33 AM User is offline

Karl:

Construction varies quite a bit. I have seen plenty of units with an exposed plate type evaporator in the box - and an ice pick goes right through them.

The door has little to do with a good FAE. The door could be saran wrap, and the explosion would be just as bad. Blow up a balloon with your brazing torch sometime...

Your comment on built-in units however made me think of a more common custom in the UK. The last flat I rented in London had a tiny kitchen - really just a single counter about the size of a bathroom vanity in the US. Built in to the counter was a sink, a 2 element cooktop, and an undercounter refrigerator. A high side leak would fill the undercounter cabinets quite well. Much different from the unit standing in an open room. A bit less than a cubic metre, but a decent sized bomb at that.


B.

-------------------------
"Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest."
~ Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi, An Autobiography, M. K. Gandhi, page 446.

NickD on Sun September 06, 2009 7:09 AM User is offline

All they have to do is to invent a refrigerant that is perfectly safe, has a great thermo-conductivity, and can be changed from a gas to a liquid with only 2 psi. Why can't they do that? Oh, and fully compatible with all existing refrigeration systems.

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