First of all, Inverter Refrigerator has nothing to do with a power inverter. This means the inverter Refrigerator is not meant for running during a power cut.
Then what does a Inverter Refrigerator do? Why there are so much hype about the inverter technology in refrigerators. Let’s learn about that here in this article.
Before we learn about Inverter Refrigerators, we should learn a bit about how a refrigerator works.
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How Does A Refrigerator Work?
A typical refrigerator has four processes involved. All processes are cyclic. This means the processes will keep on running until you manually stop them.
The main element of a refrigerator is the Refrigerant. It is a liquid in the ideal state. It flows around different parts of a refrigerator and takes the heat away from the food.
Here are those four processes of a typical refrigeration cycle.
The evaporator has pipes through which liquid refrigerant passes. You can not see the evaporator until you remove the plastic cover on top of it.
When refrigerant comes to the evaporator, it will be in a liquid state and under low pressure. While flowing through the evaporator, the refrigerant absorbs all heat from the food and converts itself into a gaseous state. The pressure remains low while the refrigerant leaves the evaporator.
After the evaporator, the refrigerant gas enters the compressor, where a motor compresses the refrigerant gas to increase its temperature and pressure.
A compressor is the heart of a refrigerator. You might see a black oval shape part at the back ( bottom side) of your refrigerator. Right? That is the compressor.
Did you notice those black pipes at the back of your refrigerator? Those are called condenser pipes. Those are either made of copper or aluminum.
After the compressor, the high-pressure and high-temperature refrigerant enters the condenser. While passing through the condenser, the refrigerant gas dissipates all the heat that it absorbed while it is in the evaporator.
Due to the heat dissipation, the refrigerant again goes back to the liquid state
All refrigerator has expansion valves that reduce the pressure of the liquid refrigerant coming out of the condenser. While going out of the expansion valve, the refrigerant is in a liquid and low-pressure state.
After the expansion valve, the refrigerant again enters the evaporator, and the cycle continues like that.
Once the refrigerator compartment is sufficiently cooled, a thermostat detects the temperature and automatically stops the flow of the refrigerant. When the temperature rises again, the refrigerant starts flowing again.
As you can see that the compressor plays a big role in the refrigeration cycle. There are two types of compressor available in refrigerators. One is single speed standard compressor and the other one is variable speed inverter compressor.
How Does A Standard Compressor Work?
A standard compressor is a single speed compressor. It will either run at full speed or it will shut done. A standard refrigerator runs at around 3600 rpm at the full load.
When the refrigerator’s desired temperature is reached, the thermostat cuts off the refrigerant flow, and the compressor turns itself off.
Then again when the temperature shoots up, the compressor turns on and starts the whole process.
Due to this frequent shutdown and start-up, standard compressors consume a lot of energy. Also, it generates a lot of heat and sound that tends to damage the internal parts. The result is that part will wear and tear much faster than other type of compressors.
Think of a mobile battery that consumes 5-10% of power when you switch on the mobile. In the same way, a compressor also consumes a lot of power when it starts.
What Is An Inverter Compressor Or Inverter Refrigerator
An Inverter compressor never shuts down. It optimizes the motor speed based on the cooling load.
When the desired temperature is reached, the compressor speed decreases and then when more cooling is required, the speed increases again.
Let’s take the example of a car accelerator that consumes more fuel when you press the accelerator pedal to get more power. Similar way, when you need more cooling, inverter compressors will do more work and thus consume more power.
But when cooling is not required, it simply reduce the motor speed to save power.
As there is no frequent shutdown or start-up of compressors, inverter refrigerators can save up to 40% of your power bill on average.
Different Types Of Inverter Compressor
Although the core technology is same, different manufacturers has given a different name to this technology after adding their own customized features. Here are some of the different types of Inverter Compressor.
Samsung Digital Inverter Compressor
Samsung named it Digital Inverter Compressor because the compressor is controlled by a microprocessor. It has 7 different speed levels that optimize the motor speed based on the cooling load.
It has 9 different types of sensors that give inputs to the microprocessor like cooling load, internal and external temperature, humidity level etc.
LG Smart Inverter / Inverter Linear Compressor
LG uses smart inverters in low-cost models whereas the inverter linear compressors are used in premium refrigerators.
LG smart inverter is same as Samsung’s Digital Inverter technology as both uses microprocessors to optimizes the speed of the motor based on the input it receives from different sensors.
LG Inverter Linear Technology is used in premium models which is basically a special compressor where the frictional points are reduced to 2 from 4 due to use of electromagnets .
Less friction means less power consumption, less noise and less wear and tear.
Whirlpool IntelliSense Inverter / Plasma Inverter
The working principle of IntelliSense Inverter is the same as the one offered by LG and Samsung, although Whirlpool uses only 3 sensors.
One sensor detects the outside temperature, one checks the cooling load, and the remaining one checks the usage pattern so that it can optimize the motor speed.
When it comes to Plasma Inverter, it just uses an additional coating on the compressor rod for the longevity of the part. This is in addition to all the features that the IntelliSense inverter gets.
Due to the plasma coating, there is less friction which turns into more power saving. Plasma coating enhance the life of a compressor by up to 5 years than a traditional inverter compressor.
Godrej NutriFresh Inverter
Godrej Nutrifresh Inverter technology is similar to other Inverter technologies already discussed in this article, however, it can optimize the cooling based on not only the cooling load, but also based on the type of food. That is why this technology is called Nutrifresh Inverter technology.
The unique Nutrifresh Inverter Compressor technology ensures that food stays for up to 6 days.
Haier Twin Inverter Technology
The main benefit of Twin Inverter Technology is that it can maintain a constant temperature output. So you will always get a balanced cooling. It also helps stabilizing the voltage supply, reduces load on the compressor and thus saves power.
Twin Inverter Technology can provide more stable working condition when the input voltage is unstable.
Benefits Of Inverter Refrigerators
Here are some of the benefits of having a Inverter Refrigerator.
- The inverter compressor does not shut down and starts as frequently as a traditional compressor. Thus it produces less noise.
- Less wear and tear of internal parts.
- Up to 40% power saving due to the use of variable speed BLDC motor
- Balanced cooling as the compressor does not shut down at all
- Inverter Refrigerators often come with many other modern technologies which is a plus
Any Drawback Of Inverter Refrigerators?
The only drawback I can think of is the servicing of inverter refrigerators. Since there are a microprocessor and a bunch of sensors, if anything goes bad, you need to spend a hefty amount to repair. You may also need to call a skilled technician to do the repair.
The other issue with Inverter Refrigerator is the price. Inverter Refrigerators ask for at least 20% premium over normal refrigerators, although that amount can be easily compensated by saving in the monthly power bill.
Conclusion: Shall I Buy An Inverter Refrigerator?
Of course, inverter refrigerators are the future. Not only it can save power for you, but it also produces less noise, less wear and tear, and most importantly it increases the life of the refrigerator.
Though Inverter Refrigerators are indeed costly, if you see the price difference between inverter refrigerators and non-inverter refrigerators, it is not that much. That extra money you can easily recover within one year of usage.