Who Needs a Refrigerator?

Vintage photograph of a refrigeratorRefrigerators have taken many shapes and sizes over the years, but could you live without one completely? Image: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Theodor Horydczak Collection, LC-H814-T-2241-166

Seriously, have you wondered what life would be like without that big hunk of cold in your kitchen corner? One family decided to find out.

When Justin Moyer’s refrigerator conked out, he didn’t replace it right away. Instead he did without.

It wasn’t completely by design: As he was haggling with his refrigerator’s maker to either fix or replace his broken one, he and his family just made do without it.

What should have been a few days turned into weeks.

His accidental experiment (described in The Washington Post) was fascinating — mostly because he’s not one of those green extremists that make it a point of pride to go without modern conveniences. (That’s not meant in a derogatory way. It just is what it is.)

Instead, he seemed pleasantly surprised that he could do without a fridge — although that really shouldn’t be a big surprise, given that man lived without refrigeration for centuries.

But what piqued my interest was an interesting tidbit Justin provided: 99.9% of U.S. households have a fridge. That’s more than any other appliance, including appliances that actually help you cook your food.

So essentially, in the span of one lifetime, the fridge has become a household necessity.

Now, most of us have had to deal with a non-working fridge during a power outage, which is no fun at all.

But imagine life without it. That’s probably like asking a teenager to imagine life without the Web.

I could imagine it; I just couldn’t live without it.

Despite what some save-the-planet advocates believe, doing without a fridge doesn’t automatically save energy. Today’s fridges are much more energy-efficient. Justin estimated that his fridge costs about $90 to run per year.

And unlike Justin, I don’t live close enough to a grocery store to walk. So those frequent trips to the store would cost me more than $90 a year — making a fridge an actual money-saver.

So, who needs a refrigerator? I do! 

For a fun peek at the evolution of the fridge, check out the video above.