Monthly Archives: February 2016

Check Out This Insane New Take on Refrigeration

To be sure, the world of refrigeration is due for a major change. Commercial refrigeration technology has remained largely the same for the past century, and while scientists have been working on new ways to make cooling more energy efficient and less resource exhaustive, no one’s ideas have come close to the newest concept product to hit the blogosphere: the Bio-Robot Refrigerator.

It may look more like the inside of a septic tank than a place to store your food, but the Bio-Robot Refrigerator was a stand out design at the Electrolux Design Lab’s annual competition to create innovative home appliances. This year’s contest had a special theme: to encourage budding developers to create home appliances that would be fit for the year 2050, take up less space and energy, and not be so hard on the eyes.

biofridge blablablaWhether or not you find green slime aesthetically pleasing, you’re bound to be impressed by the idea put forward by Russian student Yuriy Dmitriev. His refrigerator uses a biopolymer gel that keeps food cool and uses practically no energy except what’s required for the refrigerator’s small control pad.

The refrigerator is basically just a door full of this biopolymer. Bubbles and food float in the gel when the refrigerator is in use. It takes up one fourth of the space of a standard door and is virtually silent. It just sort of eerily sits in whatever kitchen it calls home, seeming to project the future while encapsulating yesterday’s leftovers.

In order to remove your food from the gel-filled enclosure, you simply stick your hand in and do it live. Pictures show unwrapped fish and the like just floating around in there, but likely if you wanted to avoid cross contamination you would want to wrap all your food before throwing it in there.

While the Bio-Robot Refrigerator caught the most attention of all the submissions to the Electrolux contest, it raises a lot of questions in terms of its practical use.

electroluxFor example, even if you wrap your food before placing it in the refrigerator, accidents to happen and there tends to be some food debris or spills that end up dirtying the refrigerator. If you were to, say, put a slightly opened carton of milk in that green slime and then some milk spilled into the gel, what would you do about it? Can you only clean the thing by getting rid of tainted gel? If you get rid of the tainted gel, do you just shove it down your garbage disposal? Is any of that stuff biodegradable? Seems like it can’t be, otherwise it would just degrade next to your food.

Or on the other hand, does the gel constitute a biohazard? Do you need to put it in a biohazardous materials bag before throwing it away?

Can you put some of the gel into a cooler and have a portable refrigerator? Who knows, but the thing looks pretty cool and interesting. Maybe we’ll end up using something like it one day, but the constant gel contact is likely a liability. Some kid’s going to end up eating a fistful of it.

You Can Replace Your Circuit Breaker

Circuit breakers are integral to maintaining safety in a home’s electrical system. They ensure that if there’s an overload of electricity or similar electrical fault, the flow of electricity to an appliance will be halted before it can result in a fire or dangerous electric shock.

circuit breakerBecause circuit breakers are relatively sturdy little devices, it doesn’t always make sense to assume that the circuit breaker is the problem when you have some kind of electrical issue. However, the breaker will need to be replaced if it trips extremely easily, doesn’t trip when it should, can’t be reset, is hot to the touch, or looks and smells burnt.

If things don’t seem to be adding up and you’re not sure what the problem is or how to fix it, you might just want to call up an electrician. Electricity is extremely dangerous, especially when you’re working with a faulty system, and it’s better to leave it to the professionals than to risk harm.

If you feel confident that the issue is a faulty circuit and you’re ready to replace the breaker, here’s how:

First, you’ll need to collect a range of tools including a new circuit breaker (be sure it’s the same brand, make, model and size as the one that you’re replacing!), a rubber mat or plywood to stand on (this allows you to be insulated from potential electric shocks), an insulated flashlight or independent light source, an insulated screw driver, insulated wire strippers, cable connectors to connect the circuit breaker to the main panel, and a voltage tester to check your work once you’re completed your tasks.

Once you have everything you need to safely proceed with the fix, you’re ready to begin replacing your circuit breaker.

Begin by shutting off the branch circuit breakers one at a time. Shut off the main circuit breaker once you’ve finished with the branch circuit breakers. Test all the wires with a voltage tester to make sure the they’re dead before you go any further than this step.

circuit breaker2Now you’re ready to remove the panel cover and disconnect the wire of the breaker you’re removing from the load terminal. Carefully pry out the old breaker, paying careful attention to how it’s positioned, and insert the new breaker into the correct position. Attach the circuit’s wire to the load terminal and strip a bit of the insulation off the wires if necessary to do so. Inspect the panel for any other problems are inconsistencies that might imply that you messed something up. Tighten any loose terminals, etc.

Now you can replace the panel cover, turn on the main breaker, turn on the branch breakers one by one and test the breakers with the voltage tester to make sure everything is in order.

If you’re still having any issues, test all the electrical appliances in your home to see if one of them might be causing it. If even then you cannot locate the problem, you’ll have to bite the bullet and call up an electrician.