Can I modify my fridge?
April 14, 2006 5:19 PM   Subscribe

Can I remove the freezer from dorm-sized refrigerator without destroying it?

I have this fridge. It has a freezer drawer that I don't need; I'd rather have that space for storing more beverages. Can I remove the freezer section myself? No money for a new one.

There's a thick metal wire that connects to the bottom of the freezer section. Can I just cut it and detach the single screw holding the freezer in to remove it? Or will something bad happen, like the fridge stops working or something?
posted by goatdog to Technology (11 answers total)
Well, as it's just a wire, couldn't you simply reattach it if the fridge broke when you cut it? Heck, even duct tape would do the job (though soldering would do better).

Just a thought. By the way, I love your handle. I run a little blog called "The Monkey-Dog Cafe". Goatdog. That's freakin' cool! Sorry, maybe I'm just too easy to impress...

Anyway, good luck! Hope you find your solution!
posted by TrueVox at 5:26 PM on April 14, 2006

I don't see why not. You might want to turn down the "coldness" knob (if there is one). Colder air should drift downwards and warmer air should drift upwards. Looks like the cooling coils are near the top.

Only problem might be balancing the top being too cold and the bottom of the fridge not enough.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 5:31 PM on April 14, 2006

It looks like that one plate that the freezer is above is the entire coil for the refrigerator and the wire is the thermostat sensor. If you cut the wire, your fridge wont know how cold it's getting. And if you remove the plate, there will be no coil to keep the fridge cold. You can take the plastic off, but you might freeze anything on the top shelf.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 5:41 PM on April 14, 2006

Bit hard to tell from those pics, but it looks like the typical small bar / old style fridge found in my part of the world. In which case, you'll find all the cold comes from that freezer section (a U-shaped panel of cooling coils lying on its side, open-face out, with a door on the front) - the door keeps the inside of the U cold enough to freeze, and the rest of the fridge is cooled by the outside surface of the U.

In which case: no, you can't. That wire is likely a pressure / capillary tube for the thermostat knob, and there will be further refrigerant plumbing going through the back panel (on the RHS rear?). Cut either of those, and what you have is a white enamel cupboard - not a fridge.

On further viewing: looks similar to what I've just described, but with a single cooling panel rather than a U shape. The panel has enough grunt to freeze the (relatively) small freezer volume, but only cool the larger fridge volume. Same principle applies.
posted by Pinback at 5:47 PM on April 14, 2006

I had one of those my first year of college. I can confirm that the whole thing is cooled by the freezer plate (which is also pretty appearant from your pics).

I'm suprised you can fit that much soda in a fridge like that. I thought they could only be filled to capacity with beer.
posted by Good Brain at 6:21 PM on April 14, 2006

You can't remove it or cut the wire, but you could possibly move it by pulling the screw and screwing it in higher in the fridge. You will probably need to defrost the fridge more often due to the smaller volume above the plate and it being open to outside air when you open the door.

If the wire is too short and if it is really just a simple wire (I'd check where it goes and see how it's attached to find out if its coax or two wires or just a single wire), you can always splice it to make it longer.
posted by plinth at 6:56 PM on April 14, 2006

As others have said, the top will get too cold. When I had a dorm fridge, I kept it pretty cold, and I got the occasional freezer burn when something got too close to the freezer.

That little metal compartment doesn't really insulate, it just acts like a shelf. So removing it won't distribute the cold much better, I think. More likely, anything you put in that spot will freeze. (Well, as much as anything freezes in those crappy compartments.)
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 7:03 PM on April 14, 2006

Seconding the notion that the refrigerator is cooled entirely by the freezer unit. It doesn't work without it.
posted by frogan at 7:29 PM on April 14, 2006

No freezer shelf, no cold at all in the fridge.
Just thought I would make that extra clear.
posted by Chuckles at 7:32 PM on April 14, 2006

Yes, another vote for freezer=source of cold. My laptop is resting on the generic korean Haier $50 walmart special equivalent and the freezer is where the cold comes from. If you don't mind wrecking it and really get ambitious you might be able to hack this. Assuming the freezer unit is topologically a line and not a circle, MAYBE you can bend it.

All that is in there is the cold side of the refrigeration coils. In my experience, beer and nondiet sodas do fine in the freezer compartment as long as it's not at the lowest temperature settings, since the freezing point is sufficiently depressed. A home fridge will get 4C, a home freezer will get -20C as a general rule. In these weird freezers you only get that cold at the coldest settings and the temperature difference isn't that large for the obvious reasons. Lower settings will give you something more like 0 to -10C in the freezer.
posted by oxonium at 10:42 PM on April 14, 2006

That's what I was afraid of. Thanks everybody. (I'm deleting the pics now.)
posted by goatdog at 9:20 AM on April 15, 2006

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