08 July 2015

Weather, lights, and refrigeration

It's downright chilly this morning. What a change! Last night before I went to bed I closed up the house, at least downstairs, just to be sure that it would stay warm. I'm not ready yet to give up on wearing just shorts and a T-shirt. Yesterday it was really windy all afternoon, but it wasn't a chilly wind. It was actually pretty pleasant. During the night, though, both of us had to cover up with bed spreads and blankets. The wind felt frigid. I just checked the thermometer — it's 15ºC outside. That's slightly below 60ºF.

Our house and the neighbors' seen from far out in the vineyard...

We're headed to Tours this morning to do some shopping. We need a new light fixture for Walt's office, which was refurbished in late June, and we need a new lampshade for an old floor lamp that we've taken out of storage to put in the same room. And we need LED light bulbs for many fixtures around the house. All those things are to be had at the IKEA store.

Do other countries use bayonet light bulbs? Do you know what I mean? They're bulbs that don't screw into a socket, but have two little posts that hold the bulb in a spring-loaded socket. Like flashlight bulbs. They are the old-style bulbs in France, and a lot of our light fixtures require them. Like much of the electrical infrastructure in France, it's pretty complicated. We have two at least four kinds of light fixtures and three kinds of wall outlets. We constantly have to find adapters or different kinds of plugs, power strips, and bulbs for different parts of the house.

...and a closer view taken as Callie and I head out for a morning walk

The other thing we have to do is go to the Darty home appliance and electronics store over in Tours to see if we can actually see, live and "in person," the refrigerator we have found on the store's web site. There's another complication involved in refrigerators and freezers. There are three types: froid statique, froid brassé, and froid ventilé. I'm not talking about brands but about technologies. Here's a web page in French that explains it all.

There are also fridges in different widths, going from 50 cm (20 inches) to 85 cm (34 inches) or wider. The standard width, if there is one, is 60 cm (about 24 inches) in France, compared to 30 or 36 inches in the U.S. We need and want a fridge between 70 and 75 cm (28 to 32 inches) wide.

The sky yesterday morning, just before we had a brief thunder shower

In the U.S., you can get frost-free fridges and freezers, or you can get the kind that you have to defrost, manually. When we arrived here in 2003, we wanted a refrigerator-freezer like the one we had in California — frost-free with the freezer on the bottom. We couldn't find a model like that, but we did find a Samsung model with the freezer on the top that was frost-free. In other (French) words, both the refrigerator and freezer compartments use the froid ventilé — "ventilated cooling" — system.

We need a good freezer to preserve all the good produce we hope to get from our 2015 vegetable garden.

We've had it for 12 years now, and it has been a good appliance. The time has come to replace it. We wouldn't want to end up with a freezer compartment that needs defrosting (froid statique). And we especially don't want a refrigerator that has to be manually defrosted (froid statique or froid brassébrassé means "stirred" or "mixed"). If you are British, please tell me whether you have all three of these cooling technologies and what they are called in English. Thanks.

13 comments:

Seine Judeet (Judith) said...

Wow, such complications. Heavens, imagine if you were just muddling along in French, and didn't realize what you were buying, and ended up with a fridge needing to be defrosted, instead of a frost-free model! Yikes!
I think I remember someone else (Dedene, maybe?) writing once about the different kinds of bulbs -- maybe it was you. I remember hearing about the clamping-in bulbs, and the different size.

BEAUTIFUL photos!

Susan said...

The UK uses bayonet fittings for light bulbs so we also have a mixed collection of bayonets and screw fittings. The other complication is large or small screw fittings. Our chest freezer (French) needs defrosting about once a year which does have the advantage that you find all the buried stuff that you had forgotten about. Our kitchen fridge (French) doesn't have a freezer compartment and doesn't need defrosting. Our pantry fridge/freezer (British) needs the freezer defrosting periodically. I've got no idea what the technologies are called in English.

Ken Broadhurst said...

Our chest-type freezer down in the utility room also needs defrosting once a year, and I agree that's a good thing because you're required to empty it. You find all those Unidentified Frozen Objects you've let sink to the bottom. The kitchen freezer and fridge -- that's a different story. All I really know is that froid ventilé is the way to go.

Ken Broadhurst said...

Nowadays there are fluorescent, LED, halogen, and even some incandescent bulbs left. Within each category there are screw types or bayonet types, and all the types come in large and small sizes. Some LEDs can be used with dimmer switches and some can't. It's a mess.

Ellen said...

We have a stand-alone freezer in the basement. It's "froid statique" and I have to defrost every 6 - 8 months. It's old -- 30 years old -- that's how long we've been in this house. I'm sure we "should" get a new one, an energy-saving new one, but this old one works just fine, so we can't see the point of getting rid of it until it breaks down. Can someone tell me if the energy savings would pay for the investment in a new one?

LaPré DelaForge said...

"Like much of the electrical infrastructure in France, it's pretty complicated"...
Ken, I think that that is a wonderful bit of understatement....
I don't think I've come across a more complex electrix than we have here...

When we bought the house I plugged in a circuit-breaker socket adaptor to use something outside...
it broke... I reset... it broke.... I tried it in a different socket... same thing.
A friend, a Euro-trained sparky, came over with me the next time...
he went through the house and made sure that all the negatives were on one side of the plug....
and all the positives the other...
job sorted, the circuit-breaker didn't break the moment it was plugged in.
As far as French sparkies are concerened...
AC current is just that... so it doesn't matter which side of a socket is which!!
And they have to have a tie-in with the manufacturers of extension cables, surely, 'cos they really seem not to like like doing double or treble outlets....
we asked for trebles in the kitchen....
but only got doubles... and one of those is within a metre of the sink!!

And B22 and SBC15 bulbs are standard in the UK.... and, as a result a lot of Commonwealth countries...
but not, I think Canada, presumably because it is so close to the States?
And my sparky chum told me that France was originally bayonet fitting and changed to Edison...
but it looks to me, in the Bricos locally anyway, that France is still in a hiatus about which to use!!
There seems to be around a 60/40 split E27 to B22 types...
or else it is just that people here, like Scotland, ain't not gonna change a working item...
'till it is bust!

And, now, we've got all the LED/halogen fittings to contend with... GU10, GU9, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera...
and on LED bulbs, we now get ours from Mini-in-the-Box by mail order direct from China* at a fraction of the price of the shop ones... 2€ each for a GU9 or GU10... and some superb designs, too.

As for 'fridges, in the UK we could get a chiller or larder 'fridge...
without an ice box at the top...
a 'standard' refridgerator...
with an ice box at the top...
an 'American' 'fridge...
vast, and with a cold-drinks vent at the front...
or an ice machine in the door...
but you had to build an extension to house them...
and re-mortgage the house to pay for one!

Then there are the range of fridge-freezers...
mainly now, auto-defrost or "dry", but cheaper ones still use the...
"scrape-it-out-yourself" method...
and with the freezers, the cabinet freezers [upright] are mainly auto / "dry" type...
but all the chest freezers are still standard "s-i-o-y"!!
What I can't get my head 'round is the fact that a lot of French under-the-worktop dimension ones...
are called "table-top"?
Whotiz-all-thatabout!?
Altho' thinking on't...
the creakier I get, the more sense it seems to make..........

So only standard for the fridges with an ice compartment...
but they will de-frost at the push of a button...
usually in the middle of the temperature selector...
or a position just before "off"...
all the "larder"/chillers are "dry"...
and the freezers are "auto-defrost"...
or standard "s-i-o-y".
To my knowledege we don't have "stirred"....
which I would think is better than static...
as, like a convection oven, you get an even temperature in the box!

So, Bonny Chancer!!

*When I say direct from China, they seem to be mailed in France...
so are probably coming out of a China Shipping container that stays on the wharf until empty...
we have to pay our VAT to the Postie!
Tim

LaPré DelaForge said...

Ellen, you can get in-line energy meters... usually very cheap...
Lidl in the UK and France do one, periodically, for less than a tenner [£ or €s!]...
you set the current "price-per-unit" and plug it into the socket...
and plug the apparatus into the meter...
and leave for 24 hours...
it tells you just how much it cost for that time period...
and you can calculate from there.
But... the "Energy Ratings"... the A, A+ and A++...
don't seem to tally with what the manufacturers say...
our heavily insulated A++ rated 'fridge actually uses slightly more power...
than the A rated Zannusi 'fridge over a twenty-four hour period??
And, because of all that insulation...
you can hardly get a full meal into the Bosch!!

I prefer the French method of telling you what the actual power consumption is over a year for different machines!!
Much easier to understand.
Tim

Ohiofarmgirl said...

that does sound complicated! we have been disappointed with appliances that are "fancier" these days - i think it's the electronics that are the downfall :-/ one thing we did not like, tho, is the side by side kind of fridge/freezer, if that is an option for you. if you have something big and it's too wide for the freezer part then it makes it hard to efficiently load. but then we found out the "freezer on the bottom" is also not the best for us. it's our least efficiently-cooling freezer! it is the first to warm up if the power is out and for whatever reason (probably user error) sometimes we dont close the freezer drawer correctly and then it thaws out and gets frosty. :-/ good luck on your search!

Ken Broadhurst said...

A door-mounted ice maker or water dispenser wouldn't be features we'd want. And we had a side-by-side fridge-freezer back in the early 90s... Like you, we found it completely impractical. It was too hard to fit things into it, given the kind of cooking we like to do. Don't know about the efficiently of a bottom freezer vs. a top freezer. The Amana we had in SF for the last few years we lived there was a nice model, with freezer on the bottom. I feel like I look for something in the fridge much more often than in the freezer, so I'd do less bending over or kneeling with a top-mounted fridge. We went to the Darty store in Tours today but they didn't have the fridge we are interested in on display. Back to square one.

melinda said...

i'm with you, I love the freezer on the bottom cause I dont want to have to stoop to look in the fridge.....and I loved my Amana I had & lust after another one if these old ones ever break down......also do not want anything going on in the door....more things to break!!

Evelyn said...

Nice photos, but it's sad to see your grass so brown. Good luck with finding your new fridge, we just keep on trucking with our old Amana here. I think we'll get a bottom freezer next time though. Our daughter likes hers a lot and she has a flatter time of refrigerator that I think we'd like, there's less space to lose things in the back.

Simon Bate said...

Bayonet light bulbs brings to mind Peter Seller's travails with the light bulb that kept popping out in "Return of the Pink Panther".

NotesFromAbroad said...

LOL at Simon's comment !!
I am in a world of green. Grass, trees, shrubs, I live on an acre of parklike grounds which are surrounded by forests and farmland.
Oh to be in NYC right now .. :)