My Refrigerator Caught Fire

David Trammel's picture

Not mine actually but that some did during the heatwave in the Northwest this Summer caught my eye in this article,

"My dad’s prepping for the end times. Climate change makes me think I should, too."

"My dad’s prepper mentality came to mind again for me when temperatures soared a few weeks ago, and I drove to four different locations looking for ice because our refrigerator had started smoking. (According to my landlord, mine was the third refrigerator that needed replacing in less than 24 hours.) At my last stop, the cashier shook his head apologetically: “Everyone’s trying to stay cool.” This time, city residents were slapping together jury-rigged swamp coolers with large bowls of ice and those perennially versatile box fans. I’d run up against the limits of what the marketplace could provide. In a moment of desperation, I asked my neighbors two doors down if I could store my perishable goods with them. Though they kindly accommodated, it made for awkward interactions later when I had to knock on their door and ask for my coffee creamer or salad greens. After a while, I decided I didn’t really need those things after all."


That your refrigerator or other essential appliance might be worked so constantly, that it might catch fire make perfect sense but isn't something I even thought about. We live in a world that is expected to have a narrow range of possibilities. Appliances are designed to work only within that range and only as little as needed. That it might have to run full time and still not keep up isn't in the blueprint.

There's going to more of these overlooked situations as the Long Descent unfolds.

A good point. Because of supply shortages and/or high demand, it took us a month to get a washing machine, so we were washing clothes by hand in a pail of water and a small wash board. We almost snapped up an old washing wringer but someone else got it before we did.

I wonder if it makes sense to do 'descent drills'. For example, even if you have a working fridge, go without it for a week to test out alternatives.

David Trammel's picture

I know many preppers do "no electricity weekends" sometimes, to check their prep. Just voluntarily shut it off and use what you have for a few days. I need to do that after I move, and once I get my prep supplies sorted out. I've got them all over the place right now. Looks like the tornado was inside, lol.

Brilliant idea! Here on south western Vancouver Island we are going through not just a drought but heat as well. It gets over 30'C (over 40'C in the really hot spell) and although we expect the droughts, we don't expect the high temps to last so long. So at the moment I am planning to triage my veg garden as I don't think I have enough water for everything. I am looking at this as a Decent Drill because I need to really feel what it is like to deal with a water shortage. Right now I have two water systems; the farm pond which only has 3 feet left in it and is less than 100' diameter with no spring to refill it and a dug well that also does not recharge. I use a 5 hp gas pump on the pond and a tiny little gas pump on the well which fills plastic barrels so I can then pump out with an electrical sump pump. In our climate no water = no food. Gee, can anyone spot the weak links here?? No wonder the local natives never practiced agriculture! If I was younger I would move farther north where they have something called "rain" in the summer.......

I would like to recommend used appliances for sure. There are at least two used appliance stores near my home and their products so far have worked great. These places are also a good place to dispose of an appliance you don't want. They get thoroughly cleaned and repaired and are as good as new it would seem. At least I have had good luck with them.

David Trammel's picture

I'll second used appliances. I've bought all of my major ones, like washer, dryer and refrigerator at one. Even my little freezer. The dorm refrigerator I now use, I bought new. The guy at the used place said they don't refurbish them because it costs more than they can sell them for.

I also recommend the big box hardware stores. I've noticed back in their lot where they keep lumber and construction needs, the one near me also has used appliances sometimes. I'm guessing they are the old ones someone replaces. Mine had a refrigerator for $25.