ANSI/ASHRAE 72-2022: Testing Refrigerators And Freezers

Man grocery shopping in a market with commercial refrigerators adhering to ANSI/ASHRAE 72-2022.

Can you imagine a world without refrigerators? It seems unlikely, as 99.8% of American homes own at least one refrigerator. ANSI/ASHRAE 72-2022: Method Of Testing Open And Closed Commercial Refrigerators And Freezers describes a uniform method of testing open and closed refrigerators and freezers for rating.

How Did People Keep Food Fresh Before Refrigerators?

In cold areas, ancient people would freeze their food by storing it in ice and snow; in warmer areas, they would dry their food in sunlight. In 400 BCE Persia, people stored food in structures called Yakhchal—domed buildings made from mud brick to keep ice frozen. Walls up to six feet thick insulated Yakhchals, allowing them to keep food fresh even in the warmest summer months.  

In the Middle Ages (500 CE to 1500 CE) people preserved meat by salting or smoking it and would dry many foods, including grains. Vegetables were often salted or pickled, and fruits were dried or turned in preserves. These foods could then be stored in cool places, like cellars and caves, enabling food saving during droughts and famines. 

Ice Delivery

In the 1800s, ice pits, underground pits full of ice to cool food, became very common. A larger above-ground building would cover the ice pit. This allowed for ice delivery, in which businesses delivered ice blocks via horse and carriage. The ice was used to fill ice pits in the summer months.

At the end of the 19th century, many people kept their food fresh in iceboxes. Iceboxes were wood cabinets lined with tin or zinc for insulation, and they held large blocks of ice to keep food cool. Ice delivery businesses grew as more homes required ice to preserve food. By the 1930s, many people were using electric refrigerators to keep food fresh.

The first Electric Refrigerator: the DOLMERE

In 1913, the first household electric refrigerator, the DOLMERE, was invented. Fred W. Wolf JR., charter member of American Society of Refrigerating Engineers, created the DOLMERE and sold it for $900. Several thousand DOLMEREs were sold between 1914 and 1922. It functioned as an air-cooled refrigeration unit designed for mounting on top of the customer’s icebox.

Developing the First True Mechanical Refrigeration

In 1915, Alfred Mellowes introduced the first true mechanical refrigeration, involving a closed system of circulating refrigerant driven by a compressor. It differed from the DOLMERE because it was self-contained with the compressor located in the bottom of the cabinet. The Guardian Refrigerator Company marketed Mellowes’s idea in 1916. In 1918, W.C. Durant, president of General Motors, privately purchased the company, and a new name of Frigidaire was coined. Durant applied the mass production techniques of the automobile industry to the construction of refrigerators.

Since then, growth in technology has led to refrigeration machines becoming more advanced, and standards for refrigeration, like ASHRAE Standards, help to ensure their performance.

What is ANSI/ASHRAE 72-2022?

ANSI/ASHRAE 72-2022 prescribes a uniform method of testing open and closed refrigerators and freezers for rating, allowing comparative evaluations for performance factors like energy consumption, product temperature performance, refrigeration load, and the suction pressures required.

  • Refrigerator: A low-temperature or medium-temperature compartment that is artificially kept cool by a refrigerant (a volatile fluid) to store food and drinks.
  • Open refrigerator: A display or holding refrigerator where product is accessible for removal without opening or moving doors or panels.
  • Closed refrigerator: A display or holding refrigerator where product is accessible for removal by opening or moving doors or panels.
  • Freezer: A refrigerator that maintains product in a frozen state; low-temperature refrigerator is synonymous with freezer in ANSI/ASHRAE 72-2022.

This American National Standard applies to the following types of open and closed commercial refrigerators and freezers:   

  1. Both horizontal and vertical open and closed refrigerators and freezers
  2. Both remote and self-contained open and closed refrigerators and freezers

What Quantities Does ANSI/ASHRAE 72-2022 Examine in Testing?

The test in ANSI/ASHRAE 72-2022 is a 24-hour performance test, in which Test A is compared to Test B to verify stability of unit performance. The test examine and measure the following refrigerator conditions:

  • Chamber Conditions (e.g., wet and dry bulb temperature; speed of air currents; radiant heat temperature)
  • Electricity Supply and Consumption of UUT and Components Metered Separately (e.g., electrical supply potential and frequency; energy consumed)
  • Compartment Temperature
  • Refrigerant Measurements for Direct-Expansion Remote Units (e.g., liquid refrigerant temperature, pressure, sub cooling, and mass flow; Suction vapor pressure and temperature)
  • Secondary Coolant Measurements for Secondary Coolant Remote Conditions (e.g., entreating coolant temperature; coolant mass flow)
  • Condenser Cooling Liquid Measurements for Liquid Cooled Self-Contained Units (e.g., entering and leaving liquid temperature; liquid mass flow; liquid inlet and outlet pressures)

ANSI/ASHRAE 72-2022: Method Of Testing Open And Closed Commercial Refrigerators And Freezers is available on the ANSI Webstore.

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