Refrigerator Design Challenges

I’ve been going on a tear this week and converting most of the lighting in our house to LED lighting (I am going to write this up in detail later). There are a lot of reasons to change out bulbs to LEDs, and I’m going to talk about one of them here.

This is the stock light bulb in our GE refrigerator. While a little hard to see, it is stamped with 120V60W on the base. It’s an incandescent bulb and sits only a few inches off the top shelf. For reference, the easy bake ovens used a 100W incandescent.

We had noticed that dairy never survived on the top shelf. Eventually we noticed that was because within seconds of the door opening, we’ve got an oven on our top shelf. This is not really what you want inside a refrigerator.

This has now been replaced with a 7.5W led appliance bulb (effectively one of these, though a different brand I bought in home depot). For reference, I burnt myself removing the old bulb even though the door had only been opened for 15 seconds (that’s how fast it gets really hot). With the new bulb there is barely a discernible temperature difference between the top shelf vs. the rest of the fridge.

I do wonder if anyone at GE actually contemplated this issue before the product shipped, or if lighting thermals are the kind of thing that falls through the cracks.

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