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The Great Refrigerator Roundup - FAQ

What is The Great Refrigerator Roundup program?
The Great Refrigerator Roundup is a program designed to remove older, inefficient fridges and freezers from the electricity system. Generally, these appliances are located in basements or garages, are plugged in but rarely used, and they typically use two to three times more electricity than new appliances. The program offers to pick up older refrigerators and freezers as well as window air conditioners and dehumidifiers from residents of Ontario and fully decommission them in an environmentally friendly manner.

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When did The Great Refrigerator Roundup program start?
The Great Refrigerator Roundup program began rolling out across the province of Ontario on June 18, 2007.

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How long will The Great Refrigerator Roundup program be available?
It is an ongoing program that will be available for the foreseeable future.

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Why would I want to participate in this program?
There are many great reasons to participate in this program. By having your old inefficient refrigerator or freezer removed from your home, you could save up to $150 per year on your electricity bill by eliminating a major home electricity user and will :

  • be helping the environment by reducing the impact of electricity generation and by having the fridge/freezer, window air conditioner and/or dehumidifier decommissioned in an environmentally responsible way.
  • be free of hassles – a professional contractor will remove the fridge/freezer, window air conditioner and/or dehumidifier from your home and take it away for you for proper decommissioning
  • help ensure that old appliances are not resold and put back into the market wasting more energy.
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How do I know if my appliance will qualify for the 2010 program?
To qualify, you must have at least one appliance as shown in the “primary appliance” category below:
A primary appliance is defined as a full-size refrigerator or freezer that is:

  • between 10 and 27 cubic feet (standard size)
  • in working condition at the time of pickup
  • 15 years or older
  • located in a single-dwelling home, a townhouse or a duplex, triplex or four-plex building (some apartments and condominiums that are over three stories, may also qualify).

*Note: Ammonia-based refrigerators are not eligible for pick up

If you have at least one “primary appliance,” then we will also pick up any other appliances shown on the secondary appliance list at the same time.

A secondary appliance is defined as a window air conditioner or dehumidifier and must be:

  • in working condition at the time of pick up
  • 10 years or older
  • window air conditioners must be removed from the window prior to pick up and located near a power source.
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I’m not sure how many cubic feet my fridge is. How do I measure it?
If your fridge is approximately 5 ½'‘ high, then it is likely at least 10 cu. ft.(for a freezer it would be the length that would be 5 ½ ‘). The inside capacity of the fridge is measured in cubic feet. To determine how many cubic feet your fridge is take a measuring tape and measure the following:

  • the depth, width and height of the freezer compartment (e.g. 2’ X2 .4’ X1’ = 4.8 cu ft)
  • the depth, width and height of the fridge compartment (e.g. 2’ X 2.4’ X 3’ = 14.4 cu ft)
  • add the cubic feet of both the freezer and fridge compartment and it totals = 19.2 cu. ft

* NOTE: REMEMBER TO MEASURE IN FEET

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I’m not sure how old my fridge is. How do I check?
Most refrigerators and freezers have a manufacturer’s sticker on the back or on the inside at the bottom portion of the ledge by the door, and the date is usually included in the numbers written on the sticker.

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I have an older fridge, freezer or window air conditioner and I want to get rid of it immediately, what do I do?
You have two options:

  • You can click here for a fast and easy way to book your appointment online.
  • You can call the Ontario Power Authority’s Customer Contact Centre at 1-877-797-9473. The call centre is open Monday to Saturday 8 a.m.- 8 p.m. to schedule your pick up appointment.

While you are waiting for your appointment date, it's a good idea to unplug the appliance so that you're not consuming any additional electricity. Keep in mind that 24 hours prior to your appointment, you will be required to plug in your fridge or freezer to verify for the appliance removal technician that it is in working condition. Window air conditioners must be placed on the floor close to a power source.

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I have a fridge or freezer that is smaller than 10 cu. ft. I thought I could have these picked up along with my larger ones. Why can I no longer have them picked up?
As of July 2nd, 2008 smaller fridges and freezers will no longer be included in appointment bookings for The Great Refrigerator Roundup program. It was found through ongoing program evaluation that the electricity savings on smaller fridges and freezers was minimal. Window air conditioners on the other hand, provide significant electricity savings and for that reason, they remain a secondary appliance in the program.

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Is there a limit to how many appointments I can book in one year?
No, there is no limit as to the number of appointments you can book in one year and up to 10 appliances may be booked at any one time.

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When did multi-residential buildings become a part of the program?
Buildings such as condominiums and apartments where the tenants own the fridge or freezer and where there is appropriate access (including parking for the trucks and elevators to remove appliances) are now included in the Great Refrigerator Roundup, effective January 2010.

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What’s so bad about older fridges, freezers, window air conditioners or dehumidifiers?
These technologies have changed tremendously over the past 20 years. A typical fridge built in 1986 uses 1,500 kilowatt-hours, which could be costing up to $150 per year to run, while a new ENERGY STAR® rated fridge will use approximately two-thirds less energy.

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What incentive is being provided to remove the older fridge, freezer, window air conditioner and dehumidifier?
In addition to the savings of up to $150 per year on your electricity bill, from getting rid of your old refrigerator or freezer, we are pleased to be offering free pick up by staff who will remove it from your home and dispose of it in an environmentally friendly manner. If you were to hire someone to take it out of your home and dispose of it, you might pay up to $90. If you were to remove the appliance yourself and place it on the curb, many municipalities charge a fee of approximately $30 for removal of the CFCs. By participating in The Great Refrigerator Roundup, you just have to book an appointment and we take care of the rest.

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What is being done with the appliances that are taken away?
The appliances are being decommissioned so that the components can be recycled in an environmentally responsible way. Only a bare minimum of material will reach landfill sites. Particular attention is being paid to the chemicals used in fridges that are significant atmospheric pollutants and responsible for ozone depletion. These are being contained and destroyed.

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Why will you not pick up ammonia-based refrigerators?
Ammonia-based units are not eligible appliances under The Great Refrigerator Roundup program for two reasons; first, the amount of energy an ammonia unit uses is negligible compared to a normal household refrigerator that uses a compressor. Ammonia units use electricity only to operate lights, and smaller units use electricity to operate a small heating element to heat the ammonia to move it through the sealed system. (The majority of units use liquid propane or natural gas to heat the ammonia.)

The second reason is that ammonia used as a refrigerant contains an additive called sodium chromate, which is a known carcinogen. Special equipment is needed to protect workers and the environment when handling these appliances.

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How do I know if my refrigerator is ammonia-based?
Typically, large ammonia-based refrigerators are approximately 45 years or older. An ammonia-based fridge is often recognized by its top vent for dispersing heat. A larger unit will also have a hook-up for liquid propane or natural gas.

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Do you have any suggestions as to how I can get rid of my ammonia based refrigerator?
You may wish to contact your local municipality for further information.

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Why is this initiative happening?
Ontario’s electricity use is growing. Population growth and increases in use of electrical devices will cause increasing demand. This demand can be met by building more generating stations, but that is expensive and has environmental implications. An alternative way to allow for growth is to help Ontarians use electricity as efficiently as possible; using only the electricity they need and, where possible, avoiding using it at times when the peak demand for electricity is highest. This saves Ontarians money and reduces impact on the environment.

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What is the Ontario Power Authority?
This is an organization set up by the Ontario provincial government to plan the Ontario power system, develop generation, develop the electricity sector and encourage electricity conservation.

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Are there other programs to save electricity that are available to homeowners now?
Yes there are currently 2 other programs being run by the Ontario Power Authority that you may be interested in:

  1. peaksaver® enables qualified customers to allow their local utility to briefly reduce the central air conditioner’s electricity usage during critical peak times, which are typically weekday afternoons during the hottest days of the summer but never on holidays or weekends.

  2. Cool Savings Rebate: Rebates are offered to residents who replace old air conditioning systems with ENERGY STAR® qualified models and heating systems with, on tune-ups for existing air conditioning systems and installations of programmable thermostats by program-registered technicians. Participating heating and cooling contractors as well as complete program details can be found here.

 

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