Dealing with the refrigerator light on Shabbos

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  • This topic contains 43 replies, has 22 voices, and was last updated by  DrYidd 2 years ago.
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  • #1302167

    Joseph
    Participant

    How do you deal with the refrigerator light on Shabbos?

    #1302213

    Nechomah
    Participant

    We have one fridge that is Israeli model and has switch for the light. I never turn the switch on so that I won’t have to worry about forgetting before Shabbos. My other fridge is regular American model and we put tape over the little stick that goes in and out when opening/closing door, so the fridge thinks the door is closed all the time. Sorry if this is not great advice, but I think there are enough things to do on erev Shabbos before candle lighting and I do not want to add fridge lights to the list.

    #1302218

    Meno
    Participant

    We just take out the bulb and leave it out forever.

    You get used to it pretty quickly and it’s not worth the risk of forgetting about it before shabbos.

    #1302282

    apushatayid
    Participant

    We dont.

    #1302319

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    We just take out the bulb and leave it out forever.

    Why don’t you get the bulb with the built-in 7 day timer?

    #1302331

    Meno
    Participant

    Why don’t you get the bulb with the built-in 7 day timer?

    Those don’t exist and it would be impossible to make one so don’t even think of trying.

    Though you could probably just use a bag of sugar

    #1302335

    Are you referring to old fashioned bulbs that can be removed or the new fridges with LED lights that can’t be removed? Does the fridge have a shabbos mode that keeps the lights off?

    When I had a fridge with the old fashioned bulbs I removed the bulbs after it was installed. On another model I used velcro to keep the switch in place.

    #1302338

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    I tried sugar, but one of my kids knocked it off, and it was the last bag.

    #1302349

    blubluh
    Participant

    I have it easy since my refrigerator was manufactured before much of the Shabbos/Yom Tov challenging features became available. All I’ve needed is a piece of good quality duct tape applied over the pressure switches inside the doors and that takes care of the lights and the fans.

    An article posted here not even a year ago by Rabbi Hoffman describes some of the issues the newer technology presents and, apparently, those issues are no longer limited to just very high-end models. He also identifies a device approved by Rav Belsky, zt”l among others that provides an easy to use – though not inexpensive – solution that some manufacturers examined and said would not damage their products. It goes for about $133 including shipping.

    http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/headlines-breaking-stories/474948/is-your-fridge-kosher.html

    #1302355

    Meno
    Participant

    it was the last bag

    They sell sugar at Bingo

    #1302365

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    There are several models which have built-in LED lights that can stay on 24×7 so that the bulb will outlast the refrigerator. Problem solved, if you only worry is the bulb going on/off. Most yidden don’t get hung up on the compressor going on any more than worrying about a few additional yidden walking into the beis medrash and their body temperatures pushing up the ambient temperature sufficiently to trigger the thermostat to put on the cooling compressor (even if the fan on the air handler is running).

    #1302366

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    I would’ve gone there to replace it, but they’re closed on Shabbos.

    #1302372

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    If your fridge is old enough that you don’t have a problem with Shabbos features, replacing it would probably pay for itself in energy savings in just a couple of months.

    #1302375

    Meno
    Participant

    Eh, probably more like a couple of years

    #1302381

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    Obvious that you don’t have SubZero refrigerators
    Our combination units (fridge/freezer) in our 3 kitchens would cost in excess of $36,000 certainly not worth it, I just removed the bulbs

    #1302406

    Joseph
    Participant

    How have you folks here dealt with an issue where the tape unglued or somehow the light went on during Shabbos with all the Shabbos food now stuck in the fridge?

    #1302404

    2qwerty
    Participant

    @gadolhadorah – R’ Ahron did worry about the compressor going on and i think some people in lakewood either wait for compressor to be on or have the fridge on a timer to be completely off around the meals times.
    Nothing personal but here is how i understand it…
    The difference with compressor and going into BM is that if you time your fridge compressor during the week you will learn a pattern and exactly how many seconds it takes for it to go on. So just because you are lazy and dont count those seconds on shabbos doesnt mean that there is no psik reisha at a certain time.
    If i stand next to your fridge and i count out the seconds and i tell you if you open the door now even for 1 second the compressor will go on, would you still open it? So is lack of knowledge a valid excuse?

    #1302522

    joseph: That is why I took the light bulbs out. Personally, I have never heard from any of my neighbors or friends that the tape became unglued or “somehow the light came on”.

    2qwerty: I have heard from a frum repairman that most modern fridges use a timed cycle for the compressor as opposed to the older models that a rise in temperature caused the compressor to go on.

    #1302629

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    2qwerty: Thanks for the useful and informative information. However, I’m not sure the same analogy about timing the compressor works for an HVAC system using the type of thermostat with a lag response that is impossible to predict. If the cooling is set to 70 degrees in some small shteeblach and the ambient room air temperature is at that same 70 degrees, having a few daveners walk into the room could increase the room temperature by a degree within a minute or two, thus triggering the thermostat to start the compressor to cool the room back down to 70 degrees. I don’t think you would stand outside the beis medrash and only go in while the compressor is already running to avoid being the davener who starts the compressor.

    #1302637

    blubluh
    Participant

    “I have heard from a frum repairman that most modern fridges use a timed cycle for the compressor as opposed to the older models that a rise in temperature caused the compressor to go on.”

    Frost-free refrigerator/freezers use both one or more thermostats as well as a timer. The timer periodically shuts down the cooling mechanism and activates a heating unit installed by the fins of the condenser coil in the freezer cavity to counter-act ice build-up. It then reverts the appliance back to normal operation. However, these refrigerator/freezers most certainly do depend on thermostats to monitor/maintain the selected temperature during normal operation.

    For those interested, there are some very helpful appliance repair videos on-line for lay-people explaining what these components do and how they are replaced when defective.

    #1302646

    golfer
    Participant

    That does sound complicated Joseph.
    We once noticed a problem Erev Shabbos and I spent a lot of Shabbos thinking about what you asked.
    I guess I should have asked a “just in case what if” shayla.
    Watching here to see if anyone has anything to say to you.

    #1302808

    Mammele
    Participant

    On newish models, taping the switch and leaving it that way causes the fridge to go into “vacation mode” after a few days which lowers its cooling temperature.

    #1302814

    Joseph
    Participant

    So what is the workaround for those with newish models?

    #1302820

    ZTA
    Participant

    In Europe the modern fridges & freezers have hidden sensors that make sure the motor does not go on whilst the door is open, even if the temperature has dropped. So basically, when you close the door, you are basically switching the fan on!

    Some electricians make a point to know how to sort this.

    The sensors are magnets in the door and main body of fridge, so sticking a magnet to the door or actual fridge will usually solve this. Some models need two magnets.

    Taking the bulb out does not solve this problem. Obviously the good old fashion time switch will also be ok..

    #1302825

    etzhar
    Participant

    We have a Fisher Paykel fridge which has a Shabbos setting. Lasts upto 72 hours. Good for yomtov. controls both light and fan.
    I have another fridge where I use the magnet trick.
    Vacation houses can be an issue because he very mofern ones are quite sophisticated.

    Although I live in Uk, there is a very good Star-K article on their website on this.

    #1302830

    huju
    Participant

    I have a Persian Muslim neighbor. The one time we forgot to tape over the switch on Shabbos, I asked the neighbor – at about 10 pm on Friday, when her husband was still at work – she knew what I was asking before I finished my explanation and came over and taped over the switch for us.

    So it’s a good thing that Muslim ban never kicked in.

    #1302835

    DrYidd
    Participant

    ZTA, magnets work in many situations. we place a magnet in two different places that keep two separate lights off; it would cost over $100 for them to be permanently removed. we removed two other lights. the fridge came with our vacation home and some googling around and calls to the manufacturer helped solve the problem.

    #1302888

    Meno
    Participant

    I also use a magnet.

    I use it to stick a big piece of paper on the fridge that says “DON’T FORGET TO TAKE OUT THE LIGHT BULB BEFORE SHABBOS”

    #1302984

    Mammele
    Participant

    Joseph: With a “newish” fridge we use velcro strips to keep the fridge and freezer switches covered on Shabbos and Yom Tov and removed afterwards. (Two small strips of the “hook” side stuck one above and one below the switch, a long “loop” side velcro that gets raised to connect the two velcros and keep the switch pushed in so it’s off, or lowered when we want the switch to function as usual.)

    It’s not a perfect system, and the velcro may need to be replaced occasionally. If something goes wrong, a non-Jew will need to be called to help out.

    #1303124

    yehudayona
    Participant

    For those who think removing the light bulb solves the problem, unless your refrigerator is not self-defrosting, you’re probably wrong. The switch typically has an effect on the defrost circuit. This is independent of the thermostat problem mentioned by gadolhadorah. Also, it’s not a good idea to leave the switch taped all the time. We had a refrigerator that stopped working if we taped the switch for even a three day Yom Tov. A repairman told me that that was a problem with that brand and recommended a different brand.

    You can read about adaptive defrost controls in Rabbi Hoffman’s article referenced above.

    After running out of good quality duct tape (the cheap stuff is useless), I came up with a solution using a wide craft stick (i.e. a tongue depressor) and sticky velcro.

    #1303463

    huju
    Participant

    The refrigerator light is only a part of the refrigerator problem. When you open a fridge door, you let in warm air, and the thermostat generally kicks on. Have the rabbis deemed this different than opening the door of the fridge? I don’t see the difference – but I am not a rabbi.

    #1303476

    yehudayona
    Participant

    huju, that was covered in earlier replies. Most poskim don’t consider it a problem.

    If your home’s heat is controlled by a thermostat, you have the same problem when you open your front door. While it’s possible to listen to your refrigerator to determine whether the compressor is running and delaying opening the door until it does, I’ve never heard of someone waiting outside in the cold until the heat comes on before opening their front door. They’d also need some way of ascertaining from outside whether the heat was on.

    #1303477

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    yehudayona: Taking out the light bulbs is an answer and possible solution to the question of the OP. This is not a solution for the new models with LED lights which I am not sure if they can be taken out. All the other issues as to the compressor turning on are old shailos that have been discussed for many years. There is now a shabbos clock specifically designed for refrigerators that turns off the fridge at specific intervals each hour (or some predetermined interval). There are various articles on the websites of the OU and Star-K that addresses these issues.

    #1303487

    DrYidd
    Participant

    huju, heat entering a refrigerator is a textbook case psik reisha delo nicha lai – the basis for heterim from many great poskim.

    #1303609

    yehudayona
    Participant

    iacisrmma, the light is the least of the problems with anything fancier than an old dorm fridge. As I stated above, in many self-defrosting fridges, the switch affects the defrost system. Many people erroneously think that taking out the light bulb eliminates Shabbos problems. If you have a 50 year old non-self-defrosting fridge, you’re fine just taking out the light bulb. But if it’s a 15 or 20 year old self-defrosting model, there’s a good chance that the switch is doing something that’s not psik reisha delo nicha lai.

    #1303651

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    yehudayona: I am not arguing against you. The specific question of the OP was about the lights. I have spoken to my repair person numerous times about my fridge (again, I am talking about the model that I have in my house and he has repaired) that my model does not have the issues that you refer to.

    #1303660

    Joseph
    Participant

    Are you sure your repair person is completely sufficiently knowledgeable regarding the detailed technical intricacies of your specific model to be able to use his opinion to make a chillul Shabbos determination?

    #1303669

    DrYidd
    Participant

    yehudayona, psik raisha delo ichpat lai by a melacha derabbonon is also muttar lechatchila le’rov [oskim.

    #1303676

    DovidBT
    Participant

    Why can’t some observant Jews get together and design an affordable, Shabbos-compliant refrigerator? Or even a kit that can be assembled from off-the-shelf parts?

    This isn’t rocket science. Or is it?

    #1303680

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    Joseph: according to the Rav who when I consulted him about the particular model referred me to speak directly to this repair person on how to safely use this fridge on shabbos.

    #1303687

    usa-tralian
    Participant

    Try 3M Command picture hanging strips instead of Velcro. They’re much stronger, same idea.

    #1303693

    yehudayona
    Participant

    DrYidd, what makes you think turning on the defrost circuit is a derabbonon? It’s like turning on a space heater.

    #1303957

    Pinchas
    Participant

    ZTA, thank you for this information. I searched for a finally found where the sensors are on my Sharp Hybrid model (a popular model in Israel). It requires taping two magnets at the bottom or the doors near where they meet in the middle of the fridge. Indeed even with the lightbulbs removed I still here a “clicking” noise when I place and remove the magnets indicating something else is going on each time the door is opened and closed (probably the fan going on and off.)

    #1304606

    DrYidd
    Participant

    yehudayona, there is no heating element that gets to a relevant temperature, hence de’rabbonon at best

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