Ordinary household refrigerators, even of the best make with the best insulated walls, are by no means as effective in saving ice as might be desired. Three points to consider in purchasing a refrigerator are low temperature, dryness, and sanitation. The low temperature is obtained by ice and proper insulation. The ice compartment should be large enough to hold at least 50 or 75 pounds of ice and should be kept filled in order to avoid a fluctuation in temperature which is favorable to the growth of micro-organisms that cause food to spoil. The location of the ice compartment at the side is thought to be better than across the entire top. The door for icing is perhaps more convenient at the side than on the top. A rear icing-door can be made at a very small additional cost; if the refrigerator is to be placed where rear icing would eliminate much tracking across floors, it is worth considering.
Insulation is accomplished by a dead air space between the outside case and mineral felt, cork, asbestos, or whatever insulating material is used. The wood should be of such a kind that it will not warp. There should be no wood where water can come in contact with it, since damp wood is an excellent place for micro-organisms to lurk.
There should be a good circulation of air in order to keep the atmosphere dry. The cold air from around the ice should go to the bottom of the refrigerator and then travel to the top before it again goes over the ice; the inside openings, therefore, should be large enough at the bottom and the top to permit the free passage of air.
To insure good sanitary conditions, the lining must be of such material that the daily cleaning will be easy, and there must be as few seams as possible to harbor germs. The material may be galvanized iron, enamel, or porcelain. There is little difference in cost between galvanized iron and enamel; the enamel is somewhat easier to clean that the galvanized iron and with proper care wears very satisfactorily. Porcelain is perhaps in many ways the most desirable but it is also the most expensive. The drainpipe and shelves should be easily removable in order that they may be cleaned frequently.
To make the best use of a refrigerator,* such foods as milk and meat should be placed where they will be kept coldest; generally near the place the air leaves the ice-chamber, or directly under the ice. The doors should be opened seldom and for as short a time as possible. The ice should not be covered to prevent its melting, since only by melting can it keep food cool.