Question

If you left the refrigerator door open, what would happen to the room temperature and why?

Asked by: Sophie

Answer

The room would get warmer! Think of a refrigerator as a device that transfers heat from inside a box to its surroundings. The room around a refrigerator is warmed as it receives the heat removed from inside the box.

If you leave the door open, heat is merely recycled from the room into the refrigerator, then back into the room. A net room temperature increase would result from the heat of the motor that would be constantly running to move energy around in a circle. It would be like hooking up a water pump to remove water from your basement and routing the discharge tube back to the basement.

Answered by: Paul Walorski, B.A. Physics, Part-time Physics Instructor

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'A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving…'

Albert Einstein
(1879-1955)