Refrigeration / Freezers & Coolers

What If Gomer Serviced Your Freezer?

Why a Qualified Tech Is Needed

Those of you of a certain age interested in a bit of refrigeration nostalgia should check out an episode of the old Andy Griffith TV show that first aired back in 1964. (It usually shows up on the TV Land cable channel from time to time.)

The episode is called “Bargain Day” and it concerns an old — even by 1964 standards — horizontal closed lid freezer that Aunt Bea bought used from a discount store. With 150 pounds of frozen meat (also purchased cheap from a bulk supplier rather than good old Mr. Foley at the mom and pop grocery store in downtown Mayberry), Aunt Bea finds the freezer on the fritz the first time she plugs it in.

Rather than hiring a qualified refrigeration service technician from way over in Mt. Pilot as Andy wanted, she asks Gomer, the local garage mechanic, to see what he can do. Gomer is first surprised to discover than the unit has to be plugged in to work. (After all, he works on cars and trucks before there were electrical versions of such vehicles.) He does manage to unintentionally crack a refrigerant line causing sulfur dioxide to leak out. (I’m assuming it was SO2, since the folks fled the scene because of the smell whereas CFC-12 had no smell.)

Andy ends up getting the Mt. Pilot service tech out who declares the unit non-repairable and sells Andy a new (for 1964) upright model.

So the plot was filled with lessons about buying products from reputable sources, using qualified refrigeration technicians, and knowing when to replace rather than repair.

But the special part was the final scene (probably cut from the edited TV Land airings) in which Andy’s son Opie asks what was used before mechanical refrigeration (he didn’t use that term, of course) to keep things frozen or at least cold; and Andy goes into a story about ice houses and before that, in-ground storage.

The whole plot took place on an especially hot day in the summer in North Carolina. So, assuming it is hot where you are now, proper freezer maintenance is a timely topic.

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