Not many appliances last for 60-plus years. But Mark Mielnik's refrigerator did.
Mielnik of Altoona recently contacted Penelec to recycle his 1949 Frigidaire, earning him regional honors in the FirstEnergy Oldest Fridge Contest.
The contest was part of a joint program with utilities across Pennsylvania to seek out the state's oldest fridge, while removing as many outdated, energy-draining devices from the electric grid as possible.
This 1949 Frigidaire refrigerator was owned by Mark Mielnik of Altoona. His was the oldest refrigerator in the region turned in as part of a contest through FirstEnergy.
Mielnik got the refrigerator when he purchased property from his in-laws and discovered the functioning appliance inside a decrepit mobile home on the lot.
Mielnik said he used it in his garage for eight or nine years to chill beverages and leftovers, but he decided entering the contest was a good way to have it hauled away this year.
"We don't need it as a spare. I thought it was a great idea to get rid of it - get $50 to haul it away and a chance to win," he said.
The 63-year-old refrigerator was one of 2,881 refrigerators and freezers picked up throughout Penelec's service area as part of the program.
While his was old, it wasn't the oldest collected. That honor went to a Pittsburgh resident who turned in a 1937 General Electric refrigerator.
In addition to the guaranteed $50 incentive that every customer receives for participating in the program, Mielnik also won a $250 Sears gift card for being the owner of the oldest refrigerator in Penelec's service area.
Outdated refrigerators and freezers cost a homeowner extra money to operate as they aren't as efficient as newer appliances, FirstEnergy spokesman Scott Surgeoner said.
"The savings a newer appliance can make a big difference in the annual energy costs of a household," Surgeoner said. "This contest is a reminder to anyone that refrigerators manufactured before 1990 are not up to current energy conservation standards and can pose a threat to the environment if not properly disabled and recycled."
Despite the end of the contest, anyone can save money by having an older, less efficient appliance in their garage or basement picked up for recycling. To participate, call 877-270-3521 or visit energysavePA.com. Appliances to be recycled must be in working order.