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Refrigerators: Cooling Down Your Electric Bill

Refrigerators: Cooling Down Your Electric Bill

Did you know that your refrigerator and freezer use more energy than any other appliance, consuming one-sixth of the energy in your home? If you’re interested in shaving a little something off of your electric bill, here are some tips for making sure your fridge and freezer are operating efficiently.

1. If you are using a conventional refrigerator sold in 2001, it is using 40 percent more energy than new refrigerators with an ENERGY STAR label. These energy efficient refrigerators also use at least 20 percent less energy than required by current federal standards. The EnergyGuide label on refrigerators tell you how much energy is required to run the unit. The smaller the number, the less energy the refrigerator uses and the more money you will save over time.

2. According to the EPA, recommended temperatures are 37 to 40F for the fresh food compartment of the refrigerator and 3F for the freezer section. Setting the temps lower than this is usually unnecessary.

3. Make sure your refrigerator door seals are airtight. A simple test: close the door on a piece of paper that is half in/half sticking out. If you can easily slip the paper out, the seal may need replacing, or it may be time for a new unit.

4. Top freezer models are more energy efficient than side-by-side models.

5. Water dispensers and icemakers increase energy use.

6. Keep freezers full. The fuller it is, the less space to trap warm air when the door is open. The greater the amounts of warm air entering the freezer, the harder it has to work to maintain its temperature. If your freezer isn’t stocked up with food, you can fill plastic jugs with water to reduce the empty space.

7. Frost buildup reduces the energy efficiency of refrigerators and freezers. Regularly defrost them, allowing no more than one-quarter of an inch of frost to build up.

8. Know what you want, then get in and out efficiently. Organizing the food in your fridge will help everyone to know where to look for the items they want. Marking foods in the freezer will make them easier to identify, reducing the amount of cold air escaping through doors staying open excessively.

9. Let hot foods cool before putting them in freezer.

10. Look for models with automatic moisture control, a feature that prevents moisture from accumulating on the exterior cabinet without the use of an additional heater.

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Read more: Conscious Consumer, Conservation, Family, Green, Green Kitchen Tips, Home, Smart Shopping, , , , ,

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Terri Hall

Terri Hall lives in the Hudson Valley with her family. In addition to writing, Terri works with public television and radio stations/networks in the area of new media, and leads workshops on authentic and empowered living.


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2:35AM PDT on Sep 23, 2014

You have shared the best blog. This is what I really need immediately.
top rated refrigerators

4:40PM PST on Nov 17, 2012

When I purchased my last refrigerator, I went online and did a little research to find out what company was the most energy efficient friendly one currently out there. Then I looked for the one's who gave tax credits for buying energy efficient appliances, and in the end I got a great price, a little more on my tax return and I really have not seen a bump on my power bill at all. If your in the market to purchase any appliance, do some research, and you never know what you can save!

8:06AM PST on Nov 13, 2012

Helpful info! Thanks.

5:00AM PDT on Jun 23, 2012

Thank you.

8:43PM PDT on Jun 22, 2012


6:26AM PDT on Jun 21, 2012

useful information.

6:11PM PDT on Jun 7, 2012

thanks for sharing these tips

9:30AM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

Thanks for the tips.

4:58AM PDT on Sep 25, 2011

Thank you

5:19AM PDT on Sep 7, 2011

Great tips!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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