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 40°F for the fresh food compartment of the refrigerator and 3°F 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.