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Save Money Using Refrigerator and Freezer Energy Efficiency Tips

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Consider buying an energy efficient refrigerator.

  • In general, refrigerators that are more than 10 years old use up to 50% more energy than new energy efficient models. This is due to the advancement in the technology how refrigerators are built. Modern refrigerators use less energy.
  • Behind heating and cooling and water heaters, refrigerators and freezers are the biggest household energy users because they run all the time.

Choose refrigerator and freezer styles carefully.

  • Side-by-side refrigerators use about 45% more energy than refrigerators with a separate freezer on top.
  • Upright freezers use 10% to 25% more energy than chest styled freezers because they lose more cold air when opened.
  • Freezers that must be manually defrosted use 35% to 40% less energy than comparable frost-free models.

Adjust the temperature setting.

  • Temperature settings that are too low cause refrigerators and freezers to run more than needed. The refrigerator temperature should be 36 to 38 degrees. The freezer temperature should be 0 to 5 degrees. To test: place an ordinary household thermometer in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes. Be ready to read it the moment you open the door. Repeat the test for your freezer.
  • Refrigerator temperatures set at even 10 degrees lower than recommended can increase energy use by as much as 25%.

Make sure your refrigerator and freezer doors seal properly.

  • To test: close door over a dollar bill. If the dollar pulls out easily, the seal around the door may need replacing or the door latch may need adjusting.

Defrost (manual) freezers before the frost exceeds a quarter inch thick.

  • Greater frost buildup makes the freezer work harder, running longer than necessary.

Gently vacuum off the refrigerator's condenser coils about every three months.

  • The coils are located in the back or under the bottom of the refrigerator. Excessive dust buildup will make the refrigerator work harder and run longer.

Adjust the location of your freezer.

  • Freezers can use up to 25% more energy if located in hot temperatures (such as in your garage during the summertime) than if they operate in normal household temperature conditions.

Let foods cool before placing in refrigerator unless the recipe specifies

  • Warm food will cause your refrigerator to run more.

Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator rather than on a counter top.

  • This is safer plus frozen items will help cool the refrigerator as they defrost and may help reduce its running time.

Freezers work better fully loaded.

  • If possible, load your refrigerator according to the manufacturer's recommendation. The user guide for the refrigerator will guide you how to load your refrigerator.

Note: Computer, television sets, toasters, and microwave ovens continuously use energy if they are plugged into the electric outlet. Disconnecting this devices while they are not being used will save significant amount of energy. You can save a good amount of money by disconnecting these appliances while they are not being used.