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Saving Energy Costs With Your Refrigerator

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Your fridge is one of the biggest users of electricity in the home because it is always switched on. It is one of the only appliances in the home that is switched on 24/7 for a total of 8760 hours a year, and accounts for about 7% of the average household energy bill. This is why it makes sense to always find ways to run them as efficiently as possible.

Here are a few tips to help cut down on the energy consumption of your fridge.

  • Older refrigerators are very energy inefficient. You could save over $75 a year in energy bills by replacing a 20-year-old fridge with a newer version.
  • When getting a new fridge-freezer, make sure that you select one that is just large enough for your requirements.
  • Don’t place your fridge in direct sunlight or in the path of heat sources like the oven, heat vents, washing machine, dryer or dishwasher. This will ensure that the compressor doesn’t have to work harder to do its job.
  • When the fridge door is opened too frequently, this allows up to 30 percent of the cold air to escape. When this happens, the compressor will have to work hard to bring down the temperature again once the door is closed. The less work you make your fridge/freezer do, the less energy it will use. This can save up to 5 percent on your energy bills.
  • The fridge needs to be in a well-ventilated for air to circulate. Keep about 1 inch of space above and behind the refrigerator to allow the coils to work efficiently. If it isn’t well ventilated, it might use extra energy and it can damage the compressor.
  • Keep your fridge and freezer well-stocked but not overpacked. Empty or overpacked fridges use up more energy. A well-stocked freezer retains cold better than an empty one. When you open the door of a well-stocked fridge, the frozen food will help keep in the cold, and the unit won’t have to work as hard to cool the empty space. If food is running low, stock it up with bottles of water.
  • Let food cool naturally before putting it in the fridge. When you store hot food in your fridge, it means the compressor has to work harder to keep the fridge cool.
  • The factory setting may keep the fridge cooler than is required. Industry experts recommend using the most efficient temperature settings by setting your freezer at 5°F and your fridge between 37°F and 40°F.  
  • You should always ensure that the seal of the fridge is in perfect condition. One way to tell if it is bad is by using the dollar test. Put a one dollar bill between the door and the fridge. Close the door and then pull. If the dollar bill slips out easily, you need to replace the door gaskets. Also, condensation on the outside of your fridge-freezer is a sure sign that you need to replace the seal.
  • Keep your liquids covered in the fridge. Uncovered liquids can release moisture, which can force your compressor to work harder. Having less moisture in your fridge will make it work more efficiently.  
  • Defrost food by putting it in the refrigerator the night before you want to use it. The fridge absorbs the coldness from the frozen food saving energy by reducing its power consumption.
  • From time to time, pull your fridge away from the wall and vacuum the coils. When dust and grime accumulate on the coils, the compressor has to work harder. Cleaning the coils will maximize the energy efficiency of the fridge by up to 6%.
  • Your refrigerator needs to be defrosted on a regular basis. As more ice builds up, the compressor will use more energy because it has to work harder. If the ice around the inside is more than 1 cm thick, you need to defrost it.
  • Ice makers and dispensers use excessive energy.
  • Auto-defrosting your fridge causes lower overall efficiency because of the heat that is used to speed up defrosting.