Refrigerator Savings Tips
Depending on it’s size, a modern refrigerator uses between 90 watts and 600 watts. Follow the refrigerator savings tips below, and you can stop wasting quite a bit of energy.
Set it right
The optimum temperature for your refrigerator is between 37°F and 40°F. The freezer range is between 0°F and 5°F. Setting your temperatures lower than this will not make your food last any longer. It just costs you more money. Check the user manual if the temperature control uses a system other than temperature to find which settings correspond to the above temperatures.
Keep it closed
Every time you open the refrigerator door, cold air escapes. Your refrigerator must work harder to cool the air again than it does to maintain the temperature. Keep the door open only as long as it takes to remove or put something in your refrigerator. Leaving the door open while you go to the other room to get more things to put in the refrigerator or standing and staring for a while at what’s on the shelves is costing you money. Also make sure the door is shut all the way when you close it.
Seal it up
If you don’t have a tight seal all the way around the refrigerator door, it’s almost the same as leaving the door open. A simple way to verify a good seal is to close the door on a single sheet of paper then try to pull it out with the door still closed. If you can slide the paper out easily, you need to replace the seals as soon as possible. Of course replace visibly cracked or broken seals as well.
Energy saver on or off?
Turn on the energy saver for greater energy efficiency. The exception is if you live in a damp or humid environment which can cause excess condensation to form inside of your refrigerator. If you start seeing condensation, turn the energy saver switch off.
Allow food to cool before putting it in the refrigerator. Putting hot or warm food in heats up the air inside, forcing your unit to work harder to cool the food and the rest of the inside air.
Fill it up
Full shelves help your refrigerator maintain a cold temperature better than empty shelves. The mass of cold items keep the temperature more stable and keep the unit from working as hard after the door has been opened.
If you have difficulty keeping your refrigerator full, you can store several containers of water to achieve similar results.
Not too full
While a full refrigerator operates more efficiently, over-stuffing your freezer or refrigerator blocks air circulation and makes your unit work harder to maintain the temperatures you set.
Avoid placing your refrigerator near a heat source such as an oven, stove, dishwasher or direct sunlight from a nearby window. This will make your unit work harder to maintain your desired temperature settings. A small increase in the surrounding temperature of 10°F can increase energy usage by as much as 20%.
Give it some space
Make sure there is sufficient room behind your refrigerator so the condenser coils can get plenty of air flow to keep them from overheating. Clean your condenser coils yourself every year, and have a professional out to clean and and inspect them every few years.
Get rid of the old refrigerator in the garage
Old 1986-era refrigerators typically use as much as 500% more energy than today’s Energy Star® refrigerators. Add to that ambient temperatures can soar well over 90°F in the summer, and you could be wasting a huge amount of energy. That’s a very expensive second refrigerator.
Recycling your old refrigerator, buying a new Energy Star one and placing it in a cooler air conditioned room could save you hundreds of dollars over the years.