Reduce Energy Costs: Ensure Your Refrigerator Operates at Peak Efficiency

When thinking of ways to reduce energy costs and make their homes more energy-efficient, most people naturally think about replacing their heating and air conditioning system, or windows, or adding more insulation in their attics. These are all great options, but for many people, they’re also not economically feasible.

Your Refrigerator Can Help Reduce Energy Costs

The good news is that there are lots of small, inexpensive ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home. Take, for example, your refrigerator.

If you’re considering replacing your refrigerator, be sure to look for the Energy Star label to ensure that energy efficiency is high. If you’re your current refrigerator is 10-years-old, or older, it’s using two to three times the amount of electricity as an Energy Star model.

Also, be sure that the size refrigerator you choose does not exceed your actual needs. Selecting one that’s too large for your needs will not reduce energy costs and will end up wasting energy and your hard-earned money.

Having a second refrigerator or freezer can be a nice convenience, but it can also increase your annual utility costs by as much as $120. Most people find that they only need the extra refrigerator or freezer space during the holiday season, or for special occasions. If that’s the case, empty and unplug your extra appliances when they’re not being fully utilized.

A Simple Setting Can Improve Your Refrigerator’s Energy Efficiency

Your refrigerator’s thermostat should not be set any colder than 36° to 42 °. The freezer should be set between -5° and +6 °. Place a small thermometer on a shelf inside the refrigerator or freezer to determine the current temperature, and adjust your thermostat accordingly until the correct temperature is reached.

Be sure to keep your refrigerator and freezer clean – inside and out. Pull the unit away from the wall once or twice a year and thoroughly clean the condenser coils, motor and evaporator pan with a brush or vacuum cleaner.

If your freezer is not a self-defrosting unit, be sure to manually defrost once a quarter of an inch of frost has accumulated.

Place your refrigerator and freezer in a location that does not receive direct sunlight, and away from other appliances that generate heat, like your oven. Make sure that your refrigerator and freezer are at least two inches away from walls and cabinets to allow for proper airflow.

Although it may seem counterintuitive, refrigerators and freezers operate less efficiently if the ambient temperature drops below 60&deg F, so placing these units in an unheated garage or outdoor porch area is not recommended.

Be sure the door seals are clean and free of cracks. If you can pass a sheet of ordinary copy paper through a closed door, the seal should be replaced.

Tell Us Your Ideas On How To Reduce Energy Costs and Increase Energy Efficiency

Have other tips on how to make your refrigerator or freezer work more efficiently? We love to hear them. Please share them with us by posting a comment below.

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