A smart way to cut down electric bills is to maintain efficient appliances, especially those that use a great deal of energy. Since your refrigerator generally accounts for about 20 percent of the electric bill, this appliance is a great place to start. While people generally know not to dawdle with the door open, there are many other ways to make a refrigerator run more efficiently:
- Make sure your refrigerator is not in direct sunlight or next to a heat source such as the oven or the dishwasher.
- Be sure that air can circulate freely around condenser coils by leaving a space between the back of the refrigerator and the wall or cabinets and keeping the fridge top uncluttered.
- Check that your refrigerator’s temperature is between 36 degrees F and 40 degrees F and your freezer is between 0 degrees F and 5 degrees F. Your unit can use up to 25 percent more energy than necessary if it is set to 10 degrees colder than recommended levels.
- Unplug the unit at least once a year to brush off or vacuum the condenser coils.
- Clean or replace door seals if they can’t hold a dollar bill firmly in place.
- Ensure that the “power-saver” switch is on if you have the option to do so, and make sure you don’t see any condensation on the outside of the fridge.
- Defrost the unit regularly if you have a manual defrost or partial automatic defrost.
- Keep the refrigerator full, but not overcrowded; this will help keep the temperature at the right level and make sure there is proper air flow inside.
If your refrigerator is nearing the end of its life-cycle – about 15 years – it may be most efficient to purchase a new one. Advances in technology have cut refrigerator energy use by over 60 percent in the past twenty years. Models predating 1993 could be costing you up to $140 per year in electricity alone. If you have a model purchased between 1993 and 2001, it is probably still inefficient and could cost $60 extra per year to run. While the initial cost of a new refrigerator might seem steep, the price to run it each year will be much lower than maintaining a older model.
Remember, the biggest money gulper is that old refrigerator you barely use – you know, the one in the garage keeping your soda pop cold. Retire it from use.
Source: Energy Education Council @http://efficiencyresource.org/