Energy Savings Tips for Your Refrigerator
The more energy that you can save around the home the better. Reducing energy waste at home reduces energy bills which saves you money. Moreover, it’s good for the planet. Therefore, we wanted to share our best refrigerator energy savings tips with you today. Here they are:
1. Set the Correct Temperature
Many people mistakenly think that they should set the refrigerator to the coolest possible temperature. While you certainly want to keep the air in there cool, you don’t need to set it as low as it goes in order to keep your food fresh. In fact, it’s best for your food and your wallet if you know and utilize the correct refrigerator temperature settings.
Generally speaking, your refrigerator should be set between 36 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If your refrigerator is currently set at 40 degrees, then try setting it to 36. You might be surprised to discover that it significantly reduces energy waste in the home. The freezer has to be cooler of course; it should be set between 0 and 5 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Let Hot Foods Cool Before They Go In The Fridge
I know that I’ve been guilty of this one. I order takeout. When I do, I portion out what I want and immediately put the rest of it away in the fridge. However, when you put hot food directly into the refrigerator, it makes the machine have to work harder to cool it all down. Therefore, you’re wasting energy. Instead, allow the food to cool on the counter first. When it’s room temperature, you can put it into the refrigerator.
Also, when you do put food away, make sure that you’ve properly covered it. Otherwise, the food will release moisture into the refrigerator. This, too, can make the refrigerator less efficient.
3. Cool the Fridge with Food from the Freezer
As you can see, many of the best refrigerator energy savings tips are about how to keep the refrigerator cool. It makes sense; the less the appliance has to work, the more energy you save using it. Here’s one more tip in that vein: thaw your frozen foods in the refrigerator.
Many people take frozen food directly out of the freezer and leave it out on the counter all day to thaw. If you plan ahead, you can let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator instead. This cools off the appliance so that it doesn’t have to do so much energy-wasting work.
4. Look Around the Refrigerator
Heat doesn’t just affect the refrigerator from the inside; it also causes problems when it’s hot around the refrigerator. Therefore, it’s important to look around and make sure that there’s enough space to allow the refrigerator to work efficiently.
First of all, make certain that you have at lest two inches of space around every side of the refrigerator. This provides proper heat-releasing space as well as circulation around the machine. That means the refrigerator can maximize its own efficiency.
Moreover, check that other heat sources aren’t too close to your refrigerator. For example, how close is your oven to your refrigerator? The further apart you’re able to move them, the better. Similarly, check lighting; does your refrigerator receive a lot of direct sunlight? If so then you might want to use drapes to reduce the amount of heat warming up the fridge from the outside each day.
5. But Stop Looking IN The Refrigerator
Every time that you open and close the refrigerator door, you make that machine work harder. This has become a particular problem since the COVID-19 pandemic means that more people are home all day. You get bored, restless, and just a tiny bit hungry and you go get a snack. Perhaps you stand in front of the refrigerator with the door open, trying to decide what you want. You don’t want anything and you’re wasting energy each time that you do this.
Set rules in your house for how often you open the fridge. If this is one of those refrigerator energy savings tips that annoys your family members, make it a game. Whoever opens it least during the day wins, for example. Plan out all snacks and meals in advance. This is good for your diet and your food budget and it means you’re using the refrigerator more efficiently.
6. Turn Off the Extras
Many modern refrigerators have a lot of fun features. Unfortunately, some of these aren’t necessary and end up wasting energy. You can usually switch them off, saving yourself some money on the electric bill each month. Check to see if you can turn these things off on your refrigerator:
- Anti-sweat capabilities. If it’s very, very hot and humid then this can help prevent moisture from forming on the outside of your refrigerator door. However, most people don’t need or use this. Turn it off to save more than five percent of the machine’s energy.
- Butter conditioner. Sure, it’s nice that this little heater inside of some refrigerators makes your butter soft. However, you’re spending extra energy (and money) to run that. Place the butter in a dish on the counter to soften it instead.
7. Reduce Your Refrigeration Needs
Hopefully, you only have one refrigerator. However, many people keep more than one in the house. Some homes have two small ones. It’s almost always more energy-efficient to have one large one. Even better: reduce your grocery purchases down so that you only need one small one!
Some homes have an extra old refrigerator or freezer in the garage for stockpiling. It might feel like you’re saving money by purchasing food in bulk. However, remember that you’re paying to operate that extra refrigerator. You could easily spend $100 or more per year running that extra fridge. Do you really need it?
In addition to reducing to a smaller refrigerator, pay attention to how much food you put in the refrigerator that you do have. Refrigerators work most efficiently when there is a lot of space for air to circulate around the food. Therefore, you don’t want to overpack the fridge. In contrast, freezers work best when they are full. Therefore, freeze as much as you can and simply thaw it out in the refrigerator as needed.
8. Refrigerator Energy Savings Tips: Cleaning and Maintenance
Keep you refrigerator in good working order to maximize its energy efficiency. Some of the things that you should do regularly include:
- If you have a manual-defrost appliance then make sure to run that regularly. There shouldn’t be more than 1/4″ of frost buildup in either the refrigerator or the freezer.
- Clean the refrigerator condenser coils. You should do this twice per year to keep the machine running as efficiently as possible.
- Check annually that the refrigerator door seals properly. If it doesn’t, make sure to repair it. If the refrigerator is leaking air, then it’s not working well.
9. Buying a New Refrigerator
At some point in your life, you’re going to need to buy a new refrigerator. Making a smart choice at that time will allow you to maximize energy savings for years to come. Look for an Energy Star refrigerator. Choose the smallest size that you truly need. Skip the frills (such as the ice maker). Shop around with an eye towards long-term value, not just immediate price.
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