A typical modern-day refrigerator accounts for about 8% of a household’s annual energy usage. Under this formula, a family that uses $3,000 worth of electricity per year would spend $240 to keep their refrigerator up and running. Over the course of a 4-year period, that’s nearly $1,000 just to power their refrigerator!
When you look at the numbers on paper, it’s clear to see just how expensive refrigerators are to operate. Thankfully, however, there are some simple steps you can take to make your unit more energy efficient.
#1) Fill Your Freezer
One incredibly easy way to make your refrigerator more energy efficient is to fill the freezer. When the freezer is packed full, there’s room for warm air to enter when you open it; therefore, it uses less energy to stay cool. Adding some cheap $2 bags of frozen vegetables is a great will to fill the voided space in your freezer. Alternatively, you can fill up some old milk jugs with water and place them inside the freezer.
#2) Avoid Open Water
Try to avoid placing open cans, bottles or bowls of water inside the refrigerator. Because open water evaporates and condensates when exposed to cold temperatures, it forces the unit to work extra hard – not to mention the fact that it encourages the growth of mold and mildew.
#3) Clean The Gasket
The gasket (AKA the rubber sealing around the doors) is a haven for bacteria and germs. As germs begin to accumulate here, the gasket gradually loses its ability to create a strong, secure hold, at which point air begins to enter through the door. Cleaning the refrigerator and freezer door gaskets on a regular basis will lock in the unit’s air, preventing cold from escaping and warm air from entering.
#4) Adjust The Temperature
If your refrigerator features an adjustable temperature (which is common in most modern-day units), you should set it between 35-38 degrees Fahrenheit. This seems to be a happy medium that maintains a safe temperature range for most foods and beverages without using an unnecessary amount of energy. Bumping the temperature up to 45 degrees Fahrenheit will result in a 25% increased energy usage.
#5) Choose The Right Location
Are there heat sources near your refrigerator? If so, it’s likely raising your unit’s operating cost. Ovens, dishwashers, fireplaces and even windows should be kept away from refrigerators. Allowing these elements to reach your refrigerator will sap its energy while placing a greater strain on its cooling ability.