Your refrigerator is one of the most costly energy users in your home. However, there are many simple ways to increase its efficiency and lower your monthly bills and your carbon footprint.
The easiest way to save money with your refrigerator is to keep the coils clean. On either the bottom or the back of your fridge there are narrow, wire coils. Air is drawn over the tubing, and over time dust accumulates and clogs the flow, decreasing the efficiency of your unit. To clean the coils, you can either use a brush or a vacuum to get rid of the accumulated dust.
Besides the coils there are other ways to better your fridge's efficiency. How you arrange your food, control the temperature settings, and how much ice buildup you have in the freezer all contribute to how well or how poorly your fridge runs.
- Temperature: Try to keep the fridge at a recommended range of 37 to 40°F, and the freezer at around 5°F.
- Arrangement: Take advantage of cold/colder areas to help alleviate the need to lower your fridge's temperature below what it should be. A simple thermometer can tell you where cool spots (great for milk and produce) and warm spots (great for bread) are.
- Ice: Ice buildup in your freezer adds to wasted energy. Defrost your freezer every couple of months so it doesn't have to work overtime to keep everything frozen.
- Seals: Check the doors to ensure there are no leaks.
- Time: Try to minimize the amount of time the doors are open.
If you're in the market for a new fridge, look for Energy Star appliances. It's also been proven that top-bottom fridge and freezer units are the most efficient, much better than the side by side ones.