Tip: Refrigerators

Refrigerators account for about 15% of household electric use. Here are some tips on how to save energy and money with your existing fridge (we’ll have a separate tip soon on when it’s worth replacing your fridge):

– Thaw foods in the fridge – takes longer, but they cool the fridge while thawing.
– Don’t put hot foods in the fridge – wait till they cool down (or pre-cool outdoors in winter).
– Avoid holding the door open any longer than needed.
– Clean and check the seals around the fridge and freezer doors. A bad seal lets cold air flow out and should be repaired.
– Check and set the temperature to 36-40F for the fridge, and 0-5F for the freezer. Setting it colder wastes considerable energy. To test the fridge, put an accurate thermometer in a glass of water and leave it for 24 hours. To test the freezer, put the thermometer between two frozen packages.
– Use the “energy-saver” mode if you have one (often this turns off the anti-sweat feature, a small heater that reduces condensation on the outside of the cabinet, which is usually not a problem in winter anyway).
– Keep the evaporator coils (the small winding black pipe on the back or underneath) clean of dust, and make sure they have enough room for good ventilation.
– If you have a second refrigerator, it’s most likely an older energy-hog – unplugging it could same you over $100 per year and make a huge reduction in your carbon footprint.

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