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Your House  >  Kitchen  >  Refrigerator Saturday, October 25, 2014
 
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Modern day refrigerators are far superior to older models in several ways including design, compressor efficiency, improved insulation, doors seals, temperature control, defrost mechanisms and more. All of this leads to improved energy efficiency and cost savings.

The most efficient models of today use 60% less electricity than models from 20 years ago. The average lifespan of a fridge is about 17 years, meaning if your fridge was purchased in the early 90s, it may be time to replace it. Replacing a fridge from 1990 with a current ENERGY STAR rated model would save enough energy to light the average home for 4 months.

Even with all the advancement in the past 20 years, there is still room for improvement. When combined with a freezer, the two consume about 1/6th of all electricity consumed in a home, which is more than any other single appliance in the rest of the home.

If you live in an area with high electricity rates, older models of refrigerators could cost you nearly $300 a year in electricity. The energy savings alone would pay for a new refrigerator in a short period of time.

Refrigerators vary greatly in the amount of energy they use based on their size and their feature sets. Standard-sized fridges are those that have refrigerated volumes more than 219.5 L (7.75 cu. Ft.) and are taller than 91.4 cm (36”). Any refrigerated volume or height less than that is considered a compact refrigerator. Fridges can further be categorized as refrigerators with automatic defrost and refrigerators without automatic defrost.

It is no surprise that ENERGY STAR refrigerators are the most efficient models on the market, using 50% less energy than those manufactured in 1993 and 40% less than those in 2001, all without sacrificing features. ENERGY STAR models are available in every category and size of refrigerator including compact and standard models, as well as those with manual or partial automatic defrost and no freezer at all.

In order for a standard-sized refrigerator to qualify for the ENERGY STAR badge, it must exceed the minimum regulated energy efficiency level for its class by 15%. Compact refrigerators must exceed the minimum regulated energy efficiency level by 20%.

Find out how energy efficient your refrigerator is by viewing our product listings of fridges, or using the ENERGY STAR calculator below.

 
  
 
 
 Refrigerator Tips
 
Get rid of your old or second fridge
Energy
Some people keep their old fridges to use in their basement as a beer fridge or at their cottage. In many cases, these fridges are more than 10 years old and are energy hogs. If you don't feel you can part with your old fridge, at the very least, you should unplug it when not in use. You'll be surprised at the energy savings that can result from doing this.
Replace your broken fridge instead of repairing it
Energy
If you have a fridge that is broken, it is likely not worth repairing it. When you compare the cost to repair an old fridge to the expense of buying a new energy efficient fridge, the payback period will often be quite short. This means in the long run you will save more money and energy.
Keep your fridge away from warm areas
Energy
To allow your fridge to operate optimally, you should keep it away from sources of heat such as direct sunlight, beside your oven/stove/range, the dishwasher or other heat generating appliances. The presence of heat will only make the fridge work harder to keep cool.
Run your fridge at its optimal temperature
Energy
The optimal running temperature for a fridge is 3°C (37°F). Every fridge has a temperature adjustment. However, not all tell you the exact temperature. Instead, they have number values, such as 1 through 5. In order to determine what temperature corresponds to what setting, you can place a quality thermometer in your fridge and adjust the temperature accordingly.
The less food in your fridge the better
Energy
If your fridge is always full, consider putting less food in the fridge. Crowded fridges are less energy efficient. In order to keep the volume of food in your fridge down, try shopping more regularly and buying less food at a time.
Keep the fridge door closed
Energy
Do your best to know what is in your fridge. This will help you avoid opening it for extended periods of time to explore what is inside. Children are especially notorious for doing this. The cool air can escape quickly and cause the fridge to run for longer than necessary. As silly as it may sound, placing a picture of the fridge's contents on the door can help cut down on opening and closing of the fridge.
Do not squeeze your fridge into a small space
Energy
Most kitchens are usually full of appliances, meaning space is at a premium. Try not to squeeze your fridge into a corner, or have a lot of other things in close proximity to it. A fridge requires air circulation all around the outside of it in order to run optimally.
Clean condenser coil regularly
Energy
Make an effort to vacuum or dust the condenser coils on the back of your fridge. Dusty and dirty condenser coils will make the fridge function less efficiently. Remember to unplug the fridge prior to cleaning it.
Place your dishwasher away from your fridge
Energy
When installing a dishwasher, keep it away from your refigerator if possible. The heat and moisture from the dishwasher will increase the refrigerators energy consumption.
Make sure seals are clean and tight
Energy
Check the seals around the doors of your fridge, freezer and oven to make sure they are tight. They should be able to hold a piece of paper or money tightly. If you pull it out easily, you will need to replace the seals. Another way to check this is to place a flashlight inside. If you can see light, the seals need replacing. Damaged seals will allow heat or cold to escape from the appliance.
Look for the ENERGY STAR Label
Energy
When buying new, look for ENERGY STAR products to ensure optimal energy savings.
 
  
 
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