Refrigerators account for approximately 5 to 20 percent of our monthly energy bills. Buying the right refrigerator and using it wisely can make a significant impact on our ecological footprint and our energy bills. Even minor changes in family habit patterns of refrigerator use can result in surprising savings over the course of a year. Keep reading for 5 tips you can do for both.
1. Setting your refrigerator to the right temperature.
Ideally, your refrigerator’s thermostat should be set to anywhere between 37 and 40 degrees, and your freezer should be between 0 and 5 degrees. Setting your refrigerator a mere 10 degrees cooler can cost you as much as 25 percent more per month.
2. Invest in an Energy Star certified refrigerator.
While the initial cost of an energy efficient refrigerator will likely be higher than an uncertified model, you’ll make back the extra expense after just a few short years of dramatic savings on your utility bills. Contemporary Energy Star certified refrigerators made today are over 150 percent more efficient than their 1980s counterparts. That means trading up can save major dollars.
3. Clean and maintain your refrigerator coils.
The back of a refrigerator is a magnet for dirt and dust. Those dirty coils stop your refrigerator from working at maximum efficiency and wind up costing you money. To clean you refrigerator coils, pull the fridge out from the wall and unplug it. Then, using the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner, give the coils a thorough sweep.
When you’re done, remove the panel on the bottom front of your refrigerator (it should snap off) and clean those coils as well. Finish up by cleaning the floor under your refrigerator and rolling it back into place.
4. Seal your gaskets.
Your freezer and refrigerator doors have rubber gaskets on them that seal them and keep the cold air inside. If a gasket is damaged or worn out, your refrigerator has to work extra hard to keep the inner air cool. This costs you money.
To test the seals, close the door on a sheet of paper. When you pull the paper out, you should feel the gasket gripping on to it. If it slips out easily, you need to replace your gaskets.
5. Level your refrigerator.
A refrigerator works by using a compressor to pump refrigerant through its coils. If your fridge isn’t level, this takes more energy. While refrigerators are designed to tilt slightly backwards (to keep the door closed), they need to be level from side to side.
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