Heating and cooling might account for the majority of energy expenses in the home, but homeowners know that there are at least a few days per year that the HVAC can be comfortably turned off. There is only one appliance in the home that never stops working—well, at least it shouldn’t! The refrigerator’s job is nonstop. The fridge is constantly running to keep food cool and fresh.
Unfortunately, the refrigerator’s nonstop electricity use might cause a dent in the energy bill. Is it time to replace that old fridge? The best energy efficient refrigerator can help cool down the electricity bill even as it runs 24/7.
The Electricity Drain of the Family Refrigerator
If the home currently has an older refrigerator, that appliance might be using quite a bit of electricity. But just how much does it cost to run that refrigerator each month? That depends on a few factors. The cost of electricity can vary per location.
Calculating the cost of the refrigerator, though, might simply require homeowners to check out their refrigerator’s manual. There is usually an estimate found in the manual; this will be denoted in kilowatt hours. Multiply that estimate by the cost of electricity in the area. This will give homeowners an idea of how much they are paying each year for that fridge. SFGate also explains that homeowners also could use the appliance’s wattage to find the cost. Older refrigerators will have a higher wattage; obviously, this means higher costs.
The Impact of an Energy-Efficient Model
Homeowners might not want to invest in a new refrigerator until their older appliance is near the end of its life. When researching new models, though, homeowners might want to explore energy-efficient refrigerators.
Look for the ENERGY STAR label to find energy-efficient products. According to ENERGY STAR, choosing an energy-efficient refrigerator can save homeowners about $200 over the life of the appliance (about 12 years). These models are nine percent more energy efficient than standard models, per ENERGY STAR.
Homeowners can find multiple options for energy-efficient refrigerators. These appliances are available in numerous price points, too. For homeowners on a budget, models can be sorted by price. Homeowners also can manually enter the price range that best fits their budget.
Consumers concerned primarily with the energy consumption of each model (but perhaps not price) also could sort their options by energy efficiency. This will provide the top performing models so that homeowners don’t have to examine the specs of each model.
Unfortunately, sorting models by energy use also might place small models at the top of the list. Consumers might need to modify their results according to their own specs or needs. Some homeowners need larger units.
How to Make an Older Refrigerator More Energy Efficient
A new refrigerator can be an expensive purchase. Although homeowners might not be interested in replacing an older unit until it is starting to dwindle, an older refrigerator might be adding to the monthly expenses.
There are a few ways to improve the energy efficiency of older models. While they won’t be as efficient as new energy-saving options, small improvements can help reduce costs…even if it’s just a tiny dent in the home’s energy consumption.
Edison International recommends the following tips to increase the efficiency of that fridge:
- Check the coils. Dirty coils can cause the fridge to work harder.
- Audit the door seals. Bad door seals could cause air to leak from the fridge. Homeowners want to cool their food…not the kitchen!
- Pull the fridge away from the wall…just a few inches.
- Don’t forget to defrost if the fridge doesn’t do this on its own. Edison International explains that ice accumulation of a quarter of an inch means it’s time to defrost.
- Don’t make the home too hot. The temperature in the home affects the refrigerator. Warmer temperatures mean that the fridge will work harder.
- Hot food should cool before placing it in the fridge!
- Homeowners should avoid opening the refrigerator too often or leaving the door open.
In addition to the tips from Edison, homeowners also could practice a good nightly habit of checking the refrigerator. Before going to bed at night, homeowners also might want to check that the doors aren’t left ajar on the refrigerator or freezer. This might be an especially beneficial tip for families with children; sometimes kids might not realize they’ve left the door open a bit. Of course, adults can neglect to close the doors, too!
Homeowners who are ready to ditch their old refrigerator should recycle that old unit and investigate energy-efficient models for their new purchase. Over the life of the appliance, homeowners can save $200 on energy costs. Although upgrading to a new energy-efficient model could be the easiest way to reduce those refrigeration costs, homeowners also can increase the efficiency of their older units by embracing a few simple habits to, hopefully, help cool down those energy costs.