Appliances account for about 12% of your home’s annual energy consumption. Out of all of your appliances, your refrigerator probably consumes the most energy. Why? Unlike the dishwasher, clothes washer, or dryer, your refrigerator stays on at all hours in order to keep your food and drinks at the right temperature.
Furthermore, the older your refrigerator gets, the more energy it will need to maintain a cool temperature inside. For this reason, it’s recommended that you replace your old model with a new energy efficient fridge.
How can you find the right model for your home? Follow these tips when shopping for energy efficient refrigerators:
Look for the ENERGY STAR® Logo
Keep an eye out for the ENERGY STAR® logo when shopping for energy efficient refrigerators. The ENERGY STAR® logo is only placed on appliances that have met strict energy efficiency requirements put in place by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The exact amount of energy you can save by switching to an ENERGY STAR® refrigerator varies from model-to-model. But on average, an ENERGY STAR® refrigerator is about 9% more energy efficient than a standard model.
So where can you find the ENERGY STAR® logo? ENERGY STAR® refrigerators might be marked with a bright blue ENERGY STAR® logo. All refrigerators with this bright blue ENERGY STAR® logo are energy efficient.
You can also look for the bright yellow EnergyGuide label, which is used to help consumers compare the energy use of different models. All refrigerators should have this EnergyGuide label. But if there is an ENERGY STAR® logo in the corner of the EnergyGuide label, this means the refrigerator is energy efficient.
Choose A Refrigerator With A Top-Mounted Freezer
There are several different styles of energy efficient refrigerators: top freezers, bottom freezers, and side-by-side models. Many people prefer side-by-side models since they tend to offer the most storage space. But if you are looking for the most energy efficient refrigerator style, it’s best to choose one with a top-mounted freezer.
ENERGY STAR® refrigerators with top-mounted freezers don’t require much energy to operate. In fact, this type of energy efficient fridge consumes less energy than a 60-watt light bulb and only costs about $45 per year to run.
Buy the Right Size
Size is one of the most important factors to consider when shopping for an energy efficient refrigerator. The larger the size of the refrigerator, the more energy it will consume. An energy efficient mini fridge, however, may not provide enough storage space.
The key is buying the size that meets your family’s unique needs. Each adult in your home needs between four to six cubic feet of refrigerator space. For example, if you live with one another adult, this means you will need a refrigerator with between eight to 12 cubic feet of space.
If you don’t cook at home often, you may not need as much space since you probably won’t need to store as much food. On the other hand, if you cook at home all the time, you may want to choose a slightly larger refrigerator to maximize your storage space.
Only Pay for What You Will Use
Some refrigerators are only designed with basic features such as ice makers, whereas other models are designed with through-the-door ice, adjustable cooling zones, and smart displays. Before you purchase an energy efficient refrigerator, make sure you think about which features you will actually use.
Don’t choose a refrigerator with all the bells and whistles just because it looks sleeker and cooler. Refrigerators with these features are more expensive. Plus, each additional feature will increase the refrigerator’s energy consumption.
For example, a refrigerator with through-the-door ice will consume more energy than a refrigerator without it. As a result, this feature adds about $10 per year to your energy bill.
The bottom line is if you aren’t going to use a feature on a regular basis, don’t pay for it.
Recycle Your Old Refrigerator
Be sure to recycle your old refrigerator once you purchase a new one. Responsibly recycling your old refrigerator could prevent the release of about 5,000 pounds of greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming.
You can’t put your refrigerator out on the curb with the rest of your recyclables. But many appliance retailers are willing to pick up your old refrigerator and recycle it for you when they deliver your new model.
Keep these tips in mind when shopping for an energy efficient refrigerator for your home. Choosing the right energy efficient fridge will not only reduce your carbon footprint, but it will also save you hundreds of dollars over the course of the appliance’s lifetime.