Saving energy with your refrigerator

The average refrigerator consumes more energy than any other household appliance.

The average refrigerator consumes more energy than any other household appliance. We spend over $10 billion annually in the United States, alone, to run our household refrigerators. The following tips will save you money and reduce your carbon (energy) footprint:

• Clean the filter and coils annually — Most Americans rarely, if ever, get around to vacuuming out the filter and coils on the back of the fridge. A dusty coil can increase energy consumption by 20 percent or more.

• Keep it full but not stuffed — A fridge and freezer will retain their coolness better if they are full. If you are not at full capacity, place a few containers of water in the freezer.

• Decide what you want before you open the refrigerator. Every time you open the fridge to browse for a snack, you consume from nine to 13 watt/hours, which is enough power to light a 60-watt bulb for 10 minutes.

• Let hot items cool before placing them in the refrigerator.

• Defrost the freezer regularly.

• Check the door gasket for a tight seal.

• Cover liquids and foods stored in the refrigerator. Uncovered foods release moisture that makes the compressor work harder.

• If your refrigerator is older than 1993, replace it. You are spending so much on your electric bill, you will actually save money. New models use less energy than a 75-watt light bulb.

When looking for new household products, look for ones that have earned the Energy Star. They meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy to help consumers save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices. Results are already adding up. Americans, with the help of Energy Star, saved enough energy in 2007 to prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 27 million cars — all while saving $16 billion on their utility bills.



Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 28, Number 1, Feb/Mar 2009.

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