The biggest energy hog in your house....your refrigerator.

The biggest energy hog in your house....your refrigerator.

According to National Geographic's Green Guide, our refrigerators are probably the biggest energy hogs in our homes. What to do? Well, if a new refrigerator is in our future, it's best to shop for an Energy Star rated refrigerator, which use at LEAST 20% less energy than federal standards. The most energy efficent refrigerator on the market right now is the Sun Frost RF-12, pictured below. It is a whopping 51% more efficient and federal standards dictate. However, at $2,279 a pop, it may not be affordable to all. 

Not to worry. ALL Energy Star Rated refrigerators use about HALF as much energy as those manufactured before 1993. A great resource to help us through the process of investing in a new fridge is energystar.gov, which has a manufacturers list, purchasing tips and even refrigerator savings calculators. However, if buying a brand new refrigerator is NOT in our future, we can make the old one a little less energy-hoggy by following these tips from The Green Guide:

  • Don't keep your fridge too cold. Refrigerators should be kept between 37 and 40 degrees and freezers at 5 degrees. Colder temperatures waste energy. To test the temperature, leave an appliance thermometer in a glass of water in the middle shelf for 24 hours. In the freezer, place a thermometer among packs of frozen food.

  • Clean the coils annually.

  • Cover food and drink to avoid evaporation in the fridge, which can force the compressor to work harder.

  • Keep your freezer filled. Frozen blocks of food keep freezer temperatures more stable.

  • Don't clutter the fridge top; it can hamper the compressor's proper air circulation.

  • Don't put your refrigerator in direct sunlight or next to an oven or dishwasher.

  • Check the door seals. They should be able to hold a piece of paper in place.

  • Defrost the freezer regularly and avoid frost build-ups of more than a quarter-inch.

Piggy picture courtesy of energyhog.org.


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