Easy Ways to Make Your Refrigerator More Energy Efficient

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Your refrigerator has one of the hardest jobs of any appliance in your house. It never gets a break.

Even when there’s no one home, your refrigerator is still keeping your lemonade cool and your vegetables fresh.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 14 percent of your household’s energy-usage is attributable to your refrigerator alone. Though this may already sound like a lot, this number can go even higher if you’re not doing your part to keep your refrigerator energy efficient.

Luckily there are some easy things you can do right now to economize your refrigerator’s energy usage.

Following these tips won’t cost you any extra money, and can very well put a whole bunch of money right back in your pocket.


Make Sure Your Refrigerators Seals Are Airtight

The seals that line your refrigerator door need to be airtight in order for the machine to operate with maximum economy. Weak points in the seal will allow the cool air to seep out, thus causing a small-but-steady rise in the refrigerator’s internal temperature. In order to maintain an optimum temperature for keeping your food fresh and cool, the refrigerator will need to compensate for this leakage; this means more electricity. If the weak seals are allowed to remain in place for an extended period of time, the small increments to your daily electricity usage can start to add up.

A great way to check the seals on your refrigerator is to place a flashlight – turned on – on the inside of your refrigerator, facing outward. After turning off all the lights in your kitchen, closely inspect the seals on your refrigerator door. If you see any light bleeding out into your dark kitchen, you can be sure that your seals are not airtight. Replace them as soon as possible to maximize your savings.


Unplug Any Extra Refrigerators

Most people own more than one refrigerator. Besides the primary kitchen unit, there’s usually a smaller or older refrigerator running somewhere in your house, most often in the garage. Secondary refrigerators are most often used for longer term food/drink storage. Oftentimes these units are under-utilized and therefore wasteful of energy. A couple of six-packs of beer and a bottle of Diet Pepsi may not warrant their own private refrigerator, especially when their intended use is for the rare dinner party. Your electricity bill won’t care that you’re ‚Äúhardly using‚Äù the extra refrigerator; electricity costs the same no matter what you keep inside the unit. If you really want to maintain an energy-efficient refrigerator situation, unplug your superfluous refrigerator and keep those random bottles and cans in dry storage until you actually need them.


Keep Your Refrigerator Away From Potential Heat Sources

To ensure your refrigerator is operating as efficiently as possible, check to make sure there are no external sources of heat near the machine. If your refrigerator stands near a large window, it’s possible that unobstructed sunlight can heat the exterior metal of your refrigerator, thus raising ‚Äì however marginally ‚Äì the internal temperature of the machine. Your refrigerator will have to use extra energy to compensate for this rise in temperature. On any given day the effect can be manageable, but over the course of months or years it can amount to a lot of wasted money.

Another possible external heat-source in your kitchen can come from your oven. If your refrigerator stands close to your oven, every time you cook a hot meal it could be costing you more money than you thought it would.

Even if your refrigerator stands a safe distance from any external heat sources, there are still ways you can economize your machine’s energy usage. The U.S. Department of Energy suggests that you can save money on your electricity bill by letting hot food leftovers cool down to room temperature before you place them inside your refrigerator; placing containers of piping hot food in your refrigerator can cause a sudden rise in internal temperature, thus requiring your machine to use extra energy in order to make up the difference.


Extra Attention Equals Huge Savings

Sometimes a little extra work can add up to a lot of extra savings. None of these energy-efficiency tipswill make you rich, but in the long run they can amount to plenty of extra cash in your pocket. The sooner you get started, the more you stand to gain by making your refrigerator as energy efficient as possible.

  • Guest Author

    Greener Ideal strives to help you live your life in more sustainable ways with green living tips, healthy recipes and commentary on the latest environment news. The views expressed by guest authors are their own and may not reflect those of Greener Ideal.

1 thought on “Easy Ways to Make Your Refrigerator More Energy Efficient”

  1. Thank you! Very helpful information. In case your refrigerator is quite old (13-15 years), consider replacement. Old appliances not only contain hazardous components and gases that have a direct negative impact on the environment. They also lose energy efficiency and require more energy for their function.


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