Saving energy | Ensuring freezer and refrigerator efficiency

A fridge and freezer account for one sixth of an average home’s electric usage. This is usually more than any other appliance in the household.

Posted by Guest Blogger on May 9, 2012

A fridge and freezer account for one sixth of an average home’s electric usage. This is usually more than any other appliance in the household.

However, not all fridges are created equal. Some models are much more efficient than others. Luckily, there are some simple features to watch for if you’re looking to ensure that you’re getting an efficient appliance.

When purchasing any new appliance – refrigerators included – check for the Energy Star label. Appliances with this label may cost more initially, but will save you money in the long run because of their energy efficiency. Keep in mind that you’ll have this appliance for the next 15-20 years.

If you’re thinking about replacing an appliance, stop in at Wright-Hennepin, and check out a Kilowatt Meter to find out what your 120 volt appliance is currently using so you can compare it to your prospective purchases. Ask how much it will cost per month to run the model you’re looking at, and you’ll be able to figure out just how much you’ll actually be saving over the life of the appliance.

The design of fridge/freezer appliances also affects the appliance’s energy efficiency. The least efficient refrigerator design is when the freezer is side by side with the refrigerator. People love the little ice and water dispensers on the door of side by side models, too, but these features can cost you an additional 14-20 percent in your efficiency rating. A top mount refrigerator is more efficient than the side by side model, but the most efficient fridges have a bottom mount freezer.

When it comes to freezer-only models, chest freezers are typically more efficient than stand up freezers. They’re usually better insulated and when the door is opened, the air doesn’t try to escape.

Another aspect that will affect the efficiency of your appliance is making sure it is the correct size to fit your needs. If you buy a model that’s too big and have wasted space, you’re cooling unnecessary space. However, if you buy a model that’s too small, you’ll end up making more trips to the store and wasting money on fuel to get there. Find a size that meets your needs.

As for the fridge/freezer you already have, check on auto and manual defrost cycles, and make sure you use them. If you have the option, set your freezer to manual defrost as it uses less energy. Keeping up on the defrost cycles will help improve the overall efficiency of the appliance.

Keeping your fridge clean and in a space that allows for air movement around it will also help it use less energy. Additionally, keep in mind that the fuller your freezer is, the less it has to work.

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