Your refrigerator uses about $100 in energy each year, so it makes sense to make good use of it.
1. Regularly clean the coils
As you’ve probably noticed, the bottom and the back of your refrigerator gather dust. However, you may not know that the dust causes the condenser to kick on more than it otherwise would.
This means, of course, that your refrigerator is working harder than it should be, potentially shortening its life span.
Once or twice a year, pull your refrigerator out from the wall and use a vacuum to clean the dust. There are also cleaning brushes made specifically for refrigerator coils that can help with hard to reach areas.
2. Keep your freezer full
A freezer that’s full will reduce the energy needed to keep the items in it frozen.
However, if you are a small family, or you just don’t keep a lot of things in your freezer you can improve its efficiency by packing in frozen water.
Do this by filling empty juice or milk jugs 75% of the way with water and putting them in the freezer.
3. Put cooked, leftover vegetables in a freezer container
If you routinely have leftover vegetables with meals but don’t always have enough for another meal, freeze them in a resealable container and put them in the freezer.
Once you’ve filled the container, you can add the vegetables to stock or water, and add chicken or beef to make a delicious, homemade soup or stew.
4. Move your refrigerator
Rather than keep your refrigerator pushed against the wall, pull it out an inch or two.
Doing this will mean the refrigerator uses as much as 40% less energy because you’re allowing the coils room to circulate the heat they’re putting off.
5. Organize your refrigerator
Organize your refrigerator properly and never worry about tossing forgotten food.
Some basic guidelines:
- ⬥ Put juice and condiments in the door as it’s the warmest part of the refrigerator
- ⬥ Put leftovers and ready to go foods on the top shelves
- ⬥ Put raw meat and dairy on the lowest shelves, which are also the coolest areas
- ⬥ Produce goes in the crispers to keep it fresher, longer
- ⬥ Deli meat should go in the meat drawer
- ⬥ Don’t overpack the refrigerator – unlike the freezer, it needs air circulation to keep things cold
- ⬥ Regularly clean your refrigerator to keep leftovers from being forgotten
- ⬥ Toss any questionable or expired food and condiments
- ⬥ Consume foods within one to two weeks on average
6. Keep food covered
Yes, this is to preserve your food’s freshness but it also saves energy.
When you reduce the amount of moisture in your refrigerator you reduce how hard the compressor has to work to keep everything nice and cold.
Which of course, saves money because it’s not working harder than it needs to.
7. Keep a constant temperature
Keep your refrigerator and freezer at a constant temperature.
Ideally, your refrigerator should be at 37 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, while your freezer should be at about 5 degrees Fahrenheit.
8. Know what you want before you open the door
Finally, don’t stand in front of the fridge with the door hanging open.
Yes, your mom was right.
When you stand with the door open looking for the perfect snack you’re warming up the inside of the fridge.
Which of course means that your fridge is working harder than it would otherwise to keep your food at a constant temperature.
Use labels and properly organize your refrigerator so you can find what you need quickly.