Green Refrigerators Green Refrigerators

Green Refrigerators

There’s nothing like coming inside after a day spent cutting the grass and popping open an ice cold beverage. But is that ice cold drink worth the increase to global warming? If you have an older refrigerator or one with frequent compressor problems, you should consider replacing it with a newer, energy efficient model.

The United States is responsible for 25% of the carbon dioxide emissions in the world. Surprisingly, our homes make more of that pollution than our automobiles do. And after air conditioners, it’s refrigerators that are near the top of the culprit list.

If all American homes replaced their old, energy-consuming refrigerators with new, energy efficient ones, we could make great strides toward stopping global warming. Of course, that’s an impossible quest, but if you’re considering replacing your refrigerator, you can do your part and purchase an Energy Star compliant fridge.

If you don’t think simply replacing your appliances can have an impact, consider this:

If American homeowners increased the energy efficiency of their appliances by only 10 to 30%, we could cut the demand for electricity so strongly that we could stand to lose 25 power plants! That’s not made up; it comes from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.

When you begin shopping for a new refrigerator, keep an eye out for the ones displaying a bright yellow sticker. This is the Energy Star label. This label indicates that this refrigerator uses at least 15% less energy than what’s federally mandated.

Simply having the label doesn’t mean it’s the most energy efficient model in its class. You should thoroughly check each refrigerator to see which one ranks as the most efficient. You can find this information out on the Energy Star label. For a detailed explanation of what’s detailed on the Energy Star label, read our guide.

If you currently have an Energy Star-labeled refrigerator, there are plenty of things you can do to optimize its efficiency. For example,

  • Some refrigerators feature an anti-sweat switch as an energy efficiency option. This switch should be left on during the summer months and turned off in the winter.
  • Never position your refrigerator near your stove or dishwasher. Their radiating heat will cause you refrigerator to work extra hard.
  • The coils located on the back side of the refrigerator should be vacuumed at least twice a year, and the bottom front vent should be cleaned even more often (especially if you have pets).
  • If you use less frozen food in the winter, place old milk jugs filled with water in the freezer. This will help keep the freezer from constantly running with not much produce inside.
  • Make sure your door is keeping its seal and that there are no gaps or cracks in the rubber.
  • Check the refrigerator’s interior temperature to make sure your thermostat is set properly by placing a thermometer in a glass of water and keeping it in the fridge overnight. The same process is used to test the freezer temp. The ideal range for the fridge is anywhere between 34 and 40 degrees, while the freezer should be between 0 and 5 degrees.

These easy tips can even help you conserve energy with your current refrigerator if you can’t afford to replace it with a “green” one yet. If we each do what we can, whether it’s replacing appliances or taking care of our current ones, we’ll be that much closer to turning our global warming crisis around.

Dave Donovan is a freelance copywriter living in Atco, N.J. An electrician for 15 years, an injury forced him to pursue his true passion - writing.

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