Refrigerator and Freezer Energy Saving Tips

An open refrigerator filled with food.

Appliances are a major source of energy use in the home A.cording to the U.S. Department of Energy, the refrigerator is responsible for about five percent of total energy usage in home. By using your refrigerator and freezer appliances wisely, you can decrease the amount of energy your home uses. And, the best part is, once you educate yourself on the proper way to treat and use these appliances, saving energy this way becomes a natural habit.

Refrigerator Tips

Monitor Moisture

Look for a refrigerator with automatic moisture control. Models with this feature have been engineered to prevent moisture accumulation on the cabinet exterior without the addition of a heater. This is not the same thing as an "anti-sweat" heater. Models with an anti-sweat heater will consume five to ten percent more energy than models without this feature.

Monitor Temperature

Don't keep your refrigerator or freezer too cold. Recommended temperatures are 37° to 40°F for the fresh food compartment of the refrigerator and 5°F for the freezer section. If you have a separate freezer for long-term storage, it should be kept at 0°F.

Use a Thermometer

To check refrigerator temperature, place an appliance thermometer in a glass of water in the center of the refrigerator. Read it after 24 hours. To check the freezer temperature, place a thermometer between frozen packages. Read it after 24 hours.

Regularly Defrost

Regularly defrost manual-defrost refrigerators and freezers Frost buildup increases the amount of energy needed to keep the motor running. Don't allow frost to build up to more than one-quarter of an inch.

Maintain Door Seals

Make sure your refrigerator door seals are airtight. Test them by closing the door over a piece of paper or a dollar bill so it is half in and half out of the refrigerator. If you can pull the paper or bill out easily, the latch may need adjustment or the seal may need replacing.

Cover Food

Cover liquids and wrap foods stored in the refrigerator. Uncovered foods release moisture and make the compressor work harder.

Clean Coils

Move your refrigerator out from the wall and vacuum its condenser coils once a year unless you have a no-clean condenser model. Your refrigerator will run for shorter periods with clean coils.

Freezer Tips

Keep Cool

Locate freezers away from heat sources and direct sunlight.

Allow for Space

Allow at least one inch of space on each side of freezer to allow good air circulation.

Maintain Environment

Freezers can be installed in an attached garage or basement. However, don't put a freezer in a space that frequently goes below 45°F, as the refrigerant will not work properly.

Monitor Temperature

Freezer temperature should be kept at 0°F.

Regularly Defrost

Regularly defrost manual defrost freezers. Frost build-up increases the amount of energy needed to keep the motor running. Don't allow frost to build up to more than 1/4 inch.

Check Seals

Make sure the freezer door closes tightly. Check the door seals and gaskets periodically for air leakage. Lubricate the gaskets with petroleum jelly to keep them from cracking or drying out.

Cool Food

Avoid putting hot foods directly in the freezer. Let them cool in the room first.

Keep it Full

A full freezer will perform better than a nearly empty freezer.

Label Food

Mark items in the freezer for quick identification so that you don't have to keep the door open longer than necessary.

Follow these tips and your refrigerator will run more efficiently. Saving energy is good for the environment and your wallet!