How Can I Make My Existing Refrigerator More Energy Efficient?

Older refrigerators cost more to run, because they are not as efficient as new energy star models.  Unfortunately, most people do not have the money to replace their old refrigerators with expensive new appliances.  If you are stuck with an older refrigerator, you should know, however, that there are steps that you can take to make your old model run more efficiently, lowering your utility bills.

One thing that will help your refrigerator to work more efficiently is to make sure it is in a relatively cool area.  Refrigerators have to work hard to keep cool, so the warmer it is around them, the harder they have to work.  You can help decrease your refrigerator’s workload by keeping it out of direct sunlight and away from heat-producing appliances.

In addition to keeping your refrigerator in a cool area, you should keep it away from the walls if it has an external condenser.  These types of refrigerators work best when positioned 2 to 3 inches from walls.  This position provides better airflow around the condenser coils, leading to more efficient cooling.

To maintain air flow around the condenser coils, you also need to assure that they stay clean.  Dust, dirt, pet hair and other debris accumulate around the coils and disturb airflow.  To prevent this problem and keep your refrigerator’s condensers working efficiently, clean condenser coils twice per year.

Along with cleaning and maintaining condenser coils, you should maintain the refrigerator’s door seals by cleaning and replacing them when they become damaged.  Every six months, use a gentle soap and water mixture to clean the seals.  When you notice cracks, splits or cold air leaking out, it is time for new seals.  Having clean seals that are in good repair ensures that cool air stays in the refrigerator to cool your food.

Even with clean and maintained door seals, your refrigerator will waste a lot of energy if you are constantly opening and closing the door.  Try to limit the number of times you open the door even if this means leaving the door open for a slightly longer period of time when you do open it.  The air suction created each time you open the door actually vents more cool air than would occur if you just left the door open.

Another easy way to help your refrigerator work more efficiently is to keep it moderately full.  A greater mass of cooled items in the refrigerator and freezer means more efficient cooling.  After all, your refrigerator is designed to cool food.  Help it do its job by keeping it well stocked.

If a brand new refrigerator is not a possibility right now, take steps to help your current model run as efficiently as it can.  By following the tips above, you will save money on your electric bills and do your part for the environment by conserving energy.

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