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Refrigerators: Easy tips to save money and energy

The EnergyGuide label on new refrigerators will tell you how much electricity in kilowatt-hours a particular model uses in one year. The smaller the number, the less energy the refrigerator uses and the less it will cost you to operate. Also look for the Energy Star label. A new refrigerator with an ENERGY STAR label uses at least 15% less energy than required by current federal standards and 40% less energy than the conventional models sold in 2001.

Tips to save energy on your Refrigerator/Freezer:

  • Refrigerators with the freezer on the top are usually more efficient than those with freezers on the side.
  • 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 5% to 10% more energy than models without this feature.
  • 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.
  • Regularly defrost manual-defrost refrigerators and freezers; frost buildup decreases the energy efficiency of the unit. Don't allow frost to build up more than one-quarter of an inch.
  • 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, the seal may need replacing, or you might consider buying a new unit.
  • Cover liquids and wrap foods stored in the refrigerator. Uncovered foods release moisture and make the compressor work harder.

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