When choosing a refrigerator not all are created equally, or efficiently. This is one household appliance that can take up a big chunk of your home’s energy use. You can turn off or unplug most of your appliances to cut back on energy costs, but the refrigerator is a different story. In order to keep food cold, the refrigerator has to run constantly, which can really add to your monthly energy bill.
Fortunately, high refrigeration costs are not something you have to deal with. Switch to an energy-efficient model to cut back on energy use and save money. A 10-year-old refrigerator can cost up to $100 more each year than a newer energy-efficient option. Remember this is a purchase you are going to keep for at least a decade. If you make the right choice you should like it as much today as you will in 10 years.
The main thing to remember, especially when you are purchasing a new refrigerator after yours has already kicked the bucket, is to your keep your cool and still use some common sense!
The Awesome: ENERGY STAR Rated Refrigerator
If you are buying a refrigerator, make sure it is an ENERGY STAR certified model to ensure it is energy efficient. Your new refrigerator should have a yellow Energy Guide label that shows very low annual energy use. If possible, aim for 350 kWh/year or less. If your refrigerator has an “anti-sweat” feature — a heater to limit condensation — turn it off. This switch is often labeled the “energy saver” switch.
The Great: Top-Mounted Freezer Model
Even though they really have fallen out of style, top mounted freezers typically use less energy with bottom mounted coming in second place. The good news is that French door refrigerators do fall into the bottom mounted freezer category. A top-freezer refrigerator that has earned the ENERGY STAR certification uses less energy than a 60-watt light bulb. Spend some time and figure out what is the smallest sized refrigerator that will work for you and your family. The larger the refrigerator, the greater the energy consumption. The most efficient models are typically 14 -18 cubic feet.
The Good: Side by Side
Side by side models and especially those with in the door ice dispensers tend to be energy hogs when compared to top mounted models. If you are not quite ready to upgrade your side by side refrigerator just yet, at least make sure your seals are tight and the door shuts completely. One trick is to use a dollar bill. Insert the bill at the seal and close the door. If the dollar is able to be pulled out easily, the door seals are not airtight. The refrigerator is one appliance that must continually work making the smallest leak turn into a big one.