Dec 07 2007
Ever wonder where the biggest chunk of your utility bill comes from? It actually comes from your appliances, namely your refrigerator. It is the chief energy guzzling appliance in your home, consuming a whopping 13.7% of house-hold energy, over 1000 Kilowatts of electricity a year, and nearly five times the electricity of a color TV., according to the U.S. Department of Energy . Luckily, newer Energy Star certified models will save you a bundle on utility costs.
Refrigerators, surprisingly, are a big chunk of our utility bills. They consume almost as much as a color TV, clothes dryer, and freezer combined! We often shut off the lights and turn down the heat to save energy, meanwhile, huge amounts of energy are escaping from the refrigerator door as we scour for a midnight snack.
But we are not the only ones to blame, our out-of-date refrigerators are just as guilty. In fact, according to Energy Star, refrigerators from before 1990 use enough extra energy in a year (over a current Energy Star models) to light a house for four months! Efficiency has been improved with better insulation, more precise temperature and defrost gauges, and more efficient compressors. And improvements have been continuous—models today realize nearly 40% savings in energy use over refrigerators in 2001.
What If You Don’t Want to Buy a New Refrigerator?
If you just bought a new refrigerator or weren’t planning on buying one anytime soon, I found a few simple steps from Energy Star and About.com that can reduce the energy consumption of your existing refrigerator:
• Keep your refrigerator at a distance from heat sources such as the oven, dishwasher and direct sunlight so it isn’t working extra harder to maintain a cooling temperature.
• There should be ample space between your refrigerator and the wall or cabinetry behind it so that air can circulate around the condenser coils. And, make sure the coils remain clean so the compressor doesn’t have to work harder.
• Make sure the door seal is tight!
• Try not to keep the door open for extended periods of time.
• Defrost the freezer. Freezer build-up more than ¼ inch can affect the freezer’s efficiency.
• Keep the refrigerator temperature at 37 – 40 degrees Fahrenheit and the freezer at 5 degrees Fahrenheit.
• Recycle your old refrigerators. Visit EnergyStar.com to find out where refrigerators can be recycled.
Where should I get my new refrigerator?
Buying an energy efficient refrigerator doesn’t need to be a complicated task. But, given the savings in energy and cost for the modest premium in purchase price, it should be a relative no-brainer. According to Energy Star, the life cycle air pollution reduction of an Energy Star refrigerator is 1,434 lbs of CO2 or .13 cars removed from the road. Annual life cycle cost savings is $72. With this said, buying a refrigerator that can help reduce energy consumption in your home is a good and green choice for your budget and for the environment.
How do you shop for an Energy Star refrigerator? Check out these helpful sites: