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One of the largest energy-using appliances in a household is the refrigerator. Appliances are designed to save time and money, but if an appliance is not energy efficient or is operated improperly, it could be wasting money.
Ensuring that you have an Energy Star-approved appliance is one solution; others are proper operation, location, and maintenance.
Following a few basic tips can reduce your refrigerator’s impact on your energy bills. For example, keep the refrigerator out of direct sunlight to reduce the energy it needs to keep the contents cool.
Allow at least two inches of space behind, above, and below the refrigerator. Sufficient air movement keeps the condenser coils cool and prolongs the life of the refrigerator.
You should not locate the refrigerator near any heating elements such as a stove or a dishwasher. Check the seal on the refrigerator door by placing a piece of paper between the door and body, then shut the door and remove the paper. If the paper comes out easily, you may need to adjust or replace the hinge or seals.
Allow hot foods to cool before you place them in the refrigerator, and cover all liquids and foods since the moisture they release makes the refrigerator work harder.
Set the refrigerator temperature around 37 degrees F and the freezer at 5 degrees F to keep your food at the appropriate temperature and to avoid wasting energy on overcooling. Remove any frost that accumulates.
Instead of microwaving a frozen item to thaw it, remove it from the freezer the night before you intend to use it and place it in the refrigerator to thaw. This saves energy from not microwaving and reduces the amount of work your refrigerator has to do by using the cold that the food releases as it thaws rather than using energy to cool the contents of the fridge.
For more energy-saving information, contact the Owen County Cooperative Extension Service and check out this University of Kentucky Extension publication: http://www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/henv/henv703/henv703.pdf
Source:Ashley Osborne, extension environmental and natural resources associate.
Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin.