Keep it Clean
Keep it Cool, Not Cold
Buy an inexpensive appliance thermometer to check the temperature of the food compartment, and adjust the temperature to keep it in the range of about 37 to 40 degrees F (2.7 - 4.4 degrees C). The freezer compartment should be kept at 5 degrees F (-15 degrees C). Allow twenty-four hours after adjusting the controls before taking the next temperature measurement. It's also a good idea to take the temperature at several places in the food compartment. The warmest places are on and near the door and the coldest spots are at the back and on the lowest shelf.
Fill it Efficiently
A refrigerator is most efficient when it's nearly full but its contents allow plenty of air circulation. Many refrigerators cool the food compartment with air circulated from the freezer compartment, especially top-freezer models. Overcrowding the shelves can reduce air circulation, creating pockets of cold and warm air. You can improve air circulation and energy efficiency by not overpacking the shelves. Placing tall items too close to air vents can also block cold air that's supposed to leak in from the freezer.
Fill it Full
It may not seem particularly intuitive, but an empty fridge is less efficient than a full one. It takes more energy to keep the chilling air that enters the fridge every time you or the kids open the door than it does to keep solid contents cold. If your fridge is mostly empty, it can make sense to fill an unused shelf with milk jugs of water or even use large blocks of plastic foam to fill up the empty space. Just make sure that you leave plenty of space between your "fake food" so the air can circulate freely. This also works in the freezer compartment.
Check the Door
When buying a new fridge, consider your needs. Buy a refrigerator that fits your lifestyle and your family, as well as one that fits your kitchen. Look for those yellow "Energy Smart™" labels on a new refrigerator, and factor energy usage into your buying decision. Do some household math: if you pay 10 cents per KWH (kilowatt hour) for your electricity, a refrigerator that uses 100 watts less energy can save you 24 cents per day, or more than $91 per year. Over ten years, that works out to more than $900 in savings!
|It doesn't take a great deal of effort to tame the appetite of your power-hungry appliance. You can slim your electricity hog down by cleaning it regularly, maintaining the correct temperature and paying attention to how you arrange its contents. Now there's a painless way to save a few dollars on your electric bill!|
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