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Using your appliances efficiently: Refrigerators

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Refrigerators and freezers consume about one-sixth of all electricity in a typical American home, using more electricity than any other kitchen appliance. Because of the heavy power usage involved, it is wise to use your refrigerator as efficiently as possible to save on energy costs and extend the life of your appliance.

Below are some simple things you can do to ensure your fridge is working at its best:

  • Keep cold air in. Open the fridge door as infrequently as possible.
  • Keep it full. An empty fridge cycles frequently without any mass to hold the cold. If your fridge isn’t normally full, fill it with plain water in old milk jugs.
  • Clean the coils. Move your fridge out from the wall and vacuum its condenser coils at least once per year. Note: On some models, the coils are under the unit.
  • Unplug the extra fridge in the garage. The electricity the fridge is using – as much as $200 per year or more – is probably costing you a lot more than the non-essential items you may be storing there.
  • Look for the ENERGY STAR label if you’re in the market for a new model. You will be assured of purchasing a refrigerator that meets the highest of efficiency standards. Fridges made before 1993 use more than twice the energy of a new ENERGY STAR qualified model. Use Vectren’s Energy Calculators to determine exactly how much you could save by upgrading to a new unit.
  • Check the temperature. A fridge that is 10 degrees colder than necessary can use 25% more energy. Keep the temperature between 35 and 38 degrees.
  • Allow hot foods to cool before refrigerating or freezing.
  • Check your door seals. To find out if your seals are airtight, close the door on a piece of paper and try to pull it out. If the paper slides out easily, cold air is escaping and increasing your electric bill.

Vectren does not endorse any particular product or wholesaler.

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