Your refrigerator is running, as the joke goes. It’s running all the time in the background to keep your food cold, and is therefore one of the hardest working appliances in your kitchen. Even if you have a newer model, your fridge can bump up your energy costs if not used efficiently. However, they are simple adjustments you can make that will make a big difference in your bill over time.
- Maintain a well-stocked fridge without overcrowding the shelves.
It’s important to position items in the fridge in a way that allows the air to circulate around them. You may assume that you want to keep your shelves on the bare side, but this actually makes your fridge work harder. It’s more about having the right balance of items and storing them in an organized fashion. A well-stocked, well-ordered fridge allows all the items to cool each other down and the air to move around them. If your fridge is too overcrowded, you may notice that items are warmer to the touch than they should be or, conversely, that ice is forming on the fridge walls.
- Keep your fridge’s temperature at a proper level.
Your fridge uses more energy the lower you have the temperature, and even a small shift can make a significant change in your bill. A too-low temperature can encourage frostbite and other issues with your food. Too high of a temperature can cause food spoilage. For your fridge, 38-40 degrees is a good temperature that will keep all of your food preserved. 0 degrees is generally recommended for your freezer. You can also follow the recommendation of the instructions that came with your refrigerator.
If your temperature dial doesn’t have exact temperatures and uses terms like “cold” and “colder”, you can place a thermometer inside to monitor the interior temperature. Remember, it takes up to 24 hours for most refrigerators to completely adjust to a change in temperature settings.
- Avoid opening the fridge door excessively or leaving it open.
Teenagers and young children are especially guilty of this, but all of us have had that moment of coming home from work and opening the fridge, staring off into the vast sea of leftovers, looking for something enticing. However, every time that you open your door, especially if you leave it open while you’re putting things away or searching for meal ingredients, the cold air inside escapes. All of this air needs to be replaced and recirculated throughout the unit, which makes the compressor and condenser both work harder.
- Check the door gaskets and replace damaged ones.
The gaskets are rubber seals that run around the inside of your fridge and freezer doors, and help provide that tight seal to keep the cold air inside from escaping. These gaskets can become worn, cracked, or torn, which makes it impossible for the gasket to properly do its job. Inspect your gaskets for signs of problems and if you notice them, have the gaskets replaced.
- Clean the refrigerator coils regularly so they can perform optimally.
Older refrigerators have the coils exposed in the back, while newer models often have them hidden underneath the unit. If your coils are in the back, they can be a major trap for dust and dirt, especially if you haven’t cleaned them for a while. This causes the coils to work harder. If this is your situation, don’t worry—just give them a good cleaning with your vacuum to remove all the dust that has collected. You should clean your fridge coils once a year to keep them working properly.
If you notice any issues with your refrigerator during the process of adjusting things to be more energy efficient, you should consider putting in a call to CS Appliance Service. Our professional repair technicians can help you diagnose the issue quickly and provide cost-effective solutions. If you catch problems with your refrigerator early and initiate the repair process on them while they are minor, you can often prevent them from spiraling out to costlier outcomes, like needing an entirely new fridge.
If you live in the Greater Boston and North Shore area, give CS Appliance Service a call today at (781) 953-9600 and we will be happy to answer all of your questions. Be sure to follow us on Facebook for more tips on how to improve the energy efficiency of your appliances at https://www.facebook.com/CSApplianceService/.