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Keep the Cool Where It Belongs

Fridge facts to help you save money

Refrigerators are one of the biggest power users in the home, and they deserve special attention. Keep yours running right with these tips.

Although rushing out to buy a new refrigerator may not be in your budget, it’s important to know that new models are more efficient and use as little as half the electricity of older units.

Full fridges run more efficiently than ones that are only partially full. So add more food, drinks or even bottles of tap water to save energy.

If you have two refrigerators, or an additional freezer, decide if the extra expense is really worth it. Cram as much as you can into your primary fridge (leaving room for air to circulate) or consider disposing of the two older refrigerators and replacing them with one larger, newer and more efficient model.

Make sure door seals are tight. Test them by closing the door over a piece of paper or a dollar bill so it is half in and half out of the fridge. If you can pull the paper or bill out easily, the latch may need adjustment or the seal may need replacing.

Store food and liquids in airtight containers. Uncovered foods release moisture and make the compressor work harder.

Move the refrigerator away from the wall and vacuum its condenser coils yearly—unless you have a no-clean condenser model. Fridges use less electricity when they have clean coils.

Maintain a consistent temperature in the fridge and freezer. Recommended temperatures are 37–40 degrees for the fresh food compartment of the refrigerator and 5 degrees for the freezer section. If you have a separate freezer for long-term storage, set it to zero degrees.

Protect the refrigerator from high-heat sources. The compressor kicks into high gear when it’s near sources of heat, wasting energy and shortening the life span of the appliance. When designing your kitchen, try to keep your fridge away from the range, oven and dishwasher or any other appliance that may emit high levels of heat. It’s also wise to keep it out of prolonged direct sunlight.