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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

6 Easy Refrigerator Energy Efficiency Tips

Start lowering utility bills right now!

1. Keep it full. A full refrigerator needs to work less to keep things inside cold. That's because the greater mass of already cold items in the refrigerator helps keep the temperature down.

2. Improve air circulation. Good air circulation around the refrigerator keeps it running cool. Allow about 2 inches of airspace around your refrigerator. Good air circulation will make the compressor work more efficiently, and that will have a significant impact on the unit's overall efficiency -- a 5 degree decrease in the surrounding air temperature can reduce energy usage by 20 percent!

To help reduce the energy consumption of refrigerator models that have exposed coils, periodically brush them so that they remain dust free.

If you don't have a coil cleaning brush, many are available from Amazon:

Refrigerator Coil Brushes

3. Turn off the ice maker. If you can bear using ice trays, you can cut refrigerator electricity use by as much as 14 percent if you don't use the ice maker in your freezer.

4. Set the dial to 40 degrees. If your unit is full and if there is good air circulation around the unit, you can lower the unit to 40 degrees -- okay, 37 degrees if you must. But you don't have to keep it on the coldest setting.

To test inside temperature, place a thermometer in a class of water overnight.

5. Check the door seals. A good seal keeps the cold air inside. Visually inspect the seal for gaps or leaks.

Check out how:

A handyman can replace a broken seal, or you can do it yourself:

6. Close the door! Sounds so simple, but it's also so true. Just ask any 4th Grader!

If you can afford it, buy a new refrigerator. Any unit older than 15 years is probably ready to be retired. Newer units were designed to stricter energy efficiency standards, which means a newer unit will help in lowering utility bills.

Check with your utility to see whether they're offering a rebate on high efficiency models. Or look up the ENERGY STAR website's online appliance rebate locator tool.

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