While a new fridge may reduce energy costs and provide ample storage, most models are costly. Those who do not want to make such a large investment can reduce energy costs by following a few simple strategies.
Placement of the appliance in the kitchen is critical. Keeping it away from appliances that produce heat, like ranges, microwaves, convection cookers, and roasters is important. It may also be a good idea to keep the appliance away from any windows that get plenty of sunlight during the day. The additional heat will make the appliance work harder to keep the contents cool.
If the older appliance has an external condenser do not push it against the wall. Allow a few inches for air circulation. The condenser will work more efficiently thus reducing energy usage. At least three inches is recommended for optimum performance.
Condensers contain coils where pet hair, dust, and debris tend to accumulate. Cleaning them twice a year will keep them working more efficiently as well. Simply pull the fridge out and sweep away the debris. For dust and debris that is attached wipe of the coils with a damp cloth.
Properly working seals also help the appliance to maintain an optimum temperature while using less energy. Cleaning the seals around the doors helps keep them from cracking and keeps them in good condition to form airtight seals when closed. If they do appear worn or if any cold air can be felt around the seals they should be replaced. Seals and other small parts are usually found through appliance repair shops or major appliance retailers.
Try opening the door less often. More energy is used when the door is opened and closed frequently than when it is left open for a few minutes to remove all needed contents. Think about what you need or make a list before opening the door so you need to access the appliance less often.
Keeping the fridge full in both the cooling and freezer sections creates a larger mass of cold products to maintain the desired temperature. If you buy produce frequently and find it difficult to keep the appliance full try storing some dried goods like packaged noodles, pancake mix and baking mix, and cereals. Most people eat cereal cold with milk anyway so keeping it in the fridge is not a bad idea.
All these tips can help save energy in running an older refrigerator in good working condition. Often the cost of a new, more energy efficient appliance is simply not in the budget. The key is in preventing the appliance from working harder to maintain the optimum or desired temperatures.