Simple Green: Take a Look at Your Refrigerator

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We all know about not standing in front of the refrigerator, keeping the door open, letting the cold air escape while you decide what you want. Here are some ideas you might not know about that'll up your fridge's efficency and cut down on its energy usage...
  • When's the last time you cleaned your fridge's coils? Pull your fridge out and give 'em a good cleaning with your vacuum. Clean coils cut down on energy usage. Do the same thing with your ventilation grill.
  • Has your fridge blown a gasket? Slip a buck between the rubber seal and the frame, then close the door and tug on the bill. Notice any resistance? Try it on all four sides of the door and freezer. If you don't notice any resistance, the seal's not tight enough and cold air is probably leaking out.
  • Fill 'er Up: A full refridgerator uses less energy than an empty one. A good reason to eat at home more often! Hop on over to The Kitchn, our sister site, to get some ideas!
  • Check the temperature: Here's an easy way to find out if your fridge's got a cold: stick an appliance thermometer in a glass of water and put it in the center of your fridge overnight. Do the same thing in your freezer. The temperature of the fridge should read between 37 - 40; your freezer between 0 - 5. Adjust the setting accordingly.

And, if you're in the market for a new fridge:


  • Purchase one with a good Energy Star rating. You can check the database here.
  • Bottom freezer models are the most efficient, followed by top freezer models, then side by sides.
  • Icemakers and water dispensers will keep you from opening the door, yes, but they consume more energy. Something to think about

[photo from Kitchen Tour: Dutch's Renovation Done Right]

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