Energy Efficient refrigerators and freezers
For most homeowners the biggest energy
hog in their kitchen is by far the refrigerator. The compressors in
refrigerators require a great deal of energy. The good
news is that there has been remarkable improvement in the efficiencies
of refrigerators and freezers since 1993 when federal efficiency
standards kicked in. Older models of refrigerators can use as
much as 1800 KW of energy a year. Compare that to newer models
many of which use less that 500 KW watts per year and you can see that
there is significant energy and money to be saved by switching to a
newer model. So if your current refrigerator is on its last
legs, now may be exactly the right time to upgrade.
There have been a number of fundamental changes in refrigerator
design to achieve better energy efficiency. To begin with most
refrigerators now have thicker and more effective insulation so there
is less thermal loss. Motors and compressors have been made more
efficient and have been positioned so that less of the heat they
generate flows close to the refrigerator and thus avoids counteracting
the cooling process. Most new refrigerators now contain
microchips which help to create a more effective defrost cycle than
old mechanical timers.
As with most appliances there are things you can do to reduce the
amount of energy it uses by following a few commonsense practices:
- Position your refrigerator away from a heat source such as an oven, a dishwasher, or direct sunlight from a window.
- To allow air to circulate around the condenser coils, leave a space between the wall or cabinets and the refrigerator or freezer and keep the coils clean.
- Make sure the door seals are airtight.
- Keep your refrigerator between 35 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit and your freezer at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Minimize the amount of time the refrigerator door is open.
- Recycle older or second refrigerators.
The Energy Star listing of rated refrigerators and freezers is
quite long and too big to put on this Web page. To find
the rating of a specific refrigerator model go to this link on the
Energy Star Web site and open up one of the spreadsheets which
provides the listing: