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Hamilton Furnishing and Decorating - Buying an Energy-Efficient Refrigerator

The refrigerator is the single biggest power consumer in most households. Here are some simple ways to improve it's efficiency:

  • One large refrigerator is cheaper and more efficient to run than two smaller ones. Getting rid of an old refrigerator (like the beer fridge in the garage) can significantly lower your electric bills and conserve energy.
  • When buying a new refrigerator, consider one with fewer accessories (ice makers, water dispensers, auto-defrost).
  • The most efficient refrigerators are 16-20cu ft, with freezer on bottom or top rather than the side.
  • Refrigerator should not be located near hop appliances like the stove, dishwasher, near heat vents or exposed to direct sunlight. Check to be sure that air flow around he back of your refrigerator is not obstructed.
  • Test your refrigerator thermostat setting by placing a thermometer in a jar of water and leaving in refrigerator overnight. In the morning, the temperature should read between1 and 4 degrees C. Adjust settings if necessary. The temperature settings usually need to be reduced in winter. Your freezer should be between -17 and -15 degrees C.
  • During winter, unoccupied freezer space continues to use energy, as the freezer attempts to freeze this space (which gets replaced with warm air every time the door is opened). Empty milk jugs (or other plastic containers) filled with water, and left outdoors to freeze, fill the empty space in your freezer and reduce the volume to be kept cold.
  • Manual defrost refrigerators are generally more efficient than automatic defrost models, but only if they are properly maintained. Freezers should be defrosted when ice buildup is thicker than 1/2 cm.
  • Vacuum the coils in the back of your refrigerator twice a year to maximize efficiency.
  • Check the door gasket occasionally to be sure the seal isn't broken by debris or caked on food.
  • If your refrigerator has an "anti-sweat" energy-saver switch, it should be kept on during the summer and off during the winter.
  • Never run frost-free refrigerators with freezer compartments in unheated areas with air temperature below 10 degrees C
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