Follow these 10 tips to help with the efficiency and life of your fridge or freezer.
1) Keep the Condenser Coils Clean
The condenser coils on your refrigerator (located on the back or underneath the fridge) are what the fridge uses to transfer heat out of the fridge and release it into the air. The coils naturally collect dust, dirt and pet fur, and can become coated in debris. When the coils are covered in dirt, the fridge has to work harder to release the heat and in turn costs you more money on your power bill. To help make your fridge as efficient as it can be, you should clean the coils at least twice a year using a brush or vacuum. Ensure that you consult your owner’s manual for manufacturer suggested cleaning instructions.
2) Inspect Door Seals
You can lose a lot of cold air through damaged fridge door seals. To test your seals, take a piece of paper and close it in the door; if it easily slides out when pulled, chances are your seals are dirty, worn or damaged and you should consider cleaning or replacing them. You can also increase the life of your fridge or freezer seals by lubricating them with petroleum jelly to help prevent them from drying and cracking.
3) Locate Fridges and Freezers Away from Heat
The hotter the room the fridge is in, the harder it has to work to keep the contents cool. For every 1° above 21°C surrounding your fridge, your fridge has to work 2.5% harder to maintain its internal temperature. Be sure to place your fridge away from direct sunlight, heaters or stoves, and never keep a fridge in an enclosed porch.
4) Let Hot Foods Cool
When hot foods are placed in the fridge, the resulting heat that is given off makes the fridge work harder to maintain a cold temperature. To avoid this, let hot foods cool to room temperature before placing them in the fridge or freezer.
5) Keep It Stocked
Fridges and freezers are more efficient when they are full. Food in the fridge retains the cold and the fridge doesn’t have to work as hard to keep the temperature constant. If you don’t keep a lot of food on hand, place some jugs of water in the fridge. Be sure not to overdo it, as there still needs to be some room left for cold air to circulate.
6) Let Your Fridge Breathe
To allow for adequate air circulation between the fridge and the walls or appliances around it, make sure to leave at least a 1” (2.54 cm) space on all sides.
7) Choose Bottom-Mount or Top-Mount Fridges
When purchasing a new fridge, keep in mind that bottom-mount and top-mount freezer units are generally 20% more efficient than side-mount freezer units. Also note that fridges with ice makers are less efficient and give you less space for storage.
8) Don’t Set Your Fridge Too Cold
The colder you set the fridge and freezer temperature, the harder the fridge has to work to maintain that temperature. For optimal food storage and energy efficiency, fridges should be set between 2.5°C and 5°C. Freezers should be kept at around -17°C.
9) Defrost Regularly
Frost build-up on freezer walls forces the unit’s motor to work harder. Typically, manually-defrosting fridges should be defrosted twice a year or when defrost builds up to ¼” or more. Be sure to unplug the unit after removing the contents, and wait until all the frost has melted and has been removed before plugging the unit back in.
10) Use Glass Containers for Storage
Glass food storage containers retain cold better than their plastic counterparts, thus making your fridge work less to maintain its internal temperature – and less work means lower power bills.