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Six tips to keep your refrigerator from driving up the energy bill this summer


It’s during these hottest summer months when the energy efficiency of home appliances is really put to the test. Warm conditions can force appliances to work extra hard (and use more energy) just to function normally. This isn’t reason enough to upgrade all of your appliances, though. has some basic tips on easing the burden heat can take on your refrigerator and freezer. The result? Less stress when that August energy bill arrives. Here’s the list:

1. Clean beyond the refrigerator shelves by cleaning the condenser coils located behind your fridge at least once a year. Use a brush or handheld vacuum to remove loose particles, including dirt, dust and pet hair.

2. Give your refrigerator some breathing room by keeping the appliance at least two or three inches away from the wall. Also, place your refrigerator away from direct sunlight and appliances that produce heat to make your refrigerator run more efficiently.

3. Do you crave a midnight snack, but can’t decide what to eat? Keep your fridge full, not only to satisfy all of your midnight munchies, but to also help the fridge save energy after recovery from the door being open.

4. Check and care for the rubber seals surrounding the inside of your fridge by using mild soap twice a year to help prevent cracked and torn seals. Use your money to test the seals by placing a dollar bill halfway inside the refrigerator door. If the dollar pulls out easily, then your losing money in more than one way and it may be time to replace the rubber seals.

5. Take your refrigerator’s temperature and see if you are wasting energy. Make sure that the refrigerator runs between 36°F and 40°F and the freezer runs between 0°F and 5°F. If it is kept 10°F colder than recommended, you may be using 25% more energy than needed.

6. All refrigerators need maintenance, but if your refrigerator is an older model, it is important to make sure it’s operating efficiently. Refrigerators manufactured after 2001 use at least 30 percent less energy than models made in the 1990s or earlier.

[Photo from Houzz]