Did you know that the refrigerator is one of the major users of household electricity? It’s hard at work every day of the year, and the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 14 percent of a household’s energy usage goes to this appliance.
The refrigerator does a great job of keeping foods fresh, but make sure you’re using this trusted appliance efficiently. Putting hot leftovers directly into the refrigerator raises the temperature inside, so it has to work harder -- and burn more energy -- to keep foods cool. Allow your leftovers to sit at room temperature for a while before putting them into the refrigerator.
Check the rubber seal on your refrigerator periodically to make sure it’s doing a good job of keeping cold air in and warm air out: slip a dollar bill into the door. If it slips out easily, call a repair technician to fix or replace the seal.
It’s also best to keep your freezer as full as possible. Fill any empty space with reusable ice packs so it will stay cooler and use less energy.
If you have a refrigerator or freezer that’s more than 10 years old, consider replacing it with an Energy Star qualified model. Newer models are much more energy efficient, and the Department of Energy estimates that if every American home replaced its old refrigerator or freezer with a newer model, we could save enough energy to light more than 9.2 million homes for an entire year and save more than $2 billion in annual energy costs.