New or old – there's a way to increase the efficiency of every refrigerator. Here's how to do it:
Increase Your Temperature Settings
A refrigerator temperature of 37°F and a freezer temperature of 0°F will keep your food from spoiling, without causing you to spend unnecessarily (usually the middle setting on the temperature knob).
To test the temperature of your refrigerator, place a thermometer in a glass of water, and check it the next day (or after the fridge has been closed for eight hours). To test the temperature of your freezer, place a thermometer between two frozen foods; then, check it after eight hours.
Note: It can take up to 24 hours for a temperature change to take effect.
Want to save even more? According to the US Government, refrigerator settings can go as high as 40°F and freezer settings can go as high as 5°F
Turn Off the Ice Maker
Automatic ice makers increase a refrigerator's energy use by 14-20%. Turn yours off, and go back to ice cube trays.
Turn Off the Anti-Sweat Heater
Fridges manufactured after 1993 often include a switch that lets you choose between an exterior moisture-reducing mode and an energy-saving mode. What's the difference? Set your fridge to the exterior moisture-reducing mode and a heater will kick on to keep condensation off the outside of the fridge; set your fridge to the energy-saving mode and it won't an energy-savings of 5-10%.
Note: If you have a newer refrigerator, it may have automatic moisture control, which eliminates exterior condensation without the use of a heater.
Don't Store Stuff on Top of the Fridge
Placing cereal boxes and other junk on top of your refrigerator could block heat from escaping and cause it to work harder – not good for your electric bill or the lifespan of your fridge.
Check the Seal
Close the door on a dollar bill or a piece of paper. If you're able to pull it out easily, your refrigerator's gasket needs to be adjusted or replaced.
Clean the Condenser Coils
Vacuum the refrigerator coils several times a year to maintain the efficiency of the compressor.
Move Your Fridge Away from All Heat Sources
Avoid placing your refrigerator next to the oven, dishwasher or a heat vent. Also avoid placing it near a window.
Keep Your Fridge Organized
When you're able to find things quickly, you don't have to keep the door open for long.