9 Cool Refrigerator Maintenance Tips
Regular Refrigerator Maintenance Promotes Energy Efficiency
Your refrigerator is a household appliance that needs maintenance to be energy efficient and save you money. Additionally, regular refrigerator maintenance will help extend the life of the appliance. However, if your refrigerator is over 15 years old, you may benefit by upgrading to a newer model to take advantage of energy savings by using an Energy-Star certified appliance.
If upgrading to an Energy-Star certified refrigerator or repairing your refrigerator isn’t the best option right now, don’t worry. There are still several ways you can improve the efficiency of your refrigerator or freezer. These options are simple and cost-effective, and any homeowner can do them. The following is a list of ten options available to you, making your refrigerator or freezer more efficient and saving you money.
1. Replace the Rubber Seal on the Refrigerator Door
The rubber seal on the door of your unit also called a gasket, provides a critical barrier for locking in air and heat. This seal is essential for your door to function correctly and if it wears out, your fridge will have to work much harder to maintain the set temperature. This component can sometimes be overlooked and must be maintained.
Your door seal will wear out over time and lose some of its ability to stick to the side of the cabinet. In many cases, the loosening of the seal is due to the constant opening and closing of the door rather than other parts.
Another issue is if your seal is broken or worn out, it wears out other refrigerator parts faster to maintain the set temperature. Therefore, it is critical to make sure that your door gasket is in good shape and to replace it if it isn’t.
2. Keep Your Refrigerator Away from Sources of Heat
Keeping your refrigerator in a cooler area in the kitchen is essential because any external source of heat will make the fridge work harder. If you do have your fridge next to your oven, dishwasher or range, the heat created by those appliances will affect the energy consumption rate of the refrigerator. A fridge next to a source of heat causes two major problems: First, your unit is using more energy because the motor will always be running.
Lastly, your compressor will burn out sooner, as you are shortening its useful life. You should also avoid exposing it to direct sunlight. You can also keep your kitchen cool with open doors and ventilation. Also, avoid storing items on top of your refrigerator or freezer, because any object will prevent heat to dissipate and pass freely over the top of the appliance.
3. Clean Your Condenser Coils
The condenser coils on the back of your refrigerator enable heat to escape from the unit. When dirt and dust accumulate on the condenser coils, it slows down the process of cooling down your refrigerator and causes the unit to use more energy and shortens its lifespan. Make sure that your coils are clean by purchasing a special brush for knocking out the dirt and dust. You can also clean more thoroughly with soapy water and a sponge. The cleaner the coils, the more efficient the transfer of heat. This task is not something you’ll want to do every week. But with regular maintenance, your refrigerator or freezer will release heat more efficiently.
4. Allow Hot Leftovers to Cool Before Placing Them in the Fridge
Allow your uneaten food to reach room temperature before placing it in your refrigerator or freezer will avoid it having to consume the energy necessary to cool it down. As long as you are mindful to avoid leaving your food out long enough to spoil, you will save energy, and keep your food fresh. Often you can use this time to properly package and wrap your food items, preventing spoilage and also preventing odors and messes from occurring in the interior.
5. Make Sure the Refrigerator Door Stays Closed
The simplest (and most cost-effective) tip for reducing energy usage is simple – keep the door closed! The longer the door remains open, the more the interior air mixes with the exterior, causing the temperature to even out, and forcing your refrigerator to work hard to lower it again.
6. Take Advantage of External Ice & Water Dispensers
Use your built-in water or ice dispenser to avoid the constant opening and closing of your door to save energy. Make sure that you properly maintain this component so that you will want to use it.
7. Organize the Contents of Your Refrigerator or Freezer
Keeping your refrigerator clean and organized helps everyone in your household find what they are looking for a lot quicker. By placing your most frequently used items on the top shelf of the fridge, because it helps keep maintain the temperature and doesn’t overwork the unit.
8. Select & Maintain an Appropriate Temperature for the Fridge
When using your air conditioner, you may have noticed a significant difference in your energy bill depending on the temperature setting. A few degrees’ variance can cause a notable difference in how hard your machine must work to produce the temperature you desire. Your refrigerator and freezer work the same way. To provide maximum efficiency while still keeping your food safe, choose a temperature for your refrigerator between 36° and 38 °F, and set the freezer in the range of 0° and 5 °F.
Sometimes temperature dials are not accurate, so choosing a temperature somewhere in the middle should help. After setting the temperature, wait about 24 hours for the change to take effect. You should check the internal thermometer to make sure that your unit is calibrating correctly. With the proper setting, you should begin to see significant savings on your next bill.
9. Prevent Frost Build-Up
When frost builds up on the coils inside your freezer or refrigerator, it forms a kind of insulation between the coils and the interior. This will cause the compressor to use more energy and work harder to cool the interior down. Make sure that you check the coils in your refrigerator and freezer regularly. If you notice ice beginning to build up, you will need to de-ice your coils. Newer models employ features that will remove ice automatically, or prevent it from ever forming.
Following these simple steps will allow you to cut way down on how much power your refrigerator consumes, and will extend its useful life. When the time comes to replace it, you can still benefit from these practices with your newer model. Many companies and municipalities have incentives for switching to an Energy Star appliance and will help you recycle your old unit. With a little math, you may discover that these newer models can pay for themselves. Until then, these helpful tips will provide significant savings.
Energy-Efficient Appliance Upgrades
As the cost of electricity rises, many homeowners are looking for ways to conserve energy to save money. A great way of saving money is in your household is to look at your electricity bill and the age of your electronic appliances. Are those appliances energy-efficient models? If not, it may be time to replace with them Energy Star approved models. Energy-Star certified appliances all have specific energy-saving features in common which have become industry standard. These features enable your new unit to leave the competition far behind. New units are an investment, but they can pay for themselves via their energy efficiency over time.
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