"The average refrigerator consumes more energy than any other household appliance. We spend over $10 billion in the U.S., alone, to supply energy to our household refrigerators. The following tips will save you money and reduce your carbon (energy) footprint:
1) Clean the filter and coils annually: Most Americans rarely, if ever, get around to vacuuming out the filter and coils on the back of the fridge. A dusty coil can increase energy consumption by 20 percent or more.
2) Keep it full but not stuffed: A fridge and freezer will be able to retain their coolness better if they're full. If you're not at full capacity, place a few containers of water in the freezer.
3) Think about what you want before you open the fridge. Every time you open the fridge to browse for a snack, you consume around of 9 to 13 watt/hours, which is enough power to light a 60-watt bulb for 10 minutes.
4) Let hot items cool before placing them in the refrigerator.
5) Defrost the freezer regularly.
6) Check the door gasket for a tight seal.
7) Cover liquids and foods stored in the refrigerator. Uncovered foods release moisture and make the compressor work harder.
8) If your fridge is older than 1993, get a new one. You're spending so much on your electric bill, you'll actually save money. New models use less energy than a 75-watt light bulb. Be sure to look for the Energy Star label."
Addendum from Robb;
I like those recommendations but would add that instead of buying a new one try to do without, use a cellar to keep food cool, or put the old one on a timer. Only turn it on during the hottest part of the day. Experiment. Vegetables, Milk, eggs, and butter will do just fine if kept cool, they don't need to be cold. If you must buy a new one get a smaller one and one that is the most efficient or even better get a 12 volt one horizontal one and power it with a small solar array and battery. Build one yourself. Check out these links;
That superinsulated box idea with a standard boat fridge unit built on is the method I intend to employ. I've done it once before, I beefed up our fridge on the boat with more insulation and installed a standard cooler unit when the old one died. It ran 24/7 (on a thermostat of course) and we powered it and the rest of the boat with a small wind genny and two 75W solar panels hooked to 2 small battery banks. We intend to duplicate that system, probably minus the wind genny, in a portable system when we go off grid in the states next year.
The point is, there are options, people did without reefers for most of human history, most people in the world who have one get by with very small ones. Giant upright units that pour out their carbon intensive cold air every time you open the door are examples of convenience design run amok. Even the most efficient upright model will always have that fatal design flaw. Remember that energy star ratings are giving you comparison between like models, be sure to look very carefully at the figures and compare unlike models.
What have you done today to lower your impact?
We are washing away the foundations of our existence on every front. It is high time we move from crashing about on the planet like a bull in china shop and find a way to go forward with intent. We must find systems of living based on sustainability. The systems and tools exist, it is up to each of us to adopt them.
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