Easy Tips to Reduce Your Refrigerator’s Energy Use
Keeping your Texas electricity bills low is crucial if you want to save money. But some appliances, like your HVAC system, make that easier than others. You can’t exactly turn off your refrigerator, for instance, because it needs to preserve your food. So, how can you make sure your icebox isn’t wasting energy? Start by deciding whether or not you’ll save money by trading in your fridge, then apply a few crucial energy-saving tips to keep your Dallas electricity bills low.
How Much Electricity Does the Average Fridge Use?
To figure out how much energy a standard fridge uses, we need to figure out a few factors. Refrigerators wildly vary in size, age, and efficiency. As a result, figuring out their average energy use is tricky.
The average size fridge is between 14 – 20 cubic feet. The most common type is a Top Mount model where the freezer rests on top of the refrigeration unit. Another thing to consider how old is your refrigerator as most fridges last between 14 – 17 years. Though most 21st Century models currently in use now tend to be more energy-efficient than those from the 1990s, if yours is more than 10 years old you’re better off replacing it.
Using the Energy Star Calculator, you find that a 19 cubic foot fridge made between 2001 and 2010 uses around 651 kWh of energy a year. And at an electricity rate of 12.1 cents per kWh, it would cost you around $78 to run the fridge throughout the year. By comparison, a similar model that’s at least 5 years old will cost you $20 less to run.
For a more accurate average, use the Energy Star Calculator and put in the details of your current refrigerator model. And then multiply the annual kWh by the average electricity rate in Texas.
Other factors that affect a Refrigerator’s Energy use
- Ice Makers – Ice makers use a heater to release the ice cubes from the ice cube tray. This means that the use of an ice maker can double your refrigerator’s energy consumption.
- Size – The bigger the fridge, the more electricity it will use. For every cubic foot above the standard 14 cubic foot size, energy consumption increases by 20-30kWh per year.
- Room Temperature – The warmer the outside air, the more energy your fridge will use to stay cool. This is why it’s always best to store your fridge in a cool place.
- Fridge Temperature – Energy use can vary drastically depending on the chosen setting. If you keep your refrigerator colder than necessary, it can waste energy.
- Autodefrost Mode – Choosing a model with autodefrost mode can result in up to 40% more energy use than manually defrosting your freezer. That’s because to manually defrost your freezer, you simply need to turn it off and open the door.
When Should I Replace My Fridge?
If you have a fridge that was built before 2001, you’re better off replacing it. Not only will you save on your energy bills, but you’ll also remove an appliance that’s potentially harmful to the environment. Older models that use ozone depleting refrigerants will no longer be able to be serviced because the CFCs and HCFCs they use are banned in the U.S. from manufacture and importation. Consequently, keeping those old fridges running makes them even more expensive than they’re worth. So, it’s better to replace older ones. Plus, you can even get rebates for flipping your refrigerator.
Finding an Energy Efficient Fridge in 2020
Your first step to finding a new refrigerator should be to visit Energy Star. They make it very easy for you to shop for a new energy-efficient refrigerator. You can organize it by the size, type, and what features it has. Then you can go through and look at each one’s energy-efficient rating. It then sorts them automatically by annual energy use.
To figure out how much it will cost to run your new refrigerator each year, just multiply the annual kWh cost by the energy rate of your Dallas electricity plan. That will give you a rough estimate of how much it costs to keep your fridge cool each year.
How To Improve Your Fridge’s Energy Efficiency
If your fridge is too new to replace, there are still a few things you can to do maximize energy savings. (And no, we’re not talking about the energy-saving myth of cleaning your fridge coils).
- Check Outside Airflow – Make sure there are at least 3 inches of space behind your fridge so that fresh air can move past the condenser coils. If your fridge uses a fan to circulate air over the coils, check it for dust and remove any build-up.
- Check Inside Airflow – You don’t want ice to form on the inside of your fridge. Check to make sure it isn’t overstocked with food. You want there to be room for air to circulate. Throw away unused or unneeded items to help prevent crowding.
- Check Your Seal – To check for leaks, use a dollar bill. Your seal should be able to hold it in place around the entire door. Look for mold or mildew build-up as that can indicate a leak as well. Simply using a kitchen cleaner on the seal can help fix this.
- Check Filters – If your fridge has an ice machine or filters water, you’ll need to check your filters regularly to keep the system functioning optimally. Plus, it’ll help your water continue to taste fresh.
- Store Food Strategically – Opening your fridge door often can increase your Dallas energy bill. When it comes to food storage and removal, think strategically. Put commonly used items in the door. Don’t put hot food in the fridge to cool down. And remove all the items you need to cook at one time.
- Use the Optimal Temperature – According to Energy.gov, “Refrigerators should be set between 36 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit, and freezers between 0 and 5 degrees.”
How Can You Save Even More Money On Your Electricity Rates Bills?
You don’t need to rush out and buy a new refrigerator to save money on your energy bills. Simply shopping for a cheap electricity company in the Oncor service area can give you access to cheaper energy rates. With thanks to the power to choose, you have over 100 electricity plans to choose from.
But don’t let your options overwhelm you. Visit www.texaselectricityratings.com for expert advice on finding the right energy plan for your Dallas home. You’ll find tools like the Plan Picker 3000 that help you quickly narrow down your options. There’s also the Texas Rate Analyzer that helps compare plans so you know what you can expect a plan to cost you. Don’t waste any more time. Start shopping for a new electricity provider by comparing plans today!