The refrigerator can be the most energy-sucking appliance in your home. If you've got a second fridge out in the garage, you might consider ditching this unnecessary appliance to save money and energy.
Whether you've got one or two of the things, cleaning the refrigerator every few months can increase its efficiency greatly! Just vacuuming the coils can translate into a 30% energy savings. Here are eight easy steps for cleaning out your fridge and reducing its power usage:
- To get started, unplug the unit and take everything out. Toss whatever rotten food you can into the compost bin and send the rest to the landfill. Stash food you're keeping in a cooler.
- Pull out the inner shelves and drawers and wipe them down with a vinegar and water solution.
- Use the same solution to clean out the insides of the fridge.
- Pull the unit away from the wall and carefully vacuum out the coils in back. If you don't see the coils, they may be hidden behind a removable panel. You might need to take out a few screws to get in there, but it's well worth it. Just be careful when taking things apart - you want to remember what you did so you can reassemble!
- While you're back there, why not eradicate the dust bunnies on the floor, too? How did they even get back there? When you push the fridge back, don't put it flush with the wall - you want air to circulate around the coils.
- By now, the shelves and drawers should be dry. Put them back in and replace any food you were able to save.
- Is it looking a bit empty in there? While this seems a little counterintuitive, an empty fridge is less efficient. Stick some pitchers of water in there to help things along. You don't want it so stuffed that air can't circulate, though.
- When you plug the fridge back in, make sure the temperature setting isn't too cold. Like the thermostat in your house, a small adjustment can make a big difference. You want the temperature between 35 and 38F. This might take some finagling. If yours is anything like the one in our house, it doesn't list the temperature in degrees. Stick a thermometer in there and play with the settings until you hit your target.
Of course, it helps to have an energy efficient fridge to start with. If you're shopping for a new fridge, look for an Energy Star model. There should be an info card with more details on efficiency, too, so you can compare models based on energy use.
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by hommedechevre