Keeping fridge and freezer energy costs down

Fridge & Freezer

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, there’s been a huge uptake in second fridges or freezers as people start thinking about how to store extra food at home.

Fridges make up about 13% of the average Aussie power bill, so if you’re adding another to your household, you should expect an increase in your energy costs.

We know that for some homes, another unit is absolutely necessary right now. So we wanted to share our energy saving tips for refrigerators and freezers to keep them running as efficiently as possible.

1. Choose an efficient unit

If you’re reading this ahead of buying (and have a safe way of getting one to your home), prioritise efficiency. It can be tempting to go for an older, cheaper unit but these could end up costing you much more in the long run. Sustainability Victoria has a list of tips for getting a new fridge or freezer here.

2. Check the seals

Your fridge seals keep your doors closed tight – which keeps unwanted hot air out. So to stop your fridge working harder that it needs to, make sure they’re in good nick.

How do I know my door seals are broken or worn?

  • The door keeps popping open
  • Areas inside the fridge/freezer ice up
  • There’s water leakage
  • The temperature fluctuates a lot
  • You see physical cracks, tears or splits in the seals
  • The seal corners are buckled
  • The seals are hard or brittle
  • There’s mould or discoloration on the seals
  • There’s a visible gap between the seal and door

3. Fill without overfilling

Keeping your fridge full means there’s less room for warm air to slip in when you open the door. So if you’ve got any big gaps, fill them with containers of water. But don’t jam things in – cool air still needs to be able to circulate around the whole fridge easily.

4. Check your temperature settings

Sustainability Victoria recommends setting your fridge to 3˚C and your freezer somewhere between -15˚C and -18˚C. Any lower than that, and you’re wasting extra energy getting your unit colder than it needs to be.

5. Let hot things cool first

Putting hot things in your fridge makes it work overtime to get back down to its normal temperature. To avoid this, leave hot food to cool on the bench before putting it in the fridge.

6. Use your fridge as a defroster

Thinking about eating that killer bolognese you’ve got in the freezer later this week? Put it in the fridge to defrost. It’ll take a little longer to thaw, but it’ll keep your fridge cool in the process – almost like an energy boost for your fridge.

7. Don’t let frost build up

Frost can accumulate on the coils that remove heat from your freezer. Those coils need to be in contact with the warmer air in order to remove it, but if there’s ice in the way, it’s a lot harder – which means your freezer has to work harder, too.

8. Keep the door closed

We know – this feels almost impossible while you’re staying home. But the less you can open the fridge door (we promise there’s nothing new since last time), the less time it spends getting the temperature back down when you close it.

9. Clean the coils

This is our top pick for a ‘weird staying at home activities’ bingo card. If you look behind or underneath your fridge, there’ll be the coils that help remove heat. Dust can settle on these and act as an insulator, so give them a brush or vacuum to help them release heat more efficiently.

10. Leave room around the whole unit

Keeping things on top of, or along the sides of your fridge is a bit like putting a big winter coat on it, keeping warm air in. Make sure there’s good airflow on all sides and your fridge won’t have to work as hard to stay cool.

Now that the fridge is ticked off, is your home office set up as energy-efficient as it can be? Read our tips here.

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