Fridge energy efficiency tips

Improve the energy efficiency of your fridge and freezer

Household refrigerators and freezers use energy constantly and contribute significantly towards your electricity bill. An average sized efficient fridge uses up to 10% of your household electricity. Given that fridges and freezers are virtually a necessity, here are several ways to improve their energy efficiency and reduce your electricity bills.

Check your fridge seals

Potentially the easiest way to improve your fridge’s energy efficiency is to make sure that the doors are sealed properly. If your fridge or freezer’s doors do not seal properly, cool air leaks out and more energy is required to keep the contents of your fridge or freezer at the correct temperature. Loose or broken seals can amount to a lot of wasted energy and therefore a lot of wasted money.

When do my fridge seals need replacing?

To check if your fridge seals are ok or if they need replacing, you can ask yourself the following:

  • Is my fridge/freezer door holding closed or popping open?
  • Is my fridge or freezer icing up?
  • Is there water leaking?
  • Is my fridge/freezer maintaining temperature?
  • Are my seals cracked, torn or split?
  • Are my seals buckled at the corners or the bottom?
  • Are my seals hard and brittle?
  • Are my seals mouldy or discoloured?
  • Can I see a gap between the seal and the door?

Your fridge or freezer could be leaking cold air if you answered yes to any of the above questions. If required, investigate further and take the appropriate action. Read on for tips for improved fridge energy efficiency.

9 TIPS for fridge energy efficiency

  1. Don’t overfill or cramp your fridge: It's a known fact that fridges are most energy efficient when they are full, but it is important to ensure that there are slight gaps between items to allow proper air flow and circulation
  2. Getting the temperature right: The recommended operating temperature for a fridge is 3°C - 5°C and the recommended freezers range is minus 15°C - minus 18°C. If your fridge or freezer is not set at the recommended temperature you will find that you’re wasting a lot of money running it inefficiently
  3. Don’t place hot items in the fridge: It’s important to wait until a dish has cooled down before placing it in the fridge. Put cold items back into the fridge after use, rather than letting them warm to room temperature
  4. Defrost items in your fridge: you can defrost frozen goods in your fridge. Just put those frozen items in your fridge 24 hours before you plan to use them and they will actually help keep your fridge cool during that time
  5. Keep frost build up to a minimum: Regularly remove any frost build-up in the freezer. A buildup of frost in your freezer is making your appliance work harder than it needs to
  6. Don’t open the fridge door too often: your household fridge uses more power than any other appliance. Try to limit the number of times you open the fridge door and never leave it open. We suggest you take the “peek, grab and close” approach when surveying the contents of your fridge to help save energy
  7. Clean your condenser coils: The condenser coils, which keep your fridge air cool, are located either below or behind the fridge. When vacuuming, remember to move your fridge and clean under and behind the back of it. It's amazing how quickly dust builds up on the cooling coils causing your fridge to run less efficiency
  8. Place the fridge in a cool spot: Locate fridges and freezers in a cool spot, away from direct sun and other heat sources such as a kitchen stove
  9. Check the age of your fridge: Finally, if your fridge is over 10 years old, you may consider replacing it, as fridge efficiency has improved significantly in the past 10 years. Read Sustainability Victoria's guide to choosing an energy efficient fridge or freezer.