Opting for a fridge or freezer that features a high energy-efficiency rating or is labelled with the recommended logo will ensure the model that you have is as frugal as possible when it comes to electricity use.
A refrigerator operating at its optimum level can save you a lot of money on electricity bills, and it’s a lot better for the environment too. So, what are the ways you can make sure that your refrigerator is energy efficient?
Keep the unit away from sources of heat
Vents, ovens, hobs, microwaves, washing machines and tumble dryers all produce heat, and if they are too close to the fridge the motor will have to work a lot harder. Try positioning the fridge, freezer or combined unit well away from other appliances and allow at least one inch of space on each side for good circulation. Poor circulation will make your appliance work a lot harder to keep items cool.
Don’t put hot food straight in to the appliance
When it comes to leftover food, putting hot items straight into the appliance will also force the refrigerator to struggle when it comes to maintaining a constant temperature. It’s best to leave food to cool to room temperature before placing in the refrigerator. On average, fridges should be kept at between two and three degrees Celsius and freezers should operate at -15 degrees; you can make sure the right temperature is maintained by making sure the temperature knobs are set to the right level.
Adjust your thermostat according to how much food is in the fridge
If there are a limited amount of items in storage the thermostat can be turned down as there is less to keep preserved – don’t make the motor and thermostat work harder than they have to. Remember to readjust your thermostat after your next weekly shop though!
Planning meals in advance is a great way to ensure fridges are not overstocked, plus there’ll be less decomposable food in the fridge, reducing wastage. Knowing how to stock the appliance is also half the battle in ensuring bacteria does not grow. It is not uncommon for people to fill their fridges with items they don’t need and simple planning can help avoid this. Keeping the overall unit clean and organised can help with this planning. It is important to remember that loading the freezer while keeping the fridge moderately filled is the best way to keep it running efficiently.
Try not to open unnecessarily
Another tip in keeping the interior climate of a fridge-freezer constant is to not open it unnecessarily. Rather than opening the door and deciding what you want to have as a snack, you could keep a list on the front of the fridge. This way the need to open the door before heading out to the supermarket or deciding what to eat becomes reduced.
Check the door seals regularly
Damaged door seals result in air escaping from the fridge or freezer, and the motor having to work harder to maintain temperature. Try sliding a £5 note between the body and the seal; if the note can be moved around freely, you may need to replace your fridge door seal or freezer door seal.
Defrost once a year
Defrosting fridges and freezers regularly will also allow them to continue running as efficiently as possible. Even if you have a frost-free model, it is still worth defrosting at least once a year. Ice build up will make the motor work harder, as well as potentially damaging other parts of the refrigerator. For example, when ice builds up freezer shelves can begin to crack and doors can become difficult to close.
If you know you are going to need to defrost your appliance, avoiding shopping for a few days and making sure all perishables are consumed. Next, place some old towels at the base of the fridge-freezer to soak up the water that will drip away from the unit once it is switched off and the warm air begins to get to it. After an hour or so it can be helpful to chip away some of the bigger sections of ice with a blunt object, making sure that you’re careful not to damage any components. Try prising away the ice and if it is not coming away, leave the unit for a while longer. When all of the ice has been removed, the fridge interior should be fully cleaned, although harsh detergents should be avoided as these could be frozen into the unit once it is up and running again.