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Improve Refrigerator Performance

  • A refrigerator that is located in direct sunlight or near an oven, dishwasher, or other heat source, has to work harder to stay cool. Relocate it if possible, or shield it from the other heat sources. This will help the heat transfer to the atmosphere easier.
  • If the door seals aren’t airtight, some energy is lost. Sometimes, condensation can be found around the door seals. Leaks at the door seals means that hot air is entering the cold compartments. You can check whether the seals are working properly by closing the door on a piece of paper. If it is held tightly then the door seals are still good. Get the door seals replaced if they are leaking.
  • The proper temperature for refrigerators is between 37° and 40° Fahrenheit; freezers should be between 0° to 5°. You don’t need to cool it down more than that. A refrigerator that’s 10° cooler than it needs to be can use 25% more energy. So set the thermostat at its correct temperature.
  • If you have a manual-defrost model, you need to defrost regularly. Less energy is needed when there’s no frost buildup. Contrary to popular belief, ice built-up actually reduces the cooling.
  • Make sure that air can circulate freely behind the refrigerator, or wherever the coils are located. That is the place where heat extracted from the refrigerator is transferred to the atmosphere. Air flow is required to carry the heat away. So keep some distance between the condenser coils and the surrounding walls.
  • Periodically vacuum or brush the coils to improve the efficiency. Refrigerator coil brushes are available at most hardware stores. It’s simple enough to do yourself, or you can get some handyman friend to do it for you.