As the holidays approach, your refrigerator is probably getting as full as you do at the Thanksgiving dinner table.
Can it handle the extra food you’re storing? How about the constant opening and closing as everyone opens and closes it more often to find leftovers and cold drinks?
If your fridge is more than a decade old, the holidays might be too much for it.
Consider replacing your old fridge before the holidays. And this time, buy one that bears the Energy Star label, which means it uses at least 15% less energy than federal standards require, and 40% less than one that’s been around for a decade or more, according to the Department of Energy.
More than 60 million households have refrigerators that are more than 10 years old, the department says. By replacing it with a new, energy-efficient model, you could save up to $300 in electricity charges over its lifetime.
When shopping for a new refrigerator or freezer, read the EnergyGuide label. It tells you how many kilowatt-hours of electricity the unit will consume over a year of operation. The smaller the number, the better. Look for refrigerators that have a freezer on the bottom or the top, as side-by-side designs consume more energy. Chest freezers are typically better insulated than upright models.
Whether you’re buying a new fridge this year or not, follow these tips for more efficient use around the holidays:
- Brush or vacuum your refrigerator’s coils regularly to improve efficiency by as much as 30%.
- Keeping your refrigerator full shouldn’t be hard this time of year, and doing so will help your unit retain cold better. If you have trouble keeping it stocked, fill the extra space with bottles or containers of water.
- If your milk is frosty in the morning, reduce the refrigerator’s temperature.
- Refrigerators should be set between 36 degrees and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Freezers should stay between 0 degrees and 5 degrees.
- Put a dollar bill in the door’s seal to see if it is airtight. If the dollar slips out easily, so will cold air.