Posted on January 10, 2012 by
The Modern Hubby is quite the beer aficionado and is getting back into brewing his own beer, an old hobby of his. To feed his habit, he purchased a used kegerator (or beer fridge or beer dispenser, or whatever you want to call it) to store our small kegs of beer, which means we’re now powering both a full-sized fridge/freezer unit plus the equivalent of a mini fridge. Not particularly environmentally friendly considering refrigerators use more energy than just about any appliance outside HVACs and water heaters, but the things you do for love, right?
Still, obtaining the kegerator got me curious about how I might make my fridges less of an energy suck outside of buying newer more energy efficient units, which just isn’t in the budget right now. Not to mention, refrigerators are large, unwieldy things that represent a huge chunk of waste if they’re not able to be reused.
I got to researching refrigerator efficiency, and I was kind of surprised at just how much you CAN do to help yours out:
- Keep the refrigerator mostly full, leaving just a little bit of room for the cold air to circulate. Pack your freezer as tightly as possible. Once your items are either chilled or frozen, they do their own work keeping the inside of the fridge cool, especially after the door has been opened or when the power is out.
- If keeping your fridge and freezer packed is unrealistic (like you can’t eat the food fast enough), then fill them with jugs of water or extra ice trays instead. Cool drinks of water don’t usually turn sour.
- Make sure the fridge’s coils aren’t working harder than they need to. Don’t push the fridge all the way against the wall — give those coils room to breathe, and keep them clean by vacuuming them every so often.
- Don’t turn the temperatures down any farther than they need to be. Refrigerators operate best between 35 and 40 degrees and freezers should be kept around 0 degrees.
- And your parents were right when they were shouting at you during your childhood to close the door! The longer you keep open the door to the fridge or freezer, the more the cold air escapes, which means the more energy it needs to keep everything cool.
- If you’re weighing the benefits/drawbacks to keeping your old refrigerator against getting a new one, check out these Energy Star tools.