Keeping Your Refrigerator and Freezer Eco-Friendly

The refrigerator is pretty essential in today’s world, but it doesn’t have to be an energy guzzler or an environmental hazard. Try these strategies for making the most of your fridge (and, by extension, your freezer):

  • Get a small, energy-efficient fridge with a high Energy Star rating.

  • Buy nonperishable food that you can store in cupboards instead of in the fridge or freezer.

  • Place your fridge and freezer away from heat sources such as the stove or dishwasher. Heat sources make these appliances work harder to keep their interior cool.

  • Clean your fridge’s condenser coils every 6 to 12 months. Use a soft brush or a vacuum cleaner attachment on the coils, which are either at the bottom or the back of the fridge.

    Keeping fridge coils clean helps keep the fridge green.
    Keeping fridge coils clean helps keep the fridge green.
  • Make sure that fridge and freezer gaskets (the rubber seals around doors) aren’t letting cold air leak out. A piece of paper placed between the door and the appliance should be slightly difficult to pull out. If it’s not, look into replacing the gasket. (Check your instruction manual to see whether you can do it yourself or you need to call a technician.)

  • Set the thermostats in both the fridge and freezer to the optimum energy-efficient temperature. Higher or lower than 37 to 40 degrees for the fridge, 0 to 5 degrees for long-term freezer storage, and 10 to 15 degrees for short-term freezer storage means the appliance uses energy unnecessarily.