We all know the cost of energy is going to go up dramatically this winter and running a fridge-freezer costs around 7% of your total energy bill. Because it’s one of the few appliances that stays on the whole time, it can be difficult to try to save some of that energy.
But here are some useful tips that you can help to cut down on costs. Some make more difference than others, but every little bit can help when prices go up.
1. Clean the back of your fridge
The coils on the back of your fridge are part of the condenser that cools room temperature air to keep your food cool. These coils can get quite dusty and dirty over time, especially since we rarely clean the back part of the fridge, unless you happen to be moving the fridge. This dust and dirt makes them far less efficient and takes more energy to cool the air down.
Dirt can also reduce the lifespan of your fridge, so every 6 months or so, make sure you give them a clean. You can use a duster or the suction nozzle of a vacuum cleaner to do this. Make sure to unplug it temporarily before you do.
2. Turn off the ice maker
Make sure to turn off your ice maker if you do not use it regularly in the winter. Only turn it on if you really need it during the summer or a party, or use ice cube moulds instead. This can make a big difference to your running costs.
As time goes by, frost can build up on the sides of your freezer and drawers, making it far less efficient and more expensive to run. If your lucky to have a freezer designed not frost up at all, no need to worry, but if not, you could cut its running costs by defrosting every few months. (Also a great way to use up all those meals you put in the freezer and forgot about!)
4. Fill her up!
Firstly, when buying a fridge, make sure you’re buying the right-sized one for your household. Buying a large on for 2 people is going to waste a lot of energy. Most of the time, the bigger the fridge, the more it costs to run.
If you have a fridge or freezer with plenty of unused space, you can always fill it with bottles of tap water or screwed-up newspaper. Otherwise you’re just cooling down air and making your fridge work harder. You can also put in fruit, veg and bread, which usually is fine in room temperature, but keeping it in the fridge could prolong it’s life, while helping to keep your fridge full.
However, you do not need to fill your fridge so much that you can’t see what’s in it. This can go the other way and cause you to spend more time standing with the fridge door open, making your fridge work harder to cool the warm air coming in. You can also keep fruit and veg and bread, which usually is fine in room temperature, but keeping it in the fridge
5. How efficient is your fridge?
All fridges and freezers are given efficiency ratings, the most efficient being A+++. Choosing an A+++ fridge freezer over an A+ model can save you around £200 in energy bills over it’s lifetime, according to the Energy Saving Trust.
This of course has to be balanced against the initial price of a new fridge freezer, so it doesn’t necessarily make financial sense to upgrade too often. Perhaps if you were already thinking about replacing your fridge, now might be a good time to do it.
6. Check the door seal
Make sure that no cool air is escaping from your fridge from a broken seal. This can make your fridge work much harder, wasting energy. Seals are usually the first part of a fridge to wear down and break. You can usually buy replacements online. Also keeping them clean, will helps to make them last
7. Keep it cool
Many kitchens are too small to give us much choice about how we arrange our appliances. However, if you can, make sure your fridge-freezer is in a shady, cool spot, ideally away from direct sunlight. The cooler it stays, the less hard it has to work and the cheaper it is to run.
Equally, keeping your fridge-freezer away from your oven, especially if your oven is inefficient and allows heat to escape, can help to keep it running more efficiently.
Need more advice?
For more advice on energy saving head to Uswitch Energy Saving Tips
You can also see what advice Frome Town Council is offering this autumn.
Clare is the new manager at SHARE:Frome. She studied a photography degree and is now looking into ways that we can reduce our impact on the environment as a community. She loves cooking vegan food, travelling, singing/songwriting and being outdoors.