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Put the chill on your fridge’s power use and keep it humming longer

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Fridges with freezer compartments stacked on top of the fresh food storage compartment are typically more energy efficient than side-by-side modelsMore energy efficient side-by-side models like the ERE6100SX can be a good compromise between having an energy efficient fridge while maintaining ease of accessibility for older people or younger children.

It runs 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, keeping our food chilled and fresh as long as it can. Little wonder then that fridges are, quite literally, power users.

And you’ll see that reflected in your monthly utility bill. Fridges can be behind  up to one-sixth of your home’s electricity bill.  Here are some ways to reduce its power hungry ways.

Choose an efficient fridge

Refrigerators usually come in two basic options  – side-by-side models and top or bottom freezer models, where the freezer is stacked on top or below the fresh food storage compartment. Generally, top or bottom freezer models like the Electrolux ETB2603PC tend to be more energy efficient.

ETB2603

Side-by-side models, however, do have the advantage of allowing better organisation and ease of use for households with young children or elderly grandparents. Electrolux’s eco range of side-by-side fridges, such as the ERE6100SX / SV Gallery Range can help hit that sweet spot between efficient energy use and user-friendliness.

ERE6100SX gallery

When your fridge is made is also important. Due to energy efficiency regulations adopted in the US in July 2001, refrigerators made after that date uses about 30 to 40 percent less energy than older models. Fridges with an energy rating label such as the Energy Star also tend to use less energy than others. So if your fridge is more than a decade old, perhaps it’s time to consider a replacement.

Chill it just so

Lower isn’t better – or even necessary. Optimal temperatures for your fridge’s freezer is around -12oC to -9 oC, while the fresh food compartment should be kept between 3 oC to 4 oC.

Open the fridge door as little as possible and keep it open for as short a time as possible to keep the cold air in. The more your fridge has to work to keep things cold, the more power it uses.

On a related note, move the fridge away from heat sources such as the stove, oven or direct sunlight. Like wines, it is best kept in a cool, dark place to help it keep things chilled.

Store foods right

So your supermarket had a mega sale and you couldn’t resist the temptation of all those 2-for-1 offers. And now your fridge door won’t close properly with all of your shopping crammed in. Take the time to rearrange things so that the door can shut comfortably on its own. This prevents the possibility of cold air escaping.

Fridges are most efficiently used when they are kept full. The fuller they are, the less space there is for warm air to get in when the door is opened and the less your fridge has to work to maintain the set temperature. Extra masses of food also help to hold the cold.

If you can’t fill the compartment up, fill plastic containers with water to reduce empty spaces. Or perhaps make it the perfect opportunity to stock up on some of your favourite drinks.

Cover or wrap up leftovers before storing them. If not, they release moisture, which makes the compressor work harder.

Manage the heat

Ironically, many fridges also have heaters built into their walls to prevent moisture from condensing on their outer surface. Find out where you can turn these off – there’s usually a power or energy-saver switch for this purpose.

If you plan your meals right, you can thaw frozen foods in the fresh food storage compartment – they can help cool the fridge down.  When there are lots of leftovers after a huge meal, let them cool before putting them in the freezer. It’ll spare your fridge extra work.

Maintenance helps

Check your fridge door’s gasket and seal regularly. Replace them if they’re damaged as they’re allowing cold air out and warm air in. You can check the seal by closing the door on a dollar bill. If you can pull it out without much resistance, better spend that dollar on a new seal rather than more on your monthly utility bill.

If your fridge uses a magnetic seal, put a torch in the fridge when it’s dark, turn off the lights and check if the light leaks through the seal.

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