Six Ways to Cool Down Your Electric Bill

Did you know that the second leading contributor to the cost of your electric bill is your refrigerator?  According to the Department of Energy, only air conditioning accounts for a higher percentage of electricity consumption than does the refrigerator.  According to their numbers, air conditioning accounts for 16% of the average household’s total electricity consumption, followed by refrigeration at approximately 14%.  Moreover, if you run more than 1 refrigerator, or if you’re fridge isn’t an Energy Star qualified model, you’re likely using even more electricity than that.  Here are some tips on how you can save money on your electric bill by smarter refrigerator usage.

1. Disconnect refrigerators and freezers you don’t use.  It goes without saying that you shouldn’t be wasting electricity and money on empty refrigerators.  If it’s empty, unplug it.  If you have more than 1 fridge and it’s being under utilized, transfer the contents to your primary fridge and unplug the thing.  Don’t do like I did and run the thing 24/7 just to keep a bottle of water cold.

2. Open the door less.  According to Home Energy Magazine, opening the refrigerator door accounts for 7% of your fridge’s energy use.  If you can’t decide what you want, or if you just find yourself opening the door excessively, try taking a picture of what’s inside.  Then Decide what you want later.  :)

3. Out with the old.  Unless you’re conducting some sort of medical research on moldy food, discard it.  :)  A packed refrigerator results in decreased energy efficiency, and an increased electric bill.  Besides, cleaning out the refrigerator could have the added benefit of cutting down your food bill.

4. Check the door seal.  As refrigerators age, door seals tend to wear out.  This lets out the cold air and increases your electric bill.  One way to test your seal is to close the door with a dollar bill in it.  If the bill comes out easily, it’s time to get a replacement.  Replacement seals can be found at local hardware stores, and they’re easy to install.

5. Location.  External heat sources can heat up your refrigerator, which makes it have to work harder and consume more electricity. .  If possible, place your refrigerator out of the direct sunlight and away from heat generating appliances, like the dishwasher and oven.

6. Temperature.  The ideal temperature setting for the refrigerator is somewhere between 36 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit.  You can use a thermometer to check the temperature. Lower temperatures will waste energy and could even cause food damage.

If you’re serious about cutting down the cost of your electric bill, give some of these tips a try.  While one of these factors alone probably won’t make a huge difference, the combined total of them will likely add up in a meaningful amount of money saving over time.  And in the process, you’ll conserve more energy which is a noble thing to do in an of itself.

Sources for this article include

  • http://www.eia.gov/emeu/reps/enduse/er01_us.html
  • http://www.eia.gov/emeu/reps/enduse/er01_us.html
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refrigerator

This article was written by Donny Bruce.  Donny is a software developer, a pool shark, a skilled chef, and a blogger.  He is the founder of Extreme Money Saving, a blog dedicated to spending less money and frugal living.  If you’d like to reach him, you can shoot him an email at extrememoneysavingblog@gmail.com.

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