14 Refrigerator Efficiency Tips To Save You Money

Interior of Modern Kitchen with Refrigerator

Did you know that according to the U.S Department of Energy, the average American family spends about $2,200 a year on electricity bills? About one-third of that goes to powering your refrigerators. Like most homeowners, you could probably save money on your monthly electricity bills by making some minor changes to how you use your refrigerator.

So if you're looking for ways to trim your energy bill, start with your fridge. This blog post will share 14 tips for making your refrigerator more efficient. Keep reading to learn more!

1. Upgrade for an Energy-Efficient Refrigerator

Family choosing a new fridge

It may seem self-evident, but refrigerators have come a long way in terms of energy efficiency in their evolution. A very efficient model from 5 or 10 years ago could potentially cost twice as much to operate as a modern model. Your fridge may be a worthwhile investment if you're looking to replace your old refrigerator.

Pay attention to physical and technological aspects when shopping for a new refrigerator. Multi-door variants are less energy-efficient than frost-free, freezer top, and freezer bottom models. Consider your needs, and think if perhaps you really don’t need that large refrigerator. Upgrade accordingly. 

2. Regularly Defrost Your Refrigerator

Obsolete Freezer And Defrost Control

If you don't defrost your refrigerator and freezer regularly, it can be difficult for the appliance to maintain cooler temperatures. A buildup of ice on coils inside a unit could also cause this issue.

This ice buildup can significantly waste a lot of electricity and raise your monthly expenses. It's essential to defrost your manual or partially automatic refrigerator frequently if you don't have air conditioning and live in a hot, humid region.

3. Organize Your Refrigerator

Housewife refrigerator organizing

You don't need to keep the door open for long if you can find things quickly. Make dedicated areas for all of the foods you regularly buy so that everyone in your household knows where to look.

Consider making a fridge inventory sheet that you can put on the door to cut down on the amount of time the freezer door is open. You won't have to waste a lot of time looking through the freezer as long as you maintain it up to date.

4. Cover Your Containers

Woman Putting Containers with Vegetables in Refrigerator

Refrigerating open drinks and food containers raises internal moisture levels, making the compressor work harder. You can prevent food contamination by teaching your family to cover everything before it goes in.

5. Don't Overload Your Fridge

Woman taking gateau from a fridge full of groceries

A full refrigerator may seem like it would work harder than an empty one, but that's actually not the case. The key is not to overcrowd your fridge. When it's packed to the brim, it has a harder time circulating air and maintaining a consistent temperature.

This overcrowding can cause your food to spoil more quickly and lead to higher energy bills. So next time you're at the grocery store, take a moment to think about how much food you really need.

6. Close Your Fridge for Less Energy Consumption

Woman hand closing a fridge

The cold air exits and hot air enters whenever the refrigerator door opens. Therefore, the refrigerator must utilize energy to cool down to compensate for the temperature increase inside.

How often have you opened and closed your fridge without actually taking anything out? We've all been guilty of it at one point or another. But did you know that every time you open your fridge, not only are you letting all the cold air out, but you're also making your fridge work harder to cool back down again?

That's right—every time you open your fridge door, you're increasing your energy consumption! So next time you're standing in front of your fridge, ask yourself: do I need this? Chances are no. So close the door and save some energy!

7. Refrigerator Temperature at Optimum Level

Refrigeration technology temperature control

The best temperature for refrigerator operation is 41°F (5°C), and the best temperature for freezer operation is -0.4°F (-18°C). As a general rule, each additional degree of refrigeration output consumes around 6% more electricity. As a result, a precise temperature setting can directly save you money.

8. Don't Put Hot Food

Food in the refrigerator

You should never place warm food in the refrigerator since it will heat the inside and other stored meals. Before placing hot food in the fridge, it should always be allowed to cool to room temperature.

9. Safeguard Your Fridge From Extreme Heat

White modern kitchen with stainless refrigerator

When the compressor is near heat sources, it swings into high gear to keep your food cooled to the optimum temperature. It makes your fridge work harder, but it's also a waste of energy that could reduce the appliance's lifespan.

When planning your kitchen, keep your refrigerator away from the stove, oven, dishwasher, or any other device that produces a lot of heat. It's also good to keep it out of direct sunlight for lengthy periods to avoid it going into overdrive.

10. Don't Keep Things on Top of the Refrigerator

Silver Side by Side Refrigerator

It's essential to keep your fridge clean and free from clutter. When you place cereal boxes or other junk on the appliance, it could block heat escaping. Which will cause problems with its compressor—not only does this result in higher energy bills but also reduces lifespan!

11. Clean the Condenser Coils

Male Technician Repairing Refrigerator Indoors

Your fridge's condenser coils are responsible for removing warmth from inside the refrigerator. However, if they are covered in dust or grime, they become difficult to operate efficiently. It can lead to increased energy consumption due to two additional cooling needs on top of what is already there and potential problems down the line. 

Invest in an inexpensive bristle brush to quickly remove any dirt accumulated over the years. You don't need frequent cleaning, just enough to not have buildup affecting your unit's performance!

12. Check the Door Seals

Replacing the Door Seal on the Refrigerator

The rubber seal acts as an insulator and prevents heat transfer between the refrigerator and the surrounding air. It is critical to inspect the seal frequently to ensure it is totally intact and properly sealed.

 If this isn't the case, get a new one right away! Also, ensure that no stored things obstruct the door's ability to close correctly.

13. Turn on the Power-Saving Switch

Power saving switch in a refrigerator

While not all refrigerators have this function, many newer appliances now include small heaters built into the walls that prevent humidity from condensing on the exterior surface. 

Unless your unit has a lot of visible condensation, you can quickly eliminate this feature by activating the energy-saving or power-saving switch.

14. Make Sure There's Enough Airflow

Open Big Fridge with Products in Kitchen

Allow at least 2 inches between the back of your refrigerator and the wall to allow heat to escape from the condenser coils. Your fridge will run more frequently as a result of the trapped heat.


If you're looking for ways to save money on your electric bill, upgrading to a smart fridge may be the answer. Smart fridges come with features like automatic defrost and ice-maker disable that can help keep less electricity. 

You can also save money by regularly defrosting your freezer and making sure your refrigerator is in an accessible place. Store food in airtight containers to prevent spoiling, and keep the temperature set at or below 40°F (4.44°C) to optimize energy efficiency. 

Don't overload your fridge. It makes it work harder and increases your energy costs. Follow these tips to make the most of your refrigerator and save money on your electric bill!

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