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Simple Steps - Refrigerators/Freezers

Standing in front of an open refrigerator door while you decide what you want wastes a lot of energy. The refrigerator and freezer account for eight cents of every electric dollar. Look for energy-efficient models with features like power-saver switches and improved insulation.

  • Place refrigerators and freezers away from heat sources (like the range).

  • Keep the temperature between 37 and 42 degrees in the refrigerator and zero and five degrees in the freezer. If you're away for more than a couple of days, turn your refrigerator up two or three settings.

  • Cool foods to room temperature before placing them in the refrigerator unless the recipe specifies otherwise. Cover all stored liquids - they release vapors that increase the compressor's workload.

  • Make sure your refrigerator door closes tightly. Close it on a dollar bill. If you can pull it out, you may need a new gasket.

  • Clean condenser coils (located on the back or bottom of your refrigerator) at least once a year to increase efficiency.

  • Don't overcrowd your refrigerator. It can interfere with air flow and create "hot spots." On the other hand, most freezers work better fully loaded.

  • Side-by-side refrigerator/freezers use about 45% more energy than over-under two-door models. Upright freezers use more energy than top-loading freezers.

  • Defrost manual-defrost refrigerators or freezers before the frost becomes one-quarter inch thick.

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