Watt, Why & How e-Newsletter

Money-Saving Tips for Refrigerators and Freezers


Refrigerator inside
Equipped with more energy-efficient compressors and better insulation than older models, refrigerators today are much more efficient than refrigerators that were built as recently as ten years ago. Even so, there are things you can do that will keep your refrigerator running more efficiently and help you save on energy costs, including the following:


  • Setting thermostats at the recommended temperature settings—37°F to 40°F for the refrigerator and 5°F for the freezer—will help to optimize energy savings, while keeping foods fresh.
  • A well-stocked refrigerator uses less energy because there is less air to cool. Keep your refrigerator full without overfilling; too many items packed together closely will reduce air circulation.
  • Defrost manual-defrost freezers regularly; frost buildup of more than one-quarter inch reduces energy efficiency.
  • Cover liquids and wrap foods before storing them in the refrigerator. Uncovered items release moisture, which makes the compressor work harder.
  • Make sure the refrigerator door seals tightly. Test it by closing the door over a piece of paper. If the paper can be removed easily, the door latch may need to be repaired or the seal may need to be replaced.
  • Ensure proper air flow by keeping the coils clean and dust free. Proper maintenance will help to keep your refrigerator running efficiently.
  • If possible, position your refrigerator away from the oven, windows, and other sources of heat. Extra heat may cause it to work harder.

If your refrigerator is more than 10 years old, consider replacing it with a newer, more efficient unit. When purchasing a new refrigerator, buy one that is sized correctly to meet your needs. An oversized model can waste a substantial amount of energy. The yellow EnergyGuide label will tell you how much energy—in kilowatt-hours (kWh)—the model uses. Also, look for ENERGY STAR qualified models. ENERGY STAR refrigerators use 20% less energy than standard units.

Manage your home energy use and costs with Appalachian Power's online energy checkup. It's an interactive tool available through our website and allows you to view useful details about your actual usage, seasonal factors, and cost-saving recommendations. The Online Energy Checkup is free and will take less than 10 minutes to complete. Once you finish, an energy efficiency kit with compact fluorescent bulbs and other handy items will be sent to you in the mail. Click here for more information.

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This policy was last revised on December 13, 2017.

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