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5 Ways to Make Your Refrigerator More Energy Efficient

Your refrigerator is one of the most energy consumptive products in your home. In fact, most refrigerators consume approximately 4% of your electricity. Your Sunnyvale electric company wants to showcase 5 different ways your refrigerator can run more efficiently.

Location, Location, Location

Placing a hot appliance, such as an oven or dishwasher, next to the refrigerator warms the refrigerator and cools the oven. If you are planning a kitchen or have another location for the refrigerator, choose to place it next to countertops and cabinets rather than next to the kitchen cookers.

Placing your refrigerator directly in front of a vent that pumps heat into the kitchen during the winter can prove counterproductive, as well.

Your shiny brushed aluminum refrigerator may gleam in the sunshine, but keep it out of direct sunlight to save energy.


Your space is limited. The recommended distance from the wall that your refrigerator requires seems extreme. Does it really matter if you push the refrigerator back a few inches? Yes. The fan behind your refrigerator needs to be ventilated, or the motor overheats. This wastes energy and can potentially damage your refrigerator.

It is tempting to store items on top of the refrigerator, but this hinders air flow from the compressor.


Your freezer loses a huge amount of efficiency if ice builds up around it. A 2 mm coating of ice can reduce efficiency by 5-10%.


The radiator behind your refrigerator should be dusted or vacuumed quarterly. Those hot coils react to a buildup of dust and can potentially start a fire. Clean coils increase efficiency by around 30%.

Door seals only work if they are intact. Check for breaks or cracks. Replace any seals showing signs of age.

Temperatures for your refrigerator and freezer should be around 35° and 5° respectively. Lowering the refrigerator temperature 10° decreases efficiency by 25%.

Another maintenance item is the level of food in your refrigerator and freezer. Both work at their ultimate capacity at ¾ full.

Wrap and Label

The air circulating in your refrigerator cools food. It also dries food. Wrapping and covering your refrigerated foods keeps them fresher longer and stops the constant struggle of your refrigerator as it tries to dry your unwrapped foods.

Looking into the refrigerator and seeing identical plastic or glass tubs does not help identify the contents. Label the containers so you can quickly open the door, select your food, and close the door.

Before you place your labeled, wrapped food in the refrigerator, wait until it is room temperature. Adding hot food to a cold place will change the overall temperature.

As with many other appliances, older refrigerators are less energy efficient than newer models. Any refrigerators manufactured prior to 1993 consume twice the amount of energy as newer models, especially Energy Star refrigerators. Learn more about how you can save money on your electric bill by contacting your Sunnyvale electric company at 1-844-621-2852 and reading more tips on our blog.

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