A 20-year-old refrigerator might use 1,700 kWh of power per year, compared to 450 kWh for a comparable sized new ENERGY STAR model. At a cost of 12 cents per kWh, it equates to a $150 annual savings and a possible payback of 7-9 years. Old refrigerators also tend to be larger than modern models, so they use more electricity.
Old appliances that aren't up to modern standards can affect your energy bills and the environment. To ensure that you're getting the most efficient fridge possible, consider these three factors: size, style, and technology.
Size matters. A large refrigerator uses more electricity than one that is small. In fact, according to the US Department of Energy, the average household refrigerator uses about 150 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy each year, which is the same as running a 100 watt light bulb for 24 hours! That's enough energy to heat or cool a small house for one day. Refrigerator sizes range from 10 cubic feet to nearly 50 cubic feet; the larger ones use more electricity because they keep foods that weigh more than the smaller ones.
Style matters, too. A modern refrigerator has several features designed to make food shopping and preparation easier. For example, many models now come equipped with ice makers and water dispensers.
Domestic refrigerators generally consume between 100 and 250 watts of power. A fridge is expected to require between 1 and 2 kilowatt-hours each day (kWh). This equates to an annual operating cost of around $150 per fridge. Commercial models can draw up to 1500 watts and need to be plugged in to operate.
Refrigerators use electricity for three main functions: cooling, washing, and freezing. Each function requires different levels of power. Cooling is the most energy-intensive task because it involves removing heat from one area of the refrigerator to another. Washing and freezers are less energy-intensive methods for keeping food fresh and frozen.
One way to save energy is to keep your refrigerator set at a low temperature. This will not only help preserve your food but will also use less energy. However, if you want your food to be cold, you will have to set the temperature high enough.
Refrigerators use a great deal of energy because they must constantly remove heat from all parts of the inside to maintain the desired internal temperature. The amount of power needed depends on how much ice or water is contained within the machine. A full freezer uses more electricity than a half-full one due to the increased amount of heat being removed.
Although not as dramatic, replacing a regular refrigerator that is 3 to 4 years old with a new, energy-efficient model can reduce utility expenses, since energy-star appliances must use at least 20% less energy than the minimum criteria for standard appliances, according to the US Department of Energy. The amount of energy used by a refrigerator depends on how often it has to be refilled with ice and cold water during its lifetime. The more times per day it needs to be refreshed, the more energy it will consume.
Refrigerators use about 21% of the total energy consumed by household appliances, so if you can replace them with more efficient models then this would help lower your energy bills. Of course, you also need to make sure you are getting value for money from any new fridge you buy. Energy-efficient fridges require less electricity to operate than older models, so they will use less energy overall. They may also be better insulated which will help keep food colder for longer and therefore need less refridgeration or cooling later in its life.
Appliances such as refrigerators that are left on all the time use up energy even when they are not being used. It is important to turn off electrical devices when they are not in use to prevent this from happening. This includes appliances such as televisions, radios, lights, and computers. If an appliance has a power button you can use this to turn it off completely rather than leaving it on standby.