Refrigerators are right on top of the energy consumption list, using almost five times more electricity than the television. The good news: Today’s refrigerators use less than half the energy of models made 30 years ago and include more insulation, high-efficiency compressors, better door seals, and more accurate temperature control. But, of course, if you want to cut back on energy consumption and save yourself some cash, it’s still advisable to learn how to save energy when it comes to using your fridge.

Which of your refrigerator’s features affect the amount of energy used? Read on to find out:

1.    SIZE

All things being equal, one cubic foot of capacity requires about 27 kWh per year. In general, the larger the volume, the more energy the refrigerator uses. Be reminded, though, that it is still usually less costly to run one large refrigerator than two small ones.


Side-by-side refrigerators use about 12 percent more energy than those with freezers on top. Bottom-freezer models fall between the two.


Automatic–defrost models can consume twice as much energy than those with manual defrost.


Automatic icemakers and through-the-door water dispensers increase energy use by 14 to 20 percent.

For the thrifty homemaker, lessening energy consumption can be a great help when it comes to paying the electricity bills. Scroll through the gallery below for eight simple ways you can use to properly utilize your ref's energy usage.

(First published in
Good Housekeeping Magazine, Home 101 section as "Don't leave the fridge open!" in December 2004; adapted for use in Female Network)

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