4 ways to improve refrigerator efficiency

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woman_refrigerator-201x300Reduce Footprints has us checking our refrigerators this week.

Apparently there is a LOT you can do to improve the efficiency of these appliances and it’s little tips like this which help to make us greener without too much effort.

We’ve been given 4 tasks to do to ensure our refrigerators are working at optimum efficiency. Can you guess what they are?

Check your refrigerator is level…

Apparently the door should automatically swing shut instead of staying open. This is so that we don’t inadvertently leave the door open and waste precious electricity. Also, a level refrigerator means a better seal around the door and it helps drainage.

It’s pretty simple to level up your fridge by putting a spirit level on top and adjusting the feet. If that still doesn’t work, check the hinges of the door instead.

I’m pleased to report that so far I have one point!

Check the seal on the door …

Here’s a great tip from small footprints: Try closing the fridge door on a piece of paper. If you can pull the paper out easily, it’s time to replace the seal.

A good door seal makes a good, efficient fridge! It goes without saying that if your fridge isn’t closing properly, your food will not be kept at optimum temperature which could result in food spoilage.

I’ve just done the paper trick and now I have two points – yay!

Dust the coils …

Calling all dust bunnies; this tip is about cleanliness. If your coils are dusty the compressor can’t run as efficiently, so vacuum them gently.

A refrigerator pulls the hot air from inside the refrigerator and releases it into the room through the coils at the back. If a thick layer of dust forms around the coils, they will not function properly. Instead, the heat will be retained which could shorten the life of your refrigerator because it will have to work harder.

Keep the fridge at least 10cm from the wall, as this will allow the coils to work most efficiently.

Twice a year should suffice, so it’s not too bad!

I’m delighted to report I’ve now clocked up 3 points. We moved the refrigerator less than a month ago, so unless the spiders here at Chez Green have been particularly active, it should be relative dust free behind there.

How full is your refrigerator?

Be sure that it isn’t too full … allow room for cool air to circulate which will keep everything at the right temperature. However, you need to keep it full enough as too much space isn’t great either.

If it’s coming up to shopping day and the shelves are looking a little bare, store some containers of water in there to take up room and provide you with a refreshing beverage.

Fantastic – 4 out of 4 for me then as I’m a bit of a food hoarder. Phew! I’m pleased.

What about you – did you get 4 out of 4?


  1. Small Footprints on September 16, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    WhooHoo … great job! Sometimes just the smallest things can have a big impact. People don’t think about refrigerators … they are there, working away, using energy like mad! So if we can make them a little more efficient, less energy used … and Mother Earth smiles! Thanks, Mrs. Green!

  2. Matthew on September 17, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    3 out of 4, i failed on the last one. My fridge is always full of fresh food but i don’t have a freezer so does that give me an extra point? 🙂

  3. Mrs Green on September 18, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    @Small Footprints: I was shocked when we recently went on holiday that the only thing left on was fridge, freezer and a teeny LED light in the hallway and we used 3 kwh of electricity just for those…

    @Matthew: I think you score full marks – well done!

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