energy efficiency | illinois

Refrigerator and Freezer Operationarrows

In most households, the refrigerator is the single biggest energy-consuming kitchen appliance, and a stand-alone freezer uses a comparable amount of energy. To reduce energy used by a refrigerator or freezer:
  • Position the appliance away from a heat source, such as an oven, dishwasher or direct sunlight.
  • Allow air to circulate around condenser coils by leaving a space between the wall or cabinets and the appliance. Keep the coils clean. Dust that builds up on the coils acts like insulation, reducing the appliance’s ability to transfer heat from inside the appliance to the outside air. Dust on the coils causes the compressor to run longer and use more energy before it satisfies the thermostat in the appliance.
  • Make sure door seals are airtight.
  • Set the refrigerator’s temperature between 37 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit and the freezer compartment’s temperature at 5 degrees Fahrenheit for short-term food storage.
  • Set the temperature for a stand-alone freezer at zero degrees Fahrenheit for long-term food storage.
  • Minimize the amount of time and how many times the appliance door is open.
Check a refrigerator’s temperature by placing an appliance thermometer in a glass of water, then setting the glass in the center of the food compartment. After 24 hours, the thermometer will offer an accurate temperature. Check the freezer temperature by placing an appliance thermometer between two frozen packages and reading the thermometer after 24 hours.

Frost buildup diminishes an appliance’s energy efficiency. If your appliance requires manual defrosting, do so when the frost reaches a thickness of a quarter of an inch.


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ENERGY STAR® Refrigerators and Freezers Double Black Arrow
ENERGY STAR refrigerators use at least 15 percent less energy than currently available standard models, and ENERGY STAR freezers use at least 10 percent less energy than currently available standard models. Learn More