From Scott Carlberg

Need $150? Quick and easy. That may be possible with a critical eye on the refrigerator. A refrigerator is one of the big appliances that can take a lot of electricity to run. Old refrigerators can be energy hogs. (Old these days is probably 15 years or more.)

Appliances can take some 20 percent of a home’s energy use. Energy efficient appliances can save up to half the energy of old appliances.

Costs to run a newer refrigerator on an annual basis can run from roughly $40 to $125, depending on the unit and local electricity costs. (Source) New refrigerators are more efficient than old ones – improved insulation, better motors, fans, defrosts that all use power. More complex electronic controls monitor usage and control operation for better performance and higher efficiency.

Some people may be able to save money by eliminating a garage refrigerator. It depends on how much your electricity costs you and how old the refrigerator is. Save electricity – save money, and even reduce emissions in the air by using less electricity.

Or, a family can save a bit on their refrigerator by following a few simple tips.

A quick review of family needs may show that the old and inefficient refrigerator may not be needed. We’ll look at some of the ways to take stock of your refrigerator.

“If you’re going to update just one appliance, this should be it,” says Home and Garden Television. “After all, it runs every minute of the day and the older it is, the greedier it is. Replacing a refrigerator from the 1980s with an Energy Star model will save you $100 per year on your energy bill, and replacing one from the 1970s nets $200 per year.”

First, a quick check. Is cold air getting out of the unit? Check the seal to see. Place a dollar bill inside the door, and if you can easily slip it out of the door, or if it just let’s go on its own, a new gasket may be needed or the door needs an adjustment.

Second, don’t crowd the refrigerator. A lot of units are pushed all the way back to a wall. Refrigerators need space to work well, to ventilate. A confined refrigerator has to work hard to circulate the air through the coils to cool the system. Most refrigerators perform best with about a two-inch gap to the wall, not against the wall.

Awaiting their fate at the landfill/recycler 

Third, keep the coils of the unit clean. The coils at the back of your unit need exposure to air to operate efficiently. If there’s dust covering the coils (like wearing a jacket) a refrigerator must run longer to cool the unit, taking more energy and wearing down the system.

Cool energy family

Four, a family could save by giving a tough look at that old garage refrigerator. A garage refrigerator can be a habit – always had one there. Refrigerators are generally not designed to operate in extreme heat and cool like a garage. That can add stress and cost to the system.

Finally, an energy-minded family may want to take a look at its refrigerator (or refrigerators) and check their age, basic operation, and even whether an extra refrigerator is really needed.