Technological innovations have made refrigerators very energy efficient. But there are ways to further improve the energy efficiency of your fridge.
As per the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), Energy efficiency simply means using less energy to perform the same task – that is, eliminating energy waste. An energy-efficient appliance requires less electricity to perform the same task than the less efficient one.
In India, energy efficiency is expressed by BEE energy star rating for consumer electronics. BEE stands for the Bureau of Energy Efficiency. They provide star ratings to the appliances based on their electricity usage compared to the standard requirement.
BEE star rating standard has a scale of 5 stars. More stars indicate higher energy efficiency. Appliance with higher energy efficiency uses less power to operate. As a result, the monthly bill will also be less.
At present, 4 to 5 star rated refrigerator models are common in the market. They are very energy efficient. But the way we use these appliances influence their energy consumption. Some simple practices can reduce their energy consumption and prevent any unnecessary consumption. Thus the energy efficiency will improve.
Following are 5 ways that I practice to improve the energy efficiency of my fridge.
- Do not keep the fridge door open for a long time and avoid opening the door frequently.
- Ensure the door is properly sealed and the fridge is airtight.
- Defrost the fridge on a regular interval if it is not a frost-free model.
- Distribute foods evenly on all shelves and do not put warm food in the fridge.
- Place the fridge away from any heat source.
I will briefly discuss all these practices in the following sections.
1. Keeping refrigerator doors closed to ensure efficiency
Heat conduction from outside to inside begins as soon as the door of the fridge is opened. The cool air also gets out of the fridge. All these events increase the temperature inside the fridge.
When the sensor senses increased temperature, the processor commands the compressor to start running to bring the temperature down. As a result, unnecessary consumption increases resulting in decreased efficiency.
I used to stare at the desserts kept inside the fridge standing in front of it keeping the door open. It took me quite a few time to decide which one to take out. Like me, if you are habituated to do the same, you need to reconsider it.
If the door is open for a long time, the fridge temperature increases as much as the outside temperature. The compressor has to overperform each time to bring the temperature down. It is an unnecessary consumption for the fridge. This consumption could be avoided by keeping the door closed.
So always decide first what you need to take out of the fridge. It will reduce the door open time for your fridge. Opening the door frequently also affects energy efficiency in the same way.
2. Check the door sealing to reduce energy loss
A good door sealing is very important for the fridge to operate efficiently. If the door is not sealed properly, the fridge cabin is no more thermally isolated from outside. As a result, heat, and airflow continue from outside to the inside of the fridge without any restriction.
The compressor of the fridge with a loose door seal continues to work non stop to refrigerate foods inside it. In doing so, the compressor continuously draws electricity from the supply. As a result, unnecessary electricity consumption increases and efficiency decreases.
There are other adverse effects of unsealed doors.
The air that goes inside the refrigerator from outside contains water in the form of vapor. When the moist air gets into the fridge, the reduced temperature inside the fridge condenses the moisture.
The moisture turns into water and deposits on the wall of the fridge. At chilling temperature, they turn into ice and create frost. This type of frost can happen even in no frost models.
Ice frost also reduces the energy efficiency of the fridge. We will discuss it later in this article.
You need to keep a conscious look at the door seal of your fridge. Sometimes, after the gasket is removed for cleaning, it is not adjusted properly when put back. In this case, the door is not sealed properly.
You can easily check the sealing of the door. Normally the door is attached tightly with the body of the refrigerator when it is closed. It will take a little bit of effort to open it.
But if you see that the door opens easily or not attaching to the refrigerator when closing it, there must be a problem with the rubber seal of the door also called gasket. Adjusting it properly will resolve the problem.
If your refrigerator is old, you may also consider changing the gasket if the sealing is not good.
If this issue remains unnoticed, it will degrade the efficiency of the refrigerator and will also reduce the performance and durability of the compressor.
The door can also be kept open accidentally by the user. It creates the same kind of problem. So remain conscious of the open door and do not forget to close it properly after picking anything from the fridge.
Refrigerators with door open alarm feature become handy in this situation as it warns you of the open door if it remains open for long.
3. Defrost regularly to improve efficiency
In the direct cool refrigerator, ice accumulates inside the fridge cabin. As a result, it requires manual defrosting. If your fridge is a direct cool model, you need to defrost it manually from time to time to keep the fridge operate efficiently.
Ice frost in the fridge creates a lot of problems. Reducing energy efficiency is one of them. If the ice accumulates on the coil, the fridge will run continuously. As a result, energy gets wasted and efficiency reduced.
It is thus required to keep the fridge free of frost. Prepare and maintain a regular defrosting schedule. Do not delay defrosting if you see the accumulated ice is quarter to half-inch thick. You can see our article on defrosting by clicking here to know more about quick and easy defrosting processes.
4. Energy efficiency also depends on your food storage practices
The fridge gives its best output when you take care of it. Storing foods properly is very important for the fridge to perform efficiently. Hygiene of refrigerated foods depends on the way they are stored in the fridge. So it is important for everyone.
The fridge should not be empty. At the same time, it is not expected that you overburden the fridge with food. Try to fill the fridge optimally with foods keeping a small gap in between. These gaps will ensure the proper flow of cool air throughout the fridge.
You should also ensure the proper distribution of food throughout the fridge. Distribute items evenly on all shelves. Avoid putting all items on one shelf and congesting it. Doing so, you can ensure proper use of all the cool air circulating throughout the fridge.
Air vents are generally distributed in all sections of the fridge. The design of the vents expects that food to be present on all shelves. If you put everything on one shelf, then the airflow coming from other vents gets wasted.
Do not put cooked foods or leftovers in the fridge that is still warm. Always put them in a cool and dry place to bring the temperature down to normal temperature before putting it into the fridge.
Putting hot items into the fridge adversely affects its performance. At the same time, the quality of the food degrades.
You may read our article on proper ways to store foods in the refrigerator by clicking here where we discussed good practices of refrigerating foods in detail.
5. Position of the fridge can influence its energy efficiency
The position of the fridge in the kitchen and the surrounding area of it influences its performance. Heat and light source and nearby appliances can increase unnecessary consumption and affect its energy efficiency.
The presence of any heat source like the stove, oven, dishwasher, etc. near the fridge is bad for its healthy operation. The fridge should also be kept away from the window. It will keep the fridge away from exposure to direct sunlight and rainwater.
Exposure to heat and light increases the temperature. As a result power drawing of the compressor will increase. Most of this consumption is unnecessary as it could easily be avoided by placing the fridge strategically in the kitchen.
Refrigerators are very energy efficient nowadays. Any modern refrigerator will consume much less energy to deliver the same performance compared to a previous generation model.
But certain practices from the user are required for them to continue performing efficiently and reduce unnecessary consumption. For example, no one can expect efficient performance from a fridge if it is kept running with an open door.
The 5 ways discussed here to improve the energy efficiency of your fridge will make sure the fridge does not draw any unnecessary electricity than it requires for its healthy operation if followed. These practices will not take any extra effort from the user. It is a matter of practice.
Not only these practices improve the energy efficiency of the refrigerator, but they also will increase its longevity.