That Old Refrigerator May Be Costing You

The refrigerator is one of the heaviest consumers of power amongst household appliances. It runs 365 days a year, making it important to have an energy friendly refrigerator in your household.

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An energy friendly refrigerator in 2006 was estimated to consume 481 kilowatt hours per year. The energy consumption of refrigerators has improved steadily year over year. In 1990, the average Canadian refrigerator consumed a whopping 1,525 kilowatt hours per year making it the heaviest consumer of power amongst household appliances.

Did you really think that the old refrigerator in your garage or basement wasn’t costing you that much in hydro?

Some older models may still run well but they use a tremendous amount of energy.

Why getting rid of your old fridge is a great investment?

An old refrigerator or freezer can easily be $150 more expensive to run than a comparable sized Energy Star appliance.

If you do the math, and calculate this figure over a period of just 5 years you will see an energy cost of $750.

You can find a new Energy Star refrigerator with the latest features for under $1000 and sometimes used for less than $500. Many people are looking for a stainless-steel look and will unload their newer white refrigerators for a fraction of what they paid for it.

The energy savings will pay for the new refrigerator in a short period of time.

Another benefit is that if you plan to sell your home it is a great selling point to have the latest appliances.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has an online Refrigerator Retirement Cal­culator, available at www.energystar.gov/refrigerators. This interac­tive tool allows homeowners to cal­culate how much it costs to operate your current refrigerator, and how much money you can save by replacing it with one that has earned the Energy Star.

Get rid of your refrigerator and make money!

BC residents:

Did you know that if you have a spare working fridge you can contact BC Hydro to have your fridge picked up and recycled – and receive a cheque for $30.

Ontario residents:

If you have a fridge or freezer that’s 15 years or older, Ontario Power Authority will haul it out of your home and recycle it in an environmentally-friendly way for FREE.

Quebec residents:

Similar to BC, you will receive a cheque for $30 upon a fridge pickup.

Tips to save money on your existing refrigerator:

  1. Avoid putting the refrigerator near a heat source – an oven, the dishwasher or direct sunlight from a window.
  2. Leave a space between the wall or cabinets so that air can circulate around the condenser coil.
  3. Keep your refrigerator’s coils clean by brushing or vacuuming the coils to improve efficiency by as much as 30 percent.
  4. Make sure the door seals are airtight because if they are not you’re wasting energy and money by letting cold air leak out!
  5. Keep your refrigerator at optimal temperature between 35 and 38 degrees – freezers at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Open the door as little as possible. Get in and out quickly.
  7. Regularly defrost manual-defrost models.
  8. Make sure you allow hot foods to cool before refrigerating or freezing.

On a personal note, in one of the apartments I own, I replaced the old refrigerator with a newer stainless-steel model and it the hydro bill is a little bit lower but it is a better design and more optimal use of space.

If your extra refrigerator is usually empty, or holds just a few sodas or mystery containers of food, you should probably get rid of it altogether.

Think of all the extra space you’ll have in your garage or basement!

About the Author: This is a post by , President of GroceryAlerts.ca, Canada’s Source for Grocery Deals, canadian coupons, and printable coupons. They match coupons with the latest grocery flyer specials.

SPF: For more great fridge tips check out our Green Tips (#49, #51, #55, #59, #63, #93) where we discuss other strategies to optimize the use of your fridge!

18 thoughts on “That Old Refrigerator May Be Costing You

  1. Great reminder! So many people have old beer fridges in the garage or basement that are actually costing them more to run then their principal fridge in the kitchen. Really, do you need to have an entire case of beer in the fridge? Just keep a couple in the fridge and replace as you consume.

  2. I think I need to get on this because my refrigerator is from 1984… I have to make sure I know how we wnat to redesign our kitchen first though so we can plan for the right amount of space for the new fridge so it doesn’t look funny when we redo the kitchen.

  3. We have a freezer that the previous owner of this home left for us (likely because they didn’t want to haul it upstairs) Anyhow last year I borrowed the killawatt montior from the local library and tested everything I could in the house. The freezer and refrigerator were drawing the most. The freezer will be the first to go as soon as I find a great deal! Cheers Mr.CBB

  4. Wow – I had no idea an old fridge could save you that much… It’s a great reminder that the best financial decision is often one that thinks long term.

  5. Good tip on using the calculator b/c I think a lot of people don’t realize how much energy those old fridges use. It might be $1,000 for a new fridge but you will also get the monthly energy savings, I’m going to try out the calculator now and see what I can save :)

  6. Another way to look at this is that if (for example) you spend $750 for a new refrigerator that saves you $150 each year, your return on investment is 20% per year. Even if you save $75 per year, your return is 10%, and that is risk free. That is an amazing investment return for your money.

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