Energy efficient fridges and freezers

A fridge and freezer is likely to be responsible for 7% of your overall energy bill.

Consequently, it’s sensible to look at how your fridge and freezer can operate in the most energy-efficient way and also cut the size of your electricity bill.

Below are some of the best tips in relation to fridge and freezer energy efficiency, as well as the criteria to consider when selecting a new one.

Seven steps to maintaining a more energy-efficient fridge or freezer

  1. A fridge will operate at its maximum when it’s in a cool spot. So, if possible, it should be placed in an area where it will not be affected by direct sunlight. It should also be in an area where it can’t be affected by heat from other appliances, such as a cooker.
  2. Ensure that there is as suitable distance between the fridge and the wall. This should be a minimum of 10cm, as this will aid the efficiency of the coils. Remember to keep the coils free from dust, and, every few months, vacuum them.
  3. Your fridge and freezer should be kept at a steady temperature. For a fridge this should be between 3 and 5°C, and, for a freezer, -18 °C.
  4. Never place hot food in the fridge, as this will use up more energy when the fridge attempts to cool the food down.
  5. A fridge and freezer work better when they are full. Space in a fridge can be filled with bottles of tap water, while scrunched up newspaper can be used on spaces in a freezer.
  6. Always check that the fridge and freezer doors are properly shut and that the seals are clean.
  7. If there are signs that a freezer is not defrosting automatically, look out for ice. Remember to defrost the freezer on a regular basis.

Time for a new fridge or freezer?

When a fridge or freezer is more than ten years old then there’s a likelihood that it will need to be replaced.

New models of fridges and freezers are more energy-efficient, which can make up for the initial expenditure on buying a replacement. New models can reduce running costs, because of improvements in insulation, and greater accuracy with regards to temperature and defrosting, as well as utilising compressors that are very efficient.

Read more: Energy efficient cooking essential tips

Advice on selecting a fridge or freezer that is energy-efficient

It’s easy to tell which are the most energy-efficient fridges and freezers because of EU energy label grades. For white goods, A is the highest grade, while G is the lowest, but, for fridges and freezers, ratings can be as high as A++. The products that perform the best can be identified by the blue logo, which symbolizes Energy Saving Recommended.

For fridges and freezers there are also other considerations. The EU A-G rating takes into account relative energy consumption, as a bigger A-rated fridge may be classed as energy-efficient, when compared to a B-rated model, but the latter may consume less electricity.

Buying a smaller fridge or freezer is a better option than buying a bigger model, because it’ll offer greater energy efficiency, and it will be cheaper to run. The yearly consumption figure in kWh will indicate running costs, and these figures can be found on the energy label. The lower the figure, the cheaper the fridge or freezer will be to run.

One other thing to consider is to place the fridge on top of the freezer or vice versa rather than side by side. This is the more energy efficient option and will result in 20% less energy being used.