A refrigerator consumes a lot of energy. I know first hand. I had a home which I moved from. I was simply using the home only as storage for my personal belongings for several months. I turned of all of my appliances, heating and cooling with the exception of the refrigerator. The electric bill was still running between 40 and 60 bucks a month. Once I unplugged the refrigerator the bill went down below 20 bucks a month, around 15.

Tips when purchasing a new refrigerator:

  • When considering size, buy a refrigerator that will accommodate your needs. However, not one that will more than accommodate your needs. Empty space equals wasted energy.
  • Consider buying a refrigerator that has an ice maker in the door. If you use a lot of ice, this will save you from having to constantly open the door.
  • Also think about purchasing one that has an access door for drinks and snacks. This eliminates the need to open the entire door for something you use often.
  • Look for an Energy Star qualified products. These will tell how much energy it uses, and how much a month it cost to run.
  • This is pretty much standard but I will mention it, just in case. Be sure to buy a self-defrosting refrigerator. Too much frost will make it consume more energy, and it's such a nuisance to defrost one manually.

Tips for saving energy on an existing refrigerator:

  • Do the dollar bill test. This is done by putting a dollar between the doors, and then seeing if it falls down, you can pull it out easy or if it stays securely in place. If it falls or slips, the seal needs to be replaced.
  • Keep the coils and filters on the refrigerator clean. Vacuum the coils at least once a year. This makes it run more efficient, plus help prolong it's life.
  • Keep the cooling and freezer part as full as possible, especially the freezer. Cooling and freezing empty space cost more. If you don't use all of your freezer, simply feel up jugs or containers of water. Now stick them in the empty spots in the refrigerator. This does two things 1) consumes space to help use less electric 2) if an emergency should arise, you have water. Think ahead!
  • Never place a refrigerator near a stove, wall heater or heating vents. Also keep it out of direct sunlight. You will want to place your fridge in the coolest place you can find. Cooler place, equals less energy consumed.
  • Don't allow frost to build up in your freezer. The more frost on your shelves, the less efficient it becomes.
  • Decide what you want from the fridge before you open the door. Always put items in the same exact place. The quicker you are about getting items out, the less energy wasted. How many times have you stood at the door, holding it open trying to decide on what to have? Kids are very guilty of these. When cooking something that requires a lot of items such as a new recipe or a huge dinner, make a list of what you need. Get everything you need in one trip to the fridge. Open that door as least as possible!