Sooner or later the day will come when you’ll need to buy a new refrigerator. Some folks wait until their old fridge finally gives out. Others upgrade during a kitchen remodel or move. But another big reason to consider a replacement sooner rather than later is the energy savings. How you define “best refrigerator” depends on a number of factors but it should always begin with energy efficiency.
Even the very best refrigerator, if it was made before 1993, uses more than twice the energy of an ENERGY STAR® refrigerator. ENERGY STAR is a designation given by the government that lets you know the appliance you’re purchasing meets specific standards for energy efficiency. That’s better for the environment and better for your budget. Try their Refrigerator Retirement Savings Calculator, which helps you calculate how much you’ll save in power and money if you switch to a new refrigerator today. This will also help you calculate how long it takes to recoup the extra cost of investing in a good energy-efficient refrigerator.
When it’s time to shop, government guidelines suggest that you keep in mind these five tips to find the best refrigerator for your home:
- Look for refrigerators that feature the ENERGY STAR label. This guarantees you’re getting one that uses 20% less energy than fridges that don’t qualify.
- Understand the yellow EnergyGuide label. All new refrigerators (as well as other appliances) have one and show you how much electricity that model actually consumes. Learn how to read it since it will make comparing similar models easier.
- Watch out for where the freezer is located. Experts say the best refrigerator for energy savings is one with a top-mounted freezer. These models use 10-25% less energy over refrigerators with the freezer located on the side or on the bottom.
- Don’t get carried away. Shopping for a new appliance can sometimes trigger a bigger-is-better impulse. Fact is, the best refrigerator is more than likely not the biggest. The most efficient refrigerators generally are 16 to 20 cubic feet. Besides, bigger fridges are more likely to provide a hiding place for unidentifiable leftovers. Yuck!
- How about sticking with good old-fashioned ice cube trays? In the hot Texas summers, nothing beats a glass of iced tea, but when you buy a refrigerator with an automatic icemaker, you’ll use up to 20% more energy to run it. Plus, you’ll typically pay up to $250 more for models with the icemaker built in. If you can’t see making the sacrifice, however, you can still find other ways to save on energy and money.
ENERGY STAR has more tips for getting the most from your new fridge. You’ll be maximizing your energy savings while lowering your utility bills at the same time.
Recycling Your Old Appliances
You and your old refrigerator have some great memories together, so when it’s time to pack up the kids’ finger paintings and bring in a newer model, think “recycle.” Give that old warrior a chance at a new life — the store that delivers the new refrigerator may also pick up and recycle the old one, or you could simply drop it off yourself at a recycling facility near you.
Have you switched to an ENERGY STAR refrigerator recently? What made you choose the one you did?