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8 Ways to Save Money With Your Refrigerator
Let me tell you the story about the Labrador that almost stole Christmas:
One Christmas Eve, a few years ago, my family was in full swing preparing for the holiday. I was in the kitchen, helping my mom make all of the food. I had decided to take charge of desserts, and had woken up at the crack of dawn to make a mountain of cookies, a spicy chocolate gingerbread cake, and the stars of the desert table: 3 luscious ricotta pies.
The refrigerator was full of other Christmas staples-- lasagna, poached salmon, and fried codfish-- so I took the pies outside onto the porch to stay cool. It was a sunny day, there was no wind, and fresh snow covered the ground. The temperature was about 35 F.
A few hours later, I went out to porch only to be horrified. One pie dish lay in shatters all over the concrete, with bits of ricotta cheese thrown into the mix. The other was squeaky clean, as if it had just come out of the dishwasher, and the third was between the paws of the 120 pound family dog, Carly, who was quickly scarfing down the remainder of that buttery, flaky crust.
I was outraged. A morning of hard work had been thrown to the dogs. I guess I should've told my other family members not to let the dog outside while my pies were out there, but in the hustle and bustle, it didn't occur to me that a Labrador Demolition Team would be rolling through.
So, why am I throwing this seemingly unrelated story into a hub about saving money? To prove to you that even on the coldest of days, you need a refrigerator.
Here are tips for reducing energy costs with your refrigerator that I picked up on the job in the Weatherization Department at my local Community Action Agency.
By that way, my mom, genius that she is, whipped up a perfect ricotta pie. Christmas was saved.
#1. Don't overcrowd.
Keep your refrigerator and freezer filled to capacity, but don't overcrowd to the point that air can't circulate freely around food. Remember that better air circulation means less energy spent cooling.
#2. Vacuum your fridge. Seriously.
Try to vacuum the condenser coils in the back or at the bottom of your refrigerator every three (3) months or so. When they get covered in dust, they aren't as efficient, leading to increased energy use.
#3. Give your appliances a vacation.
Before you go on vacation, remove your perishables and give them to the neighbors, then turn up the temperature so it is closer to the temperature inside your house.
#4. Cover everything.
Don't put uncovered foods, especially liquids, in the refrigerator. First of all, certain foods will dry out, and almost everything will absorb an undesirable flavor. Second of all, the liquids give off vapors that make the compressor work harder.
#5. Planning is 90% of every job.
Before you begin cooking, make a list of all of the ingredients you need and take them all out of the refrigerator at once. Every time you open the door of the refrigerator or freezer, the compressor has to run longer to replace the cool air that escapes.
#6. Discourage leisurely inspections of the refrigerator.
One summer, when I was little, I thought that if I left the refrigerator door open long enough, I could cool the outdoors. Needless to say, I got in trouble.
At one point, my mom corrected my and my siblings' habit of leisurely inspecting the contents of the refrigerator every time we got bored by posting up a sign that read, "If there was nothing good in here five minutes ago, what do you expect to find now?" As a surly teenager, I found this annoying. Now, I see the humor in it.
#7. If possible, think about the location of your refrigerator and freezer.
If possible, locate your refrigerators and freezers away from direct sunlight and other sources of warm air, like dishwashers.
#8. Don't let ice accumulate.
If you have a manual defrost refrigerator or freezer, do not let ice accumulate to more than one fourth of an inch thick.
More ways to save around the house:
- 5 Tips: How to Save Money on Your Heating Bill During Cold Winter Months
Useful tips from my time weatherizing houses on how to conserve energy and save money in your home during the winter months.
- How to Save Money On Your Water and Heating Bills This Winter
Simple tips you'll find useful for saving money and encouraging your family to help you!
- Save Money and Lower Your Electric Bill While Doing Laundry
How to save money and energy while doing your washing, drying, and ironing.