Sunday 15 September 2013

Getting the best value from your fridge freezer.

As money is tight for us I try my best to be frugal and cut costs where possible.  One way I try to be economical is by getting the best value from our fridge freezer.

Fridge freezers can be very heavy on energy consumption and as they are unavoidably always switched on they can cost a lot to run.  Thankfully there are several simple things that I do to get the best value from our fridge freezer, reduce the energy consumption of the fridge freezer and help save money.

Tips for getting the best from your fridge freezer.

*  Clean the fridge freezer’s coils.
Inevitably over time dust gathers on the coils underneath and at the back of the fridge freezer and when dust builds up on the coils the appliance does not run as well or as economical as it would if the coils were dust free, in fact a fridge freezer with coils thick with dust could reduce efficiency by up to 25%.  Dust covered coils make the fridge freezer work harder, making the condenser kick in more often which uses up more energy, costing more to run and wears out the condenser quicker which would be costly to fix or replace. 

To prevent the fridge freezer having to work harder, I make sure that I keep the coils dust free.  This simple little job of turning off the fridge freezer, pulling it out and dusting the coils and vacuuming excess dust means the condenser works more efficiently and economical.

*  Keep the fridge freezer full but not overstocked.
Fridge’s and freezer’s function best when at least ¾ full as the cold items help keep other items cold which help maintain a low temperature which in turn means the appliance does not have to work as hard to keep items cold/frozen.

Even though fridge freezers work best and a more economical when they are full compared to when they are empty, it is important not to overstock them as a fridge or freezer which is overfilled will not be very economical to run.  If a fridge or freezer is too full air won’t be able to circulate easily which makes the appliance use more energy to keep everything cold/frozen, costing more to run and making the appliance work harder.

Making sure our fridge freezer is not overstocked is no problem but making sure that it is ¾ full so that it is function at its best and more economical can be tricky as keeping a fridge freezer full with food can be very costly.

A tip I have for keeping the fridge and freezer ¾ full for optimum efficiency without having to fork out a fortune on food all the time is to fill empty space in the fridge or freezer with used plastic bottles that are filled with tap water.  This simple reusing of plastic bottles is a great, cheap way of filling space in the fridge and freezer until the space is needed and the cold/frozen bottles help keep the other items in the fridge/freezer cold/frozen.  For bottles that I place in the freezer I ensure they are only filled to about 75% full to make room for expansion when the water freezes.

Another way I fill up space in the freezer that is also a great cost effective way of making meals is by having a vegetable box in the freezer.  I have a small re-sealable container in the freezer that I place any leftover vegetables in and once the container is full I use it to make a soup.  Having a miscellaneous vegetable box is a great use of leftovers, instead of being wasteful I can make delicious meals for pennies and this technique of making inexpensive food also adds volume to the freezer.

*  Move the fridge freezer.
In most kitchens the fridge freezer is pushed back as close to the wall as possible to make the most of floor space but those few inches of extra floor space and be expensive and increase the running cost of the fridge freezer.  By pulling the fridge freezer forward an inch or two to leave a gap between the fridge freezer and the wall can reduce the energy usage of the fridge freezer by up to as much as a whopping 40%.

If practical it is also best for the fridge freezer’s efficiency to position the fridge freezer in a cold position but not too cold, keeping the appliance away from external sources of heat including direct sunlight.

*  Check the temperature and use a thermometer.
Fridges and freezers are designed to work best at particular temperatures, running the appliances within the optimal range is best for keeping food and for the energy efficiency of the appliance.  The temperature of the fridge should be between 3-5˚C; keeping it below 3˚C affects food quality and makes the appliance burn extra energy to maintain lower temperatures which is a waste of energy that costs you more, on the other end of the temperature spectrum keeping the temperature above 5˚C affects food in a different way and leads to food spoilage.  Freezers have a different optimum temperature, for optimal energy efficiency and food quality it is best that the freezer runs between -18˚C and -15˚C.

To make sure the appliance is in the optimal temperature range for food and optimum energy efficiency it is best to check the thermostat is accurate; a simple way of doing this is to use a fridge and freezer thermometer.

*  Don’t leave the door open longer than necessary.
When taking things out and putting items into the fridge freezer try to do so quickly and do not leave the door open longer than you need to.  This simple task may seem like common sense and a little trivial but the longer a fridge or freezer door is open the more cold air that escapes which in turn means the appliance will need to consume more energy to reduce the temperature inside once the door is closed, so if you load and unload quickly and keep having the door open to a minimum the temperature will not change as drastically and less energy will be needed to restore the temperature back to the optimal range.

*  Cool down food before putting in fridge/freezer.
It is best to avoid putting warm food in the fridge or freezer as the heat from the food makes the fridge work harder to maintain temperature and cool down the food and a fridge freezer that has to work harder uses up more energy, costing you more to run.

I always ensure I let hot food cool down before placing inside the fridge or freezer so that the appliance does not have to go into overdrive to maintain the temperature and cool down the food.  Also if you placing hot food in the fridge and raising the temperature of the fridge is a food hygiene risk as bacterial growth can be promoted.

*  Defrost frozen food in fridge.
If you defrost frozen food in the fridge the frozen food will act like an ice pack and help cool the fridge which reduces the amount of electricity the appliance needs to use to maintain the cold temperature in the fridge.  Even though doing this is only provides a small saving every little bit helps and it all adds up especially if you defrost a lot of frozen food.

*  Defrost regularly.
If your freezer requires manual defrosting make sure you defrost regularly as iced up freezers use more energy to run and freezers work more efficiently when defrosted regularly.  To help prevent build-up of ice in a freezer you can use an anti-ice mat.

*  Check door seals.
For fridge freezers to work at their best and not loose temperature it is important that the door seals are in good condition and working properly.  To make sure the seals are effective I ensure they are kept clean and regularly check them to make sure they are not damaged or not creating an effective seal.  If you have condensation on the outside of your fridge freezer check your seals as it can often be a sign that the seals need to be replaced.


By following the above simple tips our electricity bill has been reduced and we are getting better value from our fridge freezer.  

*  Sponsored post written by myself *

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