Refrigerator/Freezer Energy Tips

— Written By N.C. Cooperative Extension

Don’t keep your refrigerator or freezer too cold. Recommended temperatures are 37 degrees to 40 degrees Fahrenheit for the fresh food compartment of the refrigerator and 5 degrees for the freezer section. If you have a separate freezer for long-term storage, it should be kept at 0 Fahrenheit.

To check refrigerator temperature, place an appliance thermometer in a glass of water in the center of the refrigerator. Read it after 24 hours. To check the freezer temperature, place a thermometer between frozen packages. Read it after 24 hours.

Make sure your refrigerator door seals are airtight. Test them by closing the door over a piece of paper or a dollar bill so it is half in and half out of the refrigerator. If you can pull the paper or bill out easily, the latch may need adjustment, the seal may need adjustment or replacing, or you might consider buying a new unit.

Move your refrigerator out from the wall and vacuum its condenser coils once a year unless you have a no-clean condenser model. Your refrigerator will use less energy with clean coils.

For long-term savings, look for the ENERGY STAR when buying a new refrigerator. Choose the right size for your home. Side-by-side refrigerators use more energy than top freezer models. Look for a refrigerator with automatic moisture control.

Eleanor Summers
Extension Agent
Family & Consumer Sciences