The one home appliance that keep going every minute, every day and throughout the year is the refrigerator. We, rarely, give a thought to its maintenance or its electricity consumption. It contributes to around 15% of our electricity bill. A few simple steps by us can help to reduce the power consumption of the refrigerator and more importantly, enhance its efficiency and help it to last longer. I would like you to have a quick glance at the following list and check if you are putting these simple, yet efficient tips into practice:
1. How much stuff should one put into the refrigerator? Most refrigerators that we see are packed with food stuff. This decreases the free flow of cold air and thus, hampers the efficiency of the refrigerator. A simple way to avoid this is to keep the refrigerator stuffed with only what is necessary. It is also advisable to transfer food stuff into smaller plates and bowls rather than keeping it in huge vessels. This reduced the load on the refrigerator and enhances its efficiency while consuming less power.
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2. Do you keep food stuff straight out of the stove/ oven into the refrigerator? We often tend to be in a hurry and keep hot food stuff in the refrigerator. The refrigerator will have to take extra effort and load to bring it to room temperature and then cool it. It is recommended that anything the you keep in the refrigerator should be cooled to room temperature and then kept inside the refrigerator.
3. Cover liquid foods with a lid: When we keep liquids such as curd in the refrigerator, we must ensure that it is covered with a proper lid. The moisture from the liquid food stuff can impact the performance of the condenser negatively and hence lead to more electricity consumption.
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4. Set the temperature of the refrigerator: When we place most food items in the refrigerator, our requirement is to keep it cool. Hence, we should set the temperature of the refrigerator to medium cooling instead of high. This keeps the food stuff to the desired temperature and consumes significantly lesser electricity than keeping the temperature at “high”.
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5. Do you defrost the refrigerator and clean the coils regularly? If ice accumulates in the refrigerator and the freezer, it increases the load on the condenser and reduces its efficiency. Thus, the refrigerator will consume more power to keep things cool. Also, the dust that accumulates on the coils behind the refrigerator and blocks the air intake hinders the efficiency of the refrigerator and makes it consume more electricity.
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6. Are the doors of the refrigerator air tight and closed? The rubber door seals of the refrigerator should not allow air or heat to pass through. If it does, the refrigerator will have to work extra hard to keep things cool. This will lead to increased electricity consumption.
7. How many times do you open and close the door of the refrigerator? We want to check the refrigerator multiple times a day. It is a habit that we get into. A little prudence here can help us save a lot of electricity. Before opening the door, decide and finalize what you want to take out or stuff in. Once you are sure, do this in one go and do it fast. This practice would help the refrigerator to work less on keeping stuff cool and hence it will consume less electricity.
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8. How big is your refrigerator and where have you placed it? A refrigerator of under 25 cubic feet is more than sufficient for Indian families which have 4-5 members. Buying a huge refrigerator can put unnecessary stress on your electricity consumption. Also, the refrigerator should be placed away from direct exposure to sunlight to ensure that it doesn’t need to consume more power to remain cool.
The most important question to ask is much before these steps – while buying the refrigerator itself:
Is your refrigerator energy efficient? The Indian Bureau of Energy Efficiency grades each refrigerator with a BEE rating that you can see on the top of your refrigerator. While buying a refrigerator for yourself, please do check if it has a 5-star rating or not. It is said that a 5-star rated refrigerator consumes about 15% less power than a 4-star one. There are similar drops in energy efficiency as the stars decrease. The decision you must take is whether you want to save during the purchase itself or have an energy efficient refrigerator that can save on electricity consumption.
Most families buy a refrigerator once in five to ten years and hence it is advisable to buy an energy efficient one so that you save on your electricity bill over a long and sustained period.