During the holidays, there are big, festive meals to prepare and lots of leftovers to enjoy in between. Through it all, you should be able to depend on your refrigerator for consistent, efficient cold storage. Here are a few ways to make sure it operates at its best, without energy waste.
The right level of cold. Your refrigerator should be cold inside, but not too cold. Maintain an interior temperature between 37 and 40 degrees.
Airtight door seal. When its seal isn’t airtight, cold air escapes from your fridge and makes it work harder, burning up more energy dollars. Test the seal by inserting a dollar bill into the door: if it slips out easily when the door is closed, replace the gasket.
Proper food storage. Uncovered foods and liquids release moisture, making a refrigerator’s compressor work much harder, so always cover food with plastic wrap or store it in plastic containers. Also remember that a nearly empty fridge uses more power than a full one, since there aren’t enough items inside to collect and store the cold. If you’ve got a lot more refrigerator than you do food, consider downsizing—you’ll reduce your utility bills in the process.
Clean coils. The coils on the back of your refrigerator should be cleaned to help maintain efficient operation. Every six months or so, pull the fridge away from the wall and remove collected dust and debris with a vacuum.
Drain pan and filter maintenance. Older refrigerators have a drain pan underneath, which needs to be cleaned monthly in order to prevent mold growth. And if your fridge has an ice-and-water dispenser, make sure the filter is changed on a regular basis.
Follow these simple steps, and you’ll have a dependable, energy-efficient refrigerator that’s ready to handle the rigors of any season.