If used inefficiently fridges and freezers can consume a lot of energy. EcoFrenzy show you a few simple methods to save money, energy and the environment when using your fridge/freezer.
Money saving tips
The optimum temperature in a fridge is approximately 4C and -18C in a freezer; power consumption increases dramatically when they are set at lower temperatures.
e.g. If you set your freezer at -25C the amount of refrigeration energy wasted can be as much as 10% which can cost an extra £22 a year (19kg CO₂)
Modern versus old fridge-freezers
If you bought a fridge-freezer today, it would use, on average, 50% less energy than a model available in 1990. By 2022 fridges and freezers are expected to be some of the most energy-efficient appliances in your home. This could mean savings of up to £106 per year.
Choose the correct size of fridge / freezer
Try not to over specify your fridge / freezer. Different sized A+ rated fridge / freezers will use different amounts of electricity. For instance, a 157 litre fridge with an 87 litre freezer would cost about £101 a year to run, whereas a larger 230 litre fridge with a 97 litre freezer would cost £115 a year to run, an extra £14 (14kg CO₂) a year.
Condenser grills behind your fridge or freezer should have plenty of ventilation space around them. Clean them twice a year to keep them dust free to ensure efficient operation.
Check the temperature in your fridge / freezer
Place an appliance thermometer in a glass of water in the centre of your refrigerator for 24 hours. Then check the freezer temperature by placing the thermometer between frozen packages for the same time. Ideally the fridge should be 4°C and the freezer -18°C.
Chest freezers versus upright freezers
Chest freezers tend to be more energy efficient because less cold air escapes when the lid is opened. Opening the door of an upright freezer allows cold air to flow out.
Large or small fridges
One large refrigerator is cheaper and more efficient to run than two smaller ones.
Defrosting your freezer
Regularly defrost your freezer, ice deposits reduce the efficiency of cooling and increase power consumption.
Keep the fridge door closed
Don’t leave the fridge door open! If you leave it open for just 10 seconds it can take up to 40 minutes to return to it’s working temperature.
In the 1980s fridges and freezers used chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as a refrigerant this was destroying the ozone layer. One of the substitutes for CFCs are HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons), unfortunately they are super-greenhouse gases which can be up to 22,800 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Classic yin yan situation, ozone or climate change???
Greenpeace and Greenfreeze
A Greenpeace campaign on refrigerants promoted Greenfreeze hydrocarbon technology (a mixture of propane and isobutane for the refrigerant and cyclopentane for blowing the insulation foam). Greenfreeze hydrocarbons are entirely free of ozone-depleting and global warming chemicals.
American style fridge-freezers
Larger, American-style fridge-freezers with features such as ice makers, frost-free and water chillers consume more energy than conventional appliances. These additional features are ignored when the fridge-freezer is tested for its Energy Label which can lead to a misleadingly good rating.
At London’s Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel, over 120 of the kitchen and bar fridges are fitted with new regulators, giving more accurate temperature readings, saving energy by determining when additional chilling is needed to maintain the right temperature. Seems like something we should all have!