Recommendation:

Replace old refrigerators and freezers with new Energy Star models.

fridge

All the Facts:

Many people are proud of having coaxed an additional 10,000 miles out of an old car or extended the life of an old shirt by turning it into a cleaning rag, but sometimes stretching out the usefulness of an item ends up accidentally causing the very wastefulness we are trying to avoid. Refrigerators and freezers fall squarely into that category. As with many technologies, refrigeration has made significant advances over time. The fine tuning of refrigeration compressors keeps marching forward to the point that this 3.3 cubic foot fridge only requires $26 per year to run. That model and every energy star model has a bright yellow product energy guide that looks like this.

Energy Star Product Guide

The guides are based on 12 cent per kWh electricity rates which is approximately the national average rate, but you can redo the calculation based on your specific rates since the annual kWh estimate is listed on each guide.

Even full size Energy Star fridges cost almost nothing to run. This one, at 25.5 cubic feet has an Energy Star estimate of only $74 per year.

Not convinced that replacing your fridge will save money? Would you like more concrete estimate? No problem. Energy Star has put together a refrigeration savings calculator. All you have to do is answer a few easy questions like the size and approximate year your fridge was built, and the calculator spits out the approximate savings based on a modern replacement.

The older your current unit, the higher your savings will be since the older units had large, inefficient compressors that gobbled up the kWhs at several times the rate of today’s fridges and freezers. You might even want to get rid of that old second fridge in the man cave that you use for beverage storage. If your model is a top freezer upright older than 1980, you are throwing away $288 per year according to Energy Star’s calculator. That means you could replace it with a stainless steel, Energy Star approved, 4.4 cubic foot model and pay for the new fridge in under a year simply with the energy savings.

Finally, don’t forget to check into cash offers you can get for recycling/scrapping an old fridge or freezer through your local utility. Many utilities around the country offer $50 for old units. Some have paid up to $200 for your old stuff. That’s a win for the environment and also for your checkbook!