If you're like me, you don't think too much about your refrigerator. Believe it or not, I don't spend evenings thinking about how well it works and how shiny the stainless steel front is. But lately as I try to maximize our energy savings and minimize our consumption of natural resources, I've been looking for ways to make my fridge work in a more eco-friendly way.
10 Tips for a Greener Refrigerator:
1. Keep your freezer and fridge on the lowest setting possible. I've always done this but sometimes I forget to reset it when we have a power outage or surge and it resets itself back to the "normal" (read:high) manufacturer's setting.
2. Don't overfill your fridge. Air needs room to circulate in order to cool food properly. Keep it full but not packed like sardines in a can.
3. Don't stand with the fridge door open, deciding on what to eat. (Duh!)
4. To prevent #3, organize your fridge. Put snack items in a long bin that you can just pull out of the fridge entirely when you want to rummage for a snack. Same goes for sandwich making stuff. It's easier to keep all of those in one bin that you can grab easily.
5. Keep drinks at the front and center so they're easy to grab.
6. Dust off your coils periodically.
7. Be sure your door seals properly. If you can slide a sheet of paper in between, you'll need to replace the seal.
8. Wipe off any major condensation on containers, such as a cold pitcher that was left out for a little while on a hot day. The defrost mechanism of the fridge needs to work harder to remove that excess water.
9. If you're in the market for a new refrigerator, buy an Energy Star model. And of those models, the most efficient are the ones with freezers on top (cool air falls). Least efficient are side-by-side double door models. UPDATE: Here's a great point from Rebecca of Green Baby Guide from the post comments--"Be careful about energy star refrigerators. A smaller refrigerator without the energy star label almost always uses less energy than a huge one WITH the label. An appliance can get the energy star label by being the most efficient model for its size." Thanks Rebecca! I didn't consider that! Also, she tells me that Consumer Reports says that bottom freezer models may be the most efficient after all. I'm going to do some more research on that.
10. To clean messes inside the fridge, use an eco-friendly and food safe solution of 1 part white vinegar to 2 parts water in a spray bottle.