Fridges and Freezers

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Fridges and Freezers

Cool Savings

Refrigerators and freezers are two of the most significant energy-consuming appliances in your home.

They have come a long way, and improvements in their design — better insulation, tighter door seals, and improved compressors and cooling coils — means that a ten-year-old refrigerator or freezer can cost considerably more to operate than the new energy-efficient models of the same size.

Compare how much energy a pre-1988 model uses as opposed to a post-1998 model:

Top Freezer Model Refrigerator
Automatic Defrost Energy Use Comparison
Size Average Annual kWh Usage
Typical 1998 Model
Average Annual kWh Usage
Typical Pre-1988 Model
14 - 16 cubic ft. 650 1200
16 - 18 cubic ft. 700 1350
18 - 20 cubic ft. 740 1500
20 - 22 cubic ft. 750 1600

Considering the savings in energy costs, a new refrigerator will pay for itself in just a few years. In the meantime, here are some suggestions for improving your current refrigerator's and freezer's performance and efficiency.


  • Unplug unnecessary refrigerators. 
  • Check door seals, they can deteriorate over time. 
  • Check the temperature. It should be 4° C (39° F). 
  • Unplug the refrigerator and clean the dust from the back or bottom coils twice a year. Make sure there is at least 8 cm (3 inches) of air space between the back of the refrigerator and the wall, and at least 2.5 cm (1 inch) on both sides to allow for good air circulation. 
  • Defrost regularly. At least twice a year for partial automatic defrost refrigerators. 
  • Allow hot foods and left over meals to cool to room temperature before putting in the refrigerator. 
  • Keep the refrigerator door closed. 
  • Don't put your refrigerator or freezer near heat vents, sunlight or the oven.


  • Chest or top-loading freezers are about 25 percent more efficient that upright freezers. 
  • Remove or unplug unnecessary freezers. 
  • Check door seals, they can deteriorate over time. 
  • The temperature inside your freezer should be -18° C (0° F). Keeping temperatures just 5° C (9° F) below recommended temperatures can increase energy use by as much as 25 percent. 
  • Defrost regularly. At least twice a year for manual and partial automatic defrost freezers. 
  • Full freezers operate more efficiently. If your freezer isn't full, fill plastic containers with water and freeze them. 
  • Keep the door closed.
Energy Use Comparison of Upright and Chest Freezers
Size Chest Freezer
Average Annual kWh
Upright Freezer
Average Annual kWh
7 Cubic Feet 290 400
12 Cubic Feet 400 600
15 Cubic Feet 440 750
20 Cubic Feet 530 900