Kitchen Appliances

Efficient use of refrigerators and freezers

Shopping for a new fridge
  • Keep condenser coils clean and unobstructed for maximum energy savings.
  • Locate your refrigerator or freezer away from heating equipment, heater vents and direct sunlight. Provide adequate clearance above, behind and on the sides for good air circulation.
  • Set the temperature of your refrigerator between 37 and 40°F, and your freezer at 0°F for top efficiency.
  • Clean door gaskets with warm water or a detergent that leaves no residue since a tight-sealing door gasket is critical to the efficiency of your refrigerator. 
  • Keep your refrigerator or freezer full, but do not overload it. Overloading causes the compressor to run longer. Place foods slightly apart on shelves, making sure they do not block the unit's interior air vents.
  • Cover all liquids stored in the refrigerator. Moisture can be drawn into the air, making the unit work harder.
  • When buying a new refrigerator, buy an energy-efficient model. Typically refrigerators with a top freezer are most efficient. Also be sure to choose an appropriate-sized unit.
  • If your refrigerator is more than 10-12 years old, it's probably costing more than you realize. Consider replacing it with a new ENERGY STAR model.

Typical usage details

Appliance kwh per month Monthly cost to operate
Refrigerator/freezer   35 to 55 kwh $5 to $7
Freezer 35 to 55 kwh $5 to $7

Cook up savings

  • Save time and energy by using one oven to prepare the entire meal. A pie or cake can go into the oven as a main dish is removed.
  • Warming foods, plates and platters with the oven's stored heat after baking requires no extra energy. If the food must be kept warm for an extended period of time, set the oven no higher than 140 to 200°F.
  • Consider using the microwave, grill or slow cooker to prepare your meal.
  • Cook by time and temperature. Precise timing eliminates repeated opening of the oven door to check on cooking progress. Each time the door is opened, the temperature drops 25 to 50 degrees.
  • Bake with ceramic or glass dishes. You can lower the oven temperature by 25°F when baking with these dishes.
  • When cooking on your stove top, match the size of the pan to the heating element.

Typical usage details

Appliance kwh per month Monthly cost to operate
Microwave oven 11 kwh
Electric range/oven 23 kwh $2

Wash dishes wisely

  • Washing and rinsing dishes by hand three times a day actually uses more hot water and energy than one load a day in an automatic dishwasher.
  • Run your dishwasher only when it is filled to capacity, but not overloaded. This will cut the costs of energy, water and detergent.
  • Use partial-load cycles, rinse-only cycles, mid-cycle turn-offs and other special features designed for better energy use and more convenience.
  • Always choose the shortest washing cycle that will clean your dishes, and scrape off accumulated food before loading dishes into the dishwasher.
  • Wait to use your dishwasher until night on hot days. You will avoid adding heat in the house during the hottest time of the day.
  • When buying a new dishwasher, look for energy-efficient models.

Typical usage details

Appliance kwh per month Monthly cost to operate
Dishwasher (excluding hot water) 18 kwh

More energy-saving tips: