Refrigerators account for about 6% of a home's energy costs. ENERGY STAR® qualified models use at least 10% less energy than required by current federal standards, and 40% less energy than the conventional models. The higher efficiency adds up to total household energy savings of 5.4% on average.
Appliances in a typical home account for about 20% of the energy bills, which adds up to about $400 a year. Overall, you can use between 10-50% less energy with ENERGY STAR® qualified appliances, depending on how old the one is that your are replacing. As an example, a new refrigerator may cost well over $850 and the annual energy savings are about $120.
An ENERGY STAR® qualified refrigerator is only slightly more expensive than purchasing a comparably sized 'non-qualified' unit, so the added cost pays off relatively quickly.
This ROI Calculation is based on the marginal saving of just $.50 a month. If you are replacing a significantly older refrigerator, the savings will dramatically increase.
Good to Know: Unplug Unused Fridges - Consolidate if possible a few items from an 'extra' fridge and you can save up to $170 per year. Keep kids safe by padlocking the door if necessary. (The 'Added Cost' is a credit for the 5 minutes of the homeowners time.)The 'old style' fridges with the big heavy doors are so inefficient that they use over $30 per month of electricity, or over $360 per year. Check the garage for possible extra fridges as well as the basement.
Reset your Fridge Thermostat(s) - Go for 38° for the fridge and 0° - 5° for the freezer. The 10° shift from typical settings can save you as much as 25%. At annual costs of $170, the savings are $42. If there are no degree settings go just below the 'middle' level on the dials and test it out.
Turn off the Fridge Anti-Sweat Switch - Newer models include the feature that uses electricity to prevent the door from building up moisture. You rarely even need it in the summer, but definitely turn it off over the winter.
Refrigerator Gasket and Water Filter - You can save the landfills, recycling plants, and hundreds of dollars a year by resisting the temptation to buy bottled water. Many brands just filter the water, so if you have water distribution on the fridge make sure to replace the filter every 6 to 24 months depending on use. Older refrigerators may have also lost the durability of their gasket and the energy loss is significant. The gasket may need to be replaced instead of the whole fridge.
In addition to Energy Star savings, consider a ‘mini’ fridge for beverages instead of second full size refrigerator if you need extra capacity.