The U.S. Department of Energy provides tips on saving money through energy efficiency in the kitchen (www.energysavers.gov).
A key to saving is selecting energy-efficient appliances. According to the agency, the refrigerator is typically one of the largest energy drains of all major home appliances.
The DOE suggests replacing as soon as possible pre-1993 refrigerators, as newer, Energy Star-qualified refrigerators cost only half as much to run as pre-1993 units. Also, Energy Star top-mounted freezers may use 10 percent to 25 percent less energy than bottom-mounted or side-by-side models.
The DOE suggests consumers forgo automatic ice-makers and through-the-door dispensers which may increase energy use 14 percent to 20 percent.
Buying appropriate-sized appliances is important. According to the agency, the most energy-efficient full-size refrigerators and freezers are typically 16 to 20 cubic feet.
When using the refrigerator and freezer, keep doors closed as much as possible. Avoid, if possible, a second refrigerator in your home, which tends to be older“and cost more than $100 a year to run.
The DOE suggests consumers set refrigerator temperatures between 35 degrees and 38 degrees, with freezers set at zero degrees.
Keep a freezer in a cool place, away from heat sources like ovens and direct sunlight.
Having air circulation behind units, airtight door seals and clean condenser coils on older models can help save energy. Defrost manual freezers periodically to achieve energy savings.