Energy saving tips

Buy an energy-efficient fridge or freezer; A++ rated if you can. As they are switched on 24 hours a day and 365 days a year energy efficiency is even more important for them than for other household appliances.

Fridges and freezers are on all of the time, and the colder they are set the more energy they will consume. A fridge or freezer thermometer will help you to set to these temperatures correctly:

  • Fridges should have a maximum temperature of 5°C
  • The freezing portion of a freezer should be around -23°C, and the storage areas around -18°C1

Fridges and freezers use heat exchangers to chill their contents. The warmer the air around them the less efficiently they will work so keep them away from warm spots and especially away from the hob and oven.

Because freezers are so much colder than the outside air they quickly warm up as soon as the door is opened. The longer the door is open the more energy and money are required to get it back to temperature, so keep door openings to a minimum. Organising the food so that you know what is where can save a lot of time and money as it’ll take less time to find.

The fridge works by taking heat out of the inside and releasing it on the outside usually through a cooling or condensing coil at the back. The cooler the air around the coil the more efficiently the process works — so make sure that the back of the outside of the fridge or freezer is well-ventilated. In the UK most fridge-freezers are ‘N’ rated which means that they should be kept in air temperatures of 16-32°C. More expensive models are likely to have two thermostats – this allows them to be kept safely in generally colder conditions such as a garage.

The other part of the process, the evaporator coil, is inside the fridge. If this freezes up it quickly loses efficiency. So defrost the freezer regularly and keep the condenser coil clean and well-ventilated.

If you have a fridge freezer see whether you can get one with separate controls for the fridge and for the freezer compartments. This will allow you to switch off the fridge when you go on holiday and only run the freezer.