Refrigeration

 

Your refrigerator and freezer operate more hours than any other appliance in your kitchen. The amount of energy they consume—or waste—depends on their efficiency rating, operation, location and maintenance.

Combined Refrigerators & Freezers

Accounting for about a sixth of your home’s energy use, refrigerators and freezers consume more energy than any other household appliance. If your refrigerator is from 1993 or earlier, it could be costing you up to $100* a year. That means a new, energy-efficient model will pay for itself just in energy savings.

* Source: ENERGY STAR® -www.energystar.gov

Get tips on buying and maintaining energy-efficient refrigerators and freezers.

Types of Combined Refrigerators & Freezers

Bottom-Mount Refrigerators

These models feature the refrigerator on the top and the freezer on the bottom, both of which are accessible by a separate door. Independent access to either compartment reduces unnecessary temperature fluctuations and increases efficiency. More expensive than their top-mount counterparts, they usually offer a larger refrigerator capacity and better options for storing and organizing food.

French Door Models

The French door model, while more expensive that its peers, offers the greatest convenience. The freezer is on the bottom and the refrigerator—accessible by two vertical split doors—is on the top. Independent access to either compartment reduces unnecessary temperature fluctuations and increases efficiency. They provide the largest refrigerator capacity and are designed to allow easier viewing, organization and retrieval of foods. Many come with optional water and ice dispensers, both of which require plumbing.

Refrigerators with freezer capacity

With this type of model, the refrigerator and freezer are accessed through the same door, with the freezer capacity inside the refrigerator cabinet. What they make up for in economy they lose in energy efficiency: opening the door often causes a rise in freezer temperature, which requires restoration of energy. The freezer compartments are often small and, thus, offer very little storage. These models are most ideal for people who do not need to refrigerate or freeze large quantities of food.

Side-by-Side Refrigerators

Side-by-side models feature a freezer on the left and a refrigerator on the right, each accessible by a separate door. Independent access to either compartment reduces unnecessary temperature fluctuations and increases efficiency. While they offer less refrigerator capacity than top-mount and bottom-mount models, they do provide more freezer storage. Also, their design makes it much easier to view, organize and retrieve foods. Many come with optional water and ice dispensers, both of which require plumbing.

Top Mount Refrigerators

These models feature the freezer on top and the refrigerator on the bottom, both of which are accessible by a separate door. Independent access to either compartment reduces temperature fluctuations and increases efficiency.


Stand- Alone Freezers

While some may find that a refrigerator freezer provides ample storage for frozen foods, others seek the expanded capacity—and convenience—of a stand-alone freezer. These models are ideal for larger families and households, or for anyone who buys frozen foods in bulk, prepares meals for future use, freezes seasonal fruit or purchases large quantities of meat. If you’re thinking about buying a stand-alone freezer, consider investing in a high-efficiency ENERGY STAR® model, which can save you money and energy.

Types of Stand- Alone Freezers

Chest Freezers

The most economical option, a chest model freezer offers 100% usable storage and can accommodate large or oddly shaped items. Their built-in side wall insulation works exceptionally well, enabling them to hold their temperature without using excessive energy. About 10-15%* more efficient than upright models, they’re also the ideal freezer to have in a power outage: If the lid is left closed, an unpowered chest freezer can keep its contents frozen for up to three days. As a rule, manual defrost models—the most common variety—outlast their upright counterparts as well as their automatic defrost or frost-free peers.

* Source: Housewares.About.com

Upright Freezers

Upright freezers, while not the most energy-efficient model on the market, are popular due to their convenience features. Although they’re more expensive and offer 10-15%* less usable space—and are 10-15% less efficient—than chest freezers, they provide much better options for sorting and organizing contents. If you value easy access and organization over storage capacity and economical performance, an upright freezer is the right model for you.

* Source: Housewares.About.com