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Energy Efficient Refrigerators





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Here's a product where you don't have to pay a premium price to be "green". There are lot's of ENERGY STAR refrigerators available for as low as about $500. You just have to make sure you get one with the ENERGY STAR logo on the yellow ENERGUIDE tag (this should be inside the floor model when you open the door). If you see a model you're interested that doesn't have the tag, you can look up current models' ratings at refrigerators & freezers section at

Home Depot's web site is well laid out to let you see what's available that's ENERGY STAR approved. Just look for the ENERGY STAR link once you're in the refrigerators section of the site, and you'll see only these efficient models. They don't have all that many models on the showroom floor at any given store, so you may have to do a little calling around if you want to see the exact model you're interested. If you want, you can order online; delivery is available for an extra charge. If you don't want to spend a lot, they have a Hotpoint (model HTH15BBR) that uses only 380 kWh/year for about $500.

As a point of comparison, that's about 43 watts. You're refrigerator is cycling on and off 24 hours a day, so a model like this is using about as little electricity as a 40 watt light bulb. Pretty amazing! Some models on the market use almost 700 kWh/year.

Maytag makes several efficient refrigerators, like the MTB1953H at about $619. In case you're not familiar with them, Betty's Maytag in Springfield and Fairfax are some of the nicest people you'll ever meet. No high pressure sales, just helpful service. They carry Maytag and Magic Chef, which is made by Maytag.

Remember, in general, a bigger refrigerator will tend to use more power, so try to get the smallest one that will suit your needs.

If you're thinking of a small refrigerator to keep a few beverages cold in an office, you might want to consider the electronic models from Shaper Image. Their Hot+Cold Mini Fridge (#SI714SL2) uses what's called the Peltier effect and uses no refrigerant. It keeps 2 1/2 six-packs of 12-oz. beverage cans chilled. It can be plugged into the wall or the cigar lighter of a car. About $100. If you're a little more eclectic in your tastes (or if you want a little refrigerator for your kid's bedroom), Target sells a similar but smaller Hello Kitty Mini Fridge/Warmer (KT4075) for about $60.

Please think twice before keeping your old refrigerator and have it running in the basement or garage. Older refrigerators are much less efficient than new ones, and it's really defeating things to have that old monster running. The average model refrigerator sold in 1973 used nearly 2,000 kilowatt-hours per year!


July 2005, Nov. 2006




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