Many refrigerators and freezers will continue to operate for 15-20 years or even longer. But whether or not these appliances are really working efficiently is another question. It is probably time to replace your old energy-hog refrigerator when it becomes too expensive to operate.
For instance, refrigerators built in the 1970s may use five times more electricity than new, high-efficiency ones and may cost $200 per year more to run than new ENERGY STAR® models. A 20-year-old refrigerator could use 1,700 kWh of electricity every year, compared with about 450 kWh for a similarly sized new ENERGY STAR model. At an electrical cost of 12 cents per kWh, that represents a savings of $150 per year and a potential payback of about 7-9 years. Also, if your old refrigerator requires costly repairs (exceeding a few hundred dollars), then it probably makes sense to replace it with an energy-efficient model.
To calculate the energy savings you will realize by retiring your old refrigerator, visit
ENERGY STAR’s “Refrigerator Retirement Savings Calculator.”
When shopping for a new refrigerator or freezer, consider:
When that new refrigerator arrives, take the old one out of service and recycle it. Don’t sell it and don’t put in your basement or garage where it will continue to waste energy. Some electric utilities offer rebates for recycling your old refrigerator and for purchasing a new ENERGY STAR unit. Check with your utility or visit www.dsireusa.org.
For more information on refrigerators and other appliances, check out the Appliances, Lighting & Electronics consumer guide.
Minnesota Energy Tips is provided twice a month by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources. Email the division’s Energy Information Center or call 800-657-3710 with energy questions.