Fridge Freezer Efficiency
If you have a particularly old fridge freezer, over 10 years old for instance, investing in a newer model with modern features could improve energy efficiency by up to 25%. That means you’ll save money long term in running costs, and you’ll also have less of an impact on the environment.
Here are a few things to bear in mind if you’re looking to buy a new, efficient fridge freezer.
Energy Efficiency Rating
The first, and perhaps most obvious way of seeing how efficient a fridge freezer is, is to check its energy efficiency rating. The scale ranges from A+++ to G, with A+++ currently being the best.
These ratings are calculated by comparing the energy consumption with the size of the appliance, which gives an indication of efficiency.
Since 2012, new fridge freezers have to be at least A+ rated, as part of governmental measures to try to reduce emissions. However, shops may still sell A and B models as they clear stock.
If you’ve had your fridge freezer for a number of years, there could be a big difference between the efficiency of your current model and newer versions. Before 1999, the best rating was A, so older models cost more to run than newer ones.
It’s worth noting that there are lots of other factors that can affect the efficiency of your fridge freezer. In some cases, a model with a higher efficiency rating may cost more to run than a lower rated model. However, the energy efficiency rating is a great starting point to help you compare different models.
Bigger appliances typically cost more to run than smaller ones, as there is more space to keep cool.
This means an A+++ rated large fridge freezer could cost more to run than a smaller, A+ rated model. It’s worth considering how large your fridge freezer really needs to be and making sure you’re getting the most efficient use out of the space.
It’s also more efficient to keep your fridge freezer full. The more food you keep inside, the less air there is that has to be cooled again whenever the door is opened. However, if you keep it too full, air struggles to circulate and the appliance has to work harder to maintain the temperature. It’s important to find a balance.
Holiday modes are a great way of saving energy in your fridge freezer when you’re out of the house for a long period of time.
They work by keeping your appliance in a low-powered state. As you won’t be there to open the door and let warm air in, there’s no need to use as much energy keeping it cool. Your fridge will generally be much emptier while you’re away as well.
Different appliances run holiday mode at different temperatures, but often they are slightly warmer than when running normally.
Obviously, the cheapest and most economical thing to do with your appliance when you’re away is to unplug it completely. However, this is only viable if you’ve managed to completely empty all the food out before you leave.
Condensation has a tendency to build up at the back of a fridge and on occasions this can turn to ice.
Having a build-up of ice can significantly affect how well the appliance works. It can also affect how well preserved your food is, affecting taste, texture, nutrients and even whether the food is safe to eat.
Auto defrost negates this risk by melting any ice that forms around the cooling element, the area where ice is most likely to form, ensuring your appliance runs at maximum efficiency.
This is a common feature on modern fridge freezers, but it’s worth double checking that your new appliance has it.
Similar in purpose to the auto defrost feature, frost free prevents ice forming inside your freezer.
Again, this ice can affect how efficiently the appliance works. Ice can also take up precious room in the freezer, reducing the amount of produce you can pack in.
Frost free freezers work by circulating dry air throughout the freezer using a fan, stopping the ice crystals forming without affecting the internal temperature.
Tips and Advice to Improve Efficiency
Buying a fridge freezer that ticks all your efficiency boxes doesn’t mean you can’t give it helping hand.
As the user, here are a few things you can do that will improve how efficiently your appliance runs:
- Optimum Temperature. Don’t over chill and make the fridge freezer work harder than it has to. Around -18°C for the freezer and 4°C for the fridge is ideal, keeping all your food perfectly preserved and healthy, without wasting energy.
- Avoid putting warm food in the freezer. Just cooked a delicious meal and want to freeze it to enjoy later in the week? Let it cool first, as putting warm (or hot) food in a fridge freezer will raise the internal temperature and make the appliance work harder.
- Shut the door. A fairly obvious one, but it can be very easy to forget to shut the fridge or freezer door, allowing warm air to get in. Helpfully, there are models available that sound an alarm when the door’s left open too long, reminding you to shut it.
- Leave a gap. Leaving a few centimetres between the back of your fridge freezer and the wall helps air circulation, helping it run more efficiently.
- Maintain your appliance. If you don’t have the Auto Defrost and Frost Free features on your new appliance, you’ll need to spend some time making sure ice doesn’t develop in the fridge and regularly defrosting the freezer. You also need to keep the seals around the door clean and in good condition – you don’t want cold air escaping or warm air getting in.
Worth the Cost?
So you’ve invested in an economical fridge freezer and made sure you‘ve optimised the appliance to run as efficiently as possible. What can you expect to pay if you run the appliance for a year?
Running costs vary significantly depending on the features you have and the energy efficiency rating, but buying a more expensive appliance could work out cheaper in the long run if it’s more efficient.
The most efficient, new fridge freezers cost around £25 each year to run, while the worst can be in the £90 region. That’s a potential saving of £65, every year.