Top freezer models are more efficient (use 7-13% less energy) than side-by-side models.
Manual defrost models use half the energy of automatic defrost models but must be defrosted periodically to remain energy efficient.
Automatic ice-makers and through-the-door dispensers will increase energy use by 14 to 20% and increase the purchase price by about $75-250.
Models with an anti-sweat heater will consume 5% to 10% more energy. Look for a model that has an "energy saver" switch that allows you to turn off or turn down the heating coils (which prevent condensation).
The most energy-efficient models are in the 16-20 cubic foot sizes. Generally, the larger the refrigerator, the greater the energy consumption. Too large a model will waste space and energy; too small a model could mean extra trips to the supermarket.
It is usually less costly to run one larger refrigerator than two smaller ones.
If two different sized refrigerators use the same amount of energy, the larger model can be considered more efficient because it keeps more space cold with the same amount of electricity.
Questions to Ask When Shopping
Are rebates or financing available from local utilities or government agencies for the purchase of this refrigerator?
What is the energy rating? (Be sure to check the EnergyGuide label.)
What makes this model more energy efficient than other similar models?
What do I need to know about the refrigerator in order to use it most effectively? (e.g., allow 2 inches air flow around refrigerators)
When buying a contractor-supplied refrigerator, specify an estimated annual energy use.
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