Tips for Buying a New Refrigerator

  • 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.
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  • 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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By Roger (Guest Post)
September 15, 20080 found this helpful

If there is one thing I feel compelled to add, consider how you will have your old refrigerator removed. I made the mistake of picking up the unit and installing it myself rather than pay the delivery fee. I ended up taking 2 hours to remove the refrigerator doors because I failed to measure the space through my door frame (I did measure the space where it was going).


Now I have to pay extra and wait longer to have the city pick up the old refrigerator. I should have just paid the delivery fee and the $10 haul away fee. Think about my experience before you try to save those few extra dollars... Just let the vendor do the work.

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