Consumer Technology

Published on November 13th, 2013 | by Guest Contributor


Put A Chill On Your High Electric Bill

November 13th, 2013 by  

Originally published on Global Warming: Man or Myth
by Scott Mandia

Simple.  Replace that old refrigerator with a modern energy-saving unit.  I am saving $263 per year with my new refrigerator.

Back in February, 2010, in a post titled I am Saving 21% on my Electric Bill – So Can You!, I showed how easy it was for me to reduce home energy consumption by initiating a few simple “green” actions in the previous two years:

  1. Changed all of my light bulbs to CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp)
  2. Turned down the oil burner thermostat
  3. Changed the line-powered sidewalk lights to solar
  4. Insulated all my copper piping

Since then, I had replaced every major appliance in the house from oil burner to microwave oven.  However, the refrigerator was the one exception.  The model I had was a 1986 GE 22 cubic foot energy hog that I just knew was sucking up the juice.  I decided to find out how much that old model was costing me.

I visited the Energy Star Refrigerator Retirement Savings Calculator, entered my utility rate and old model, and the site calculated a savings for me of $263 per year.

My calculated electric savings with the new fridge

My calculated electric savings with the new fridge

The new refrigerator’s up-front cost will be recovered in fewer than five years and after that it is money in the bank.  Go to the calculator linked above, enter your electric rate (view your bill or use the state average) and your old model, and see how much you can save.

Just another example of how we can help save the planet AND make money doing so.

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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  • Wayne Williamson

    Replace both my fridges(one inside the other in the garage). The inside one was a 20 year old one that was needing to be fixed on almost a yearly basis($375 a visit). The 15 year old one in the garage just couldn’t keep up with Florida summers. Paid about 1500 dollars for both the energy star replacements. My electric bill has dropped at least $50 a month, so payback time is less than three years or if you include the repair visits, less than 2 years….

  • John Duffield

    If seriously looking to replace old refrigerators with new ones it pays to look at more than just the energy star rating of the individual appliance. Firstly look inside your existing refrigerator to determine if it is the correct size to meet your needs. It makes no sense to replace it with the same size refrigerator if it is always half empty. Once you have figured out the size then aim to purchase an appliance with the highest energy star rating that you can afford.

  • Tom G.

    Oh and don’t forget to pull the frig out from the wall, remove the cardboard cover on the bottom and vacuum out the coils. I do mine every year and you can not imagine how dirty the coils get.

  • Neil

    I too thought about changing an old fridge until I compared the usage to my new one on a killowatt from local hardware store.. It was the same yearly cost for both(!). I didn’t believe it so I reset the unit & did the test again and same results.. I guess if that basement fridge was my primary and open much more often maybe it would change some…but I don’t see how it’s usage could nearly triple from the mid $80s annual cost to save that claimed ‘200s’ estimate from the govt website.. I even left the killowatt plugged in for days to be sure reading was accurate!

    • Matt

      Unless you bought the new fridge and installed next to your old you can’t really say “same yearly cost”. To get the estimated cost you saw on the box (or on the web site). Someone assume a normal usage installed in a normal location. Lets say the web sight say that you old unit cost $240/year to run. But you have it in the basement (it cooler there so runs less and is more efficient). And you don’t open it often, maybe during your test not at all. So you got $80/year which is 1/3 the web estimate. If the web said the new unit will “on average” cost $80/year, then you can assume that in your cold basement and never opened it will cost a lot less. If you live in northern Alaska and put you chest freeze in unheated shed then during the winter it is free.

      • Bob_Wallace

        True. My refer can easily pull 50% more power on a hot day than on a normal cool one.

        And the less frequent opening is also a large contributing factor. Each opening let’s chilled air spill out and the replacement air has to be cooled.

        The early super-efficient refrigerators for off the grid use were chest types. Open the door and most of the cold air stayed in place.

      • Neil

        I left out some key details I see. This fridge is actually in the garage and the reading was in the summer – its hot in there with no ac ( I live in the southern us, so it’s pretty warm in there also because the sun bakes that side of the house all afternoon. It’s opened less than the main fridge- though I also keep it full with jugs of water in the freezer and fridge if it’s not full of food.

        Needless to say it’s also now much colder as its close to winter (20s-30s at night lately) so I wouldn’t be surprised if that $80 turned into a $60s reading as the garage temp went from 80s to 50s or so. And yes, the newer and older still have a similar cost though the use I know has some to do with it.

        My point was that I too thought the calculator would have been a little closer & I could save substantially by buying a new fridge-even for a less used garage fridge but the trusty killowatt meter helped save me some money by not buying a newer one.

        I did like a tip I learned here in the comments the other day-take the screens out of sunny windows during heating season.. I was surprised at the difference

  • Will E

    you are completely right. it is a so simple.
    now change the oil burner for heating for a heat pump 400 % yield.
    and put solar panels on the roof and your energy bill will be zero.
    induction cooking, and you are all electric.
    easy to do and saves you 1000 ends of dollars.
    next year I will put solar on the garage and buy an EV. never no more gas bills for me
    I have changed the fridge, new washing machine, wash dryer.
    I save 100 % and get a payback on my energy bill as I am a plus solar energy producer.
    When you want to contact me, I will be on holiday, spending the money saved on fossil energy, lol.
    true story from the Netherlands

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