Want To Cut Electricity Costs? Fill Up Your Fridge

by Rich Finzer
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Your fridge is responsible for much of the energy use of your home. So, if you’re looking to cut electricity costs, the fridge is a good place to start. How? Fill up your fridge!

With the exception of your electric stove, toaster oven, clothes iron, or four-slot toaster (all of which achieve their usefulness from running inefficiently or using electricity to produce heat), no stand-alone household appliance consumes more juice than your refrigerator.

Think about it. Your fridge runs year-round 24-7, while those other gizmos only require power when you use them to perform a specific task. So, if you’re trying to reduce your utility bill by a significant amount, your refrigerator is the logical place to focus your efforts.

You could pull the plug and stop using the thing altogether, and you’d really reduce your electricity expense. Unfortunately, the savings would be offset by the cost of the tainted food you’d be throwing away. However, there’s an easier method, which will save money because your refrigerator will run less frequently.

Refrigeration 101

Before I reveal this simple money-saving strategy, a brief refresher on physical science and thermodynamics might be helpful.

As you may recall, water (H2O) has a number of unique physical properties. As two examples, water is considered to be the universal solvent, and water cannot be compressed. It possesses another useful trait as well. Water has an extremely high specific heat.

Specific heat is defined as the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of a given volume of a substance by one degree Celsius. Stated another way, water is hard to heat up and equally difficult to cool down. We Yankees have understood this phenomenon for some time, as the snow cover in our yards will melt off weeks before the ice in our ponds finally thaws.

So now some of you are probably asking, “What the heck does this trivia have to do with saving electricity?” And the answer is simple.

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A Full Fridge Provides Multiple Ways To Save

Fill any open shelf space in your refrigerator with bottles of water, preferably cold water. As your refrigerator cools that water further, the liquid water stores the cold, thus maintaining a lower temperature inside. This means the thermostat won’t activate the compressor as often, meaning your refrigerator will run less frequently.

This trick works doubly well if you make and store large quantities of ice in the freezer. There are two additional benefits you’ll derive as well.

First, because your refrigerator will be running less, it will generate less heat, which will help your house remain cooler in the summer. Second, you’ll have a large pre-chilled reservoir of water, which is great for drinking or making lemonade.

Reviewed February 2024

About the Author

Rich Finzer resides in upstate New York. During his 40+ years as a writer, he has published over 1,200 newspaper, magazine and Internet articles. His books are available on Amazon: Maple On Tap: Making Your Own Maple Syrup, Taking the TracksDawn Toward Daylight, and Julie & Me.

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