Smarter Living: Energy

Considering that we have our refrigerators cooling our food around the clock, it's a wonder they don't need to be repaired more often. But when yours does falter, rather than immediately calling the repairman, it's worth considering whether you should retire the old icebox and spring for an upgrade. Those pictures and magnets that haven't budged since 1975 are good indicators that your fridge needs an update. Here are a few more...

The newest federal standards for refrigerator energy consumption went into effect in 2001, so if a fridge manufactured in 2000 or earlier needs repairs, it's worth replacing it instead. And the older the model, the more urgent is the need for replacement. New refrigerators consume 75 percent less energy than those produced in the late 1970s, so any model manufactured before 1980 should be replaced as soon as possible, even if it seems to be running properly. Check out Energy Star .s Refrigerator Retirement Savings Calculator for the dirty truth about what you'll save if you replace an older fridge.

When replacing your refrigerator, opt for a top-freezer configuration rather than a side-by-side, and make sure it's Energy Star-certified. A new refrigerator should then last you about 14 years. And resist the urge to use the older fridge in the basement or to give it away, since inefficient, old models can cost more than $100 a year to run. Visit www.earth911.com to learn how to dispose of refrigerators in your area.

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Keep Your Fridge Cool and Save Energy

last revised 11/16/2011

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