Expect to ask yourself a lot of questions when you begin looking for a new refrigerator. What color do I want? Do I need a water dispenser? What brand is best? Questions about energy efficiency also arise when consumers begin their appliance excursions. Knowing the factors that affect energy use and the potential expense of running a refrigerator can help you select a new one.
Top-Freezer vs. Bottom-Freezer Designs
Which is more efficient: a top-freezer or a bottom-freezer refrigerator? The government’s Energy Star program says models with a refrigerator on top use 10 to 25 percent less energy than bottom-freezer or side-by-side appliances.
Other Influential Factors
Choosing a refrigerator with an automatic icemaker and a through-the-door water dispenser can raise your operational costs by 14 to 20 percent, notes Energy Star. Also, the bigger the refrigerator, the more energy you can expect it to consume. Those models with 16 to 20 cubic feet of space rank among the most efficient.
Energy Star Program
To earn the Energy Star designation, a refrigerator must beat the federal government’s minimum criteria for energy efficiency by at least 20 percent. Those that do display an Energy Star label that shows how many kilowatts you should expect the appliance to use each year and how much that electricity will cost you. The Energy Star website offers a “calculator” you can use to determine how you’ll save in energy costs if you replace your current refrigerator. The savings can be as high as $200 a year if your current fridge dates back to the 1970s.
Top-Freezer Energy Consumption
A look at some Energy Star ratings provides an idea of how much electricity top-freezer refrigerators use. When you examine models with 19 to 24 cubic feet of capacity, you’ll find the Frigidaire FGUI2149LF and FPUI2188LF rank among those using the least amount of energy. They consume 356 kilowatt hours of energy annually, which should cost you $38. The Maytag M0RXEMMWB is also among the top-freezers with the lowest electricity use. It needs 403 kilowatt hours annually to cool its 19.7 cubic feet of space. Expect to spend $43 a year to run this model.
Bottom-Freezer Energy Consumption
A check of bottom-freezer appliances in the 19- to 24-cubic-foot range shows the LG LFC21776ST using the least amount of electricity. Its 400 kilowatt hours of annual usage equals a bill of about $43 for a 12-month period. The Whirlpool GB2FHDXWS and the Maytag MBF2258XEB, MBL2258XES and MBR2258XES each hold 21.9 cubic feet and use 404 kilowatt hours annually. Expect to spend $43 a year to run them, too.
Sources of information for this article:
Energy Star: Energy Star Refrigerators
Energy Star: Refrigerator Retirement Savings Calculator