It's easy to forget that just like ovens and other appliances that make heat, fridge-freezes consume a vast amount of energy. In fact, it's the most electricity-guzzling item in most kitchens. Here are a few tips for making sure your fridge runs efficiently, keeping your kitchen's carbon footprint to a minimum.
1. Never place hot food in the fridge
Putting hot dishes straight into the fridge is the quickest way to put it into overdrive, using up more energy than you really need. Wait for food to cool naturally before chilling it.
2. Don't pay too many visits to the fridge
A good one for your waistline, too! Opening the fridge door too often will mess up its cooling system and mean that it has to work extra hard to allow for all the heat you're letting in. Try to take out everything you need in one go, and put everything back at the same time. Admittedly a difficult one if you've got teenagers in the house, but remember you can always put drinks and other non-perishable items in a cool box to keep them chilled for an evening or so.
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3. Defrost your freezer and ice box regularly
Boring, but necessary if you want your chiller to be working at maximum efficiency. One word of advice: don't use the hairdryer and ice bucket method if you're trying to be green.
4. Don't over-fill your fridge
Putting too much food in the fridge will force it to work harder all the time, drawing on more energy. It is also all too easy to jam the doors open when a fridge is over-full, which leads to leakages. Go through your fridge regularly to see what you want to keep and what needs to go in the compost bin.
5. Use alternative methods where possible
Not everything we put in the fridge really needs chilling. Many fruit and vegetables are actually better off kept at room temperature, and don't forget that in winter you can always use a handy windowsill or cold spot in the kitchen for natural refrigeration.