The technology of manufacturing refrigerators and freezers has progressed rapidly over the past ten years. The best new refrigerators use less than 500 kilowatt-hours per year compared to the 1000 to 2000 annual kilowatt-hours used by older models. A new refrigerator will save you at least 500 kilowatt-hours if you buy one that has an Energy Star® label, indicating the Department of Energy’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s seal of approval.
Refrigerators with side-by-side doors use more energy than units with upper and lower doors because the side-by-side units have more linear feet of door seals. If you defrost your refrigerator when it collects 1/8-inch of ice, a manual defrost unit uses less energy than one with automatic defrost.
Refrigerators normally have an energy-saver switch somewhere inside. When the energy-saver switch is on, it turns off the door mullion heaters. These heaters prevent frost formation between the door and door mullion during humid weather. In dryer climates, the energy-saver switch can be permanently engaged.