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How to Tell if Your Refrigerator is Energy Efficient

Posted By: Erin White
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It’s no secret that commercial refrigeration is one of the largest overhead costs a business often has. The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) does provide excellent guidance in regards to acquiring and using refrigerators and freezers to maximize energy-efficient usage for commercial applications. There are a few things you can do to tell if your commercial refrigerator is energy efficient or not:

Save More than $500 with Energy Star

One of the easiest, most common, and beneficial ways to gauge your commercial refrigeration equipment’s energy efficiency is to check and see whether or not it is an Energy Star unit. FEMP calculates that an Energy Star-qualified unit can save you hundreds of dollars in operating costs. If you’re interested in determining the cost-effectiveness for your application, you can use this calculator for Energy Star certified commercial kitchen equipment.

Check the Date of Manufacture

Another great way to tell if your commercial fridge or walk-in refrigerator is energy efficient or not is to check the year of manufacture. Right off the bat, if your commercial freezer or commercial refrigeration unit was made before the year 2001, you need to have it replaced. Older refrigerators are extremely inefficient, and the older a unit is, the more it costs to run, the less it cools well, and the more energy it sucks up. For example, replacing a 22-c.f. fridge made in 1993 with a CEE Tier 3 energy efficient model would save $64 per year in energy costs. In addition, your state or city might offer rebates via a rebate program for purchasing Energy Star appliances.

If your unit was manufactured in 2001 or later, the savings may not add up if you solely use the date of manufacture to decide on a replacement. Trading in a newer model for a new Energy Star model might save you $20 per year, so you’ll have to decide if you need to replace it early (due to malfunction, etc.) or to wait. As a general rule, Energy Star refrigerators use 20% less energy than standard commercial units, and CEE Tier 3 fridges use 30% less.

Checking the Settings on Your Fridge

A final way to find out if your unit is energy efficient is to change a few settings and see if you see a difference in your energy bills. The first setting is usually labeled “Energy Saver”, and this should be turned on, if you have it. This switch lets you turn a small heater off that is used to keep moisture from forming on the cabinet; however, using this feature uses up to an additional 10% in energy.

A second setting you can change is the temperature, if applicable. Refrigerators should be at 36-40 degrees F, and the freezer should be at 0-5 degrees F. If your units are set just ten degrees lower than needed (just 5 degrees for freezers), your energy use can increase by up to 25%!

For more information on the energy efficiency of commercial refrigeration equipment, or for information on replacing your inefficient units, contact Almcoe Refrigeration Company today.


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