Refrigerator and Freezer

  • Clean it. Regularly defrost models that aren’t frost-free, and clean the condenser coils of your refrigerator three or four times a year. (Don’t forget the refrigerator or freezer in your garage.)
  • Shut the door. Don’t stand in front of an open fridge contemplating the contents. Decide what you need first, then get it and shut the door quickly.
  • Fill the freezer. A freezer that’s two-thirds or three-quarters full requires less power to operate than an empty one. No food? Add water-filled plastic milk cartons or soda bottles instead.
  • Test the seals. Fold a paper towel, shut the refrigerator door on it and then pull the towel out of the closed door. If you don’t feel resistance, you probably need new seals around the door to lock in cold air.
  • Maintain the right temperature. Set the refrigerator between 38 degrees and 42 degrees (a little higher than the middle setting). For the freezer, anywhere between 0 degrees and 32 degrees is fine.