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“It cycles on and off to keep things cool,” says SAIT Appliance Service Technician instructor Frank Villalobos. With the introduction of Alberta’s carbon tax — plus rebates of up to $100 on select energy efficient appliances — it might be tempting to buy new. But, Villalobos says, that can impact the environment, too. Here are his tips on when to replace and what to do in the meantime.
1.) Be mindful of your landfill
The carbon tax encourages people to be more energy efficient, which is always a good thing. But I hope people don’t throw out working appliances — that creates a bunch of landfill issues. A new fridge means a difference of about a dollar a month on an energy bill, so I suggest you only replace your fridge if it’s broken down or more than 10 years old.
2.) Curate your fridge
Fridges need proper air circulation. Avoid putting in too much food — Avoid putting in too much food — especially in the freezer — so you don’t restrict airflow.
3.) Clean the coils
If the condenser unit (the black tubing either behind or under the fridge) is clogged with dust or pet hair, the fridge must run more often. Clean the coils at least once a year, and invest in a refrigerator coil cleaning brush to make the job easier.
4.) Let food cool first
Putting warm food in the fridge is a major drain on efficiency — and so is leaving the door open.
5.) Shopping guide
If a new fridge is a must, look for a top freezer model with an EnerGuide rating of 500 kwh/year or less — you can find reliable models for about $800.
6.) Tip: Top
Top freezer fridges use cold air’s natural tendency to settle downwards, making them more energy efficient.
7.) Keep it simple
The more complicated the fridge, the more chance it’s going to break down. Simpler fridges are also less expensive, use less energy and often last longer.