Smart Refrigeration Lowers Electricity Bill

Old Friend from High SchoolFeb 20, 2014: This week a casual incident taught us a few things about frugal living. While shopping for groceries we bumped into an old friend from high school. We were close friends but had lost touch since we graduated. There was so much to catch up with but a grocery store seemed the last place in the world for doing so. Spontaneously we invited him to have dinner with us. He graciously accepted and accompanied us home. At high school, our friend was a simple guy and we were glad to see that he is still the same :).

Warm DrinksWe seated ourselves at our dining table with warm drinks, eager to share our experiences. Slowly as our conversation unfolded we discovered that our friend had become a refrigeration expert and was earning a good living. A couple of years ago he had set up his own company and was currently working for himself. He said that he had clearly understood the patterns of his business and was comfortable on going solo. He jokingly added that his job could not be shipped abroad since refrigeration needed to be physically done in US! Point taken, as techies, our jobs can be shipped out of US any day :(.

Smart RefrigerationWhile conversing with him, we also started preparing dinner. Since we did not have a ready made meal plan, we ended up opening the refrigerator and staring at things that could be used for cooking dinner. While we were standing, deciding on what vegetables to chop and which cheese to use, our friend smiling warned us that we were wasting a lot of energy by keeping the refrigerator's door open. He added that we should not leave a refrigerator's door open longer than necessary since it loses cold air. Then the appliance sucks away a lot of energy to maintain its regulated temperature. This boosts up our electricity bill and lowers the life of the appliance. We immediately noted his point on a yellow sticky post it and pasted it on our refrigerator. Hopefully in future, this note will help us to keep our refrigerator door open for an optimal time only.

Save ElectricityHe took a look around our kitchen and said that we should have created some breathing space around our refrigerator. At present, our refrigerator is placed between an electric oven with four stoves on one side and the wall on the other. Since there is no space around it and a heating appliance next to it, our refrigerator's engine is using up extra electricity to maintain the low temperatures that we have set. We live in a rented apartment and literally there is no room to move our kitchen's appliances. But those of you who live in your own houses can easily do so. It will help in cutting down your refrigerator's electricity consumption and lowering your monthly utility bill.

Not too low temperaturesOur friend also advised us not to set too low temperatures for our refrigerator as this could increase its energy consumption by as much as 25%. Usually temperatures between 2 to 4 degree Celsius (36 to 40 degree Fahrenheit) is good enough for the main compartment. Freezers can have temperatures between -18 to -10 degree Celsius (0 to 5 degree Fahrenheit). And once in a while if we clean the condenser coils it keeps the refrigerator in good shape. Since we can't move our refrigerator, cleaning coils is out of question. But we can definitely maintain the temperature ranges suggested by our friend.

Healthy DinnerBy this time, dinner was cooked and we had a hearty meal. Our friend was very pleased with our simple belongings and frugal lifestyle. He said that he was tired of unnecessary stuff and clutter. Before he started his business, he had conducted a giant de-cluttering project which freed up lot of space in his house and earned him around $3000 in cash from sale of goods and appliances. He used that money to incorporate his company and pay for some legal stuff. Now he was thinking of selling his house since he did not need that much space and move to a smaller one. That would bring down his monthly mortgage payment and free up money for investing in his portfolio. Oops! We forgot to mention that he is also on the road to FIRE :).

Fond MemoriesWe exchanged phone numbers, wished each other luck on our journey to FIRE and promised to keep in touch. It was an evening well spent amidst fond old memories and sharing new ones :).

We hope our friend's tips on smart refrigeration will help you to cut down your electricity bill. If you have any more tricks up your sleeve, please drop a comment so that we all can benefit from them :).

Image Source(s): iStockPhoto

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