Learn How a Refrigerator Works to Conserve Energy in the Kitchen

Learn How a Refrigerator Works to Conserve Energy in the Kitchen

Knowing how a refrigerator works  is a great place to start when it comes to making your fridge and freezer more energy efficient. After all, fridges and freezers account for roughly 6% of the average monthly electric bill. So to help you get a head start on saving both money and energy, we’ve come up with the following guide to help you understand how a refrigerator works.

How a Refrigerator Works

Fortunately, both your fridge and freezer are cooled using the same style of system, so if you understand how one works, you’ll understand the other. To get started, take a look at the following graphic which will walk you through the basic process of the system:

How a Refrigerator Works

Essentially, your fridge and freezer work by continually turning a refrigerant from a liquid to a gas, and then condensing that gas back into a liquid. The refrigerant starts in your fridge/freezer as a hot gas and is pushed from the compressor through a series of condenser coils where it is cooled and turned back into a liquid. That liquid is then pumped through a capillary which removes any moisture or contaminants before being sent to your fridge/freezers evaporator coils. Once it reaches your fridge/freezer’s evaporator coils it expands and turns itself back into a gas, thus drawing heat away from the system and cooling the items in your fridge. The gas is then returned to your compressor where the whole process starts again. Simple, yeah? Check out the video below to get a better idea of how this system works.

3 Ways to Conserve Energy in the Refrigerator

Now that you have a better understanding of how your fridge and freezer work, let’s look at three easy things you can do to ensure that’s it’s running efficiently:

1. Clean your fridges condenser coils – Over time lint, dust and debris from your kitchen can build up on the fridges condenser coils, by taking a stiff brush and removing the debris it will help your system to run more efficiently.

2. Set the temperature in your fridge/freezer to the appropriate level – Be careful not to under or overcool the items in your fridge or freezer. Over cooling will cause the fridge/freezer to work harder than it should and undercooling will cause food to spoil quicker than it should.

3. Be sure your fridge/freezer is at least 2/3rd full – The items in your fridge/freezer will act like thermal batteries and actually help to reduce the fridge/freezers work load.

Bonus Tip: Store your food in the right place in your fridge to make it stay good longer. Reducing waste from spoiled food saves you money, too!

If you’re looking for more ways to green your home and make it more energy efficient, check out our green home improvement projects: Green Living Ideas, after all, is a top 20 home improvement website!

Republished with permission from Green Living Ideas; image credits: fridge photo via Shutterstock, diagram via Techni Ice,

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