One Mindless Kitchen Habit That’s Costing You Money

updated Oct 14, 2019
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Credit: Minette Hand

Saving energy is an art. (Or, okay, maybe a science.) To cut down on bills, it makes sense to unplug appliances when you aren’t using them. But certain energy-sucking appliances, like, um, your fridge and freezer, can’t exactly be unplugged. 

Thankfully, there are a few clever ways to save on energy without having to switch to an old-fashioned ice box. One of them has to do with how much food (and drinks and condiments) you keep in it. 

Think of it as the “Goldilocks Principle.” If there’s too much or not enough inside, your appliance won’t run as efficiently, which means you might be unnecessarily wasting energy (and, just as importantly, money).

The energy-efficient trick is to attempt to keep both your refrigerator and freezer around 3/4 full at all times. 

Why You Should Keep Your Fridge and Freezer 3/4 Full at All Times

It’s pretty simple, actually. Because the food in your fridge or freezer has already been cooled, it helps keep the other items cold when you open the door and introduce warm air. 

So if your fridge and freezer aren’t full enough, those appliances have to work harder to stay cold every time the door opens. 

If you live alone or simply don’t want to keep that much food on hand, don’t worry! It may sound wild, but try putting a brick (yes, a literal brick) in your fridge. It will act as an accumulator, which means it will help to prevent major temperature shifts when the refrigerator door opens, ultimately saving energy and money.

On the other hand, try not to overfill your fridge, either. Too much food stuffed inside there will restrict the air flow and, in some cases, block your refrigerator’s air vents, which will keep the appliance from properly cooling everything inside (and, unfortunately, potentially cause your food items to spoil if they don’t stay cold enough). If you’re noticing your fridge is always full to the brim, it may be more energy-efficient to invest in a larger one. 

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