Home tips: Maintain and care for your fridge so it lasts longer


Design: PIU Design

Did you know that refrigerators are the top energy guzzlers in a household, consuming up to as much as 15 per cent of all electricity used? So in the long term, despite its higher initial cost, an energy-efficient refrigerator will actually end up saving you more money. To find out if a model is environmentally friendly, look out for the mandatory Energy Label issued by the National Environment Agency that shows the annual energy consumption and the number of ticks awarded.

Design-wise, choose a model that has the freezer on either the top or bottom. Side-by-side models tend to use more energy, as do those that have through-the door ice and water dispensers or automatic ice-makers. Instead, look out for green features, such as door alarms that alert you if the fridge is left open. The most eco-friendly refrigerators also have the manual defrost option, which is more energy-efficient since it relies on air circulation within your home to break down frost.

If you are already the proud owner of a green refrigerator, here are some tips to help maintain it and prevent costly repairs:

- Place your fridge away from heat-generating appliances such as the oven.

- Keep the temperature control at mid-range to save energy.

Keep the freezer full. Counter-intuitively, frozen food serves as a thermal stabiliser that reduces the amount of on-off cycling. If you don’t have a lot of frozen food, try freezing containers of water instead.

Check the seal by closing the door on a piece of paper. If you are able to pull it out easily, your fridge's gasket needs to be adjusted or replaced.

Clean the coils annually with a coil cleaning brush and vacuum. Dust and dirt build-up reduces the heat-exchange efficiency and makes the compressor work harder. Do this more often if you have fur-shedding pets.