By Nikki Willhite
Our refrigerator is responsible for about 20 percent of our
electric bill. If we want to save money, we should do every thing that we can to
use it economically. We also need to follow safety rules for our protection.
Here are some rules to follow when
storing your food in the freezer
Buy a thermometer
and make sure that your freezer is set at zero degrees. This is to insure
long term storage as well as food safety. Also use that thermometer to check the
temperature in your refrigerator. Your fridge should be between 38-49 degrees
Fahrenheit. If your fridge is set any lower, you are wasting money.
You can put hot food into the refrigerator
if you have a newer model and the food is not too dense. This is new. In
the past, one would wait until it cooled off, so as not to raise the temperature
in the refrigerator. One thing you can do, to keep your refrigerator from
working too hard, is to cool food down with ice first,
and then put it in the refrigerator- but it is not a safety issue for the new
Wrap food well so that it doesn't
put humidity in the freezer. To save energy in the freezer, keep it well
stocked. The frozen food acts like blocks of ice, and the more there is of it,
the colder it keeps itself without running. When our freezer gets empty, we put
in plastic milk jugs filled with water to fill up the space as much as possible.
This does not fill all the gaps. Using something more flexible would be better.
If you freezer builds up ice, try and
defrost it when the ice reaches a quarter of an inch. This will help
it run more efficiently.
Here are some rules for storing your food in the
In your refrigerator, you do not want to overcrowd your items. It
works on a different principle. You want the refrigerated air to
circulate around your items. You also want air to circulate around the
outside of your fridge, so don't place things on top of it.
Help your refrigerator keep cool.
If the sun hits it at a certain time of day, close the blinds. If you have a
choice where to place it, keep it away from heat producing appliances.
Make sure the seal is tight, and that you are not losing air.
Visually inspect it, and then put a piece of paper on it and close the door. You
should have to tug to remove it. You can buy "filler" if there are cracks in the
seal at your hardware store, or you may have to replace the whole seal.
When you open the door to your refrigerator, you want to get in and out quickly. Keep it well organized, so you
can find things quickly, and teach your family to close the door while they are
pouring their milk, etc.
For safety reasons, you should thaw your
meat in the refrigerator instead of on the counter. This also helps the
fridge stay cold.
Maintain your refrigerator by keeping the
coils clean. Sweep or vacuum them, and use a
mild cleaner to wipe them off.
If you have a filter, change it periodically. If you have them,
get out your manuals and read them. Service any parts that need your