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According to the U.S. Department of Energy, more than a quarter of U.S. households own a second refrigerator – usually an older one “that’s too good to throw away” after it’s been replaced by a new model. However, the inefficient older appliance may be costing you more than you think – $420 to $750 in additional energy costs over the remaining lifetime of the appliance. 

Because fridges are designed to operate inside, keeping an older one in an area such as a porch, garage or basement exposed to temperature extremes will force it to draw more power to operate properly. A fridge in a 90-degree environment uses nearly 50 percent more energy than one in a 70-degree environment. Even if you locate the second refrigerator in an insulated basement, it can increase your air- conditioning costs since it produces heat. 

Conversly when the temperature falls below about 40 degrees, the refrigerator’s thermostat may not run its cooling cycles for the appropriate amount of time, causing the temperature in the refrigerator to become too high to safely keep food. In addition, you run the risk of damaging the compressor because it won’t be able to complete its defrost cycles. The bottom line? Your refrigerator will waste a lot of power running, without being able to provide adequate cooling.

To estimate how much energy your old refrigerator consumes, visit www. and search for the Refrigerator Retirement Calculator. Type your refrigerator’s model number into the calculator, and you’ll receive an estimate of how much energy it uses – and how much money a new second refrigerator may save.

For more energy-saving tips, visit the Together We Save section at the Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives website:

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