Flip Your Fridge to Save Money—and the World!

Are you paying way too much to run your refrigerator? If it's been years since you last shopped for a new one, the answer may be yes. Read on to learn more about the hidden costs of keeping your food fresh and all the ways you can save by upgrading to a brand-new, ENERGY STAR certified refrigerator.

By Donna Boyle Schwartz | Updated Feb 20, 2018 2:36 PM

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The electricity bill comes at the end of the month. You open it (perhaps begrudgingly), pay the amount owed, and then move on with your life. But you can’t shake the feeling that you’re paying too much. After all, you make a reasonable effort to save energy. It’s not like you’re lighting up the neighborhood with a crazy Christmas lighting display every night of the year. So really, how come your utility costs always seem to be so mysteriously high?

A big part of the story is that from table lamps and TVs, the majority of devices and appliances you interact with daily consume relatively little energy. It’s the “big stuff” that devours power— space heating, air conditioning, water heating, and, believe it or not, refrigeration. Keeping your food fresh requires more electricity than you’d expect, and that’s especially true if, in effort to control costs, you’ve resisted the temptation to upgrade to a new model.

The irony is that since older refrigerators consume so much more energy than the highest-efficiency units today, sticking with the fridge you’ve had for years actually costs you more in the long run. In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program, finally swapping out your aging, inefficient fridge for an ENERGY STAR certified replacement can save you more than $270 over the next five years. And you’ll save even more by recycling your old one versus putting it in the garage or the basement. Exactly how much would you save? Use the ENERGY STAR Flip Your Fridge calculator to find out now!

If you buy a new fridge without an ENERGY STAR label, seizing savings isn’t out of the question. But to lock down lower bills over the long term, it’s only prudent to opt for a certified model. Why? In order to earn the ENERGY STAR label, refrigerators must be at least nine percent more energy efficient than the federal standard. In other words, ENERGY STAR has done all the research for you, making it effortlessly easy to select a model able to deliver slashed operating in the future.

Focusing on fridge efficiency may seem trivial, but it’s not. In the United States, there are as many as 60 million decade-old refrigerators in use. If every one of those were recycled and replaced with an equivalent, ENERGY STAR certified unit, the energy conserved would be enough to light 876,000 homes for an entire year. At the same time, the associated reduction in greenhouse gas emissions would be equivalent to taking more than 1 million cars off the road. Now that makes your contribution to saving the world easy, right?

That’s the impetus behind the 2017 ENERGY STAR Flip Your Fridge campaign—a national call to action for owners of old, inefficient refrigerators (and freezers) to recycle the old in favor of new models efficient enough to earn ENERGY STAR certification. Flip Your Fridge is a collaboration of leading appliance brands, national retailers, and participating utilities. Visit energystar.gov/FlipYourFridge for facts and figures to help you make informed consumer decisions and to learn about rebates and other incentives offered in your area.


This article has been brought to you by ENERGY STAR.