Causes of High Summer Utility Bills
Refrigerators and Freezers
- The refrigerator that served for 20 years in the kitchen still works, and now it's in the garage. Garages get very hot. Those old refrigerators are not very energy efficient, and and can run almost continuously in a hot environment. The new refrigerator in your kitchen is probably three or four times as energy efficient as a very old model. For instance, a new, 25 cubic foot high-efficiency refrigerator in the kitchen costs about five or six dollars a month to operate. An old, inefficient unit in a hot garage can cost $25 to $50 a month in summer.
- The refrigerator door won't seal when it's shut, the door is askew or the gasket is damaged. Cold air loss occurs. Years ago the standard advice was to properly align the door on its hinges and / or replace the gasket. However, replacement gaskets now cost $50 to $80, can be hard to find and may not fit well.
So if your refrigerator is 10 or 15 years old and in poor condition, it's probably best to replace it with a new one rather than undertake gasket repairs. Since 1993, new refrigerators are three times (or more) as energy efficient as similar-sized units 10 years earlier. And refrigerators manufactured after 2001 are 30 percent more efficient than those of 1993. A new, 25 cubic foot energy efficient refrigerator costs $5 or $6 a month to operate whereas an older model could cost up to 10 times as much to operate.
If you need a new refrigerator, consider an energy-efficient ENERGY STAR-qualified model and get a rebate from Your Own Utilities.
- There is a refrigerator in the kitchen, an older refrigerator in the pantry and a freezer in the pantry. Costs rise. If the newest refrigerator was manufactured after July 2001, it's far more energy efficient than older refrigerators or freezers. Consolidate stored foods into the newest unit if possible.