The occasional opening of the fridge, maybe just to get a snack or put away groceries, is harmless, right? Or does opening the fridge waste electricity? This is a dilemma that most people face. I mean, we cannot completely avoid opening the fridge since we will need to take away or put some things in the fridge at some point.
However, sometimes we tend to keep the fridge door open for a little longer. For example, most of us usually hold onto the open fridge door as we think of what to eat. While this may seem like a small thing, it could actually cost you more than you think. How so? Read this article to discover how and why opening the fridge is a big deal!
Does Opening the Fridge Waste Electricity?
|Yes, opening the fridge door carelessly or leaving it open for long wastes electricity. Research done by students at the University of Florida showed that carelessly opening and closing the refrigerator door wastes between 50 kWh to 120 kWh annually. This is no mere amount of electricity; 50 kWh is enough electricity to operate a dishwasher up to 20 times, while 100 kWh can run a regular washing machine up to 50 times! In fact, when the fridge door is left open for too long, it uses 10% or more times the amount of energy it uses to cool the space.|
When the fridge door is opened, the cold air inside escapes to the outside, while warm air from the outside flows into the fridge. Then, the fridge’s compressor starts working to drive the room temperature air out and restore the normal cold temperatures inside. And in normal cases (or when the fridge door is closed), the compressor only does little to maintain the cold temperatures since cold air leaves slower.
However, when the door is opened, cold air leaves faster than the refrigerator’s compressor can match. Hence, it works harder to restore the temperatures, using more energy than normal. Not only does this add to your monthly bills, but it also impacts your environmental footprint negatively.
What Happens When the Refrigerator Door is Left Open?
Leaving the fridge door open usually brings a negative outcome. And the more obvious outcome you can expect is that your electricity bills will increase. Usually, the extent of this outcome depends on three factors:
- How long the fridge door was left open – The longer the period it was left open, the more damage is done.
- The size of the opening of the fridge door – A larger opening means more cold air escaping and being replaced with warm air, which means more work for the compressor and higher energy bills.
- The current ambient temperature when the fridge door was left open – If the temperatures inside the fridge were quite high, there are higher chances of food getting spoiled and the compressor working even harder.
Regardless of the condition of the fridge, you should avoid leaving the door open carelessly. In addition to accruing higher electricity bills, here are three more outcomes you can expect when you leave your fridge door open for a long time:
1. The Fridge Will Begin Sweating
When you leave the fridge door open, you allow hot air to enter the fridge. When the warm air touches the cold surface of the refrigerator, it causes condensation; water droplets form inside the fridge, making it look like it’s sweating.
A sweating refrigerator is not a good thing at all. It usually implies that the refrigerator has a hard time maintaining its warm temperatures. Besides, the ‘sweat’ can also lead to the development of thick frost in the freezer and in the fridge compartment. Therefore, you should always wipe down the sweat in your fridge or freezer to prevent any frost from developing.
2. The Evaporator Coil Freezes
This usually happens when the refrigerator begins sweating. When water droplets touch the evaporator coils, they develop into thick frost that absorbs most of the coldness produced by the coils. In turn, this makes it harder for the refrigerator to freeze items. When this happens, you need to defrost the refrigerator to get it ready for action.
3. The Refrigerator Starts Overheating
If you open your refrigerator’s door carelessly, the thermostat will keep getting an “it’s still hot” signal. Then, it will tell the compressor to keep working, increasing its chances of overheating. When the compression overheats, it might cause adverse effects on the refrigerator; some effects which might even be irreversible.
How to Open a Refrigerator Door Efficiently
Considering all the adverse effects that opening a fridge has, it is crucial that everyone owning this appliance learns how to open the door efficiently. To save on energy, you should close the fridge immediately after using it. It is better to close the refrigerator’s door and re-open it severally instead of leaving it open.
Take, for instance, when you are putting in groceries. You might be tempted to leave the door open as you arrange and put the groceries one by one. However, while this may sound like the easy way out, it would only lead to more bills and risk your appliance’s damage. On the contrary, the best way to do this would be to close the fridge every time you put in one type of grocery, re-open it when putting in another, then repeat this until you’re done.
How to Conserve Your Refrigerator’s Energy
Refrigerators are among the main home appliances that consume a lot of energy. In fact, the Huffington Post ranks these second to air conditioner units regarding the amount of energy used in one year. So how can you use your fridge efficiently?
One way you can save energy and cut costs is by avoiding careless fridge door opening. Also, if yours is an old-model refrigerator, consider replacing it with a newer model. Newer models are built to be more efficient, using up less energy than their counterparts. In addition, clean the refrigerator coils regularly since accumulated dust in these could reduce the efficiency and performance of the appliance.
Does opening the fridge waste electricity? Yes, if you do so carelessly or tend to leave the door open for a long time. So unless you want to keep accruing those energy bills every month, keep your refrigerator’s door closed! Doing so will not only cut high electricity bills, but it will also ensure the optimal performance of your appliance.