Don't keep your refrigerator or freezer too cold. Recommended temperatures are 37° to 40°F for the fresh food compartment of the refrigerator and 5°F for the freezer section. If you have a separate freezer for long-term storage, it should be kept at 0°F.
To check refrigerator temperature, place an appliance thermometer in a glass of water in the center of the refrigerator. Read it after 24 hours. To check the freezer temperature, place a thermometer between frozen packages. Read it after 24 hours.
Regularly defrost manual-defrost refrigerators and freezers; frost buildup increases the amount of energy needed to keep the motor running. Don't allow frost to build up more than one-quarter of an inch.
Make sure your refrigerator door seals are airtight. Test them by closing the door over a piece of paper or a dollar bill so it is half in and half out of the refrigerator. If you can pull the paper or bill out easily, the latch may need adjustment or the seal may need replacing.
Cover liquids and wrap foods stored in the refrigerator. Uncovered foods release moisture and make the compressor work harder.
Move your refrigerator out from the wall and vacuum its condenser coils once a year unless you have a no-clean condenser model. Your refrigerator will run for shorter periods with clean coils.
Make sure your refrigerator door seals are air tight. Test them by closing the door over a dollar bill. If you can pull the bill out easilly, the latch may need to be adjusted or the seal may need to be replaced.
Position your refrigerator away from sunny windows, hot water heaters, warm air from heating ducts, radiators, stoves and other heat sources. The heat makes cooling harder for your refrigerator.
If your refrigerator is more than 10 years old, consider replacing it. New refrigerators today use half the energy of 10-year-old refrigerators and Energy Star labeled refrigerators are even more efficient. Some use 15% less energy than required by federal guidelines.
Replacing the seals on your refrigerator is not hard and can make a big improvement in the aplliances efficiency (and appearance). Replacement seals are often available at many home goods store and through the maker of the unit. One tip for using these replacement seals is to warm them before installing, this removes the crimps that often occur from their packaging. A few minutes in the clothes dryer should do the trick.