Remember when your parents admonished you not to keep the door to the refrigerator open for too long because the cold air would leak out?
Today, your hard-earned cash might be leaking from your refrigerator all the time if it's not an energy-efficient model.
It might be time to start saving on your monthly home energy bill by replacing your old refrigerator or free-standing freezer with a new energy-efficient model. Also consider retiring that spare fridge in the garage or basement -- the one that's even older than the one in the kitchen.
"If your refrigerator was manufactured before 1993, it's probably time to replace it," says U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Star product manager Richard Karney.
With a free Internet tool provided by DOE, you can find out exactly how much cash your old refrigerator is wasting and figure out if you should replace it. Called "The Refrigerator Retirement Savings Calculator," the online gadget is available at www.energystar.gov/refrigerators, where it calculates the potential savings from replacing older refrigerators and freezers with new, energy-efficient models.
When you get to that page on the Energy Star Web site, just click on the graphic of the old refrigerator -- the one that says "Find out how much your old refrigerator is costing you!" and, below the picture, "Refrigerator Retirement Savings Calculator."
To get the most accurate results from the calculator, have your electric utility bill handy so you can plug in your kilowatt-hour rate. It's also helpful to have the model number of your current refrigerator.
Then simply hit the "Enter" or "Return" key to see your savings over five years from replacing your old refrigerator with a new Energy Star-qualified model.
If you don't have the model number available, the tool lets you indicate when the refrigerator was manufactured or purchased, its capacity in cubic feet, and the freezer location. A few clicks of your mouse, and your potential savings will be revealed.
"U.S. consumers who have seen their home and vehicle energy costs increase by 20 percent or more since 2004 will appreciate this handy online tool, which provides a quick, easy, and even fun way to calculate the potential savings from replacing an old refrigerator or freezer with a new Energy Star-qualified model," said Kateri Callahan, the president of the Alliance to Save Energy, a nonprofit coalition that promotes energy efficiency worldwide.
Developed by DOE, the free calculator is part of the federal government's Energy Star program, which helps consumers save money on home energy bills by labeling the most energy-efficient products in more than 50 categories.
For more advice on how to save energy and money, visit The Alliance to Save Energy's Web site at www.ase.org/consumers.
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