A week ago, we got an email from the sweetest lady EVER (don’t even try to debate it). It began:
My husband purchased a General Electric refrigerator on May 20, 1949, 6 days after our brand new daughter, Mary, was born. One of the features I liked about it was a “butter conditioner”.
This Model MF8F General Electric refrigerator is still running. But there is the possibility, it could seize to function one day.
The ‘butter conditioner’ in the door is intended to keep butter at the temperature I desire.
Thus far, I don’t know where to look for a refrigerator with this feature. I’m almost sure you can help me.
Clearly, this woman — bless her heart — should’ve replaced her refrigerator decades ago. That wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing butter conditioner, though source of such creamy deliciousness, really is just a black hole of energy.
That thing probably runs on $300-$400 worth of electricity per year, versus $50 or so of a new Energy Star refrigerator.
I’m not hating on this woman (on the contrary; I want to adopt her), as it’s hard to tell when to just break up with a “perfectly good” refrigerator.
When I closed on my house last week, I asked the former homeowners question that wrinkled their noses.
“How old was that fridge in your basement?”
They looked confused but told me, “We probably shouldn’t be using anyway, I guess. It was such a pain to move. I don’t know…1960s, I think.”
My jaw DROPPED.
My energy stat knowledge doesn’t go back farther than ’70s models, which cost about $278 per year to run. So a fridge from the ’60s must cost at least $300 to run. That’s some pretty expensive beer they’re cooling.
I think many people don’t unplug their ancient second fridge because they don’t know how to get rid of it.
And certainly most homeowners don’t know that many utility companies pay them money to come pick it up!
Xcel Energy is among the local utility companies with a refrigerator recycling program that offers $35 to pick up a working second refrigerator. Some also run this program for freezers. Of course, you must be a customer of the utility to participate.
Some utilities, like Minnesota Power, up the ante to $50 to get you to give up that beer fridge. Even if you use the money towards a new refrigerator (if you use Rochester Public Utilities, you can get up to $75 for replacing and recycling a refrigerator), your energy usage on the new unit will likely be significantly reduced.