How Long Does a Refrigerator Last?

According to research, the average refrigerator lasts about 12 years. If you think it might be time to retire your refrigerator, check out Energy Star’s Refrigerator Retirement Savings Calculator. This handy tool that lets you input the model number of your current fridge to see how much more you’re spending on energy use annually versus a new, Energy Star refrigerator. Now let’s play by the numbers.

12

The number of years in the average refrigerator’s lifespan, according to research. The life span reflects how long the first owner of a refrigerator used it, which doesn’t necessarily mean that it broke down.

14.75

Amount cubic feet of fresh food storage space in the average refrigerator, based on active models.

6.76

Cubic feet of average amount of freezer space, based on active models. Guess that means the average refrigerator unit is just under 22 cu. ft.

$1,180

Average price of Energy Star refrigerators in 2009.

$1,150

Average price of a standard refrigerator in 2009 (not much difference, eh?).

2.8

Amount of years it takes for the lower operations costs of an Energy Star refrigerator to make up, or “pay back,” for the initial sticker price difference.

$71

Net savings (energy savings minus initial higher cost) of an Energy Star refrigerator over its expected lifetime of 12 years.

Energy Star refrigerators save $50/year over 1990s fridges

This is an outdated picture of my kitchen, but you get the idea.

I’m replacing my 15-year-old refrigerator this month with a more roomy, smarter-designed and better-looking new fridge.

Best of all, it’s an Energy Star refrigerator, which means that it uses at least 20 percent less energy than a non-Energy Star fridge. Plus, although Energy Star refrigerators generally cost more upfront, you should consider overall cost of the appliance — which includes how much energy it uses compared to other models.

Energy Star estimates that over the lifetime of your refrigerator, you will cut your energy bills by $165 versus if you used an non-Energy Star model.

So think of how much you save when you unplug the refrigerator you’re using right now? Actually, see the handy chart below.

So my fridge from the ’90s costs about $97 per year compared to an Energy Star refrigerator, which uses an average of $48, according to this chart. (And actually, my new fridge is 10 percent better than the Energy Star standards; its energy use is estimated to cost about $43 per year.)

Obviously, I have to buy the new fridge, but I’ve budgeted for that. Now, what will I do with the $50? Better question: what will do with the $600 in usage cost savings I’ll realize over the average life (12 years) of my refrigerator?

10 Sneaky Ways You’re Wasting Money in the Kitchen

You bought your kitchen appliances on sale. Bonus: they’re Energy Star, so you’ll save money in water and energy costs.

But did you ever think that the way you use your appliances can really affect your utility bills?

Here are 10 energy-wasting choices to avoid:

1. Making your dishwasher heat up cold water

Run hot tap water before you run your dishwasher it doesn’t have to heat up the water as long.

2. Setting your refrigerator and freezer too cold

Your fridge section should be set at 37 degrees to 40 degrees, and your freezer section should be set at 5 degrees. A deep freeze should be set at zero degrees.

3. Using an uncovered pot to boil water

Think of all the heat  — and time — lost without a cover on  a pot of heated water. Instead, a cover traps the energy in.

4. Selecting “Heat Dry” on your dishwasher

If you don’t wash a lot of plastic dishes, or lots of dishes in general, choose the “Air Dry” setting or simply prop your dishwasher door open after the rinse cycle.

5. Leaving foods uncovered in the refrigerator

Uncovered foods release moisture, causing the compressor to work harder. Instead, cover all liquids and foods.

6. Prewashing your dishes

Not only will it decrease the effectiveness of your dishwasher detergent, prewashing your dishes is unnecessary and wastes water. Just scrape off the big pieces of food.

7. Ignoring the gasket on your refrigerator

Close your refrigerator door over a piece of paper or dollar bill so it’s half in and half out of the refrigerator. If you can pull it out easily, your door seals aren’t airtight.

Try moistening the gasket with a thin layer of Vaseline, which should create a better seal. If that doesn’t do the trick, you might need to replace the gasket altogether.

8. Cooking with dirty burners and drip pans

Clean burners and drip pans will reflect the heat better, cooking your food faster and saving you energy.

9. Placing small pans on bigger burners

Match pans to the size of the element. Otherwise, you’re using energy to heat a bigger burner only to let it escape around the sides of the smaller pot or pan.

10. Barely stocking your refrigerator

It seems backwards, but a full refrigerator holds temperature better than a poorly stocked refrigerator. Just don’t pack food so tight as to block the airflow.

Laundry Efficiency Tips

Did you know that Energy Star washers use 25 percent less energy and 33 percent less waster than their counterparts?

Don’t stop there, though. These guidelines will help you save energy, water and money:

Don’t Use Too Much Detergent

You’re only helping Procter & Gamble when you pour in those heaping cups of laundry soap. The owners’ manual provides instructions on the proper amount of soap to use. Using too much soap also can shorten the life your clothing, which could get expensive.

Keep Venting Dry and Clear

We recommend cleaning your dryer vent a few times a year (see Dryer not drying? Check the vent). Otherwise, it could get blocked up, causing your dryer to take longer to do its job. And remember to clean your lint filter after every use.

Try Cold Water Washing

About 90 percent of the energy used for washing clothes in an average washer is for heating the water. Need we say more? If you have tough, oily stains, even switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut a load’s energy use in half. Otherwise, you’d be surprised how well cold water cycles clean these days.

Don’t Overdry Your Clothes

Instead, use a moisture sensor (if you have one) to automatically stop the dryer once it’s finished. Note: Separate towels and heavier cottons from lighter weight clothes to ensure proper drying when using a sensor. If you don’t have a moisture sensor, use the cool-down cycle to finish drying clothes using the residual heat.

Wash and Dry Full Loads

Full loads of laundry mean fewer loads of laundry, which mean less energy, water and money used, too. If you must wash a small load, remember to set the water-level to match.

What are your tips for saving money on laundry?

What’s you’ll see at the Warners Stellian Warehouse Sale

So, we have some pretty sweet deals on hand for this weekend’s Extreme Warehouse Sale.

While quantities last, we have three pairs of laundry that have been priced to move:


(gas dryer extra on first and third pictured pair)

And those looking for a new refrigerator have the chance to get a LG French-door refrigerator at rock-bottom prices.

But, quantities are limited, so deals can only last as long as your fellow customers allow them to.

We’re getting A LOT of calls from people with specific model numbers in mind, wanting to know what products would be included in our sale.

He was very understanding when I explained to him that we have more than 2,000 products on display for this sale.

And truly don’t know what’s down there until we see it all Saturday morning!

But with more than 2,000 products, we generally have something for everyone, or at least for the majority of the nearly 2,400 groups of customers that came out for our last warehouse sale.

Other big discounts include an Energy Star Maytag dishwasher in stainless steel for $349 and a stainless steel Fridgidaire self-clean gas range for $499, while quantities last (both pictured below).

A selection of brands that “never go on sale” will be available (again, while quantities last), including Sub-Zero, Wolf, Viking, Liebherr and Electrolux. Customers can save up to 80% on professional-style built-in models. Jenn-Air wall ovens, for example, will start at $599 and you can save $1,000 off Electrolux French-door ice & water refrigerators.

We’ll have some of my personal favorite, steam laundry, at the sale for $1499 for a washer/dryer pair.

Maybe your kitchen and laundry room is all set, but you’ve got your eye on a grill or wine refrigerator. We’ll have those, along with Miele vacuums starting at $329.

Make sure to study my tips on HOW TO: Shop the Warners’ Stellian Warehouse Sale like a pro.