Taming the beast: Energy-sucking refrigerators

Every so often, I come across a statistic that makes me pause for a moment. This week, the big stat was 14%, which is the amount of household electricity that the average refrigerator consumes. By comparison, lighting takes up a measly 9%, clothes dryers take up 6%, and color TVs take up 3%. This makes refrigerators the single most energy-consuming appliance in the average home. Incidentally, this also means that roughly $0.14 of every dollar spent on electricity goes to paying for the fridge. That's a lot of money.

One solution, of course, is to throw away the old icebox and pick up a new one, preferably a model with the new "Energy Star" rating. These fridges use half the electricity of models produced before 1993, 40% less than models produced in 2001, and 15% less than the current government regulations require. That having been said, new refrigerators are pricey, and you might not have several hundred dollars burning a hole in your pocket. While you save up for an Energy Star fridge, here are a few things that you can do to put your refrigerator on an electricity diet: