a tupperware bowl in the freezer with a smiley face on it wearing a hat and a thermometer on the left

If you’ve read our blog lately, you’ll know that sometimes being a greener, more energy-efficient home is as easy as adjusting a few switches or dials.

You want to set both your fridge and freezer to energy-saving temps.

But what are the most energy-efficient fridge and freezer temp settings?

Your freezer should be set to approximately zero degrees Fahrenheit whereas the fridge can be anywhere from 35 to 38 degrees to keep food cool and not waste energy.

In today’s post, we’ll offer plenty of valuable tips and pointers for increasing the energy efficiency of both your fridge and freezer, so make sure you keep reading!

If you’re thinking about upgrading your home appliances, our article, “Does Buying a New Appliance Package Save Energy (Or Money)?” might be of interest.

These Are the Ideal Fridge and Freezer Temp Settings for Energy Efficiency

Energy-Efficient Freezer Settings

A fridge with open doors shoing all the food stored inside.
Keeping your fridge door open for longer than necessary will increase your energy usage and drive up your electricity bill.

Your freezer is admittedly not the biggest money-suck and energy-suck in your entire house, but it’s still using both.

According to the Energy Use Calculator, if you run your freezer for 24 hours a day and the freezer uses 35 watts, then at $0.10 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), you’d use 0.84 kWh per day, which would cost about $0.084.

That’s approximately $2.56 to run your fridge per month and $30.66 per year.

Even still, for more pronounced savings, all you have to do is set your freezer to zero degrees Fahrenheit.

It’s okay to set the temps between four and five degrees, but no higher than that.

At that temperature, you won’t have to think twice about how cold your food is, as it will stay nice and frosty no matter what you’re stashing in the freezer.

Energy-Efficient Fridge Settings

Okay, but what about your refrigerator? It’s more expensive to run than your freezer, but not by a tremendous amount.

Per the Energy Use Calculator, a fridge that’s running 24 hours per day uses 180 watts, which translates to 4.32 kWh/day.

Each month, your fridge contributes $13.14 to your energy bill. The average electric bill in the United States is $122 a month per a NerdWallet article, so your fridge is a small portion of that.

Each year, running your fridge 24/7 would cost you $157.70.

You might be able to reduce those costs moderately by resetting your fridge temperature. The ideal energy-saving temperature is 37 to 40 degrees.

More Fridge Energy Efficiency Best Practices

We want to make it clear that you won’t see pronounced energy bill savings by changing your fridge or freezer temperature or even both.

Instead, it takes a combination of measures for more significant savings. Although, as the saying goes, “every little helps.”

Here are some tips to get you started.

Upgrade to an Energy Star Fridge

A fridge with white doors next to energy ratings chart.
Improving the energy efficiency of your fridge by upgrading to an Energy Star model, will help to reduce your energy usage.

Do you have an Energy Star fridge? If not, then that’s your first order of business.

Although it’s no fun to buy a new fridge, as they’re not exactly cheap, the upgrade is worth it.

According to Energy Star’s website, if your current fridge is meeting only the minimum standards for energy efficiency, then switching to an Energy Star fridge will improve your energy efficiency by a rate of up to nine percent.

Cover Your Beverages and Foods

Once you open products especially, you want to cover or reseal them until the next use.

The reason? Open products can generate moisture, and moisture is not your fridge’s friend. The fridge will have to work much harder to dispel the moisture in the unit.

If you have naturally moisture-producing foods such as watermelon, milk, lettuce, cucumber, oranges, or peaches, then cover them before storing them in your fridge.

Test Your Fridge Door Seals

A worker replacing the door seals on a fridge.
Ensuring your fridge door seals are working properly will help to improve your unit’s efficiency.

Your fridge door might look closed, but is it really?

If it isn’t, then all that cold air is seeping out of your fridge, being replaced by the lukewarm air of your kitchen.

There’s a classic test to determine if your fridge doors seal properly when closed. Take a dollar bill, insert it into the fridge door, and push the door closed.

Try to tug at the bill. Can you get it out easily? If so, then your fridge door needs a new seal.

Your fridge door seal works well if the dollar bill gives you some resistance when tugging.

Prioritize Fridge Maintenance

Do you keep up with fridge maintenance? If not, that may explain why your refrigerator isn’t as energy efficient as it could be.

We recommend cleaning the fridge coils above all else. We talked about these coils in another recent post, so please give that a read if you missed it.

The cleaner the refrigerator coils are, the less your fridge has to strain to keep operating 24/7. You might slightly reduce your energy bill spending with clean coils!

Watch Where You Put Food

A fridge door with eggs and jars on its shelves.
Ensuring you store only items in the door of your fridge that are less susceptible to spoiling when exposed to warmth will be beneficial. It should help you avoid food waste.

Do you just stack food wherever there’s room on grocery day? While that’s one way to go about it, it’s not the most energy-efficient way, that’s for sure.

For foods you want to keep coldest, put them in the back of the fridge. Then stack up items from there.

Try to place items on the fridge doors that can stand some warming and cooling without going bad.

Since your fridge doors swing out into the room, allowing warm air to circulate around any items on the door shelves, these are exposed to the warmest air whenever you open your fridge.

More Freezer Energy Efficiency Best Practices

We next want to share some best practices for energy efficiency in your freezer, as we did with the fridge. Be sure to follow these and the tips from the section prior!

Upgrade to an Energy Star Freezer

A freezer compartment full of frozen food.
Ensuring your freezer is an Energy Star approved model will help to reduce the running costs of your unit.

Just as we recommend swapping out your old, inefficient fridge for an Energy Star fridge, we’d suggest doing the same with your freezer.

Energy Star, on its website, notes that you’ll reduce your carbon footprint by up to 4,400 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions over 12 years by purchasing an Energy Star freezer.

You can also pocket nearly $300 in savings, as your energy bills will surely go down!

Don’t Open Your Freezer Door for Longer Than Necessary

This tip also applies to your fridge. Cool air seeps out when your fridge or freezer is open for longer than necessary. In the case of your freezer, this is more than cool air but icy, cold air.

The more of this air your freezer loses, the harder the unit has to work to produce cold air for the rest of the freezer. Otherwise, your frosty goods could begin thawing, and that’s not what you want.

We’re not saying always to keep your freezer door closed. Instead, when you go in there, go in with intention.

Know what you want, have a loose idea of where it is, grab it as quickly as possible, and close the freezer door again.

Test Your Freezer Door Seals

A freezer with ice covering the door seals rendering them ineffective.
If your freezer has door seals that are ineffective, it will cost you more to run, waste energy and could result in a build-up of ice.

A freezer needs airtight seals around the door just as a fridge does to prevent the costly effects of air leaks.

Do you still have that same dollar bill handy? Good! We recommend using it to test the seal strength of your freezer doors.

You’ll recall that you don’t want the dollar bill to easily slide right out, indicative of the seals being too loose.

If you decide that your freezer (or fridge) door seals need to be tighter, do remember that you needn’t replace the entire unit. You need new seals, which are far less expensive and much easier to install.

Don’t Push the Freezer Right Against the Wall

When determining the position of a new freezer, it should never be flush against the wall. You want to afford several inches of space. The same goes if you’re installing the freezer near kitchen cabinets.

Those few extra inches provide more air circulation, which makes it easier for your fridge to work.


Tweaking the respective temperatures of your refrigerator and freezer are two ways to shave small sums off your yearly utility bill, but that’s not all you can do.

You should also test the door seals, prioritize unit maintenance, and only open the fridge or freezer for the briefest moment to get what you need.

Most importantly, upgrade your fridge or freezer to an Energy Star-certified unit. Once you begin seeing more significant savings in your utility bills, you’ll be glad you did!

If you’d like to know more about home energy consumption, including how best to monitor it, take a look at our article entitled, “How To Monitor Your Home Energy Consumption (With Best Products).”

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