The big chill: green fridges and freezers

My Hotpoint fridge-freezer

I’ve been fascinated by a feature on fridge and freezer efficiency in the latest issue of Ethical Consumer magazine. Apparently they’ve generally become much more efficient over the last 15 years, but this is pretty much negated by the fact that

A) we’re all now buying giant super-fridges which could chill enough fish for the feeding of the 5,000 and…..

B) we now keep our homes so overly warm inside that fridge-freezers have to work doubly hard to maintain their temperature.

I checked out how my own fridge scores in Ethical Consumer’s rating: I have a Hotpoint HM 3121 fridge-freezer combo, which Hotpoint doesn’t seem to make any more, but I found a website online saying it is ‘A rated’ in terms of efficiency.

‘A’ rating is not all that hard to come by now, according to the article, so they’ve had to devise ‘A+’ and ‘A++’. So while Hotpoint’s “A=” range came out in second place in the buyer’s guide, my ‘A’ rated one is probably not so great.

A couple of interesting things I’ve picked up though:

1) If you open the fridge door for 10 seconds, it takes 40 minutes to cool back down to its original temperature (I often find myself staring vacantly into the fridge wondering how to fashion a meal out of half a tub of Philadelphia), and…

2) You should aim to have your fridge three-quarters full. Any more and the air can’t circulate and it’ll be harder for it to maintain its temperature. Until five minutes ago, things were piled so high in our fridge that it was like some kind of black hole. I’ve just had a rejig so it’s looking better now.

A few of the other points raised in the feature I did already know – like not putting anything warm into the fridge (always tempting with a jelly), and not placing your fridge-freezer next to your cooker.

But I’ve learnt some really valuable stuff and will be instructing flatmate on the new refrigeration regime.

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