You've been using your fridge freezer all wrong – simple mistakes that are pushing up energy bills | The Sun

AS the cost of living crisis bites, one thing you can’t switch off to save money is your fridge freezer. 

But you can make sure you aren’t making any simple mistakes that will cost you more money.

Common faux pas like leaving the door open or letting ice build up in the freezer tray will add to your running costs. 

So simple tips could really help as the cost of living rises for millions households. 

Energy prices are at an all time high and are expected to rise further this year, putting more pressure on family finances.

Bills rocketed back in April when the energy price cap leapt to £1,971.

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And new analysis has forecast that bills will rocket by another £1,300 this October to an eye-watering £3,244.

If you are using your fridge freezer all wrong then you could be adding more to your bills than necessary.

Here are the mistakes you've been making, and how to cut costs.

Defrost your freezer compartment

If you don't defrost your freezer compartment regularly it could add as much as £150 a year to your bill based on today's prices.

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When ice builds up, it increases the amount of work your freezer’s motor needs to do to keep your food cool. 

And the harder your motor is working, the more energy you are using. 

To avoid the problem, watch out for a build up of ice (you'll probably notice it when one of the drawers jams!) and take this as a sign you're due a defrost.

Don’t overpack the fridge

You should also try to avoid squeezing in too much food in your fridge or freezer.

When your appliance is overstuffed it can make it harder to keep your food cold, forcing the motor to work harder.

Experts at Energyhelpline told The Sun: "Unclutter your fridge – make sure it isn’t packed to the brim.

"This is particularly important near the ventilating outlets, as keeping space at the top and sides of your fridge helps the cool air move around more easily."

This doesn’t mean you should keep your fridge too empty though as this can waste energy too – but do a regular stock take to check it's not filled up with items you don't need (or which are past their best).

There are some items, however, that can actually help you keep your appliance cool such as bottles of tap water, which quickly chill or freeze and help cool other items too.

Choose the right spot

Where exactly in your kitchen you place your fridge is surprisingly important – spots could be troublesome if trying to keep costs to a minimum.

Experts at Uswitch said to place your appliance away from your cooker and make sure it isn't in direct sunlight.

That's because it's going to operate better in a cooler spot.

The heat from a cooker or too much sun shining onto your fridge freezer could impact its temperature. 

Keeping you fridge freezer at least 10cm from the wall is also important. 

This is because the appliance needs air circulation to allow its coils to work most efficiently to cool itself down. 

Experts at Repairaid said: "If your fridge doesn’t have the right ventilation, or lacks space around it, then this can drive energy efficiency down by as much as 15%."

Check the seals 

Make sure you check the seals on your fridge freezer are in good order.

The principle is the same with draughts in your home but the other way around – with a fridge, you don't want the cool air to escape or hot air to get in.

Both scenarios will make your fridge work harder, using more energy in the process.

You can check whether the seals are working by opening the door, holding a bit of paper where the door shuts, and then closing it. 

If the paper can’t be pulled out, then your seal is working – but if the paper comes out you might have a problem. 

It’s a simple fix though and you should be able to replace the seals yourself without calling in a professional – they're usually available online for £30 to £100. 

Keep the door shut

It goes without saying that you shouldn't leave the fridge door open more than necessary.

When the door is open, the cold air is able to escape and your appliance will have to cool it down again, using more energy.

Sarah Broomfield, energy expert at Uswitch.com, told The Sun: “Try not to keep the doors open for too long, especially on hot days, as this will cause the temperature to rise, meaning your appliance will need to work harder to cool back down.”

Avoid the problem by trying to be quick when you're getting anything out of the fridge, or restocking it.

There are devices or specific fridges that have a camera inside so you can decide what to have for dinner or what you need to get at the supermarket without even opening the door.

Set the temperature

Setting your fridge and freezer at the right temperature will make sure you're not wasting too much energy keeping things too cool – or risking spoiling you food if it's too warm.

Energy Saving Trust told The Sun: “The Food Standards Agency recommends your fridge is set at 5 degrees so it’s worth checking the internal temperature and adjusting it if you can."

The energy experts at Uswitch said a good temperature to keep your fridge at is between 3 and 5°C, and for your freezer it's -18 °C.

Those temperatures are recommended to keep your food cool and at a healthy and safe level without being so cold that your fridge has to work any harder than it needs to.

That will help keep your bills down as much as possible.

Keep it clean

Next time you're cleaning the inside of your fridge, try to remember the back of it too.

If dust builds up on the condenser coils, it can prevent your appliance from cooling properly.

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And if it’s particularly thick it can reduce the efficiency by as much as 25% according to Which?

You can use a vacuum cleaner to make sure all the dust and dirt is out of the way and not causing problems. 

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