Keeping refrigerators at their optimum temperature can help cut down on energy waste.

Photograph by Huw Jones/Photolibrary

Usage Tips

  • Don't keep your fridge too cold. Refrigerators should be kept between 37 and 40 degrees and freezers at 5 degrees. Colder temperatures waste energy. To test the temperature, leave an appliance thermometer in a glass of water in the middle shelf for 24 hours. In the freezer, place a thermometer among packs of frozen food.
  • Clean the coils annually.
  • Cover food and drink to avoid evaporation in the fridge, which can force the compressor to work harder.
  • Keep your freezer filled. Frozen blocks of food keep freezer temperatures more stable.
  • Don't clutter the fridge top. Clutter can hamper the compressor's proper air circulation.
  • Don't put your refrigerator in direct sunlight or next to an oven or dishwasher.
  • Check the door seals. They should be able to hold a piece of paper in place.
  • Defrost the freezer regularly and avoid frost build-ups of more than a quarter-inch.

« Environmental Impact


Save Water

Learn More About Freshwater »


  • change-the-course-dry-co.jpg

    Help Save the Colorado River

    NG's new Change the Course campaign launches. When individuals pledge to use less water in their own lives, our partners carry out restoration work in the Colorado River Basin.

  • National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C.

    Sustainability at National Geographic

    The National Geographic Society aims to be an international leader for global conservation and environmental sustainability. Learn more about the Society's green philosophy and initiatives.

Learn More About Freshwater »