Making your fridge efficient might not be the most exciting topic you've ever tackled, but considering the fact that your refrigerator is probably 3rd in the power-using department after your air conditioner and your water heater, it's worth it to find out how you can save money and save the environment at the same time. Care2.com has tips on how to make sure your fridge is running optimally.
Cover liquids and keep food wrapped in the refrigerator. Food that isn't covered can release moisture, causing the compressor to work harder and leaving the foods dry and inedible. You should also clean the door gasket. You can make sure your fridge is sealing properly by closing the door on a dollar bill. If the dollar bill comes out easily without any resistance, it's time to replace the gasket. If you have a newer fridge that has a magnetic seal, place a flashlight inside the refrigerator and close the door, turn off the kitchen light, and see if you can see light leaking out.
If you keep a deep freeze or refrigerator in your garage, turn it off. It costs $310 (or more) annually to run an appliance outside. Be sure to take the door off so children can't get stuck inside.
Vacuum the condenser coils on the refrigerator at least once a year. They're usually located on the back of your fridge or underneath it. If the coils are clean, waste heat is carried off more quickly, and the refrigerator will run shorter cycles. You should also make sure there is at least 2 inches between the coils and the walls to allow for air to circulate.
If your refrigerator has a power-saving or summer/winter switch, keep it in the power-saving/winter mode. Also, if frost is built up, defrost your refrigerator. If relocation is possible, keep your fridge away from the stove, dishwasher, or direct sunlight. Keep your refrigerator set between 38 and 42 F and your freezer between 10 and 15 F, judging the temperature by a real thermometer.
Finally, keeping the refrigerator full will make it work more efficiently, and opening it as seldom and for as short of a period of time as possible will keep the cold air in.