An Empty Fridge Could Actually Cost You. Here's Why

It might seem like keeping your fridge empty can be a big money saver, but unfortunately, it has the opposite effect. This is because the components that keep your fridge running, like the compressor, have to compensate for the lack of mass inside. This ultimately means that your appliance will start sucking up more energy than necessary, which will be reflected in your monthly electricity bill. 

Long term, the outcome doesn't look good, either — keeping an empty fridge can also shorten its life expectancy. To prevent your refrigerator from eating up your paycheck, it's important to keep it fed. Food keeps the internal temperature consistent, which helps reduce the refrigerator's need to turn on the compressor. 

On the other hand, it can also be equally costly if you end up throwing food away. If you do need to keep your fridge empty, you can always unplug it to save money and improve its longevity. If you still want to keep it running, then perhaps opting for a modern refrigerator with adaptive cooling technology would be a better option for you.

It's not great for your fridge or your wallet

The compressor is one of the most important components of your fridge because it's responsible for circulating refrigerator coolant through the cooling system. Because of its prominent role, the compressor also happens to be one of the most expensive parts to replace, too. When a fridge is empty, or near empty, it's forced to work harder to keep the temperature consistent, which puts a lot of strain on the compressor.

This excessive energy consumption is reflected in your monthly electricity bill, and down the line can also cause some seriously costly repairs, replacements, or worse. On the flip side,  overstuffing your fridge can have a similar effect, because more food means more to cool down, and also overworks your poor fridge compressor. This can lead to uneven cooling and over-freezing, which leads to food loss, money wasted, and the possibility of illness from improperly stored food.

Work with your fridge to save some money

For optimal fridge functionality, it is recommended that you keep your fridge around two-thirds full. Repeatedly opening and closing the door to see if it has cooled down — or if any food has magically appeared — is also not recommended because it causes the temperature to drop, which means the compressor has to kick on again. Check the seals to make sure they're in proper working order and aren't slowly losing their grip (or have come off completely). Energy Star certified refrigerators use less energy than their star-less counterparts, which means they're good for both your wallet and the environment. 

To prevent spoilage and food poisoning, keep your refrigerator set to below 40 degrees — the recommended ideal temperature is 37 degrees. Any lower and your food might begin to freeze, which can cause wastage. When in doubt, refrigerator thermometers are a great option because they'll quickly tell you if something isn't right.