When upgrading to a new refrigerator or freezer, there are three things that you should consider:
First, how old is your refrigerator/freezer? While your old refrigerator may still look good and work well, if you bought it before 1993, it's more than likely using a significant amount of energy -- in fact, more than twice the energy of a new ENERGY STAR qualified model. In addition, since refrigerant wears out and seals start to leak over time, the unit's performance will start to suffer as well.
Second, how much are you paying to keep this refrigerator running? On average, refrigerators manufactured before 1993 cost over $65 more per year to operate than new ENERGY STAR qualified models, while refrigerators manufactured before 1980 can cost about $200 more per year! If you know the model number of your refrigerator or freezer, use the ENERGY STAR Refrigerator Retirement Savings Calculator to get a better idea of the relative operating cost of your current model in comparison to a new ENERGY STAR qualified model. While this tool may not include every model ever made, it does include data for a very large number of refrigerators and freezers.
Lastly, what's the right way to dispose of your old refrigerator? If it is pre-1993 then you should recycle it. Depending on the year they were manufactured, the refrigerant and insulation in older refrigerators/freezers may contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which are ozone depleting chemicals. In addition to depleting the ozone layer, these substances are also potent greenhouse gases (GHGs) that contribute to climate change when emitted to the atmosphere. In 1996, CFCs were officially phased out, and it is now required that these materials be recycled so that the CFCs are not released into the atmosphere. Here are 4 Ways to recycle your old refrigerator.
Visit www.energystar.gov/refrigerators to learn more.