July 13, 2022

Many Hoosiers have a second fridge — but it's not the best for your wallet or the environment

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The percentage of households with multiple refrigerators – like this one in a garage – has been rising since the late '80s. - Provided By Chris Chapman

The percentage of households with multiple refrigerators – like this one in a garage – has been rising since the late '80s.

Provided By Chris Chapman

Hoosiers are more likely to have a second refrigerator than people in most other states. Having multiple fridges can drive up your electric bills and pollute the environment.

Recent data from the Energy Information Administration shows 40 percent of Hoosiers surveyed had two or more refrigerators. Only four states ranked higher in the percentage of households with multiple fridges — Idaho, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Refrigerators can use up a lot of energy — especially if they have to work extra hard to keep cool in a hot garage. Jennifer Amann is a senior fellow with the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

“So if you have a second refrigerator — particularly one that's, you know, 15 or 20 years old now — that could be costing you $80, $100 or even more than $100 a year to operate," she said.

That often means burning more coal and natural gas for that electricity.

“So, for the time being at least, we certainly want to try to minimize that to deal with the climate crisis," Amann said.


 

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Many fridges also leak a powerful greenhouse gas called hydrofluorocarbons or HFCs — though they’re slowly being phased down.

The percentage of households with multiple refrigerators has been rising since the late '80s. The EIA said people with larger homes are more likely to have multiple fridges.

Amann said instead of using that second fridge, you might consider buying a larger main fridge, an energy-efficient mini fridge, or — for hunters — a chest freezer. You can also unplug your second fridge when you don’t need it.

There are also several online resources that can help you purchase more energy-efficient appliances like the Environmental Protection Agency's EnergyStar website and the Enervee Choice Engine.

Contact reporter Rebecca at rthiele@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

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