For many Ameren Illinois Utilities (AIU) electric customers, savings can begin with just one phone call. AIU will pay an electric customer $35 for a standard size refrigerator or freezer manufactured before 1993. The appliance must be operating and used as a secondary unit located in a garage or basement.
"Those old refrigerators and freezers out in garages and down in basements waste a lot of energy," said Karen Warnke, Ameren Illinois Utilities Customer Service energy efficiency advisor. "A standard size secondary refrigerator might cost $100 or more a year to operate."
Eligible Ameren Illinois Utilities electric customers should call 1-866-899-9088 to schedule a pickup of their refrigerator or freezer.
The call center is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The refrigerator and freezer program is part of Act On Energy, the AIU energy efficiency initiative for residential and business customers. Complete information, including energy conservation tips, are available at ActOnEnergy.com.
Getting the most out of a refrigerator or freezer begins with sound advice most people heard from their parents - close the door. Minimizing the amount of time a refrigerator or freezer door is open keeps cold air in which lowers energy costs. Other tips include:
Keep refrigerators at 35 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit and freezers at 0 degrees Fahrenheit for maximum performance and food safety.
Make certain there are a few inches between the back of the refrigerator or freezer and the wall to allow for proper air circulation.
Replace door seals that are not airtight.
Avoid placing refrigerators and freezers near heat sources such as ranges, dishwaters, direct sunlight and heat vents.
Manual defrost freezers should be defrosted when ice builds up to one-quarter of an inch.
When buying a new refrigerator or freezer, select a model that is ENERGY STAR qualified for maximum energy efficiency and the features you need. Other tips include:
Refrigerators with a top-mounted freezers use 10 to 25 percent less energy than side-by-side and bottom-mount freezer models.
Typically, the most energy efficient refrigerators have 16 to 20 cubic feet of space. In most cases, larger freezers use more energy than smaller models.
Automatic ice makers and through-the-door water/ice dispensers will increase energy use by as much as 20 percent, while adding up to $250 to the purchase price.
Consider buying a chest freezer, which typically use less energy than an upright model.