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use 50% or less available refrigerator & freezer space

That's interesting - I had always heard that a full refrigerator/freezer was more energy efficient, because it was better insulated - i.e. when you open the door it doesn't take as long to cool back down because there is a big mass of cooled stuff in there already. Well, that isn't the most articulate of explanations, but it made sense when it was explained to me. I've even heard of the recommendation to put bottles of water in the fridge/freezer to take up more space.

Is this something that varies, perhaps by the age of the appliance, or did you mean to type 50% or more of the available fridge/freezer space?


Might be that I'm just spreading myth or anecdotal evidence? I always thought that was true for 2 reasons.

#1 you don't have to rearrange & hunt to find stuff so the door is only opened briefly as opposed to leaving it open for 30 - 60 secs while you rearrange and look for things. You can easily see what you need & grab it quickly. Same for putting it back.

#2 Circulation inside is more even and you don't have different levels of temp which means you can typically adjust the temp a little higher. When ours (large side by side) is full, stuff at the bottom isn't as cold as stuff at the top. Sometimes milk or water will start to freeze on the top shelf when the fridge is packed. This never happens when it isn't packed, so I assume it's because the excess volume prevents temperature from evening out and traps colder air near the top. Counter to what would be expected with warmer air rising, but that's what happens. I keep thermometers in the fridge & freezers. I notice a difference when they're full vs when they're not so full w/o adjusting the thermostat any.

Would be an interesting experiment to attach a kill-a-watt and compare results to see if there is any real difference in energy use over time with different levels of volume stored inside.
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