The refrigerator is perhaps the highest electricity consuming device in our homes. A major portion of our electricity bills is due to this and considering the number of refrigerators in India at present it can be easily be inferred that refrigerators are eating up a very high percentage of electricity of the country.
We therefore need to look up to how we can maintain our refrigerators and thus save energy by implementing some simple ideas into practice.

1. Open the refrigerator door sparingly, as every time it is opened cold air inside is replaced by the hot air outside which needs to be cooled. This results in compressor doing more work and thus adds to the electricity consumption significantly.

2. Hot items should be first cooled to room temperature before putting them in the refrigerator. This helps minimising compressor work.

3. Condenser coils behind or beneath the refrigerator should be cleaned once or twice a year as dust and grime insulates it from the surroundings and lowers the refrigerator efficiency.

4. Check door for door gasket air leaks. This can be done by putting a flashlight into the refrigerator and looking for light leaks. It is worth mentioning that door gasket air leaks account for a third of regular heat load of the refrigerators, and thus any defective door gaskets must be replaced immediately.

5. Avoid unnecessarily low temperature settings. Ideal temperature setting for the freezer is -18oC and that for the refrigerator is 30oC. Not adhering to this limit can increase electricity consumption by more than 25% !!

6. Avoid excessive ice build up in the interiors of the evaporator, ice insulates the interiors from the refrigerant and thus decreases efficiency. One should go for a frost free refrigerator if buying a new one.

7. Use the power-saver switch that controls the heating coils and prevents condensation on the outside surfaces in humid environments. The low wattage heaters are used to raise the temperature of the outer surfaces of the
refrigerator at critical locations above the dew point in order to avoid water droplets forming on the surfaces and sliding down. Condensation is most likely to occur in summer in hot and humid climates in homes without air-conditioning. The moisture formation on the surfaces is undesirable since it may cause the painted finish of the outer surface to deteriorate and it may wet the kitchen floor. About 10 percent of the total energy consumed by the refrigerator can be saved by turning this heater off and keeping it off unless there is visible condensation on the outer surfaces.

8. Give the refrigerator some place to breathe!! Blocking air flow to the refrigerator hampers the performance of the condenser and thus decreases efficiency.

References:
1. Thermodynamics-An Engineering Approach, Cengel and Boles.
2.Wikipedia