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Carol Obando-Derstine, PPL headshot
Carol Obando-Derstine

By Carol Obando-Derstine, Regional Affairs Director, PPL Electric Utilities

Do you have an old refrigerator taking up space in your kitchen or garage? It’s not just an eyesore, it’s also a money pit.

According to ENERGY STAR®, there are about 190 million refrigerators and refrigerator-freezers in use in the United States today, and more than 68 million of them are more than 10 years old. These retro refrigerators aren’t as energy efficient as their modern-day counterparts, and they cost consumers $5.5 billion in energy costs annually.

That translates to more than $200 in added energy costs over the 12-year life of each appliance.

Old, energy wasting refrigerators also take a toll on the environment. If all refrigerators sold in the U.S. were ENERGY STAR certified – which means they use about 9 percent less energy than older models – 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions would be prevented every year. That’s equal to the emissions from more than 870,000 vehicles.

Getting rid of older large appliances is the right thing to do for your pocketbook and your planet, but how can you tell if it’s time to make a change? Look for these five telltale signs that you should consider retiring your refrigerator:

  • The appliance is accumulating ice.
  • There are signs of moisture inside the fridge.
  • The seal on the refrigerator door is broken.
  • The motor is generating more heat than usual.
  • The motor is running continuously.

If you think it’s time to move on from your old refrigerator, you’ll need to determine the best way to do it responsibly. That’s where PPL Electric Utilities’ Appliance Recycling Program comes in. We’ll haul away your old fridge for free and give you $35 for your efforts.

PPL’s appliance recycling partner uses state-of-the-art technology to safely de-manufacture and recycle your appliance, recovering about 95 percent of the materials for other uses, for example:

  • Steel parts are used in rails and railroad cars.
  • Foam and insulation are used in cement products.
  • Plastic components are used in computers and other products.
  • Compressors are converted into fan motors.

If you decide to upgrade your fridge to a more modern and efficient model, you can feel good about saving energy and money. Plus, when you recycle a refrigerator, you can add on a freezer, air conditioner or dehumidifier.

To learn more, visit