Almost one third of Canadian households keep an extra fridge. They are called ‘beer fridges’.

Update: Manitoba Hydro is now offering a $40 incentive to trade in your old fridge.  There are 194,000 fridges over 15 years old in Manitoba.  These appliances waste $20 million in electricity each year.  If you have one, call 1-8-555-FRIDGE (1-855-537-4343) or visit to have your energy waster picked up.

Often kept downstairs in or in the garage, these appliances ensure an easy stock of cold ones that won’t run out during an overtime match or when guests drop in. They are among the wasteful conveniences we have grown used to, but cost more than they are worth, both to the household budget and the environment.

Beer fridges are usually older models. Two thirds of them are more then ten years old, while antiques from the 80’s and 90’s are still plugged in to three quarters of a million basements across the country. These older models are typically higher energy users. Models from before 1985 draw nearly three times as much power as their modern, energy-efficient cousins.

As a result, an extra fridge can cost a household as much as $150 per year to run. It is estimated that if all the beer fridges in Canada were unplugged, it would provide enough energy to light up and power 100,000 homes. Although in Manitoba, the greenhouse gas emissions from hydro power are small, this increased load puts pressure on more hydro dam development, leading to more flooding and disruption of forests in Northern and First Nations communities. It also means that we have less power to export, which could potentially replace damaging coal-based generation in the US Midwest.

Tune in, unplug and recycle.

If you have an extra refrigerator and want to get rid of it, be sure to dispose of it properly. Older models contain especially dangerous chemicals like CFCs that can destroy our fragile ozone layer if not properly recycled. Call the Manitoba branch of The Kidney Foundation of Canada at 257-1212. Their Home Appliance Retirement Program (HARP)  offers free pick-up of many major appliances and other metal items.