So you've just bought a new fridge, and chosen one that's energy efficient, but did you know that there are a few simple things you can do to save even more energy once you get it home? The way you use your refrigerator and freezer can lead to big energy savings for you and your family.

First, when choosing a refrigerator, be sure to select the right size. Determine your household's needs before purchasing a refrigerator or freezer. One that is too large wastes energy.

Second, don't set the temperature colder than necessary. Refrigerators should be set between 36 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit, and freezers between 0 and 5 degrees. Keeping your refrigerator and freezer full can also help regulate the temperature inside. If they aren't full, try putting bags of ice in the freezer, or pitchers of cold water in the fridge.

Also be careful to avoid heating up the inside of the fridge by inserting containers holding hot food or drink. Instead of putting a hot casserole straight in to the fridge, let it cool off for a few minutes. This will keep the fridge from using more electricity to maintain a cold temperature.

And lastly, keep your refrigerator or freezer away from direct heat. Place the refrigerator or freezer away from direct sunlight and other heat sources such as ovens or ranges. Heat will cause the unit to use more energy to stay cold.

Amanda McAlpin works for New West Technologies supporting the Vehicle Technologies Program at the U.S. Department of Energy.