Halloween season is upon us, and with it comes an abundance of scares as children dress up as superheroes and demand candy from strangers. But the real horror is in your kitchen, where a 200-pound vampire sucks copious amounts of power to keep its cold chassis functioning. I am, of course, talking about your old refrigerator. That large box that keeps your beer, last night’s pizza, and the expired milk nice and chilly is also a stone-cold energy murderer.

Stock photo of four abandoned red refrigerators

Ever wonder why that utility bill is so high? It could be your old fridge that’s bleeding your wallet. Utilities know this, which is why many have refrigerator-recycling programs to incentivize customers to switch to newer, more-energy-efficient models that don’t shred through energy and will help slash that electricity bill.

For many utilities, however, refrigerator-recycling programs have been a nightmare. The figure below shows how the value of appliance-recycling programs is decreasing. In just four years, the cost of saving 1 kilowatt-hour has doubled. As the average refrigerator model found in a household becomes more efficient, the savings from trading it in become more and more marginal.

The rising costs of appliance-recycling programs

Utility costs per kilowatt-hour saved rose more than 100 percent between 2011 and 2014

The E Source report Maintaining a Cost-Effective Refrigerator-Recycling Program in Challenging Times details the ways utilities can keep these costs low so they can continue to offer refrigerator-recycling programs. One method is by focusing on secondary refrigerators that often haunt basements and garages to keep those additional cases of beer cold. These fridges are usually older than even that monster in your kitchen, and are responsible for the disappearance of countless innocent kilowatts. Because they’re older and less efficient, these secondary fridges could be sent to their graves to provide even greater energy savings.

Do you have an older fridge? Does your utility offer a refrigerator-recycling program? If so, you should really think about taking advantage of the killer savings on your energy bill by switching to a newer, energy-efficient unit. And you shouldn’t feel guilty for getting rid of your faithful old fridge because after you toss it aside and let it be handled by strangers, it will be disemboweled and its various parts will be distributed to scrap yards, hazardous-materials facilities, and other hellscapes—only to rise again and be used in a wide range of other products … like plastic jack-o’-lanterns.

“Mwah-ha-ha. I used to be a refrigerator.”

Stock photo of a plastic jack-o'-lantern