How to Calculate your Fridge’s Electric Consumption?
No modern home would be complete without a refrigerator. After all, who doesn’t want cold drinks and fresh food right within their reach? And this is provided by this household appliance. Unfortunately, a fridge uses up a lot of electricity, typically accounting for around one-sixth of an average US household’s power consumption.
Because it’s a machine that makes our lives more comfortable, we take the hefty charges it adds to our electricity bill, believing that we can’t do anything to lower its energy consumption. However, if you aim to have an energy-efficient home, you’ll need to determine the electricity costs of your appliances. Doing so is one way to manage your power consumption.
So how many watts does a refrigerator use? The answer depends on several factors, which we’ll now look into to help you better understand this vital appliance’s power usage.
Type of Fridge
Like with most household appliances, such as a clothes dryer or an AC unit, the type of fridge you have affects how much electricity it uses.
Bottom-mount refrigerators also called bottom freezer refrigerators, have a fresh food section on top and a freezer compartment at the bottom. The advantages of these models are better access to fresh foods and beverages, which are likely the products you use the most, and bigger freezer space, especially when compared to their top-mount counterparts.
However, when it comes to energy efficiency, bottom-mount fridges often consume more kilowatt-hours. In modern refrigerators, the compressor sits at the lower portion of the unit close to the freezer. Because compressors generate heat while they work to cool the fridge’s compartments, it affects the temperature inside the freezer, forcing the motor to work harder to maintain the optimum temperature.
Side-by-side refrigerators have two separate compartments, each featuring its own door. The freezer container is on one side, while the fresh food compartment is on the other. One of the significant advantages of these models is convenience because they allow you to better organize and easily access your foodstuff.
This type of fridge uses more electricity in terms of energy consumption, with an Energy Star-certified model taking up around 630 kWh or about $75 a year, on average. In comparison, a bottom-mount freezer with an Energy Star rating requires around 560 kWh or $70 a year to run.
This fridge type generally uses less energy compared to other models. Top-mount freezers owe their lower power consumption to the refrigerator’s design, where the heat-producing compressor is tucked at the bottom of the unit, well away from the freezer.
On average, the energy consumption of top-mount fridges with Energy Star certifications is around 360 kWh. This slashes about $45 a year on your electricity costs.
Factors Affecting Energy Consumption
Power consumption is not only based on the location of the fridge’s freezer. Other aspects can influence your appliance’s power usage and, in effect, your energy savings.
- Size: The larger your fridge is, the more power it consumes due to the space that needs cooling.
- Condition: Rubber gaskets around your freezer and fridge doors keep cold air in. Leaky seals affect the energy efficiency of your refrigerator because the compressor needs to work harder to maintain the temperature inside your appliance. Some simple tests will tell you if you need to replace your gaskets.
- Age: Old conventional models generally have higher power usage than newer Energy Star certified refrigerators.
- Kitchen’s ambient temperature: Higher ambient temperatures make the compressor run more to maintain the temperature in the fridge’s compartments, thus increasing the kilowatt-hours it consumes.
- Location of the fridge: Warm or poorly ventilated areas will lead to increased electricity usage and possible breakdowns due to overheating.
- Refrigerator’s temperature set point: The factory setting of your fridge may be too cold for your needs. Ideally, the temperature dial should be around 4-5°C for your refrigerator and -18°C for your freezer. Increasing the setting by 1°C will hike your power consumption by 5%-10%.
- Usage: Frequently opening and closing the fridge door lets in warm air, forcing the compressor to work double-time to keep things cool. Moreover, an empty fridge uses more energy than a fully stocked one because more warm air gets in every time the door opens.
How Many Watts Does it Take to Run a Refrigerator?
Next to the AC unit, your fridge comes next in using the most electricity in your home, consuming around 350-780 watts per day. Let’s see how we can estimate your unit’s power usage.
Identify Your Fridge’s Volts and Amps
You’ll first need to identify the wattage of your refrigerator. You can usually find this in a sticker on the inside wall of your fridge or at the back of the unit. It’s also listed in the user’s manual. Locate the figures stating the appliance’s volts and amps. If it’s an old fridge, it likely uses 115 volts and 7 amps. New ones usually run on 5 amps.
Estimate the Running Wattage
You can use the information you found in your refrigerator’s compliance plate or manual to estimate its running wattage, which is the amount of power it draws in a continuous mode.
Multiply the volts with the amps to get the running wattage. The equation goes like this:
WATTS=VOLTS x AMPS
Compute for the Cost
To determine how much it costs to run your fridge, multiply the running wattage by the number of hours the unit operates. In the case of your refrigerator, you can assume that it works 24 hours a day, so your equation will look like this if we use 350 as the unit’s running watts.
24 x 130 = 8,400
Divide the answer by 1,000 to convert watts into kilowatts and get the per kilowatt-hour costs.
8,400 ÷ 1,000 = 8.4 kWh
This means that your refrigerator uses 8.4 kilowatt-hours per day. Using this figure, you can compute the appliance’s monthly costs by multiplying the kWh by the number of days in a month and then by the power price in your area.
8.4 x 30 = 252 kWh
Let’s assume that your area’s power rate is $0.10 per kWh.
252 x .10 = 25.2
That’s $25.20 a month.
However, many factors will influence how much power your fridge consumes, so this is just a rough estimate.
Using a Generator to Power Your Fridge
In today’s changing climate, power outages are becoming frequent occurrences. If you have a generator, you might consider using it to run your refrigerator. But before you do so, determine if your generator’s capacity can safely power your fridge.
- Aside from your refrigerator’s rated wattage, you’ll need to account for its starting wattage, which is the initial jolt of energy required to start the compressor. If you can’t find the starting wattage, you can compute it using the rated wattage indicated in your unit’s nameplate or manual.
- Multiply the rated wattage by 1.5 to estimate the starting wattage. As an example, let’s assume that your refrigerator runs at 700 watts. (700 x 1.5 = 1,050)
- Check the output rating of your generator to find out if it’s big enough to cover the starting watts of your fridge. A generator with a 1,500 output rating will safely power your fridge, which requires 1,050 to start the compressor. In contrast, one with a power output of 800 watts will likely blow a fuse or trip the breaker due to insufficient capacity.
- For safety, use heavy-duty cords to connect the generator and your fridge. Skinny extension cords won’t do and may become fire hazards if they overheat.
Using Your Refrigerator More Efficiently
Here are a few ways you can reduce your refrigerator’s power consumption.
Keep Away from Heat Sources
Refrigerators use more power to keep the compartments cool when the surrounding air is hot. To save on your electric bills, place your unit away from hot spots such as large windows that let plenty of sun in or next to heat-producing appliances like stoves or ovens. Also, make sure that your fridge is in a well-ventilated area and not jammed in between the wall and kitchen cabinets.
Get the Right Temperature Setting
Freezers and fridges that are too cold waste energy. Set your unit to the right temperature. You can use a thermometer to ensure optimization in that area. You can also employ these common guidelines: 4˚C for the fridge and -15˚C for the freezer.
Always Keep your fridge clean
Although an empty refrigerator tends to use more power, especially when you frequently open and close the door, filling one up over its capacity will lead to the same problem. So make it a habit to clean your fridge regularly, say, every 3 months, to get rid of old food and beverages. While you’re at it, sweep or vacuum under the unit, dust the coils at the back and wash the kick plate as well.
Cool Anything First
Putting piping hot dishes inside your fridge will force the compressor to work harder, thus consuming more power. So cool cooked food down to room temperature before they go into the refrigerator.
Can a 2000 watt generator run a refrigerator?
You can use a generator to run your refrigerator and other appliances as long as the generator’s capacity is higher than the starting watts of what you intend to power it with. That means a 2000-watts generator can safely run your fridge if its surge wattage is lower than 2,000 watts.
How many amps does a small refrigerator use?
On average, a 20-cubic feet mini-refrigerator consumes between 185 and 280 watts or the equivalent of 0.185 and 0.28 kilowatt-hours.
Is an inverter refrigerator worth it?
Although inverter refrigerators typically cost more than conventional models, you can quickly recover the extra upfront costs from the amount you save on your power bills.
Refrigerator compressors with inverter technology don’t switch off when the temperature stabilizes. Instead, they run at slower speeds to maintain the optimum coolness inside the compartments, thus consuming less energy, resulting in lower power expenses.
Will a 1000 watt inverter run a refrigerator?
The answer depends on the refrigerator wattage, particularly its starting or surge wattage. For example, a fridge that consumes 1000 watts a day may require 2,000 watts of surge power to start. So a typical 1000 watt inverter with a 2000 surge peak capacity will be enough for your refrigerator.
Your refrigerator is not the only appliance that consumes energy. But because it needs a lot of power to run, optimizing its use for energy efficiency will let you see savings on your utility expenses. Thus, knowing how to use your fridge wisely is an excellent way to leverage your conservation goals.
Moreover, by knowing how to calculate its power requirements, you’ll be able to make the right choice when you need to shop for a replacement.
Electricity usage of a Refrigerator
Refrigerators are one of the most common household appliances and are used to preserve food by keeping it cool, most refrigerators also come with a built-in freezer box for freezing food. Modern refrigerators are very energy efficient compared to older models from a few decades ago. A fridge will use anywhere from 100 to 400 watts depending on size, a large fridge will use about 180 watts or 1575 kWh annually.
This calculator does not account for compressor cycles and other factors which can drastically increase or decrease power usage. You will need to know an average running wattage of your fridge to get an accurate result, if you input the rated wattage you will get a highly inflated result. One way to determine the actual running wattage is to find the daily or annual kWh rating and use that as the baseline for your calculation. For example if the annual kWh rating is 875 kWh, divided by 365 days will give you about 2.4 kWh per day, which means the average wattage (accounting for all factors) is about 100 watts.
Click calculate to find the energy consumption of a refrigerator using 180 Watts for 24 hours a day @ $0.10 per kWh.
Hours Used Per Day: Enter how many hours the device is being used on average per day, if the power consumption is lower than 1 hour per day enter as a decimal. (For example: 30 minutes per day is 0.5)
Power Use (Watts): Enter the average power consumption of the device in watts.
Price (kWh): Enter the cost you are paying on average per kilowatt hour, our caculators use the default value of 0.10 or 10 cents. To find an exact price check your electricity bill or take a look at Global Electricity Prices.
If you are using an old fridge we highly recommend you upgrade to a more efficient modern model, advances in the past 15-20 years have reduced the energy use of refrigeration. If your refrigerator has been purchased in the last 10 years then buying a new one may not give you a significant improvement.
The Wattage Requirements of Average Refrigerators
Knowing the wattage demanded by a refrigerator is important when considering whether to replace your current refrigerator with a more energy-efficient model or looking into different ways of reducing your overall electric consumption. Most refrigerators have electric demand information on the manufacturer’s nameplate, which typically is located below the door, behind the front kickplate or on the back of the refrigerator.
An average 21-cubic-foot side-by-side refrigerator-freezer demands about 780 watts when in operation. Once you know the wattage demanded by your refrigerator, you can figure out how much the refrigerator costs to run. Utilities sell electricity by the kilowatt-hour, so you need to convert watts to kilowatt-hours to figure your operating cost.
Multiply watts of demand by the number of hours per day an appliance is used and divide the result by 1,000 to get kilowatt-hours. Because refrigerators cycle on and off all day and night, the U.S. Department of Energy’s rule of thumb is to assume eight hours of operating time per day. If your refrigerator demands 780 watts, multiply 780 by eight hours to get 6,240 watts per day. Divide that amount by 1,000 to get 6.24 kilowatt-hours. If your utility charges 13 cents per kilowatt hour, for example, your refrigerator will cost you 81 cents per day or $24.30 per month for electricity.
Herb Kirchhoff has more than three decades of hands-on experience as an avid garden hobbyist and home handyman. Since retiring from the news business in 2008, Kirchhoff takes care of a 12-acre rural Michigan lakefront property and applies his experience to his vegetable and flower gardens and home repair and renovation projects.
How Many Watts Does a Refrigerator Use? [Or Mini-Fridge]
No kitchen is complete without a refrigerator. But did you know that your fridge may be adding a hefty charge to your energy bill? It might surprise you how much it costs to keep your food fresh. Fortunately, there are several easy ways to increase your fridge’s energy efficiency.
It’s important to calculate how many watts your refrigerator uses to understand its burden on your electric bill and what you can do to lower costs.
How many watts does a refrigerator use?
The average home refrigerator uses 350-780 watts.
Refrigerator power usage depends on different factors, such as what kind of fridge you own, its size and age, the kitchen’s ambient temperature, the type of refrigerator, and where you place it.
Different types of fridges have different power requirements. For example, a new Energy-Star certified refrigerator runs up to 9 percent more efficiently than other models — and significantly more so than older appliances. Small, mini-fridges require less power than full-sized kitchen refrigerators. Additionally, top-mount fridges are more energy efficient than their side-by-side counterparts.
How Many Watts Does a Mini-Fridge Use?
Mini-fridge wattages vary based on cooling capabilities and manufacturer, but most products require somewhere between 50 and 100 watts of power.
Like other appliances, mini-fridge power consumption details will be listed within your owner's manual (in watts). Advancements in technology allow newer models to keep food and drinks chilled using less power than offerings on the market several years back. This is why most small refrigerators only run for about eight hours, one-third of the day.
How much electricity does a mini fridge use? This will depend on how often you use the mini-fridge or keep it plugged in. Energy Star mentions that the majority of small refrigerators today use 310 kWh or less. You can expect significant savings annually using a mini-fridge for temperature-controlled storage versus a larger appliance if one suits your applications.
Estimate your refrigerator's power consumption
If you’re wondering about how much electricity your refrigerator uses, there’s an easy way to calculate this power consumption. To determine the wattage of your refrigerator, look at the sticker inside your fridge and search for the number of volts and amps. Multiply these numbers to determine how many watts your fridge uses.
For example, an old refrigerator could have a 115 V and 6.5 amps, for a total of 747.5 watts. A newer Energy Star-certified fridge, on the other hand, might have 117 V and 3.3 amps, for a wattage of 379.5 watts.
However, refrigerators have a significantly lower running wattage because they cycle on and off throughout the day. As a rough estimate, you can divide the wattage you calculated by 3 to estimate the running wattage.
Now that you have the wattage of your refrigerator, it’s easy to estimate your electricity costs.
- Multiply the running wattage by 24 to represent the 24 hours a day your fridge runs.
- Divide by 1,000 to convert watts into kilowatts.
- Check your electricity bill to find out how much you pay per kilowatt-hour. You can also use EnergyBot to compare energy rates in your area.
- Multiply kilowatt-hours by the price per kilowatt-hours to calculate the cost per day.
- Multiply by 30 to estimate the monthly cost, or by 365 to estimate the annual cost.
Here’s an example of the math broken down:
750 watts / 3 = 250 watts per day
250 watts x 24 hours = 6,000 watts
6,000 watts / 1,000 watts = 6 kilowatt hours
6 kWh x $0.10 per kWh = $0.60 per day
In the example above, the refrigerator costs $0.60 per day to power, which comes out to $18 a month or $219 per year.
Best energy-efficient refrigerators
Purchasing an energy-efficient refrigerator can have a major effect on reducing your electricity usage. Unfortunately, less usage usually means sacrificing the size of your refrigerator in favor of energy efficiency. No matter what size you need, comparing energy usage and Energy Star ratings is key.
Appliances will have a yellow Energy Star label with "Energy Guide" at the top. This label makes it easy to see an annual estimate of energy usage (kWh). The less usage, the more energy-efficient.
3 Of The Most Energy Efficient Refrigerators
- Frigidaire 24″ Top Freezer Refrigerator FFET1022UV (297 kWh/year)
- Samsung 29″ Top Freezer Refrigerator RT18M6215SG (448 kWh/year)
- GE 33″ Top Freezer Refrigerator GTE22JSNRSS (489 kWh/year)
Using a generator to run your refrigerator
If you live in a place where power outages are frequent, or you’ve lost power due to a storm, you may be considering a generator to power your refrigerator. But before you plug in the generator, here’s what you need to know.
What size generator do I need to run a refrigerator?
First, as outlined above, you need to know how many watts your refrigerator uses. To start your generator, the motor needs more power to start than it does to run. For example, your 750-watt fridge may have a startup wattage of 1,200 watts. In this case, a 1,500-watt generator would be able to run your refrigerator. Confirm the startup wattage in your manufacturer’s manual.
Will a 5,000-watt generator run a refrigerator?
A 5,000-watt generator should provide more than enough power to run a refrigerator, with power left to spare. Most home refrigerators need around 2,000 starting watts of power.
Can a 2,000-watt generator run a refrigerator?
Depending on the wattage of your refrigerator, a 2,000-watt generator should power most home fridges. Be sure to check your fridge’s wattage and starting wattage beforehand to avoid accidentally overloading the generator.
Can a generator damage a refrigerator?
It’s possible for a generator to damage a refrigerator, though it is not typically a sensitive appliance. Your fridge could overheat if your generator is too small to handle its starting wattage.
How to optimize refrigerator power usage
You can decrease your refrigerator’s power usage through proper maintenance and a few simple habit changes. Here are a few ways you can reduce the amount of energy your refrigerator uses.
1. Keep the fridge door closed for as much time as possible
Do your best to avoid gazing longingly into the refrigerator to decide what you want for a snack. Leaving the door open lets cool air out and warm air in which causes the fridge to work harder to maintain its normal temperature.
2. Replace your old fridge with an Energy Star-certified refrigerator.
New, Energy Star-certified fridges run much more efficiently and use less energy than older models. Investing in a new fridge can pay off on your electric bill.
3. Keep fridge coils clean
It’s normal for the condenser coils to clog and pick up dust and pet hair. However, when this happens, the condenser has to work harder, which consumes more energy and could lead to expensive maintenance work.
4. Place your fridge in a cool, dark location
If you set up your refrigerator near heat sources or sunlight, it needs to work against the elements to keep the contents cool which eats up valuable energy.
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How Many Watts Does A Refrigerator Use? [In-depth Guide]
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Last Updated on September 27, 2021
Since your refrigerator or freezer is one of only a few appliances that run all day long, it can use a non-negligible amount of power.
If you calculate how many kilowatt-hours your refrigerator uses, you can even figure out how much of your energy bill is going to your refrigerator each month!
Most refrigerators will come with documentation telling you their voltage and amperage. Conventional refrigerators typically have a starting wattage of 800-1200 watt-hours/day, and a running wattage of around 200-watt hours/day.
However, that doesn’t answer our previous question: What is the average running wattage of a fridge?
If you still have all the documentation that came with your refrigerator, you can make this process very easy.
How Many Watts Does a Refrigerator Use?
How many watts does a fridge use?
The answer depends on the size of the fridge, but the average refrigerator wattage ranges between 100 and 400 watts.
The EnergyGuide label that came with your fridge will typically list the fridge’s projected energy use per year in dollars. It will also record the fridge’s yearly kilowatt-hour consumption.
In the U.S., this sticker will be a yellow EnergyGuide sticker, but your fridge may also come with a white Canadian EnerGuide sticker.
Make sure you’re reading the right one! There is legislation that requires appliance manufacturers to add these labels.
Keep in mind that these stickers use estimated values, so they may be slightly inaccurate. Manufacturers use national averages to figure out these values, and things like local energy costs, and temperature settings.
Ambient temperatures may vary where you live and affect the cost of running a fridge.
It may seem that refrigerators use a lot of wattage seeing as they are constantly on, they actually require less power consumption than other main electric appliances, such as an air conditioner, water heater, or clothes dryer.
Each EnergyGuide sticker gives you “models with similar features” scale to look at. It gives you a range of yearly energy costs that your fridge may match up with.
Conventional refrigerators typically have a starting wattage of 800-1200 watt-hours/day
Let’s assume that we’re looking at a yellow EnergyGuide label that says the following:
- Estimated yearly cost: $40 (monthly cost: $3.33)
- Models with similar features: $49-$65 yearly ($4.08-$5.42 monthly)
- All models: $30-$65yearly ($2.50-$5.42 monthly)
- Estimated yearly electricity use: 332 kWh (monthly: 27.67 kWh)
The “estimated yearly cost” value tells you what the average American will pay in energy costs for this fridge each year, using the nationwide average energy cost of 12 cents per kilowatt-hour.
The “models with similar features” value tells you what similar fridges will cost per year. The “all models” value tells you what similarly-sized fridges across the board, old and new, will cost per year, regardless of similar features.
The most important value here is the “estimated yearly electricity use.” The “estimated yearly cost” is helpful, too, though not exact. To get your monthly cost for any value, simply divide it by 12.
Calculating Specific Energy Use
Because refrigerators cycle on and off throughout the day to keep temperatures stable, you shouldn’t be using 24 hours for your calculations.
The US Department of Energy says that most refrigerators only run on maximum power for about 8 hours each day (or about ⅓ of the time they’re plugged in).
However, this number can change depending on several factors, including:
- How often your fridge is open: if you or family members are always opening the refrigerator for food, it will need to run to cool down more often
- Ambient temperature: if your fridge is in a warm spot in your house, it may have to run longer; similarly, if it’s in a cold place, it may have to run less
- Season and climate: fridges often run less during the winter or in cold climates, and more during the summer and in warm climates
- Temperature settings: you can adjust the temperature settings on your fridge, and lower temperature settings will use more energy
- Freezer: If your fridge has a built-in freezer, it may consume more energy or run longer than average
Let’s use the same example from earlier. If the refrigerator is using an estimated 332 kilowatt-hours per year, that’s 0.91 kilowatt-hours per day. This lines up with average refrigerator wattage and use, which is about 1-2 kilowatt-hours per day.
To convert this number to watts, first multiply your kilowatt-hours (0.91) by 1,000, giving you 910.
Next, divide this number by 8 – the average run time of a fridge in a day – to get your fridge’s average wattage. In this case, the answer to “What is the average running wattage of a fridge?” is about 113.75 watts.
To calculate the monthly cost, all you need to do is divide the estimated 332 kilowatt-hours per year by 12. This leaves you with about 27.67 kilowatt-hours per month or about $3.32 per month.
You can also just divide the estimated yearly cost by 12, leaving you with the same result.
What if I Don’t Have My EnergyGuide Sticker?
If you’ve lost your EnergyGuide sticker and still want to calculate your fridge’s energy use, you might not be out of luck.
If you can find your fridge’s serial number, which is usually on a sticker somewhere on or inside your refrigerator (check inside the fridge door or on the back of the unit), you can look up the EnergyGuide specifications online.
If all else fails, you can always purchase a plug-in electricity usage monitor. You would put this unit in the plug between your wall outlet and your fridge.
If you’re wondering, “How many watts does a refrigerator use exactly?” an electricity usage monitor will answer this. It can be great for diagnosing energy loss issues for this reason, too.
How to Reduce Your Fridge’s Power Consumption
We’ve answered the question, “What is the average running wattage of a fridge?”
However, if your refrigerator uses much more than what your EnergyGuide recommendation says, there might be a few issues with your appliance.
You can use a few tricks and tips to reduce your fridge’s energy consumption if it seems high. Try the following:
Dust your fridge
Dust and debris tend to collect behind and underneath your refrigerator, regardless of size and model!
Make sure to pull your fridge away from the wall and remove as much debris as possible every so often. Pay special attention to any fans and air vents, as your refrigerator may have to work harder if these get clogged.
Check leaky seals
If the rubber seals around your fridge or freezer’s doors break or peel off, they might not provide a perfect air seal.
If this is the case, your fridge will need to work harder to maintain a balanced temperature.
Adjust the temperature
A fridge needs to keep steady at 37°F or below (refrigerator freezer should stay at 0°F) to keep food fresh.
If your temperatures are lower than this, you’re just wasting energy.
All in all, the monthly cost of running a refrigerator is relatively low, though it depends on the size and cost of your refrigerator.
If you’re looking to save energy, your best options are to upgrade to a newer, more energy-efficient refrigerator or give your current unit some well-deserved maintenance.
Either of these options should result in noticeable energy savings on your monthly bill!
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