Refrigerator Power Consumption

How much power does a refrigerator use?

Recently we replaced our old refrigerator after finding that it consumed almost 1300 kilowatts a year. We then monitored our electricity bill to see how much we were saving with our new refrigerator (using a Kill-a-Watt Power Meter). The video and graph below pretty much says it all about the change in our refrigerator power consumption.

Video: Refrigerator Energy Usage

Refrigerator Power Consumption
Graph of Home Power Consumption (KWH) with Old and New Refrigerator

Data Table: Home Power Consumption: Kilowatt Hours
Home Power Consumption (KWH) with Old and New Refrigerator Data

Determining Our Old Fridge's Power Consumption

We bought a Kill-A-Watt meter for about $25 dollars, plugged it into the wall, and then plugged the fridge into the meter. The toughest part was moving the refrigerator and cleaning up five years of dust. After one week we went back and checked the electricity meter (actually we checked it quite a bit during the week). After some rough calculations we figured that we were using about 1280 kilowatts a year. That means at 10 cents a kilowatt hour we were paying about $128 a year. Our calculations for refrigerator power consumption most likely underestimate the amount of energy used per year since they were done in February when the house is much cooler.

Buying a Fridge with Lower Power Consumption

Energy Star labelThere are a lot of energy efficient refrigerators out there. Some use as little as 255 kwh/year (Conserv Eco-Fridge) but cost over 1000 dollars. Most of the time you can just look at the yellow Energy Star label and see the rating. For example, our local appliance store, ApplianceLand, has a Whirlpool ET4WPKXKT for $459 that uses 438 KWH per year. As you add more features the price goes up.

We ended up buying a Whirlpool (model ET8FTEXS) for $649, which uses 412 KWH annually. The delivery was $69 and the removal of the old fridge was $17 bringing the total to $770 after tax. There was a $50 rebate from the company so the final cost for everything was $720. We estimated we would save a about $90 a year and the refrigerator would pay for itself in about eight years (if the cost of electricity stays the same). Looking at the graph above it seems that it will pay off much sooner.

Advice on Fridge Power Consumption

  • Get a Kill-A-Watt meter and check out how much energy you are using. If your refrigerator is older than 1993 replace it!!!
  • If you have a second fridge running ask yourself if you really need it. Is it older than 1993?
  • Make sure behind your fridge is clean. Excess dust and animal fur can make it difficult for the fridge to cool itself and increase fridge power consumption.

What to do with the Old Fridge?

Now that you've decide to lower your fridge power consumption with a new fridge you have to decide how to dispose of your old fridge. Luckily it's not that big of a deal.

See the full checklist of more things you can do around your home.