How to Calculate your Fridge’s Electric Consumption?

How to Calculate your Fridge’s Electric Consumption?

How much electricity does a refrigerator use?

Do you agree this thinking that no modern home would be complete without a refrigerator? After all, who doesn’t want fresh food and cold drinks right within their reach? And this belongs to household appliances. Unfortunately, a fridge uses up a lot of electricity, typically accounting for around 1/6 of an average US household’s power consumption. Because it is a machine that makes our lives more comfortable, we take the hefty charges it adds to our electricity bill, believing that we can not do anything to lower its energy consumption. However, if you aim to have an energy-efficient home, you will need to determine the electricity costs of your appliances. Doing so is a way to manage your power consumption. So you may ask how many watts a refrigerator uses? The answer depends on several factors, which we will now look into to help you better understand this vital appliance’s power usage.

Type of Fridge

Like with most household appliances, such as clothes dryers or AC units, the type of fridge you have affects how much electricity it uses.

Bottom-Mount Freezer

The bottom-mount refrigerator also known as the bottom freezer refrigerator, has a fresh food section on top and a freezer compartment at the bottom. The benefits of these models are better access to fresh foods and beverages, which are probably the products you use the most, and more freezer space, especially compared to their top-mount counterparts. When it comes to energy efficiency, however, bottom-mount refrigerators typically consume more kilowatt-hours. In modern refrigerators, the compressor sits at the lower portion of the unit near the freezer. Because the compressor generates 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 Fridges

A side-by-side refrigerator has two separate compartments, each featuring its own door. The fresh food compartment is on one side, while the freezer container is on the other. One of the significant advantages of these models is convenience as they allow you to better organize and easily access your foodstuffs. This type of refrigerator uses more electricity in terms of energy consumption, with an Energy Star-certified model taking up about 630 kWh or around $75 a year, on average. In comparison, a bottom-mounted freezer with an Energy Star rating needs about 560 kWh or $70 a year to run. (The exact amount of energy the refrigerator uses depends on how the owners set up the refrigerator.)

Top-Mount Freezer

This fridge type usually uses less energy compared to other models on the market. Top-mount freezer refrigerators owe their lower power consumption to the model'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 (The exact amount of energy the refrigerator uses depends on how the owners set up the refrigerator.). This will reduce about $45 a year on your electricity costs. (The amount of electricity bill depends on the charging standard of the local electric power company.)

Factors Affecting Energy Consumption

Power consumption is not only determined by the location of the refrigerator's freezer. Other aspects can affect your appliance’s power usage and, in effect, your energy savings.


The larger the fridge is, the more power it consumes due to the space that needs cooling.  


Rubber gaskets around your freezer and fridge doors keep cold air inside. Leaky seals affect the energy efficiency of the refrigerator because the compressor requires to work harder to maintain the temperature inside the appliance. A few simple tests will tell you if the gasket needs to be replaced.


Traditional older refrigerators generally have higher power usage than NEE Star (New Energy star) certified refrigerators.  

Kitchen’s ambient temperature

Higher ambient temperatures make the compressor run more to maintain the temperature in the refrigerators' compartments, thus increasing the kilowatt-hours it consumes.  

Location of the fridge

Warm or poorly ventilated areas can lead to increased electricity usage and possible breakdowns due to overheating.

Refrigerator’s temperature set point

The factory setting of the 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%.  


Frequently opening and closing the refrigerator door lets warm air in, forcing the compressor to work double-time to keep things cool. Moreover, an empty refrigerator uses more energy than a fully stocked one because more warm air gets in each time the door is opened.

How Many Watts Does it Take to Run a Refrigerator?

Next to the AC unit, your refrigerator comes next in using the most electricity in your home. Assuming your refrigerator consumes around 350-780 watts per day(This is depending on the refrigerator's brand, refrigerator size, and how you use the refrigerator ). Let’s see how we can estimate your device's power usage.  

Identify Your Fridge’s Volts and Amps

You will first need to identify the wattage of your refrigerator. You can generally find this in a sticker on the inside wall of your fridge or at the back of the unit. The refrigerator power parameters are also listed in the user’s manual. Locate the figures stating the volts and amps of the appliance. If it is an old fridge, it likely uses 115 volts and 7 amps. New refrigerators usually run on 5 amps.

Estimate the Running Wattage

You can use the information you found in the refrigerator’s compliance plate or manual to calculate its running wattage, which is the amount of power it draws in a continuous mode. Multiply voltage by amps to get the operating watts. The equation goes like this: Wattage = Voltages x Amps.

Compute for the Cost

To determine how much it costs to run your refrigerator, multiply the running wattage by the number of hours the unit operates. In the case of your fridge, you can assume that it works 24 hours a day, so your equation will look like this if we use 350 as the operating watts for the appliance. 24H x 350W = 8,400W 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, which means that your fridge uses 8.4 kilowatt-hours per day. Using this figure, you can compute the unit’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 kWh x 30 days = 252 kWh Let’s assume that your area’s power rate is $0.10 per kWh. 252 x 0.10 = 25.2 That’s $25.20 a month. However, many factors will affect 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 more frequent occurrences. If you have a generator or a solar system, you might consider using it to power your refrigerator. But before you do so, ensure that your generator’s capacity can safely run your fridge. Here is how:  

Aside from your refrigerator’s rated wattage, you will need to account for its starting wattage, which is the initial jolt of energy required to start the compressor. If you can’t find out the starting wattage, you can compute it that use the rated wattage indicated in your unit’s nameplate or manual.

Multiply the rated power (wattage) by 1.5 to estimate the starting wattage. For example, let’s assume that your fridge power is at 700 watts. (700 x 1.5 = 1,050) 

Check the output rating of your generator to find out if it is big enough to cover the starting watts of your refrigerator. A generator with a 1,500 output rating will safely power your refrigerator, which needs 1,050W to start the compressor.

In contrast, a circuit breaker with an output of 800 watts may blow or trip due to insufficient capacity.  

For safety, use heavy-duty wires to connect the generator and your fridge. Slender extension cords won’t work and may become fire hazards if they overheat.

Using Your Refrigerator More Efficiently

There are a few ways you can reduce your refrigerator’s power consumption.

Keep Away from Heat Sources

Refrigerators use more electricity to keep the compartments cool when the surrounding air is hot. To save on your electric bills, place your fridge away from hot spots such as large windows that let plenty of sun in or next to heat-producing appliances like stoves or ovens. Additionally, ensure that your fridge is in a well-ventilated area and not jammed in between the wall and kitchen cabinets.

Get the Correct Temperature Setting

Freezers and refrigerators that are too cold waste energy. Set your device to the correct temperature. You can use a thermometer to ensure optimization of the areas. You can also use these common guidelines, -15˚C for the freezer and 4˚C for the fridge.

Always Keep your fridge clean  

An empty refrigerator tends to use more energy, especially when you are frequently opening and closing the fridge's door, filling one up over its capacity will lead to the same issues. So make it a habit to clean your fridge regularly, for example, every 3 months, to get rid of old food and beverages. In addition, sweep and vacuum the dust under the fridge, dust the coils at the back and wash the kick plate as well.  

Cool Anything First

Putting hot dishes inside the refrigerator will force the compressor to work harder, thus consuming more power. So let the cooked food cool down to room temperature before they go into the fridge.


Can a 2000 watts generator run a refrigerator?

You can use a generator to run your fridge 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 refrigerator 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-fridge consumes around 185 and 280 watts of electricity, which equates to  0.185 and 0.28 kilowatt-hours. ( Different brands of fridges may have different watts. For specific parameters, please refer to the label marked on the mini refrigerator or its manual )

Is an inverter refrigerator worth it?

Although inverter fridges usually cost more than conventional models, you can quickly recover the extra upfront costs from the amount you save on your electricity bills. fridge compressors with inverter technology don’t switch off when the temperature stabilizes. Instead, they work at slower speeds to maintain the optimum coolness inside the compartments, thus consuming less energy, and resulting in lower power expenses.

Will a 1000 watts inverter run a refrigerator?

The answer depends on the fridge's wattage, particularly its starting or surge wattage. For example, a refrigerator that consumes 1000 watts a day may require 2,000 watts of surge power to start. So a typical 1000 watts inverter with a 2000 watts surge peak capacity will be enough for the refrigerator.


Your fridge is not the only appliance that consumes energy. But it needs a lot of power to run, optimizing its use for energy efficiency will let you save power bills on your utility expenses. Thus, knowing how to use your refrigerator wisely is an excellent way to leverage your conservation goals. Moreover, by knowing how to calculate its power requirements, you will can make the right choice when you require to purchase for a replacement.


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