How many watts does a refrigerator use?


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When you go to buy a fridge there are many factors you consider such as size, design, storage capacity, space occupied and power consumption. How much wattage does the refrigerator use ? – is one of the first questions a modern consumer will ask when purchasing a new refrigerator.

Knowing about a refrigerators power consumption is a vital parameter in choosing a refrigerator.

A buyer cannot afford to ignore or compromise on power consumption factor lest later on the steep electricity bills are sure to burn a hole in the pocket. Therefore choosing an energy efficient model is essential. For those still using their old refrigerators, knowing about ways to reduce power consumption will help to cut down electric bills and increase the useful life of their appliance.

Here we are going to highlight how to find how many watts your refrigerator uses, how the fridge power use contributes to our electricity bill and some tips to save power consumption.

How many watts is used by refrigerators?

Typically, domestic refrigerators have a starting wattage of 800-1200 watt – hours / day, and a running wattage of around 100 to 400 watts depending upon the size.

Being motor driven they need additional power to start but fewer watts to keep running. A good understanding of your refrigerator’s power consumption will help in keeping a check on your monthly electricity bills.

Unlike other appliances like say your washing machine or television, you cannot turn your refrigerator off when not using. You need to keep it plugged and running 24×7.

Despite this, the overall wattage consumption of a refrigerator is relatively lower compared to other household appliances such as a washing machine or a dryer. A washing machine or a dryer will consume much more power but operate for lesser hours in a month.

How to calculate your fridge power use?

To calculate this you first need to check your fridge wattage which is calculated by multiplying Volts x Amps. These technical specifications are typically listed on a sticker/plate located on the inside wall of the fridge.

For eg if it says “150 V” and “8 amps” then multiplying these two numbers gets you 1200 watts. This is how much your refrigerator uses.

Divide this number by 1000 to convert it to Kilowatts – the unit of measure used by electricity companies. Say in this case- 1200/1000 = 1.2 kilowatts of electricity use.

To estimate how many kilowatt –hours of electricity used per month multiply this amount by the hours of use. Eg – Assuming 200 hours use in the month X 1.2 kilowatts = 240 kilowatt hours per month.

The larger the size of the model the larger number of watts would be used.

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However, wattage is not the only variable which influences electricity use. Operation time also plays a role in lowering your electricity bill. There may be a fault in the fridge causing it to operate at double its use. There are other factors which also affect the actual wattage use. For eg- there are internal fans which run at intervals. Compressor cycles and freezer cycles which turn on and off to defrost the fridge. These will not draw a consistent amount of wattage. Therefore, to calculate actual wattage consumption, experts suggest the use of digital monitors.

Factors which influence a Refrigerator’s energy consumption –

1. Type / Size of the Fridge.

Larger the size of the fridge more the electricity consumed. A bar fridge or a mini fridge will consume less power as compared to commercial fridge.

The design and model play important role in saving on your monthly power bill.

Side-by-side fridges use more electricity compared to top-mount freezer designs.

Similarly, a double door fridge will consume more energy as it operates on frost free mode and has a larger capacity as compared to single door models. A double door fridge will consume extra power to cool down as compared to single door one even though a single door model may be opened more frequently than the double door.

There are also variants with high freezer capacity and some with high fruits and vegetable capacity. Choose your variants keeping in mind both your requirements and efficient energy use.

2. Seasonal Climate

Refrigerators consume more power in summers as compared to winters.

3. Use

 If you open the fridge door frequently or have a habit of keeping it open longer then it will take a toll on the cooling capacity. It will add extra load to the compressor as it needs to work more to keep the temperature cool.

Avoid leaving the fridge door open and do your best to immediately take what you need and shut the door as quickly as possible.

Secondly, an empty fridge will consume more power than a stocked one. In an empty fridge has more extra space than a full one. So every time the door opens, cool air falls out and is replaced by warm air from outside to a greater extent.

4. Temperature setting position

If the temperature of the freezer or refrigerator is set at a very cool temperature than needed it will add to more energy consumption. At the same time, a proper setting is essential to keep the temperature cool enough so that all items stored inside remain fresh and are not spoiled.

Ensure to set the internal thermostats at an optimal cooling temperature for both the refrigerator and the freezer. The modern models have a display screen on the fridge body where you can adjust temperature.

5. Age

 As a refrigerator gets older its working efficiency decreases and cooling system degrades. Old refrigerators tend to use more electricity as compared to newer models.

 6. Condition

 Improperly sealed door openings or leaky seals cause cold air to escape and the fridge will work less efficiently. A fridge that is going bad will consume more energy as it tries to maintain a cool temperature despite having compressor and motor problems, leaked seals etc.  

In conclusion, here are some energy saving tips which go a long way to save power use and extend the useful life of your appliance –

1. Regular Cleaning

Clean and dust your fridge at regular intervals. Keeping the area at the rear, sides and underneath the fridge dust free will allow the fridge to breath easily and will consume less energy.

The condenser coils which play a critical role in creating cold air tend to accumulate dust. This hampers the heat expelling function of the fridge. A regular maintenance regime to vacuum the coils and to clear out dust is recommended twice or thrice a year.

2. Location

If kept in a room with a warm temperature or poorly ventilated area a refrigerator will use more power. A fridge should be kept in a ventilated room and ideally be installed few inches away from the wall. Also, a few inches clearance should always be allowed at top, rear and sides to allow proper air flow. Also, remember to place your refrigerator in a cool spot away from hot energy sources such as direct sunlight from a window or near an oven.

3. Store only cool / room temperature food and keep fridge full

Don’t put hot food straight into the fridge. Allow it to cool down first and then store it inside. This will avoid extra load on the fridge and less energy will be consumed.

Also, try to keep the fridge about 2/3rd full so that it doesn’t have to work extra to cool down the extra space. Avoid overstuffing as well since it will only add extra load on the compressor. To allow proper air circulation and keep your food items fresh, always keep the fridge 2/3rd full and 1/3rd empty.

4. Repair leaky door seals

Keep the fridge leak free and consider replacing the rubber seals around the fridge if they are no longer keeping cold air in.