How many watts does a refrigerator consume? (How you can save money)

How many watts does a refrigerator consume

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, About 60-70% of all household electricity is used by home appliances, including refrigerators, air conditioners and clothes dryers. Refrigerators alone consume 8-10% of utility energy which becomes hefty sometimes for an average homeowner. 

We’ve all had our fair share of trouble saving money on utilities. If you are having a hard time saving, try to calculate the power consumed by the appliances like how many watts does a refrigerator use which is ultimately raising the energy bill. The cost of electricity can seem astronomical, especially when you compare it to other household expenses. But there are ways to save big on your electricity bill and still keep that cold beer and ice cream on hand!

Read on to learn more about the refrigerator wattage, the most energy-efficient options, and how you can save money and reduce your monthly utility bills while preserving your food.

How much electricity does a refrigerator use?

While people may have grown up seeing refrigerators as big energy hogs, most homeowners don’t really know how much energy they actually use on a per hour or daily/monthly basis. 

The number of watts used by a fridge directly correlates with the size (cubic capacity) of the fridge or refrigerator. Most models come equipped with a thermoelectric cooling system, which uses a fan and temperature sensor to keep the fridge as cool as possible.

In market, there are various sized refrigerators which consume in ranges between 300W to 700W of power in which mostly consume 500W. If we take the example of a 500W model then it consumes around 120 kWh/month contributing to a hefty expense of hundreds of dollars a month.

What are refrigerator watts of a mini fridge?

A mini fridge is a compact size, energy efficient version of the traditional fridge or refrigerator. Mini fridges usually come in sizes of 2.5 cubic feet and smaller. They are used to store a small amount of food, cold drinks and other frozen items most probably in offices, hotels and resorts throughout the world. The amount of power (refrigerator watts) desired to run a mini fridge is usually around 100 watts.

Is there any energy consumption difference in different refrigerator models?

Refrigerators aren’t just big boxes that store food, but they also consume lots of electrical energy to keep our food safe from the elements and to stay at the right temperature. It is also true that not all models consume equal energy but some really draw too much.

Researchers and technology folks took experiments to see the measurable difference between energy consumption of various refrigerator models. By analyzing power usage logs of computer programs they concluded that the latest models are the most energy efficient than the old ones because of the advanced design of microchips, controllers and other circuits elements that run the refrigerator. 

Calculation of “how much power does a refrigerator use” annually

The amount of energy used by any appliance depends on the amount of power needed to operate it. Whether you own a large, double-door unit, a small single-door refrigerator model, or even a French door model, you should have known how to calculate the power consumption. Now we made it simpler than ever.

Check the product electrical rating’s sticker for volts, amps

One of the simplest ways to determine how much power your appliances use is to simply check the electricity rating sticker on the unit itself. For example, on an electric oven, you should check the power rating on the back of the oven, which typically will tell you how much electric current (amps) and voltage (V) it draws.

You can also do this for your refrigerator and use this rating as a rough estimate to figure out how many watts does a refrigerator use.

Calculating annual Energy (kWh) usage of refrigerator 

You probably already know this tip, but it never hurts to remind yourself of it. To calculate annual energy (kWh) usage of a refrigerator, we use the following formula.

KWh consumption/day × number of days per annum= annual energy (kWh) consumption

If your refrigerator draws electric current of 4.3 Ampere then as per US standard of single phase voltage (110 V) it contributes to 473 watts. Now as refrigerators cycle on and off frequently the whole day, we divide the watts by 1/3 as a general rule of thumb to grab the average energy usage per day which yields in 157.6 watts/day.

To understand “how much power does a refrigerator use annually, we multiply it with 24 and then by 365, which leads to the annual sum of 1,380 kilowatt-hours (kWh).

Use plug in type energy meter

Energy consumption is often a factor that people are concerned about when they are looking to purchase a new appliance. 

To measure the amount of electricity consumed by a fridge, you need to plug it into a plug in type energy meter (a device that measures the volts, amount of electrical current drawn by the fridge, and energy being consumed) and wait for the data to appear. 

Calculating power usage for refrigerators is a little tricky, so if you’re not comfortable calculating it, ask someone who knows a lot about electrical appliances or consult with an AC technician.

Factors affecting energy consumption

The amount of electricity used by a refrigerator is affected by a number of factors, some of them are discussed below.

  • The size/cubic capacity of the refrigerator and the food it holds
  • The frequency of opening and closing the door
  • Whether the refrigerator is full or empty
  • Your kitchen’s environment/temperature
  • The age of your appliance (refrigerator) actually plays a big role
  • Is it energy efficient (Energy Star) model or not

Based on these factors, the energy consumed by a refrigerator varies and ultimately the energy cost will affect. So in short, all things are majorly in your control and you can manage if you want it really.

Estimated Cost associated with the energy usage by refrigerator 

In fact, energy costs can be a hidden source of homeowners’ frustration. Consumers often underestimate the amount of energy used by refrigerators, but the reality is that refrigerators are contributors to total electricity consumption.

A refrigerator wattage of 500W consumes around 167W and 0.167 kWh just for 1 hour usage. Similarly for a 24 hours usage, it will be 4kWh/day and 122kWh/month.

For a California resident with an electricity cost of 26.77 cents/kWh, it will be $22 per month and $384 annually.

Golden tips to save money with refrigerator

1.     Consider an Energy Star certified Appliance (refrigerator)

The Energy Star certification is a voluntary U.S. government certification program that rates consumer products according to energy efficiency. Home appliances that meet the minimum requirements of the Energy Star criteria must bear the logo “Energy Star.” 

The Energy Star products are of the highest quality, meet rigorous energy efficiency standards, and are designed to last without breaking the bank. They can actually use up to 35 percent less energy that cuts down costs significantly over the course of a year.

2.     Check for air leakage-Replace the leaky gaskets

The most important thing to remember when making your home more energy efficient is to avoid wasting energy. You need to check the rubber seals of your refrigerator and make sure that the seals are intact and that the coils are not leaking air. Replace the faulty gaskets by an experienced person if there is a gas leakage found. These are two of the most unfavorable ways that a food compressor may overheat, causing spoiled food.

3.     Adjust refrigerator thermostat setting wisely

Refrigerators are generally used to maintain the ideal temperature of food in a refrigerator or freezer for longer durations. Refrigerator thermostat setting is a key factor that should be considered while maintaining temperature in the refrigerator. 

If your thermostat is on the high side, set it to the best possible setting (usually around 40°F or 4°C) and turn it down to your desired level once your food is fully cooled. Freezer temperature should be set at 0°F (-18°C).

4.     Timely clean the refrigerator coils for pest, mold etc. (save up to 30%)

You may find some dirty coils in the refrigerator, but this should not stop you from cleaning your refrigerator. Pest, mold and other junk can buildup on condenser coils that might be a headache if left untreated for a long time.

It can be cleaned periodically with a regular cleaning agent, and it is advisable to use a cleaning agent that is specific to refrigerator coils. You can easily save 20 to 30% in electricity bills if you clean your refrigerator coils as it restricts overheating of the compressor thus cooling rate enhances.

5.     Keep your refrigerator away from heat

If you’re going to invest in a new refrigerator, keep in mind that the most important function of a refrigerator is to keep your food cold. This is why you shouldn’t place it in a hot area of your kitchen or home. Refrigerators need to be near a window or a good ventilation of air is fine.

A fridge should be at least 5 feet away from anything else that generates heat like a kitchen stove or cooking range. There will be less energy wastage hence refrigerator compressors would work efficiently which will pull down the heavy energy bills.

6.      Defrost the Refrigerator fortnightly

If your freezer is full of empty containers and food that’s just been sitting there for weeks and weeks and weeks, then there is nothing to defrost. If you have food that is still frozen, and you’re not defrosting it once a week or fortnightly, then you’re not doing it right. 

It’s true, defrosting the fridge and freezer isn’t something you have to do daily. But it is important to take a few minutes every fortnight to check that it’s working as intended. This leads to less energy consumption and less cost overall. 

Why is it crucial to cut down energy bills for a household?

As we all know, energy bills are a huge burden for households. There are some who spend up to $1,500 on their energy bills per annum. This is not something everyone can afford. So if you are one of those people, it would be wise for you to consider cutting down your energy bills to save money. 

How cool would it be if all your fridges were the Energy Star certified ones? The government is making sure that people are using the most eco-friendly appliances, not just the cheapest ones, in their homes. So, if you use one of the most energy efficient fridges, you will save your home a lot.

It’s very obvious that and demanding to step down energy usage in the homes. It is really a big issue for an average homeowner in the US. If you want to get rid of it, then you should use the best Energy efficient refrigerators.

Does inverter technology in refrigerators yield money savings?

Inverter technology is a super cost effective way to save electrical energy (refrigerator watts) and cut costs while maximizing efficiency. It works by reducing the need for running an electric motor to constantly spin fans and compressors. Inverter technology of refrigerators drives the compressor to maintain the cooling temperature by running more consistently with intelligent speed controlling as per ambient which leads to less energy usage and lessen the electricity bill.

So inverter based compressors are in high demand in the market.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the amount of electricity a refrigerator uses depends on a number of factors, including size, efficiency, brand, temperature setting, and type of refrigerator. When we talk about the energy consumption and refrigerator wattage, we must take into account the daily usage and all above mentioned factors. 

Energy star rated ratings are an excellent way to tell which appliances are the most energy efficient ones. If you buy an Energy Star rated appliance, you will be able to cut down on your energy usage and save money on utility bills. Also, if you follow all the above energy saving tips, we guarantee you that you will be able to cut down your energy bills up to 40% while enjoying your favorite cold drinks without penny pinching.

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