What is the power consumption of a refrigerator?

What is the power consumption of a refrigerator?
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If you want to know how much power your refrigerator (fridge) consumes in a month and what impacts it has on your electricity bill then you have come the right place. In this article we will see how to calculate the power consumption of a refrigerator and go through some tips that can help you save your electricity bill.

It is known that the current refrigerators have evolved enough to conserve about 70% of energy. If a 25-year-old refrigerator consumes around 1400 kWh of electricity per year, we can be sure that the latest model of the same capacity can work efficiently by consuming just 350- 700 kWh units of electricity per year depending upon the rating.

Before we start with to calculate the power consumed by a fridge it’s imperative to have a look into various factors that have an effect on power consumption of a refrigerator.

Factors that affect power consumption of a refrigerator

  1. Size of the refrigerator – A double door fridge will consume more power than a single door fridge. The larger the volume of the fridge the more is its power consumption it’s as simple as that.
  2. Compressor technology – An inverter technology refrigerator will consume less power than a normal refrigerator. More on this in later part of this blog.
  3. Energy star rating– Refrigerators with energy star rating are more efficient than their counterparts with the same volume. If your refrigerator is made before 2005 then chances are it does not come with BEE start rating and is not as efficient as the new ones. We will discuss about energy star rating in detail in later part of this blog.
  4. How full is your fridge– The more you stuff your fridge (to a limit guys) the less electricity it consumes because an empty fridge has lots of air which needs to be cool down in comparison to a fridge that is full hence the compressor has to cool down large volume of air and hence consumes more power.
  5. Door opening frequency – Well this is one thing we all are guilty for doing, every time you open your refrigerator door warm air from the atmosphere gushes inside the fridge and heats up the cooled space. Hence the compressor has to work more to cool the inside of the refrigerator again.
  6. Ventilation of your refrigerator – This is neglected big time in all our houses. The refrigerator basically removes warm air inside it and pumps it in to the atmosphere, but if the refrigerator is not properly ventilated then the hot air surrounding it will heat the compressor and thus increase the power consumption. Thus it is advisable to keep at least 6 inches of space between refrigerator walls and your house walls.

Calculate Power Consumption of A refrigerator

My BEE 4 star rated refrigerator with annual power consumption of 460 kWh of electricity

If you have a refrigerator with BEE star rated sticker then the calculation process becomes really simple. On the energy saving sticker find the annual power consumption of your refrigerator it should be given right below the energy saving stars.

Once you know your refrigerators annual power consumption, all you have to do is divide the annual consumption of your fridge by 12 to get the refrigerators monthly power consumption.

New to watt, kilowatt and kilowatt hour? Read this article to know what is watt, kilowatt and kilowatt hour of electricity.

For example, as you can see above my 230 liter refrigerator consumes 460 kWh of electricity in a year.

Therefore monthly power consumption of my refrigerator is – 460 kWh / 12 – 38.33 kWh of electricity.

Hence daily power consumption of my refrigerator is – 38.33 kWh / 30 – 1.278 kWh of electricity.

In terms of electricity bill it translates to Rs 12. Hence it costs me Rs 12 to run my 230 liter 4 star refrigerator for one day.

Note that the annual power consumption mentioned on the sticker is based on test conditions hence the actual power consumption of your refrigerator may vary depending on the way you use your refrigerator.(At max 5%-10% increment)

If you are not having a BEE star rated fridge then there are two ways using which you can find the power consumption of your fridge.

First is by using a device called kill a watt meter (accurate way) and second is by manual calculation (less accurate way).

Calculate Power Consumption Of a refrigerator Using a Kill  A Watt Meter

Kill A Watt Meter Courtesy – Google Images

Kill a watt meter is a simple device which can be used to get accurate results on the power consumption of any device.

You can buy it from amazon using this link. Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor

To use the kill a watt meter first you have to connect the refrigerator plug into the kill a watt meter and then plug the kill a watt meter in your wall socket and you are done.

Then start using the refrigerator and you can see in real time how many kWh (units) of electricity your refrigerator is using.

For appliances which have compressor like AC, refrigerator it is advisable to take the reading for 3-7 days to get exact power consumption.

Check out this tutorial video from altE to understand how to use a kill A Watt Meter to track your appliance energy consumption.

Courtesy – AltE YouTube Channel

Calculate Power Consumption Of a refrigerator manually

Well to calculate the power consumption by using the below calculator you will have to know the rated power of your refrigerator.

Ways to find wattage of your refrigerator

  1. Search for a sticker on your refrigerator, if you find one then check if it has wattage on it.
  2. Go to your refrigerator company’s website and find a fridge similar to yours and check the wattage in the description.
  3. Open the amazon app and search for your fridge or similar size fridge and check the power wattage in the description.

If you don’t want to do the google search then just take a value between 100 watts to 300 watts as most refrigerator has rated power around this.

How To Interpret The Results

The above calculation would be perfect for a television power consumption but for a refrigerator the value quoted is exaggerated because your refrigerator has a compressor which doesn’t run continuously it only works when the air needs to be cooled down. This is known as duty cycle of a compressor.

Hence if you know the duty cycle of your refrigerator compressor then multiply the final calculated value with it and that is your refrigerator actual power consumption.

However if you don’t know the duty cycle of your refrigerator compressor then just take it as 50%, divide the final answer by 2 and you have got your refrigerator power consumption.

Now that you know your refrigerator power consumption what should you do to save the power consumed by your refrigerator? Here are some tips which you can use to save your electricity bill.

Energy Saving Tips To Keep Your Refrigerator Operational Costs Low

  1. Keep the refrigerator full – This sounds bizarre but keeping your refrigerator full helps to cut down the power consumption. By full refrigerator I don’t mean to over stuff the refrigerator always keep place for proper air circulation.
  2. Optimize temperature settings – Most of the refrigerator are running at temperature way below its needed. On an average a temperature of 2 C to 5 C is ideal for fridge compartment and for freezer anything between -10 C to -15 C is good. Don’t overdo the temperature. If you don’t have a thermometer to measure the temperature then just switch your refrigerator setting to normal in normal days and below normal in cold days (use the regulator inside your refrigerator).
  3. Keep refrigerator door closed – Frequent opening and closing of refrigerator door puts unnecessary load on the compressor to cool the warm fresh air that enters the space every time you open the door. If you cut down your door opening frequency you will see a cut in your electricity bill.
  4. Place refrigerator strategically – Two questions your should ask yourself before finalizing your refrigerator place. First, is the place getting direct sunlight?, if yes then look for some other place or restrict the sunlight coming to that place by some means. Second, after placing the refrigerator is there any space between the refrigerator walls and your house wall? Ideally you should keep 6 inches of space on all the three side for proper ventilation. You can check out this awesome article from Samsung on how to place your refrigerator How much free space should I allow around my refrigerator?
  5. Lifestyle changes – Do not keep hot food directly in the refrigerator. First let the food cool down and then put it in the refrigerator. Periodically clean the evaporator and condenser coils. Keep your food organised so that there is enough space for free movement of air.
Don’t overstuff your fridge keep it full and well organised for proper ventilation

Now you know how much electricity your refrigerator consumes and also how to bring the consumption of your refrigerator down to save some bill.

But if you are planning to buy a new refrigerator and wonder which you should choose then don’t worry I will help you with it.

If you are buying a new refrigerator in 2020 then you should at least buy a BEE star rated or inverter technology refrigerator.

Let me explain BEE star rating and inverter technology in detail so you understand why I am recommending it.

What is BEE star rating?

BEE striker on my refrigerator – 4 stars

Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) star rating was introduced in India in 2006 to help signify the cost saving and power saving potential of electrical appliances. This measure of rating the efficiency was a welcome initiative by the Ministry of Power to help the production of energy efficient household electrical appliances.

The higher the star rating, more is the appliance efficiency. Along with the star ratings mentioned on the label there are other crucial information like the annual power consumption of the appliance, brand name, manufacturing year, type of appliance and other technical data.

On a BEE label, look for the number of stars in the colored space. The more the stars on the colored strip, the more is its efficiency. The next aspect you should look on the label is the annual power consumption value in units per year (a 1000 watts per hour = 1 unit).

However, BEE star ratings are available for only frost-free refrigerators.

For example. A 250 liter frost-free refrigerator without any star rating consumes 1100 kWh per year and if we consider a tariff of Rs 10/kWh then the annual bill for this refrigerator will be Rs 11,000 per year. The table below shows savings you can have for the same 250 liter frost-free refrigerator with energy saving stars.

Star RatingsUnitsElectricity BillSavings
No Energy Star1,10011,0000
1 Energy Star9779,7701,230
2 Energy Star7827,8203,180
3 Energy Star6266,2604,740
4 Energy Star5015,0105,990
5 Energy Star4004,0007,000

From the above table you can clearly see that with zero energy savings stars annual electricity consumption of a 250 liter refrigerator is 1,110 kWh which translates to a bill of Rs 11,100 ( Assume electricity tariff is Rs 10/kWh).

But the same refrigerator with five energy saving stars consumes 400 kWh of electricity annually which translates to an electricity bill of Rs 4,000. Hence a direct saving of Rs 7,0000 annually.

That is more than 50% savings in electricity bill every year. So find a refrigerator with BEE star rating.

What is inverter technology in refrigerator?

First let’s look how a regular refrigerator works so we can understand why the need for inverter technology.

  • Regular Refrigerators: In regular refrigerators the compressor kicks in only the time when you need to cool the cabinet, once the cabinet is cooled the compressor stops working. The compressors in regular refrigerators always runs at its peak irrespective of the external environment. The problem with the regular refrigerator compressor is that it runs at its peak at all times which causes it to draw more electricity, ultimately resulting in more power consumption and more electricity bill.
  • Inverter Refrigerators: On the other hand, the compressors in inverter technology refrigerators works according to the cooling requirement. Considering a summer environment, the compressor works at a high load in order to maintain a particular temperature within the refrigerator. But, winters do not instigate the compressor to work at all time high as the environment temperature is pretty low as well. Thus, in an inverter refrigerator the compressor runs as per the external environment condition and the system demand unlike the regular refrigerators compressor which always runs at its peak at all time. Hence in an inverter technology refrigerator the compressor is a variable speed compressor which changes its speed as per the cooling needs and external environmental conditions which leads to less consumption of electricity and more savings.

Inverter refrigerator explanation Courtesy – SAMSUNG

Check out the above one minute video on inverter technology from Samsung.

So choose the refrigerator with BEE star rating (more the merrier) or the inverter technology.

I have compiled a small list on the best refrigerator you can buy in 2020, feel free to check the amazon link for more details and price.

Best refrigerator to buy in 2020

All links are amazon affiliate links.

Conclusion on power consumption of a refrigerator

To summarize this article I would say that the power consumption of a modern refrigerator is very less to give you some perspective a 25-year-old refrigerator consumes around 1400 kilowatts per year of electricity, we can be sure that the latest model of the same capacity will be consuming just 350- 700 kilowatts per year depending upon the rating.

The power consumption of a refrigerator can be brought down by keeping it in a place that does not receive any sunlight and their is ample of space between the refrigerator and the house walls for proper ventilation.

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If you have any queries related to the power consumption of a refrigerator then feel free to write it in the comments section below.

Thank You.

Save Electricity, Save Environment.

Reference for power consumption of a refrigerator

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