The kitchen is of little use without a refrigerator, but what kind of impact does yours have? The cost of running your fridge might shock you.
How many watts does a refrigerator use?
Using an average of 1,200 watts, the average fridge costs approximately $1.44 per month to operate according to the U.S Department of Energy’s website. If you have more than one refrigerator running at the same time (for example your downstairs and upstairs units) that number will go up significantly.
Video Credit: Bill Newberry
So if you’ve got three refrigerators running at once each, it will cost you about $5.48 per month just to power them! In other words that means that over a year they’ll cost you about $70 not including the initial cost when buying them which is usually more than $200 each depending on brand/size/energy efficiency. That’s not really a lot of money but imagine if you could cut that cost from your energy bill? But how do you know which is a more efficient model?
How to save on refrigerator costs?
Calculating the cost of running a refrigerator doesn’t necessarily relate to its size or where it sits in your kitchen (near the sink, away from windows, etc.). In fact most refrigerators should theoretically use approximately the same amount of electricity regardless as long as they are filled and working properly.
However some smaller models may require more power when they are first plugged into an outlet than others, according to Williams. When initially switched on new models can take longer to get up to their operating temperature and thus use more power. Even with this in mind however, the cost of running a refrigerator is ultimately influenced by its energy efficiency rating.
How to find an efficient fridge?
Sometimes referred to as Energy Star ratings, these ratings are based off an kWh per year consumption rate (see note below). If you’re looking to cut the costs on your monthly bill look for refrigerators with high marks. The Department of Energy uses 1-100 scale system and some basic guidelines:
– 70+ = A+++ or “very energy efficient” – 50-69 = A++ – 40-49 = A – 30-39 = B – 20-29= C – under 20= D and UNECE/IECEE class II is E**
If you buy a model that is in the extreme low end of this spectrum expect it to cost around $130 per year per unit. That’s a great deal more than a refrigerator that has maintained an Energy Star rating of at least 70, which will only cost you $70 or so each year. Now keep in mind that these prices are just estimates. According to research by Williams, there may be some instances where refrigerators with higher wattages can actually save money overall because they use less expensive energy sources like hydroelectric power. Of course if your area gets its power from coal, nuclear or natural gas that won’t help you much either.
Whether your fridge is smart or not
If you have a smart fridge (which is increasingly common among models these days) then it will likely be even more energy efficient than those without. Why? Because the smart fridge can adjust its compressor to a more efficient rate when it is not being used and has closed its door.
Using a generator to run your refrigerator
If you can’t properly insulate or replace the light bulbs in your fridge, then what are you going to do? The most obvious solution is to upgrade your refrigerator with a generator. But generators don’t come cheap and if they’re not used properly they can quickly become costly and unhealthy investments.
As well as being expensive, there are some complaints about the noise levels of these generators. They may be one of the most obvious solutions for powering refrigerators when grid power goes down but it probably isn’t worth it unless you have money to burn (in which case we’d recommend using that cash on a more efficient model).
How to optimize refrigerator power usage?
The most obvious way to cut the cost of running your refrigerator is through energy efficiency. Always look for Energy Star models when shopping and try to find compact or thin units with double door panels. Double doors take advantage of a smaller space and will typically cool faster, resulting in more savings on power costs. If you know you can’t always keep your refrigerator properly cooled, then invest in a backup generator if possible. But if that’s not an option, then consider upgrading to LED lights inside your fridge since they use less watts than incandescent bulbs (see note below).
Turn off the lighting on the inside of your refrigerator
Most use a standard light bulb with an incandescent filament which is more costly than a compact fluorescent lights ( CFL s).
Installing LED lights
If you can’t replace an older model or buy a new Energy Star unit consider installing LED lights that fit into standard light sockets. These lights are more efficient and cheaper in the long run than incandescent bulbs.
Try not to leave the doors of your fridge open
If you must use your refrigerator, then open it for short periods at a time. Try not to leave the doors of your fridge open while you’re running the motor. It will quickly get warm inside due to lack of consistent air flow and that heat will have to be dissipated by your cold appliance generating more power than necessary.
Different phases or circuits
If possible alternate using appliances on different phases or circuits. If you have an electric stove, dishwasher and other appliances that can draw power from separate sources be sure to keep them all on their own circuit so they don’t overload one line and blow it out if one goes haywire. This is especially important if your fridge draws too much power.
Don’t pour water directly into the freezer
The ice maker or evaporator coils can get clogged and require special attention to clean. It would be a shame to break your refrigerator by doing something so simple as pouring water down the inside of it, which will only cause more problems than needed (and make a huge mess).
So just remember that your refrigerator is just like any other appliance and needs to be maintained properly for optimal performance and maximum energy efficiency. But beyond those basics, following these tips will help you get even more out of your next refrigerator purchase while saving some money in the long run! And if you do find yourself in need of an emergency generator, there are many models available that can do the job.
Keep fridge clean on inside
Don’t allow food or other debris to get stuck in the condenser coils, which will reduce their efficiency and increase their energy use. The best way to prevent this is using a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment designed specifically for cleaning refrigerators (or just take it outside and give it a good hosing down). Don’t forget to vacuum out any crumbs between the slats of the fridge floor as well. This will keep them from getting into your compressor’s fan blades and slowing it down unnecessarily or worse still causing it to stop running altogether.
Take care when you’re defrosting
Frost build up can reduce the energy efficiency of your refrigerator and in extreme cases, it could even lead to a power failure or fire. To prevent this from happening be sure to wait until your fridge has cooled down before you attempt to remove frost, which is easy if you just unplug it for a while first. If you can’t defrost naturally through lack of use then try using a hair dryer on the coldest setting possible.
Just remember not to let any flammable materials come into contact with running water or melted frost so be sure that all surfaces are cool first and keep the hair dryer away from them too (two feet should suffice for safety purposes). And most importantly never use an open flame inside your appliance no matter how tempting it may be.
Place your fridge in a cool, dark location
Keep your fridge in a cool, dry and dark place. The best location is probably on an outside wall since they have the most access to fresh outdoor air. Just make sure that you don’t put it next to any hot water heaters or other appliances with high heat emissions. Also avoid being too close to kitchen cupboards, which can absorb excess moisture (which will result in limescale buildup) or cause room temperature fluctuations that are not conducive to good energy efficiency and long lifespan.
Finally store food at recommended temperatures so that it keeps for longer without spoiling and generating excess waste as well as cost for you if it’s replaced unnecessarily prematurely due to spoilage while still in your possession.
So, the answer of how many watts does a refrigerator use- is pretty simple. One of the most overlooked elements in saving energy and money is the proper maintenance of appliances. Care and attention should be paid to their cleanliness and health so that they are as efficient and long-lasting as possible. Even things like using a vacuum cleaner for the condenser coils can make a big difference over time when it comes to both energy efficiency, overall lifespan, and your bank account. Be sure to share these tips with everyone who you know who owns or operates a refrigerator so we can all work together to improve our environment while reducing our personal expenses!