It is undeniable that refrigerators are a necessary appliance in all households. The convenience of having cool, fresh food in the home and not having to run to the grocery store or the nearest restaurant for every meal can be taken for granted. But we are reminded of the cost of this convenience every time the monthly electricity bill needs to get paid. It’s easy to believe that there’s nothing you can do to impact the electricity costs of this large appliance, one that is always plugged in and running. But there are always ways we can be more energy efficient in our home, and determining how many watts a fridge uses is one step in the right direction.
How Much Electricity Does My Refrigerator Use?
You might be surprised to find out that while it may seem that refrigerators use a lot of wattage, seeing as they are constantly on, they actually require less power consumption than other main appliances, such as a clothes dryer. Let’s figure out how many watts a typical fridge uses and thus what they contribute to our monthly bills, as well as a few ways we can improve our energy savings as quickly as today.
Calculating Average Wattage for Refrigerators
To determine the average wattage for your refrigerator, you need to multiply volts x amps. You will find these numbers referenced on a sticker on the inside wall of the fridge, the manufacturer’s nameplate below the door, behind the front kick plate, or on the back of the fridge. Older refrigerators typically use 115 volts and 7 amps, which you can multiply to find a use of 805 watts. Conventional refrigerators typically have a starting wattage of 800-1200 watt hours/day, and a running wattage of around 150 watt hours/day.
Refrigerators are reactive devices that require additional power to start because they contain an electric motor, but significantly less power to run as they remain on. They also have internal fans that run intermittently, and a defrost cycle that requires power. As you can see, there are many factors at play when it comes to the starting and running power of refrigerators.
Monthly Cost of a Refrigerator
To see how much your refrigerator contributes to your monthly electricity bill, calculate the cost of the kWh the appliance uses. The U.S. Department of Energy’s assumes eight hours of operating time per day since refrigerators cycle on and off throughout the day. Multiply your refrigerators demand of 805 watts by 8 hours to get 6,440 watts per day. Divide that amount by 1,000 to get 6.44 kilowatt-hours. The average American is charged 12 cents per kWh, so you can assume that your refrigerator could cost you 77 cents per day or $23.10 per month for electricity.
5 Energy Savings Tips For Your Fridge
Energy Star estimates that certified refrigerators use 20% less energy than conventional models. Not ready to make the financial commitment of upgrading? Here are some free and low cost tips to help you optimize energy savings from your current appliance.
1. Place it Away From the Heat.
The best place to keep your refrigerator is in a cool spot away from any heat sources, such as large windows that get a lot of sun, or the oven. Refrigerators already work hard to expel hot air, and are put to the test when the air surrounding them is hot.
2. Move with Speed.
One way to improve bad habits when it comes to wasting energy is to avoid leaving the refrigerator door open. The compressor kicks in when you have the door open, constantly increasing the amount of watts used to power the fridge. Do your best to immediately grab what you need from the fridge and shut the door as soon as possible.
3. Set the Right Temperature.
Having the fridge or freezer set at a very cool temperature is a fast way to waste energy. Make sure that you set the internal thermostats to the optimal temperature of 37 degrees Fahrenheit for the refrigerator and 0 degrees Fahrenheit for the freezer.
4. Clean it Regularly.
Do yourself a favor and add a routine cleaning of your fridge every 3 months to do your chores list. Pull the fridge away from the wall so that you can dust underneath the fridge as well as the coils on the back, and remove and wash the kick plate on the front. When your refrigerator has the ability to breathe easier, it will certainly require less energy to run.
5. Cool Food Only, and Lots of It.
Take the time to cool down your hot leftovers before putting them in the fridge to save your compressor from overworking. Thus, only room temperature or cold food should go into your fridge. Additionally, make sure that you keep your freezer three quarters of the way full so that it doesn’t have to put in extra work to cool down empty space.
6. Willing to Spend a Little? Replace the Gaskets.
It is imperative that your refrigerator does not leak out cold air. This can be an expensive waste of energy. If you feel that the rubber gaskets around your fridge and freezer are no longer keeping cold air in, it is worthwhile to replace them.