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The factors affecting the power consumption of a fridge or freezer can be broken down into 4 broad categories:

Each of these broad categories can be further broken down.

Fridge Design:

This is probably the main factor in energy consumption. Unfortunately, fridges are normally built to a price and not a performance level. Such factors include:


Fridges should ideally be in the coldest part of the house, with good air flow around them. Unfortunately, the kitchen doesn't normally fit into this category. (How often have you seen a dedicated 'fridge cavity' located beside a stove?) Some suggestions to consider where appropriate:

Encourage air circulation around the fridge. This may involve moving the fridge out a few cm from the walls, or elevating it a little to facilitate natural air flows. A solar (or normal) fan could be installed near the compressor to improve air movement. If the house is elevated, a hole (with appropriate vermin protection) could be drilled under the fridge, which would draw cooler air up from under the house. Another warm air exhaust to the outside could be installed above the fridge.

Usage Patterns:



My Fridge & Freezer

The graph to the right demonstrates the combined power consumed by my fridge & freezer with varying ambient temperatures. The graph is a 'best fit' line of data taken over a six month period. Two people were living in the house during this period.

Fridge: 330 litre upright fresh-food only (no freezer) with exposed condensor coils at rear. Purchased 1994. Quoted power consumption: 490 kWh / year

Freezer: 220 litre chest freezer. Purchased 1994. Quoted power consumption: 350 kWh / year

The fridge has been modified slightly: The cyclic defrost heater has a switch in series with the heating element. I leave this switched to off most of the time. This has reduced the fridge power consumption by around 300 Wh /day (Approximately halved it's consumption in Winter from 600 to 300 Wh/day).


Last Updated: 06/02/03