Electricity Consumption of a Refrigerator (Explained)

Are you also pained by the high electricity bills even when you believe that your power consumption habits are judicious? In that case, you might want to look at your refrigerator’s energy usage and its impact on your monthly electricity bills. It might sound like a hectic task, but you don’t have to worry, as we have covered it at great length.

We have also discussed all the possible factors that might be affecting your fridge’s electricity consumption and the ways in which you can reduce it. You will be surprised to learn that even small changes like closing the fridge door immediately after your task is done can save an ample amount of power. Keep reading to find out more such ways in the article below.

How Much Electricity Does a Refrigerator Use Per Month in India?

How Much Electricity Does a Refrigerator Use

The electricity consumption of a refrigerator depends on various factors, including the size of your fridge, the BEE star rating, temperature setting, amount of food inside it, etc., which we have discussed below in detail. However, if you want to have an approximate idea about your refrigerator’s monthly power consumption, we have created a rough guide based on the size of the fridge. Let’s have a look at it.

Size of the Refrigerator (Litres)Approximate Monthly Electricity Consumption (KWh)
200 litres60 Units
300 litres75 Units
400 litres90 Units
500 litres120 Units
600 litres150 Units

If you are looking for an exact calculation of your refrigerator’s monthly electricity consumption, we recommend investing in a portable power meter that will give you accurate units and a better understanding of your power usage. We will talkmore about this in our article below.

Factors that Affect the Energy Consumption of a Refrigerator

No two refrigerators will consume the same amount of electricity. There are a few factors that determine its energy consumption. Let’s discuss them in detail.

The Size of Your Refrigerator

One of the most significant factors that affect the refrigerator’s electricity usage is its size. The thumb rule says that the larger the fridge (volume), the more will be its power consumption. In simpler terms, your double door refrigerator will consume more electricity as compared to your single door fridge. This happens because of the large volume of the refrigerator as more area has to be cooled. In the same way, a side-by-side refrigerator will consume the maximum amount of power because of its massive size.

The Type of Compressor Used

The two types of compressors used in a refrigerator are a regular one and an inverter compressor. It goes without saying that an inverter compressor is more energy-efficient. The reason for this is that a regular compressor works at its highest speed at all times, no matter what the external environment or the cooling needs are. This results in more energy consumption.

In contrast, an inverter compressor is designed to adjust its speed as per the cooling requirements. For example, in winters, when outside temperatures are low, an inverter compressor will reduce its speed as food won’t require much cooling. Hence, more energy is saved.

Energy Efficiency Rating

Energy efficiency rating is a five-point rating method by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) and was introduced by the Ministry of Power in India in 2006. The basic idea behind introducing such a scale was to determine the energy efficiency and cost-saving capability of electrical appliances. It goes without saying that the higher the rating, the more energy-efficient your refrigerator will be.

However, the BEE rating is only applicable to frost-free refrigerators and those appliances that were made after 2005. A refrigerator with an energy efficiency rating will consume lesser power as compared to those which come without a star rating. By this, we mean that two refrigerators having the exact same volume will consume different electricity units based on their star rating.

For example, a 250 litres fridge with no star rating will consume 1100 units of electricity at Rs. 10 per unit. This takes the annual electricity bill to 11,000 rupees, thereby resulting in zero savings. Whereas, the same capacity fridge with a five-star rating on the energy efficiency scale will only consume 400 units of electricity, costing you 4,000 rupees per year. This will save you around 7,000 rupees per year, which is incredible. Therefore, you must always look for a BEE symbol on your refrigerator for better energy savings.

How Often Your Fridge Door Remains Open

How Often Your Fridge Door Remains Open

Who isn’t guilty of keeping the fridge door open even when it’s not required? This happens with all of us, but we forget how much more electricity the refrigerator is consuming while doing this. The reason for increased power consumption is that when we keep the fridge door open for longer, the warm air from outside gets a chance to move inside the fridge and heat up the space again. When the refrigerator gets heated, the compressor now has to work even harder to again cool up the area, and this increases the need for more power, thereby leading to increased electricity consumption.

Ventilation Access

Ventilation is just as important for your refrigerator as it is for your house. But, the irony is that most people ignore this factor. The basic function of a fridge is to get rid of warm air and move it to the external environment. But when there is no proper ventilation access, the hot air displaced by the refrigerator will heat up the compressor, which will eventually lead to more electricity being consumed. Therefore, we recommend leaving some space, ideally around four to six inches, between your fridge and kitchen walls.

How Much Food Do You Stuff Inside Your Fridge

How Much Food Do You Stuff Inside Your Fridge

A well-organised fridge that is full will be more energy-efficient as compared to the one that is nearly empty. The reason for this is the free air that takes up more space inside an empty fridge that has to be cooled, which is not the case in a well-stuffed refrigerator. An empty fridge loads the compressor to cool down more air, and hence, increasing the electricity consumption.

How Clean are the Condenser Coils

How well the condenser coils are maintained is another factor that determines the energy consumption of the refrigerator. Dust, dirt, or cobweb accumulation on the condenser coils will significantly reduce the fridge’s efficiency to transfer heat. This results in more electricity consumption. Therefore, regular cleaning will go a long way when it comes to saving power.

How Old is Your Fridge and its Overall Condition

This one goes for all electrical appliances; the older they are, the less energy-efficient they become. But let’s see how much of an impact do these old refrigerators actually put on energy consumption. On average, a five-year-old fridge will consume about ten per cent more electricity. In the same way, even older refrigerators, let’s say ten to fifteen years old, will consume nearly twenty to thirty per cent more electricity.

This happens because of the regular wear and tear and a general breakdown of the machinery. However, proper maintenance and following power-saving practices can help keep the energy efficiency of your fridge for longer.

Does Switching Off the Fridge at Night Helps You Save Electricity?

One question that people often ask is whether they can turn off their fridge at night to save electricity. Well, this question stems from the mindset that turning off means no electricity consumption overnight. The catch here is that when you switch off your refrigerator, the food inside it also gets warm, which results in even more energy consumption in the morning as the food has to be cooled again.

This not only increases your electricity usage but also makes the food prone to spoiling, thereby defeating the very purpose of purchasing a fridge in the first place. What people don’t understand is that the refrigerator’s power usage is anyway less at night as the fridge door is not opened for a long time, thereby taking away the load of the compressor. Also, if you are constantly turning your fridge on and off, its performance will be affected in the long run.

However, if you really want to save some electricity, try investing in a refrigerator with an inverter compressor that will adjust its speed according to the cooling requirements. Or, you can also turn off your fridge in case it is empty. Many people are also opting for models with the vacation mode option as it allows to turn off the fridge unit while the freezer unit is still working. This mode is especially beneficial when you are out of town as food doesn’t get spoiled and you save on electricity too.

Ways to Calculate the Electricity Consumption of a Refrigerator

Ways to Calculate the Electricity Consumption of a Refrigerator

There are a few ways in which you can calculate your refrigerator’s power consumption without much effort. Let’s discuss the methods in detail.

On the Basis of BEE Energy Efficiency Scale’s Estimates

Monthly Electricity Consumption of Your Refrigerator = Annual Power Consumption/12   Daily Electricity Consumption of Your Refrigerator = Annual Power Consumption/365 OR Daily Electricity Consumption of Your Refrigerator = Monthly Power Consumption/30

One of the easiest ways to calculate the electricity consumption of your refrigerator is by reading the annual power consumption on the BEE energy efficiency sticker. You will find this just below the star rating.

For example, if your refrigerator consumes 248 kWh or units of electricity per year, your monthly electricity consumption will be 248 kWh/12, i.e., 20.67 units per month. In the same way, your daily power consumption will be 20.67 kWh/30, i.e., 0.689 units per day. However, you must keep in mind that the annual power consumption units are not absolute but variable, depending on your usage. In real-life conditions, these can increase by five to ten per cent.

On the Basis of a Portable Power Meter

Another efficient way to calculate your refrigerator’s electricity consumption is by using a portable power meter like Kill A Watt meter. This is more accurate and also suitable for fridges with no star rating as it takes real-time reading of your refrigerator. All you need to do is to connect the meter with the refrigerator’s plug and then plug the meter into a socket.

Once connected, the meter will itself show how much electricity your refrigerator is consuming on a daily basis. However, we recommend that you take the reading once every three to seven days for more accurate results.

On the Basis of Fridge’s Wattage and Number of Hours Used

Daily Power Consumption of Your Refrigerator = (Refrigerator’s Wattage X Hours Per Day)/1000

Another method that will give you the approximate idea of your refrigerator’s electricity consumption is by calculating it with the help of its wattage and the number of hours the fridge was operating.

For example, your fridge’s wattage is around 130 Watts, and you use the refrigerator for 8 hours per day. Now the daily electricity consumption will be (130 X 8)/1000, i.e., 1.04 kWh or units per day. However, this method of calculation is not very accurate and reliable for the very reason that the appliance itself might not use the wattage stated on the compliance plate.

Therefore, if you are looking for an accurate reading, a portable power meter is the most reliable calculation method. Since it gives you aprecise reading, you can also make changes in order to reduce the fridge’s electricity consumption and immediately gauge if the changes are working or not. However, calculating power consumption with the help of BEE estimates or wattage can be extremely easy but they are not exact. So, you can choose any method as per your preference and convenience.

Ways to Reduce the Electricity Consumption of Your Refrigerator

Now that we know the approximate amount of per month electricity consumed by the refrigerators, factors affecting it, and methods to calculate it, it is time to learn some ways in which we can reduce the fridge’s energy usage as well. Let’s have a look at some of the points below.

Keep Your Refrigerator Full and Well Organised

Many a time, people buy a large refrigerator and do not stuff it properly, leaving it mostly empty. This habit is one of the worst ones. It increases the fridge’s electricity consumption, and you end up wondering what you were doing wrong. The thing is to always keep your refrigerator full and well organised for optimum power usage. No, you don’t have to overstuff it, but fill it to a level that proper air circulation takes place and less electricity is consumed.

Purchase the Correct Size of the Refrigerator

The correct size of your refrigerator can make a whole lot of difference in its electricity consumption. Suppose you are a family of three and you have a triple door refrigerator. In that case, your fridge’s electricity consumption will undoubtedly be higher because the purchased appliance is not compatible with the family’s size and needs. A smaller fridge with a better star rating will significantly reduce the power consumption.

Therefore, it is necessary that you calculate the number of members in your family and your family’s eating and storage habits before purchasing a refrigerator.

Always Look for Energy Efficiency Ratings

People often think that a large refrigerator will consume more electricity. However, this belief is partly true because a large refrigerator with a better energy efficiency rating will actually consume lesser power than the smaller one with no or a low star rating. Therefore, we recommend always opting for a refrigerator with a higher star rating, preferably four or five stars, for the best energy savings and lesser electricity bills.

Keep Optimal Temperature Settings

A lot of times, we see that people set their refrigerator’s temperature settings to a lower degree when it is not even required. This increases the electricity consumption because the fridge has to work more to maintain that low temperature. We recommend keeping the temperature of the fridge unit at around 2 to 5 degrees Celsius and that of the freezer unit at around -10 to -15 degreesCelsius. These are the optimum temperature settings in most cases. In case, you don’t know the temperature, just set the regulator at normal for usual days and less than normal when it is cold.

Refrigerator Door Must Be Kept Closed

We cannot stress enough on keeping your refrigerator door closed to reduce its electricity consumption. The fact is that every time you open your fridge door for a longer duration, more hot air gets inside it that has to be cooled down. This puts extra load on the compressor, which results in more electricity usage. Therefore, keep your refrigerator door closed unless you have to open it for some use. Just by lowering your door opening frequency, you will see a remarkable change in your fridge’s monthly electricity consumption.

Take Care of the Refrigerator’s Placement

Placing the refrigerator at the correct place is also a very significant factor that will decide how much electricity it will consume. For example, if you put your fridge somewhere that gets direct sunlight, it is bound to consume more electricity as it will have to work harder to keep things cool. In the same way, if there is no proper ventilation or space for hot air to pass, again the fridge will consume more electricity. Therefore, it is recommended to keep at least four to six inches of gap between the refrigerator and the walls for optimum ventilation and lower power consumption.

Keep the Condenser Coils Clean

As refrigerators work on the principle of heat transfer, i.e., to transfer hot air from inside to the outside environment in order to keep the interiors cool. But, if there is dust or dirt sticking on your condenser coil, the heat transfer is obstructed, which leads to more electricity consumption. Therefore, it is crucial to keep your condenser coils clean. You can vacuum clean them once every three to four months for optimum performance.

Do Not Put Hot Food Inside the Refrigerator Immediately

You might have often seen people allowing their food to cool down at least to room temperature before placing it inside the refrigerator. Well, this is a great practice as it reduces the hard work that the fridge’s compressor has to do in cooling down the food item. As a result, extra electricity that would have been required otherwise gets conserved, and you save money on electricity bills too. Therefore, always remember to let your food be as cold as possible before placing it inside the fridge.

Look for Energy Saving Mode when Purchasing a Refrigerator

Many new age refrigerators are coming with an energy-saving mode as well that further enhances their energy efficiency. These work by turning off the anti-sweat heaters, as a result of which a significant amount of electricity is saved. You might be wondering what anti-sweat heaters are. Well, these are responsible for keeping your display, doors, especially glass, free from condensation and fogging. However, you don’t require them to be running at all times. Therefore, energy-saving mode or anti-sweat heater controls help in reducing the fridge’s electricity consumption.

Keep Your Refrigerator Properly Maintained

Maintaining your fridge properly goes a long way in reducing its electricity consumption. It will not only retain your appliance’s efficiency but will also increase its lifespan. Here are a few tips that you can follow to keep your fridge in the best working condition.

  • Check the ice build-up inside the freezer. Anything more than 2 mm will lower the efficiency by at least 10%. Therefore, it is important to defrost it once in a while.
  • Clean your fridge regularly, and do not let the dust settle on the condenser.
  • If there is any problem in closing the door, get it replaced.
  • If you do not have to use the fridge for a long duration, it is better to turn it off and keep the door open. Remember to take out the food first.

Invest in an Inverter Refrigerator

Like we have discussed above how the type of compressor can significantly affect your refrigerator’s power consumption. Though inverter refrigerators are costly initially but they save a lot of electricity in the long run and offer convenient usage. Therefore, if your primary concern is energy efficiency and saving money on electricity bills. In that case, an inverter refrigerator is a clear champion.

Replace Your Old Refrigerator

If you have already tried all the above recommendations and still do not see any significant improvement in your energy savings, maybe it is time to change your refrigerator. Old refrigerators consume more electricity because they have to make up for the wear and tear by working harder. An old fridge can actually increase your electricity consumption by up to 30%, if not replaced at the correct time.


With the advancement of technology, the power consumption of refrigerators has reduced significantly. However, there are still some habits and ignorance at large that increase your fridge’s energy usage, which, when avoided, will not only make it more energy-efficient but will also increase its lifespan.

Which practices did you adopt to lower your refrigerator’s electricity consumption? Were they helpful? Or do you have some other ways to make your fridge more energy-efficient? Please let us know in the comments below. We would love to read about your experience.

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