How Many Amps Does A Refrigerator Use?
When buying a new kitchen appliance- especially one as big and expensive as a refrigerator- you’ll want to consider what kind of impact it will have on your electricity bill every month.
The specific number of amps a refrigerator uses every day won’t often be listed in the brochure or readily provided by a salesperson but it is something you can find out for yourself.
In this article, we’ll be going over everything you need to know about refrigerator amperage and work out how much power your refrigerator likely uses.
What Are Amps?
If you didn’t already know, here’s a quick breakdown of what amps are and how they work in your refrigerator.
An amp (short for ampere) is an electrical current unit that’s used to measure how much force there is between the conductors in a circuit that carry electrical current.
Basically, it’s just another way of measuring how much electricity is being used in a circuit.
In a refrigerator, we measure how many amps are required by its compressor to cool the interior compartment. The higher the number of amps required, the more electricity it uses.
Therefore, the cheapest and most energy efficient refrigerators will be the ones with a low amperage.
How To Calculate Your Refrigerator’s Amperage
Like we said before, the amperage of your refrigerator won’t often be listed in a brochure or on the tag, but other electrical information will be.
If you know the wattage and voltage of your refrigerator’s compressor, you can also work out its amperage.
If you don’t have the information to hand, just look behind the refrigerator and locate the compressor. There should be a label or tag on this component which will tell you how many watts it uses.
The average wattage of a household refrigerator is 725, so let’s assume that’s what it is for yours.
Then, simply divide the number of watts by the number of volts produced by your power supply. The standard power supply in US households is 120 volts. Therefore, you’d simply divide 725 by 120, to calculate the amperage of roughly 6.
Why Are Amps Important In A Refrigerator?
As you can probably tell from the calculation above, working out the amperage of your refrigerator isn’t just about how much power it needs to run, but it’s more about working out how efficient it is at using the power provided by your outlet to keep the interior cool.
Amperage is the most important electrical measurement for you, as the user, because it describes how energy efficient the appliance is.
A refrigerator with good energy efficiency will produce the best results for keeping the interior of your refrigerator cold without using too much power.
Starting Amps vs Running Amps
Like a lot of machines and household appliances, a refrigerator will use a bit more power than normal to initially start up, compared to how much it uses while running throughout the day.
Compared to an average 5-8 running amps, a refrigerator can use around 15 amps to get started. This is mainly because the temperature inside the refrigerator will take a lot more time to get from room temp down to refrigerator level.
Once it’s been lowered sufficiently, the mechanisms in the refrigerator won’t have to use as much power to maintain that temperature.
What Factors Affect A Refrigerator’s Amperage?
The main thing that will affect the amount of amps required to keep a refrigerator cool is its size.
Naturally, a larger refrigerator will be more difficult to keep at a consistently cold temperature, so more electrical current and more amps are required.
Alternatively, smaller refrigerators and mini-fridges have a much smaller interior to keep cold, so will require less power to do so.
Interestingly, amperage can also be affected by the location of the refrigerator itself. For example, if your fridge is in a warm part of the room, the compressor will have to work even harder to keep the interior temperature consistently low.
Different types of refrigerators can also have different amperage because of the type of functionality they’re designed to provide.
For example, a typical bar fridge won’t need to keep it’s interior temperature too low, because it will be used to store drinks at a comfortable drinking temperature.
However, a typical side by side refrigerator that you might have in your home will need to be colder to keep meat and vegetables fresh.
How Can I Improve The Energy Efficiency Of My Refrigerator?
As you may have guessed, there is no single right answer for how many amps your refrigerator will use at all times.
In fact, there are a few ways you can reduce the amount of amps it needs to produce the same consistent results:
1. Firstly, keep the door closed as much as possible. This might seem obvious, but whenever you open the door, warm air is able to get inside the fridge, forcing the compressor to work a bit harder to get the temperature back down.
2. Don’t put hot things in your refrigerator. Again, this will cause the temperature of the fridge’s interior to rise, forcing the compressor to use more amps to cool it back down.
3. Similarly, you should try not to overfill the refrigerator with too much stuff. This will affect the circulation of air throughout the fridge. Much like how an oven uses convection to circulate hot air through its interior, a fridge uses the same principle with cold air. If you have too much stuff in the fridge, it will block the airflow and leave different parts of the interior at different temperatures.
4. Finally, one of the least obvious ways to reduce amperage is to leave space behind the refrigerator. This is where the compressor of your fridge will be, and this is the part that produces heat outside the fridge while it works on cooling the inside. If there’s not enough space around the compressor, this heat will get trapped outside the fridge and the compressor will have to use up more amps to function properly.
Hopefully you now know a little bit more about how a refrigerator uses amps to keep your food and drinks cool.
Amperage is something you should always consider when buying any household appliances. If you buy something that’s outdated and has a particularly poor energy efficiency, you could end up spending hundreds more dollars than you need to in electricity bills.
However, if you look out for energy efficient appliances and follow the steps we’ve listed above, your refrigerator won’t cost you a fortune.