How Much Electricity Does an Old Fridge Use?

How much electricity does an old fridge use

Technological advancement means products are getting better. So, old appliances tend to work less efficiently than newer ones. We often take for granted this fact, but technology advances every year. As time goes, we get better devices that are more powerful and do more while consuming less energy by being more efficient.

This is no exception for fridges. Newer fridges are more powerful, have more features. They also are more energy-efficient thanks to better internal parts. But have you ever thought how big that technological gap is? How much energy older fridges use compared to newer ones? How much electricity does an old fridge use?

How much electricity does an old fridge use?

While the power usage may vary between models regardless of old fridges or new fridges, the gap is still huge. On an average, a 20-year-old fridge can use as much as 1700 kWh of electricity per year, compared to just about 450 kWh per year with newer energy-saving fridges.

This is 3 times the power saving you can get with the newer fridges. You can save about $150 of electricity per year and 7 to 9 years of potential payback.

You may realize that 1700 kWh isn’t how much electricity your old fridge consumes. So how can you calculate your old fridge’s power usage?

Old fridges use a lot of energy
Old fridges use a lot of energy

How to calculate the amount of electricity consumed on the refrigerator?

In theory, the formula for your old fridge’s power consumption is rather simple:

  • Daily power consumption = Wattage x Running hours per day
  • Annual power consumption = Wattage x Running hours per day x 365 days

(Remember to change the wattage unit from W to kW by dividing by 1000)

In practice, a lot of factors can affect this result, for example: compressor cycle, average running wattage. If you try to calculate with the rated wattage on the fridge’s specification, you will get a higher result than expected.

You can visit this website and input the needed number for it to calculate the number for you, saving the hassle.

Does the old refrigerator use more electricity?

Definitely. Old refrigerators, especially ones produced in the 80s or 90s, can consume 3 times more than modern energy-saving fridges.

The money saved by changing to a new fridge can probably cover for the price of said new fridge, and you can continue to save electricity while enjoying a newer and less likely to break fridge.

Further reading: Best Top-Freezer Refrigerator without Ice Maker

Should I buy a new refrigerator to replace it?

If your fridge is less than 10 years old, you can hold on to it for a bit. But if the fridge is 20 or 30 years old, it’s time for an upgrade.

What should you consider before buying a new fridge?


You should pick the right size fridge for your family or your needs. You’ll waste energy and space if the fridge is too big.

Think beforehand where you want to place the fridge, then measure the ideal dimension (height, width, depth) according to the space around the spot.

Also, try to pick a fridge that actually fits your house’s doors since you need to move it from outside to the intended spot.


The space around the intended spot can also affect the ideal fridge style you can opt for.

Further reading:  How Long Does Meatloaf Last in the Fridge?

There are many styles of fridges:

  • French door refrigerator: It has wide cooling and freezing compartments. Besides, it is often equipped with adjustable shelves, exterior ice and water dispensers.
  • Side-by-side door fridge: It takes up less space taken when the doors are opened and also looks more modern, but the inside space can’t fit wide items
  • Fridge with freezer space: It has better space and is priced better, but the overall appearance isn’t as attractive as side-by-side door fridges. If you use the freezer compartment more often, the bottom freezer fridge is more ideal since they are more easily accessible.
  • Compact refrigerator:  It is known as mini fridge which has compact designed, portable, and perfect for small spaces. Compact fridges are best for small kitchen, bedroom, dorm room, office, …


Try to decide which feature you need the most, since fridges with more features tend to come with higher price tags.

  • Removable shelves let you utilize the inside space
  • Auto defrost is more convenient but uses more energy
  • Lock feature can keep children and unintended people out of the fridge, which helps with power consumption
  • Special temperature-controlled drawers allow certain food to remain fresh for longer


Compared to old fridges, newer ones are more efficient while also saving the environment and your annual bills more. You can find the energy efficient rating on the fridge’s specification.

You can also look for Energy-star certification on the fridges since these fridges comply with strict guidelines to make sure the power consumption is low enough.

Tips for energy saving

Whether you decide to buy a new refrigerator or continue using the old one, the following tips will help you save electricity, save money and the environment.

Clean your fridge regularly

For better performance, you should clean your fridge once every 3 or 4 months. Make sure you dust the coil and clean the fridge’s underneath, so your fridge can operate smoothly and uses less power.

Set the right temperature

The ideal internal temperature should be 37 degrees Fahrenheit for the cooling compartment and 0 degrees for freezer compartment. The colder settings, the more power will be consumed.

Don’t put hot food into the refrigerator

You should put the food into the fridge after it is cool down. Hot food will make the temperature inside the fridge increases, so the compressor must work harder. If this happen often, the compressor will be damaged.

Put the fridge in a cool place

Because the fridge emits heat when operating, so it should be put in a place without direct sunlight or another heat source. Kitchen corner, bedroom or living room can be good places for it.

Make sure there is no cold air escapes from the fridge

You should not open the fridge for too long or too often, this action will let cold air escape. In addition, check the rubber gasket to make sure no cold air leaks out. If it does, replace the gaskets as soon as possible.

You may also like: How Often Should You Defrost a Fridge?


Overall, the old fridge uses a lot more energy compared to newer ones. You can save lots of money in the long term just by getting a new fridge. When buying a new fridge, you should consider the factors like size, style, features, and efficiency.


1. Is your old refrigerator an energy hog?,, Retrieved on Jan. 3, 2022

2. Things to Consider When Buying a New Refrigerator,, Retrieved on Jan. 2, 2022

3. Electricity usage of a Refrigerator,, Retrieved on Jan. 2, 2022

Jenny Brown
Hi, I’m Jenny. In the hustle and bustle of daily life, a compact fridge or freezer becomes one of the essential items in many homes. On my blog, you will find helpful advice about using and organizing these kitchen appliances. You will also receive the recommendations on choosing a compact refrigerator or freezer that best fits your demands. Besides, frozen meals from the freezer bring many incredible benefits because they ensure freshness, deliciousness, and full nutrients. Many helpful tips from experts on frozen meals will also be found.