How Many Amps Does a Refrigerator Use?

by Nick Evans | Last Updated: July 1, 2020

How many amps does a refrigerator use?

The answer to this question is fairly complex as there are many factors that come into play.

In this article you will learn:

  • What an Amp is
  • Why they matter for your refrigerator
  • How many Amps a fridge uses on average
  • Energy saving tips for the fridge
how many amps does a refrigerator use

The refrigerator has become an indispensable part of every home. It’s hard to imagine life without one. That stated, refrigerators can require a lot of energy.

The answer to this question is fairly complex as there are many factors that come into play.

What Is an Amp?

The ampere is named after a French physicist and mathematician known as Andre -Marie Ampere.

An amp, or ampere, is a measuring unit for the electricity flow rate. When used in reference to refrigerators, an amp is the amount of electricity a compressor uses to cool down a fridge.

You calculate amps by dividing watts by volts.

Why Does It Matter?

The more amps your refrigerator uses, the higher your monthly energy bill will be.

Furthermore, the higher the amperage required for a fridge, the thicker the wires needed to supply electric current to the appliance.

If you use the wrong size of cables to power a refrigerator, they have the potential to heat up and burn.

How Many Amps Does a Refrigerator Use?

If the voltage is 120, most household fridges use six amps on average. This amperage accounts for about 5 percent of your total household energy consumption

How to Calculate the Amperage on a Refrigerator

You will need a clamp meter (colloquially known as an amp clamp) to measure amperage.

Here’s a simple break down to help you calculate how many amps your fridge uses.

Find Out Compressor Power

A regular fridge uses 720 watts, according to the United States Department of Energy. This figure, however, differs due to factors such as size, function, and the compressor’s capabilities.

The compressor is usually located at the bottom rear of a refrigerator. Locate the compressor on your fridge and check for an identification tag showing the wattage information.

Grab a Pen and Paper

You don’t need advanced knowledge in math to calculate your refrigerator’s amperage. But you need to know the voltage of your power supply, which is 120 volts in most homes. Divide the wattage of your fridge’s compressor by 120V. If your compressor draws 840W, for example, your refrigerator will consume 7 amperes.

Get the Tools Out

For this step, you’ll need a clamp meter and a break-our cord. These tools will enable you to measure amperage as an alternative to step 2. Before you start, adjust the clamp meter’s sensitivity to 40 amps.

Unplug your fridge from its power socket and plug it into the break-out cord. Next, connect the cord to the receptacle. Clamp the meter’s jaws to the black wire on the break-out cord.

Check the reading on your clamp meter. That reading will be the value of how many amps your fridge uses.

What You Should Consider Before Buying a Fridge

To get the best refrigerator, you need to know what you want. Here are some aspects you should take into account before buying a new fridge.

Room and Floor Space

Getting a refrigerator into your house can be a hassle if you have narrow doorways and hallways. Be sure to measure the width of the pathway leading to your kitchen before getting a refrigerator. Also, consider the size of the space left in between cabinets for the installation of a fridge.

Check the measurement details of the refrigerator of your choice to see whether it fits the allocated space. You’ll need to leave a one-inch allowance at the top, side, and back of your fridge for better ventilation.

Refrigerator Capacity

A refrigerator’s capacity is measured in cubic feet.

The size of your household can help you in deciding the capacity you need.

Refrigerator capacities can range anywhere between 9.9 and 29 cubic feet. The general rule is to allow 4 to 6 cu. ft. per adult in your household, plus a little extra. A manufacturer’s capacity usually doesn’t factor in the space taken up by shelves, ice makers or removable partitions. So keep in mind that the actual capacity could be about 17 to 32 percent less than indicated, depending on the model.

However, if a family of 5 consists of two adults and three children, a 300-liter fridge is sufficient. The bigger the refrigerator, the more electricity it consumes.

Quick rule of thumb, for every adult in the home, you should allocate a minimum of 4–6 cu. ft. of fridge space.

Location and Placement

You need to place your fridge in a cool location to save electric energy and get better ventilation. If you place your fridge in a warm area, the compressor will have to overwork, thereby consuming more amps than it would in a cool area.

Manufacture Date

Compared to newer refrigerator models, older fridges consume more energy. You may want to go for the latest refrigerator model to enjoy high energy-efficiency.

Refrigerator Type

With the different types of refrigerators, you can expect different levels of functionality and energy consumption. Here are different refrigerator types and their average amperages.

Energy Saving Tips for Refrigerators

With an energy-efficient fridge, you can save hundreds of dollars annually on power bills. A freezer-top fridge could be a great option to consider when looking for a refrigerator because it runs on lesser power than a 75-watt light bulb.

Here are 5 tips you can use to help conserve energy in your fridge.

1. Don’t open the door more times than necessary

The cold air in your fridge escapes once you open the door. The compressor has to work to lower the temperatures to the desired levels, hence consuming energy in the process.

2. Avoid over-stuffing

Air will not circulate properly in your fridge if you place too many things in it. Therefore, you should only keep things that need refrigeration.

3. Leave room between the fridge and wall

During operation, a refrigerator’s compressor releases heat. If you don’t leave enough room between your fridge and the wall, the heat coming from the compressor will get trapped and warm up the fridge from outside. As a result, the compressor will overwork and consume excess energy.

4. Control the temperature

Set your temperature control at medium to maintain the right balance of operational efficiency and power consumption.

5. Steer clear of hot food items

Putting hot items will increase the internal temperature of your refrigerator, forcing it to work longer to reach the required temperatures. When possible wait until food has cooled down to room temperature prior to refrigerating.

In Conclusion

The amperage of your refrigerator is an important subject to understand. It will help you get an energy-efficient fridge and keep your power costs low.

Also, it will enable you to determine the size of your circuit breaker and wires. Hopefully, this article has given you an answer to how many amps your refrigerator uses.

Be sure to use the guide above to calculate the amperage on your fridge and other appliances in your house. If you have any question please contact us.