Egloff Andre SIBIR Technischer Leiter


How much electricity does my refrigerator use?

To understand just how energy efficient your refrigerator is, you’ll need to apply both some knowledge and calculation skills. When buying a new refrigerator, people often ask: “How much electricity does my refrigerator use?” The answer depends on how big the appliance is and its energy label. Plus, models with a freezer compartment usually consume more electricity. Recent surveys indicate that despite population growth, electricity consumption in Switzerland is decreasing, reflecting the impact of the improved energy efficiency of new appliances. André Egloff, Technical Director at SIBIRGroup Ltd., sheds some light on the inner workings of refrigerators in this guide.

Is a refrigerator a major energy-consuming appliance?

Yes, in terms of annual electricity consumption, it ranks second in most households. Freezers claim first place. Which brings us to our topic: Refrigerators without a freezer compartment are more energy-efficient.

How does that look in numbers?

Some reference statistics to help you: A medium-sized refrigerator in the best efficiency class consumes about 100 to 120 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year. Older models from around 2000 consume approximately three times as much.

So, is the refrigerator a major drain on energy?

Yes, it is one of the most costly electricity consumers in the household, accounting for about 10 to 20 percent of total energy costs, mainly due to the fact that it is always on. Since a refrigerator runs all day and night throughout the year, its electricity consumption steadily builds up. Old appliances consume significantly more electricity than new models with higher efficiency ratings.

What savings can I expect with a top-of-the-line modern refrigerator?

Switching to a more energy-efficient appliance can save you up to CHF 200 a year.

When should I replace my old refrigerator with a new model?

If your refrigerator is over ten years old, you should think about replacing it. However, you can only be assured of optimum energy efficiency if your new appliance has a high energy efficiency rating.

Are there other steps I can take to reduce my refrigerator’s electricity consumption?

Even positioning your refrigerator in the right place in your kitchen and defrosting it regularly can help bring down your energy costs. But how much of your electricity bill can be attributed to your refrigerator depends on your current energy tariff, the appliance’s energy efficiency, and your personal usage habits. Even the way you organise the contents of your refrigerator can make a difference.

Can I calculate how much electricity my refrigerator consumes?

Yes. Based on the information on the refrigerator’s energy label, you can work out its energy consumption using the following formula: Electricity consumption in kWh x price of electricity in CHF =  cost of electricity. The drawback: The consumption value is based on manufacturer specifications and may be influenced by other factors, such as the refrigerator’s location and your usage habits.

Person reaches into the black vintage fridge

Is there a reliable method for working out the electricity consumption of my refrigerator?

Yes, an electricity meter can accurately measure your refrigerator’s consumption. It breaks down the consumption and even shows you how much it costs.

Now let’s talk size: Does size have an impact on electricity consumption?

It certainly does. A larger refrigerator needs to cool more air than a smaller model, and therefore needs more electricity to do this. Before you make your purchase, it is important to clarify the question of size. The rule of thumb is: 100 to 140 litres is big enough for a single-occupant household. Then 50 litres should be added for each additional occupant.

Is it true that a refrigerator with a built-in freezer compartment uses more electricity?

Yes, it’s true. Refrigerators without a freezer compartment save about 20 percent on energy. Naturally, a separate freezer also consumes energy. An interesting fact: A chest freezer is more energy-efficient that an upright freezer.

Do you have any questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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