Power Consumption of Refrigerators: Understanding Amps and Wattage

Understanding the Amps Used by a Small Refrigerator

Understanding the Amps Used by a Small Refrigerator


Refrigerators are essential appliances in our homes, keeping our food fresh and ensuring our comfort. However, it’s important to understand the power consumption of refrigerators to ensure they are properly connected to the electrical system. This article will explore how many amps refrigerators use, especially focusing on full-size and small refrigerators. Additionally, we will discuss how to calculate the amount of amps your fridge uses and the significance of a dedicated circuit.

1. How Many Amps Does a Fridge Use?

Most standard-size refrigerators consume an average of 3 to 6 amps. However, certain models can use up to 15 amps. It is recommended to plug your refrigerator into a 20-amp dedicated circuit to prevent overloading and reduce the risk of electrical fires. The specific amperage depends on factors such as the fridge’s model, make, year, and size. Checking the manufacturer’s details or calculating it from the wattage can provide more accurate information.

2. How Many Amps Does a Small Refrigerator Use?

Small refrigerators, such as mini fridges or beverage fridges, have lower energy requirements compared to standard-size fridges. They typically use anywhere from under 1 amp to 2 amps. For small refrigerators, it is advisable to plug them into a 15-amp dedicated circuit or a circuit with minimal devices or appliances connected.

3. Understanding Refrigerator Amps vs. Wattage

Amps refer to the strength of the electrical current flowing through the power supply unit of an appliance, indicating its electricity consumption. The amperage of a refrigerator fluctuates, with the highest consumption occurring when the compressor is running. In contrast, wattage represents the amount of power an electrical appliance uses to operate. It is usually listed on the fridge label or in the manufacturer’s manual. The higher the wattage, the higher the power consumption. Standard-size refrigerators typically have wattage ranging from 400 to 1300 watts, with an average of 725 watts.

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4. Calculating the Amount of Amps Your Fridge Uses

To determine the amps your fridge uses, you can follow these steps:

  1. Look at the manufacturer’s details: Check the owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s website for specific amp information.
  2. Determine the amps from the wattage: Use the formula Daily Watt Hours/Volts = Amps. Divide the watts by 365 (to calculate daily use) and then divide by the fridge’s voltage (usually 120 volts in the US and Canada).
  3. Use a power meter: Measure your fridge’s power consumption accurately by utilizing a portable power meter. Plug it into the wall and connect your refrigerator to the meter.

5. Adding a Dedicated Circuit or Upgrading Your Electrical System

It is crucial to ensure your refrigerator is connected to a dedicated 20-amp circuit. This means that the fridge is the only appliance or outlet on that circuit breaker, reducing the risk of tripping the breaker and preventing electrical fires. If your home does not have a dedicated circuit for the refrigerator, it is recommended to consult a licensed electrician who can add one. Additionally, an electrician can assess if your electrical system needs an upgrade, particularly for older homes built before 1975.

6. Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I run a small or standard-size refrigerator on a 15-amp circuit?
    • Yes, a small refrigerator or basic standard-size refrigerator can be run on a 15-amp circuit. However, it is advisable to plug a modern standard-size fridge into a 20-amp dedicated circuit.
  2. Can I plug two refrigerators into the same circuit?
    • No, it is not recommended to run two refrigerators on the same circuit as it can overload the circuit and potentially lead to electrical fires. Each standard-size refrigerator should have its own dedicated 20-amp circuit.
  3. Can I use an extension cord or power strip to connect my refrigerator?
    • No, it is unsafe to plug a refrigerator into an extension cord or power strip. Refrigerators have built-in surge protection, and using an extension cord or power strip can pose serious safety hazards.
  4. How much does it cost to add a dedicated circuit for a refrigerator?
    • The average cost of adding a dedicated circuit for a refrigerator is around $700. However, the price can vary, ranging from $570 to $1,100. It is important to hire a licensed electrician to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the electrical work.
  5. Are newer refrigerators more energy-efficient?
    • Generally, newer refrigerators are more energy-efficient compared to older models. Investing in an updated, energy-efficient fridge can lead to long-term energy savings and lower repair costs. Regular maintenance, such as cleaning the condenser coils, can further reduce power consumption.
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Amritanshu Roy is an expert in the field of outdoor gear and accessories with over 5 years of experience in the industry. As the founder of Outdoor Kitchen Picks, he is dedicated to helping outdoor enthusiasts find the perfect equipment for their adventures. With a strong passion for charcoal grills and smokers, outdoor accessories, outdoor cooking, and outdoor kitchens, Amritanshu is widely recognized as an authoritative voice in the outdoor community. He is committed to providing high-quality, trustworthy recommendations based on his extensive experience and expertise. Through his website, he shares his knowledge and experience to help others find the best gear for their outdoor activities. You can reach him at contact@outdoorkitchenpicks.com for any queries or questions regarding outdoor gear and accessories.

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