Any guesses on how much power I would save per year by replacing this fridge with a new one? I'm wondering if it would be cost effective to upgrade (if it would pay for itself after a few years).sees

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    Have you talked to your power company? Many of them have programs to help you replace obsolete fridges. Commented Mar 29, 2020 at 4:54

5 Answers 5


To give an example, in Europe with costs of 0.3 Euro per kWh, a new fridge (size of a dishwasher or washing machine, price starting from ca. 150 Euro) will pay off in under a year, if the fridge is older then 15 years.

The insulation will be much better, but since there is some space around the old fridge, glueing polystyrol foam insulation panels to the left, right and upper side and to the doors would reduce the energy consumption - and the noise level when the compressor is running.

Otherwise there should be a forum or test in your market to find a new energy saving model which is reliable and not expensive.

And what could also help to reduce the energy bill: installing a small balcony photovoltaic system. Depending on the subsidiaries, procurement and feed -in and -out costs, it will save money after some years, especially if the local code allows simple plug-in systems. During day time, it could harvest some energy for the fridge, the router, computers, TVs etc. Again an example from Europe: a 2 panel system (peak power ca. 600W) can pay off in under 5 years without subsidiaries and without any feed-in payments, if the installation is done by DIY. Some owners decide to feed-in the energy for free that is exceeding the own consumption, since the burocratic efforts/complicated tax declarations and additional meter rents are not paying off.

And in case of power outages/emergencies photovoltaic systems are a reliable daytime electric power source which should supply enough power to run a cell phone loader or laptop or receiver or TV, even in cloudy weather.

  • To be sure, new refrigerators use less energy. The question is, will the bit of energy saved be enough to cover the cost of an entire new refrigerator. I seriously doubt it. Commented Mar 29, 2020 at 16:07
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    @SteveWellens It will cover the cost in a time span that is smaller then the fridge's life expectation. New sealings (old sealings can be checked by putting a battery light inside in a dark kitchen), modulating compressors, better insulation. Maybe it is not true for very "luxury" models with many gadgets which are very overpriced costing 700$ and more.
    – xeeka
    Commented Mar 29, 2020 at 16:42
  • " It will cover the cost in a time span that is smaller then the fridge's life expectation." If you're saying we should all buy new refrigerators....I would have to say that is a bad economic policy. Like solar panels...that NEVER pay for themselves. Commented Mar 31, 2020 at 4:33
  • There are many sources in the Internet, just google "replace old fridge amortisation" in your location, e.g. thesimpledollar.com/save-money/…. Where is the source that PV solar panels "Never pay for themselves"?
    – xeeka
    Commented Mar 31, 2020 at 9:45
  • @xeela Do you have solar panels on your home? Commented Apr 1, 2020 at 4:36

Definitely talk to your power company!

Many power companies have rebate programs to help you replace inefficient appliances. Price is as low as "free".

The reason is pretty simple: the price tag on a new power plant is $5/watt. It's actually cheaper to install efficient appliances than build power plants. This would be obvious, if the power company and consumer were the same entity. Say you run off-grid power but are having problems. Your choices are a) spend $5000 on additional solar /wind/diesel and battery/pumped storage, or b) get rid of 1000W of unnecessary load in your house. Hello new fridge!

It's common-sense economics when you think about it; the weird thing is how electricity is billed. It's charged out at ~12 cents a KWH even though that doesn't reflect the capital costs, and that weird thing does not give proper incentive to efficiency. Well, the power company (and government?) did whatever they did to fix that weirdness, so they and you can share the windfall. Capitalism at its best, in my book.

Yes, it really does make sense for the power company to buy you a fridge.

So yeah, talk to them.

Fridges really are that much more efficient

I've been following the off-grid/solar thing for 25 years. 12/24V solar systems are the easiest to build. Back then, specialist companies sold special $3000 "off-grid refrigerators" that were distinguished by 2 features: First, their insulation was 6 inches thick, and second, they ran on 12/24V DC. These were small companies that did not have billion dollar R&D resources.

I think that woke EPA up. Because they really flogged appliance makers to get more efficient. Today, modern random fridges are so efficient that $3000 specialty fridges are no longer considered "worth it". You're better off just running a common $600 fridge, eating the inverter losses, and having a slightly bigger battery/panel.

You can confirm that with a "Kill-a-watt" or other power monitor; plug in the fridge through it for a day and it will report total energy use (in KWH) and average use in watts. (it will also report instantaneous right-now use in watts; don't confuse those.)

  • The crazy thing though is that most power companies won't buy you a fridge. Probably because they'd get sucked into a battle with the customer over various extra features that have nothing to do with power saving. But they do at times pay to replace your light bulbs, your lighting fixtures (my synagogue has had nearly all its lighting fixtures replaced twice by Pepco in the last 10 years in order to save energy) and I've seen pretty good rebates/discounts/etc. on HVAC systems too - most of the extras people want on HVAC really come down to "fancy thermostat" (and they give those away too.) Commented Mar 29, 2020 at 20:46
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    Yeah our PoCo was jumping up and down to replace all our T12 fluorescents with T8 fluorescents, in 2017 when LEDs had already won. I should have taken them up on it; now they're finally onboard with LED and will only replace with janky cheaply built goldrush LEDs where half of 'em will fail in 5 years, and I don't want those. Commented Mar 29, 2020 at 21:02
  • The crazy thing is the first time they did the "LED bulb, bypass the ballast" thing, second time (last year) they did "replace the entire fixture" thing. So a ton of labor involved - but as long as someone else is paying the bill... Commented Mar 29, 2020 at 21:09

"Any guesses on how much power I would save per year by replacing this fridge with a new one?"

I guess about XXXX kwh. I do not know how much power your refrigerator uses.

There are ways for you to monitor that usage. New refrigerators have energy ratings that will tell you energy usage expectations so you can monitor yours and then compare the numbers to make an informed decision. ( no guessing needed )

This website is informative.

The following quote is from Thesimpledolar.com

The energy savings on a refrigerator made in the late 2010s can save you $75 a year or more compared to a refrigerator made in the 1990s

Money savings is not the only factor in deciding to go with modern energy efficient appliances.

Thank you for reducing the amount of carbon that is being pumped into the atmosphere by having modern efficient appliances that reduce the amount of energy being produced.

"Should I replace my fridge for power savings?"

If "POWER SAVINGS" means saving money over the long run and/or doing your part in reducing carbon output then the answer is YES.

  • Re the environmental aspect, it's very important to consider the impact of manufacturing a new thing and shipping it to the store and/or buyer. It's often worse for the environment to replace an inefficient but functional old thing with an efficient new thing. In general, using a thing until it breaks and only then replacing it with a more efficient model makes the most sense.
    – nexus_2006
    Commented Mar 30, 2020 at 4:29
  • " In general, using a thing until it breaks and only then replacing it with a more efficient model makes the most sense" Exactly right. Which was why the "cash for clunkers" government program was asinine. Commented Mar 31, 2020 at 4:30

I've heard new ones are louder and break down easier. Throwing away a working refrigerator is wrong on many levels.

This link: https://energyusecalculator.com/electricity_refrigerator.htm estimates cost per year at about $158.

You can plug numbers into the page. Put in the watts used by the old and new refrigerator and the kWh price. The difference is your savings.

I would bet a lot of cash that the energy you save will NEVER pay for a new fridge. (I disagree with some of the conclusions in the page).

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    From the page you linked "If you are using an old fridge we highly recommend you upgrade to a more efficient modern model, advances in the past 15-20 years have reduced the energy use of refrigeration."
    – Ack
    Commented Mar 29, 2020 at 5:55
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    Why do you think new fridges are louder than old ones? That seems like a strange assertion without a source, and it's definitely counter to my experience.
    – nexus_2006
    Commented Mar 29, 2020 at 12:31
  • I didn't say new fridges are louder...I said I heard that from people....it's anecdotal. And, I pointed out that I disagreed with come of the conclusions on the page. Commented Mar 29, 2020 at 16:05
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    @nexus_2006 What could be meant here is the unusual noise/sound that is produced by some new models. F.e. the modulating compressors/heat pumps and smoother pressure changes inside the pipes/valves can generate a moaning type of sound which will be heard for longer times compared to the old simple switched on/off types.
    – xeeka
    Commented Mar 29, 2020 at 16:52

How long have you had the current refer? I'm going to guess, mid 70s so 45 years? I would expect that your new one is going to be around for a long time and that length of time must be considered in your question. With that time length, I don't need to do any math to know that the answer is yes, you're going to recover the cost.

Also, how long do you expect that your old one will continue to last? You're going to have to replace it anyway. The sooner you replace, the sooner you start recovering your cost. Energy costs don't go down, only up

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