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How Many Amps Does A Refrigerator Use

By October 26, 2021Electrical
New standard refrigerator

Understanding the amount of power your refrigerator consumes is the first step towards a successful purchase. You will want to follow the energy rating guides to ensure that you have the proper outlet circuit on a dedicated circuit breaker for your refrigerator.

If you ever wanted to know the power usage of your computer, then you likely asked yourself the following question, how many amps does a refrigerator use? The average refrigerator uses 725 watts of power and 10 to 20 amps. This can equate to roughly 10 percent of your home’s total energy consumption. Let’s take a look at what’s involved with understanding the amp usage of a refrigerator.

Energy guide label
Energy guide label

Energy Ratings

For starters, you should know the refrigerator’s energy star ratings. This allows you to calculate the refrigerator’s energy usage. The way to calculate this is by dividing the watts by the volts which equals the amps (Watts/Volts=Amps). The average refrigerators run on 120 volts and use .21 amps.

If your refrigerator does not have an energy star rating then you will want to purchase an energy meter. You can purchase one from most hardware stores. By plugging the meter into the wall outlet and then plugging the refrigerator into the meter, the meter calculates the amount of power the device uses over time.

20 amp breaker switch
20 amp breaker switch

Voltage and Amps

When considering which refrigerator to purchase you will want to know how many amps it will use. This allows you to determine what your electrical breaker can handle. You will want to examine both the voltage and amp requirements for your refrigerator before using it.

The breaker size of a refrigerator is based on the appliance’s ability to use 120-volt or 240-volt circuits. The size and make of the refrigerator will dictate which type of voltage circuit you will need, also, most standard refrigerators use a simple 120-volt circuit.

Comparatively speaking, you will look at the amp requirements for the refrigerator in the manufacturer’s documentation. Standard refrigerators need 15 to 20 amps and a 120-volt dedicated circuit. FYI, a 120-volt breaker would only have one handle for the breaker.

Potential Area Of Concern

The biggest area of concern when it comes to electricity and appliances like a refrigerator deals with the FPE Panel. Federal Pacific Electric company cheated their way to an endorsement. In the 1950s thru the 1980s homes were built with electrical breaker FPE Panels. Additionally, these panels are fire hazards and can cause electrocution. Even when turned off, they can allow electric currents to continue to flow. Lastly, homes with FPE Panels cannot be insured.

Breaker box for all circuits
Breaker box for all circuits

How Much For The Proper Refrigerator Circuit

After reading the labels you have picked out your next refrigerator. Luckily, replacing a circuit breaker is simple and cheap. Also, in most cases, your circuit breaker is a standard 120 volt and 20 amps. However, ensuring that your circuit is dedicated to the refrigerator is most important.

Circuit breakers could cost between $9.00 to $12.00 depending on what hardware store you shop at. If you are not someone that likes to deal with electricity, then calling in a professional electrician is a great idea.

Here are some basic items that you will need to ensure the refrigerator is on a dedicated circuit:

Let’s take a look at the video below, to see how many watts and amps a refrigerator uses.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Circuit breakers control everything on the circuit inside the electrical panel in the house. From appliances like your refrigerator to the light fixtures, and more.  Just like with anything, circuit breakers can go bad.  If you can catch this early, circuit breaker replacements can be rather inexpensive.

Making sure that your metal breaker box is grounded is also very important. Preventing electrical power surges that can cause electrocution is your priority. You must have a grounded metal breaker box to prevent electrocution and electrical fires.

While you are looking into your refrigerators amp usage and how your circuit breakers are set up, you might want to explore whether or not your gas water heater requires electricity.

When Should I Call A Professional

It is always a good idea to call a professional when dealing with electrical work. It’s best to call a licensed electrician when determining if your electrical outlet can support the amp needs for your refrigerator. The electrician can work more quickly than you since they have the experience and knowledge and save you money by preventing damage to your refrigerator.


When dealing with electrical projects, you should always consult a licensed electrician in your area. If you aren’t sure exactly what you need for your refrigerator installation, then reach out to Alpha Building Inspections. It’s always a great idea to call or schedule an inspection with Alpha Building Inspections, Merrimack, NH, and surrounding areas. They can conduct an electrical inspection and recommend what your needs might be before purchasing a refrigerator.