How can I determine the operating cost of my refrigerator or freezer?

How can I determine the operating cost of my refrigerator or freezer?

Dear Matt,
How can I determine the operating cost of my refrigerator or freezer?

Most folks don’t know how much their refrigerator actually costs to operate. Other appliances like lightbulbs or a clothes dryer are obvious because they are either on or off. Freezers and refrigerators just cycle in the background to hold the set temperature and that makes a piece of the following equation unknown. (Watts * Time (hrs) / 1,000= kWh)

We can figure out what the time is by using different methods. Newer units are simple because the federally mandated yellow Energy Guide label that is attached to the appliance when you purchase it has the information you are looking for. These are great resources for comparing costs when shopping for a new unit. Information about these labels can be found online at www.consumer.ftc.gov. But these labels use an estimation of the cost to operate so it is difficult to be completely accurate.

Older units can be a bit tricky to determine just how much energy is used and what it is costing to run. These appliances can have wear, seals that are no longer tight, or sit in a garage or shed that is not necessarily climate controlled. If you suspect an older unit may be the culprit to higher bills you can find out exactly what the unit costs to run by using a Kill-A-Watt Meter. 

These small devices can be purchased at many hardware stores or online. If you would like to use one on a temporary basis FreeState offers members the ability to check them out at either office. These devices plug into a wall outlet, and the appliance plugs into the device. The meter will then accurately monitor the usage of the appliance for the duration it is plugged in. I would suggest tracking the usage for a week to get a full picture of the cost and usage. The meter will indicate consumption and cost, and by utilizing that data you can do simple math to find out what the unit costs monthly or annually. 

Members can check out a unit for 10 to 14 days; a $30 refundable deposit is needed. When the unit is returned your deposit will be returned to you.