Fridges and freezers

A woman shopper inspecting a fridge

A fridge is the single biggest power consumer in many households, because nearly all households have at least one fridge and they run for 24 hours a day. On average, 13% of Victorian household energy costs are spent on running refrigeration.

Choose an efficient fridge or freezer

Compare star ratings

energy rating label

Energy rating

The energy rating label helps you compare the energy efficiency and running costs of different fridges and freezers. Labels display a rating from 1 to 6 stars, but super-efficient models can receive 7 to 10 stars, with the additional stars displayed as a crown on top of the label. The more stars, the more energy efficient the fridge or freezer will be, and the lower the running costs.

Energy consumption

Compare the energy efficiency of different models, using the star rating system, then use the numbers in the energy consumption box to find out the model's annual energy consumption. If you know your electricity tariff, you can then estimate what your annual running costs will be using the Energy Rating Calculator.

Minimum stars

When it's time to buy a new fridge or freezer, replace your old one with the most energy efficient model that will suit your household's needs. Try to buy a two-door fridge with at least 2.5 stars, a chest freezer with at least 3 stars, or an upright freezer with at least 2.5 stars. Every extra star will reduce your running costs by around 20%.

Choose your fridge/freezer wisely

  • Choose the right size: If your current fridge is usually less than two-thirds full, it is probably too big for your needs. Consider a smaller version.
  • Look for models with door alarms: Door alarms will remind you to close the fridge or freezer door quickly.
  • Thermostat controls: Buy a model with thermostat controls that are easy to read and use.
  • Two-door fridges: If you are shopping around for a two-door fridge, choose a model with the freezer on top, as these models generally consume less energy than those with the freezer at the bottom.
  • Chest freezers: Consider buying a chest freezer rather than an upright freezer. Chest freezers are generally more efficient because cold air doesn't spill out when the door is opened.
  • Check the energy consumption box: Remember that models with built-in icemakers tend to use more energy. Refer to the energy consumption box on the energy rating label to see what the annual electricity use will be.
  • Look for brands that are designed for recycling: recycling whitegoods will reduce landfill, conserve resources and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases created in the production of new materials.

Running costs for fridges and freezers

The table below provides estimated running costs for different types of fridges and freezers based on star rating and volume.

Volume (litres) Energy star rating Annual running cost* Energy use (kWh/yr) Annual GHG emissions**
2-door frost-free fridge
200 1.5 star rating $101 366 484
3.5 star rating $60 217 287
350 1.5 star rating $132 481 637
3.5 star rating $78 285 378
500 1.5 star rating $160 581 769
3.5 star rating $95 344 456
600 1.5 star rating $181 659 873
3.5 star rating $107 391 517
700 1.5 star rating $198 719 951
3.5 star rating $117 426 564
Chest freezer
150 2 star rating $75 274 363
2.5 star rating $66 241 318
300 2 star rating $114 413 547
2.5 star rating $100 362 480
Upright freezer
250 1 star rating $124 452 599
3 star rating $74 268 355
350 1 star rating $147 536 710
3 star rating $87 318 421

*Calulations assume electricity tariff of 27.5 cents/kWh.
** GHG = Greenhouse Gas coefficient used is 1.324 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions per kilowatt hour

Use your fridge and freezer efficiently

Regardless of the type of fridge and freezer you own, you can reduce your energy bills by running your machine efficiently:

  • Location: Fridges and freezers should be located in a cool and well-ventilated space, with a gap of at least 5cm around the appliance for ventilation and heat dispersal.
  • Temperature: Set the thermostat at 3ºC for the fresh food compartment and -18ºC for the freezer compartment.
  • Door opening: Don’t open doors too frequently or for too long. Every time the door is opened cold air is released and warm air flows in.
  • Stocking: Don't overfill your fridge or freezer, as this will interfere with the circulation of cold air.
  • Door seals: Keep door seals clean and replace damaged seals.
  • Defrosting: Regularly defrost fridges and freezers if they don’t automatically defrost.
  • Coils: Keep any coils at the back of the fridge free of dust, as dust on coils can have an unwanted insulating effect and force your fridge to use more energy than necessary.
  • Second fridge: If you have a second fridge that you only use on special occasions, it is better to turn if off for most of the year and only turn it back on as needed.

Dispose of your whitegoods responsibly

Ensure that when you buy a new product to replace an old one, you take the necessary steps to dispose of your old product responsibly. Recycling whitegoods will reduce landfill, conserve resources and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases created in the production of new materials.

Examples of energy and water rating labels

Energy and water ratings

Energy rating labels help you compare appliances so you can and choose the most energy and water efficient, and save money on running costs.

Read more

Energy rating label

Energy rating calculator

The Energy Rating Calculator and app allows you to calculate the energy consumption and running costs for an appliance before you buy it.

Read more