Energy efficient fridges and freezers

On average, 13% of Victorian household energy costs are spent on running refrigeration.

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.

Being energy efficient

Nearly 60% of households also own a separate freezer. Therefore, it makes sense to buy fridges and freezers with as high an energy star rating as possible, to ensure that they don’t cost more to run than they should.

If you have a second fridge that you only use on special occasions, it’s better to turn this fridge off for most of the year and only turn it back on as needed.

Choosing an energy efficient fridge or freezer

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%.

Utilise the following tips to help you choose your next fridge or freezer wisely.

  • Choose the right size: If your current fridge is usually less than two-thirds full, it’s probably too big for your needs.
  • Look for models with door alarms: These 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’re 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. The former are generally more efficient than the latter 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.

Energy rating labels

energy rating labelenergy rating label with additional stars

Energy rating labels display a rating from 1 to 6 stars. The more stars, the more energy efficient the fridge will be, and the lower the running costs.

Super-efficient models can receive 7 to 10 stars, with the additional stars displayed as a crown on top of the label.

You can compare the energy efficiency of different models using the star rating system, and use the numbers in the energy consumption box to review the model's annual energy consumption. If you know your electricity tariff, you can then estimate what your annual running costs will be.

You can also visit the Energy Rating website to search for and compare the energy efficiency of different fridges. 

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.

Fridge Type / Size

Volume

Star Rating

Annual Running Cost

Energy Use (kWh/Yr)

2-door frost free fridges

2-door frost free

200

$121.00

432

2-door frost free

200

$72.00

256

2-door frost free

400

$171.00

609

2-door frost free

400

$101.00

361

2-door frost free

600

$212.00

759

2-door frost free

600

$126.00

450

Side-by-Side

Side-by-Side

600

$217.00

776

Side-by-Side

600

$129.00

460

Side-by-Side

700

$237.00

846

Side-by-Side

700

$140.00

501

Chest Freezer

Chest freezer

200

$109.00

391

Chest freezer

200

$96.00

343

Chest freezer

400

$155.00

554

Chest freezer

400

$105.00

374

Upright freezer

Upright freezer

300

$173.00

619

Upright freezer

300

$103.00

367

Upright freezer

400

$201.00

719

Upright freezer

400

$119.00

426

*Approximate per annum. Based on 28 cents/kWh.

Reducing your fridge and freezer running costs

Running costs will be affected by a variety of different factors.

  • 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, as 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 expend more energy than necessary.

Make a Smarter Choice

Smarter Choice logo

The Smarter Choice retail program provides helpful and actionable advice on energy efficient fridges and freezers. Find your nearest retailer to take that next step towards being a more energy efficient household.

Download the Smarter Choice fact sheet on dishwashers below.

Document | PDF | 152KB
Fact sheet: Fridges and freezers