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Old 02-16-2016, 10:17 PM   #1
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Refrigerator using 14W power all the time?


I was recently cleaning my refrigerator coils and wanted to test the power savings I would get from this action so I put my E-Z Watt reader in to get some data. I was a little surprised to find the fridge was using 14W of power just sitting there doing nothing....no lights on, no fan, etc... With the fan on, it was consuming about 190W and when the compressor kicked on it was 375W. The interior lights were adding about 50W when on. I guess I am wondering if this 14W usage is normal or if this older fridge is having power consumption issues. Yes, 14W isn't much but 24/7, this would certainly add up. When I was testing two other fridges I once owned, I don't recall them using any power when nothing was going on.

By the way, cleaning the coils (which were extremely dusty) only registered about 7W of power as the compressor was then running around 368W. I was rather disappointed in this result, BUT I have to assume that the power savings would be achieved more so by the compressor not needing to run as long or as often??

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Old 02-17-2016, 08:24 AM   #2
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Control circuits ? Door seal heaters? There are sorta of things running in most fridges all of the time . Indeed almost every appliance or electronic device in your home is going to consume power when it is off.

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Old 02-17-2016, 12:06 PM   #3
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Sounds like a bit much, but could be just what the controls use when not doing anything. Its called "standby power". (might want to Google it) When you think about your TV, computer, monitor, microwave, etc all using power when they are not running it really adds up. Big push by government bodies to reduce standby power consumption. I once read that a microwave can use more energy displaying the time than cooking food ----- at first I thought no freakin way, but I did the math -- if you assume 6 watts when not running, than yep, your microwave might use more energy displaying the time than cooking food. (depends on how much you use your microwave of course)
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Old 02-17-2016, 12:06 PM   #4
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Ayuh,.... I know mine has a defrost timer that runs non-stop,....
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Old 02-17-2016, 04:50 PM   #5
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I think it's a small price to pay for the convenience of a modern fridge. Defrosting the freezer section used to be a real PITA.

Even with the early frost free ones, they often did not work as well. I remember soft ice cream and partially frozen food after a defrost cycle.

Last edited by Oso954; 02-17-2016 at 04:53 PM.
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Old 02-17-2016, 09:04 PM   #6
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This is an older 'no frills' type model so there are no door seal heaters and such that would cause it. I was fully aware of standby power but did not think a fridge needed such a feature and like I said earlier, the other models I tested were not drawing standby power. I wonder if something else is going on. I guess I can check with the manufacturer to get more info.
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Old 02-18-2016, 02:18 AM   #7
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You are talking about 0.14 of an amp when sitting idle just waiting for a call to cool. That is 0.01 less then a CFL 13 Watt bulb, or 0.07 more then a LED 7 watt bulb consumes. You would never even notice the meter even turning or recording what it is using.

Libraries in the majority of cities rent out the plug in Kill-a-Watt units that allow you to see what the kWh, Carbon Footprint and Cost to run.

You are worrying about aprox. if cost is what mine is say at $0.10080 per kwh, you are talking a dollar an hour or around $12.26 a month to sit idle. My bottle of Glenfiddich that I buy twice a month, costs three times as much per bottle then what your fridge would cost me a month. You can use this calculator to find what it costs. http://www.rapidtables.com/calc/elec...calculator.htm
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Old 02-18-2016, 07:40 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
You are talking about 0.14 of an amp when sitting idle just waiting for a call to cool. That is 0.01 less then a CFL 13 Watt bulb, or 0.07 more then a LED 7 watt bulb consumes. You would never even notice the meter even turning or recording what it is using.

Libraries in the majority of cities rent out the plug in Kill-a-Watt units that allow you to see what the kWh, Carbon Footprint and Cost to run.

You are worrying about aprox. if cost is what mine is say at $0.10080 per kwh, you are talking a dollar an hour or around $12.26 a month to sit idle. My bottle of Glenfiddich that I buy twice a month, costs three times as much per bottle then what your fridge would cost me a month. You can use this calculator to find what it costs. http://www.rapidtables.com/calc/elec...calculator.htm
it is 12.26 per year not month
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Old 02-18-2016, 02:44 PM   #9
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it is 12.26 per year not month
I was tired from an hour of sleep, because one of the dogs kept us up and I am strssing a little for a Cataract surgery coming up, along with having three cups of Glenfiddich. There is bound to be a minor burp.
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Old 02-18-2016, 04:18 PM   #10
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I think that is missing my point. If ALL fridges do this, then fine but two others I have tested (at least as far as I can recall) were not using 'idle power' so it made me think that maybe something was wrong in the fridge. If everyone is in agreement that this is normal and such, then so be it.

Also, I would not be too quick to dismiss the power usage. I would not leave a 13W CFL running 24/7 just because the power usage is negligible in the grand schemes of things. I think we can all agree that vampire power usage can add up so what is the harm in trying to remedy as much of that as possible? Just saying that if it is something I can correct, I will try to do so. If not, then I just live with it or finally give in to my wife's demands for a new refrigerator....haha...looking for a reason....
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Old 02-18-2016, 05:11 PM   #11
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Not all appliances are the same. You are over worrying something that is not a problem.

In order to find cost per day, you have to record for 24 hours, total and then times cost per kWh. To find average, take 24 hour total, divide by 24, then times kWh.

Same with monthly and yearly.

My hourly average when no one is home at our house, is around 7 to 11 cents per hour. I really do not worry much, because our monthly costs are so low, compared to the other utility that is in our area, that some of the neighborhoods are connected to.
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Old 02-18-2016, 05:12 PM   #12
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Vampire power is nothing more then someone who caused a Chicken Little effect and got people to go along with them.
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Old 02-18-2016, 06:58 PM   #13
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Are you sure this isn't a frost free fridge? 140ma sounds like a defrost timer running.... and they run all the time.
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Old 02-19-2016, 01:17 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Bondo View Post
Ayuh,.... I know mine has a defrost timer that runs non-stop,....
I'd say Bondo hit the nail on the head. Every frost free fridge has a way of deciding when to defrost the evaporator coil. Older fridges use a defrost timer which uses an electric motor that runs continuously (as long as the fridge is plugged in) and it eats about 6 watts. If your fridge is newer and has a circuit board that keeps track of the cumulative length of time the fridge door has been open, then that circuitry could eat more watts, but save you more than it eats by not doing some defrost cycles when you're not using your fridge (like when you're away on holidays).

I don't think fridges have any door seal heaters any more. Older fridges had "mullion heaters" that kept the areas where the magnetic door gaskets were warm. You could switch those mullion heaters off with an "Energy Saver Switch" found somewhere on the fridge. So far as I know, those electric mullion heaters have all been replaced with something called a "Yoder loop", which is where the condenser coil tubing runs behind those same areas keeping them warm. So, newer fridges keep those areas warm with waste heat rather then use electricity to heat them. That saves electricity and increases the efficiency of the fridge.

A real electricity pig when it comes to standby power usage will be any laser printers in your house. Laser printers use heat to fuse the toner onto the paper, and letting the print drum get cold means a long wait before you can print anything. So, laser printers are eating a lot of electricity all the time just to keep the print drum warm so that they can be used immediately whenever someone wants to print or photocopy something.
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Last edited by Nestor_Kelebay; 02-19-2016 at 01:43 PM.
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Old 02-19-2016, 10:46 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nestor_Kelebay View Post
A real electricity pig when it comes to standby power usage will be any laser printers in your house. Laser printers use heat to fuse the toner onto the paper, and letting the print drum get cold means a long wait before you can print anything. So, laser printers are eating a lot of electricity all the time just to keep the print drum warm so that they can be used immediately whenever someone wants to print or photocopy something.
Not the newer ones. Once they go into Sleep mode after cooling down the drum and wire, it uses barely anything. My Brother HL-2280DW uses 1.0 Watts if the WLAN & Ethernet are not enabled. 2.8 Watts when WLAN and Ethernet are enabled, waiting for a ping request to wake up and start warming up the fuser and wire to print from either my Airprint Server or a direct request from a laptop to the printer over Wireless.

The biggest waste of energy in a home is a DVR or Set Top Box. They never shut down, they are always on and running.

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