Fridge freezers are hard workers. They’re one of the few household appliances that are on constantly.
Think about it – when was the last time you turned your fridge freezer off?
With this in mind, fridge freezers can be big hitters on your household energy bill too. Older models can be expensive to run and you’ll probably read many articles stating that fridge freezers consume masses of energy.
This isn’t the case anymore.
This is because we now have much more energy efficient fridge freezers!
A good energy efficient fridge freezer will significantly reduce your energy consumption while keeping your food and drinks nicely chilled or frozen. Over the course of a year, you can save £100s using a more energy efficient appliance.
This guide to energy efficient fridge freezers will take a look at how much energy fridges use, what to look out for when buying a new energy efficient model and finally take a look at some of the best A grade options.
- How much energy do fridge freezers use?
- How much do fridge freezers cost to run?
- How to spot the energy rating on a freezer
- How to choose the right energy efficient fridge freezer?
- Step 1: Determine the size you need
- Step 2: Measure the space for the fridge
- Step 3: Consider your budget
- Step 4: Keep your fridge freezer at the right temperature
- Step 5: Opt out of ice makers and dispensers
- Step 6: Choose a freezer with excellent blackout performance
- Step 7: Opt for self-defrosting freezers
- 4 best energy efficient fridge freezer buys 2023
- Wrap up on energy efficient fridge freezers
How much energy do fridge freezers use?
As fridge freezers are on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you’d expect them to use quite a lot of energy.
And compared to other kitchen appliances, such as an energy efficient kettle, fridge freezers do use a lot of energy.
So, how much energy do fridge freezers use exactly?
On the new Energy Label rating system, a good A rated energy efficient fridge freezer will use around 100-115kWh of electricity per year.
Compare this to a fridge freezer with an energy label D rating that will use around 200-250kWh of electricity annually.
Drop down to an energy rating of F and you’ll be close to 300kWh of electricity use per year.
Big, old fridge freezers will consume way more energy than this anywhere from 500 to 2,000kWh.
In terms of comparisons to other household appliances, the most costly is the tumble dryer which eats up the energy during a cycle!
An electric or gas oven will use more energy than a fridge, but less than an energy efficient kettle.
Very similar to fridges in terms to energy use are the latest energy efficient TVs.
How much do fridge freezers cost to run?
The average unit cost of electricity in the UK is 34p per kWh (right as of November 2022).
Let’s take a look at the examples above to see how much the fridge freezers cost to run across the year. It’s a case of simply multiplying the annual kWh usage by a rate of 0.34p.
|Fridge Freezer Energy Rating||Annual Energy Use||Annual Cost To Run|
|A energy label||115kWh||£39.10|
|D energy label||225kWh||£76.50|
|F energy label||300kWh||£102|
|Old Fridge Freezer||1,500kWh||£510|
As you can see from the table above, an energy efficient fridge freezer will save you significant amounts of money across the year. With a fridge freezer lasting for a decade and more, it’s important to get this right.
Breaking it down a little further, the Centre for Sustainable Energy estimate that a standard 300 watt fridge freezer will cost around 10p an hour to run. This will depend on the Energy Label rating of course.
One thing to note however, is that fridges and freezers are smarter now and turn themselves off when they reach the required temperature. With good insulation and all seals in good condition, these appliances can maintain a desired temperature whilst not using much energy.
This is why if you have the fridge or freezer door open for a while, you’ll here the cooling mechanism kick in.
How to spot the energy rating on a freezer
Generally speaking, most fridges and freezers will have an A+ to A+++ energy rating. It was a silly rating system as half of appliances in 2014 had a rating of A++ or A+++!
The confusing older rating system has now been replaced by a new Energy Label rating.
All models made after March 2021 have more accurate energy ratings, which range from A to G. This new labelling also applies to other kitchen appliances including washing machines, washer dryers and dishwashers.
This new system brings with it higher environmental and efficiency standards.
The highest energy efficient rating is ‘A’, whereas the lowest is ‘G’.
Unfortunately, many manufacturers have had a difficult time meeting the newer energy criteria. As a result, most fridge freezers available on the market have a energy rating of D, E or F. Models that were previously rated as A++ are now F rated (like my current fridge freezer!)
You can identify the energy rating of a unit by looking for the coloured sticker, which is mandatory on new appliances.
As there is quite a bit of difference between an A rated fridge fridge and F rated, there’s also a difference in price.
The good news is that competition is tough in this industry. So, we’ll be more likely to see more models with better energy ratings in the future.
How to choose the right energy efficient fridge freezer?
Energy efficient freezers use less electricity, making them the better choice when choosing an appliance that’s environmentally friendly.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can choose the right energy efficient fridge freezer for your more sustainable kitchen:
Step 1: Determine the size you need
The first thing that you should consider is size. Since fridges come in different sizes, you’ll have plenty of options.
The bigger the fridge and freezer, the more energy required to cool the air inside.
A well-stocked fridge is more efficient as there’s less volume of air circulating. However, if you overfill a fridge or freezer, your appliance will have to work harder to reach the desired temperatures, which increases the risk of damage and can even reduce its lifespan.
Step 2: Measure the space for the fridge
Another thing to consider is how much space the fridge freezer will take up. Usually, the fridge needs to be at least three inches away from other home appliances.
Plus, fridge freezers require air circulation to avoid overheating.
You have to make sure that the back of the fridge is at least four inches away from the wall to let the coils function properly.
Also, that little shelf at the top of the fridge? Don’t use it as a shelf! This is to help air circulate efficiently.
Step 3: Consider your budget
You need to know your budget before you decide which model to get.
Freezers with lower energy ratings are more affordable. However, keep in mind that they consume more electricity, which means you pay more each month. So, what you save initially ends up going into your monthly bills.
Not only that, but low-rated fridges increase your carbon footprint.
You will pay a premium for newly rated A or B fridges and freezers but they will save you money in the long term. Plus, you’re also helping the environment.
Step 4: Keep your fridge freezer at the right temperature
Where you intend to keep your fridge freezer can contribute to its efficiency.
Fridges near windows or in the line of direct sunlight may be negatively impacted. Although some models are designed to maintain the recommended temperature, some of them might not be able to do so.
Generally, it’s recommended to keep the temperature of your freezer around -18 degrees Celsius to keep food safe and prevent bacterial build-up.
Your fridge will have a dial from 1-5 to adjust the temperature. The higher the number the colder the fridge will be. Get this right to keep your food chilled but also to prevent ice build up which impacts the efficiency of the appliance.
Step 5: Opt out of ice makers and dispensers
Ice makers and dispensers are convenient features. Yet, in order for them to do their job well, they can use as much as 14% to 20% more energy, which drives up the amount on your electricity bill and harms the environment as well.
On top of that, an ice maker and dispenser add to the retail price of the fridge freezer.
So, if you’re looking to save money and reduce energy consumption, it might be a smart idea to skip these features altogether.
Step 6: Choose a freezer with excellent blackout performance
Having the right freezer during a power failure can make a big difference. So, even though many consumers overlook the blackout performance of fridge freezers, it’s still worth considering.
Good fridge freezer models will keep food adequately frozen within 24 hours of a power outage.
This might be needed if we’re to believe the potential power cut news headlines coming our way!
Step 7: Opt for self-defrosting freezers
Fridge freezers decrease their efficiency when they accumulate ice around the edges. The best way to avoid this is to defrost them once every six months.
If you defrost them manually, you’ll have to remove everything from the unit and store them somewhere cold enough to keep them preserved until you’re finished.
Keep in mind that it can take anywhere from two to 24 hours for the ice to melt fully. Then, you’ll need to clean the freezer thoroughly before putting the food back in.
In contrast, a self-defrosting fridge freezer can save you a lot of time and effort. They also offer improved energy efficiency and added convenience. Its only downside is its noise level.
Normally, manual-defrost freezers are a lot quieter than self-defrosting ones. However, if the noise level doesn’t bother you, a self-defrosting fridge is your best bet.
4 best energy efficient fridge freezer buys 2023
I’ve been searching through online retailers to find the best A rated models. Surprisingly, they are few and fair between now with the new rating label.
In a way this is good as it’s a truer reflection. Hopefully it’ll drive manufacturers to create truly energy efficient appliances going forward.
Here are my best A or B rated energy efficient fridge freezers on the market.
Wrap up on energy efficient fridge freezers
There you have it – the guide to energy efficient fridge freezers.
It’s now possible to get a highly efficient fridge freezer that doesn’t use much energy at all. With these models, the old saying that fridge freezers are one of the costliest appliances to run is now a myth.
Remember however that a more energy efficient fridge comes at a higher price, but you will save on running costs – sometimes up to £100s a year.
- 6 Best Eco Kettles 2023
- 8 Most Energy Efficient TVs 2023 For Better Viewing & Lower Costs
- How Much Does It Cost To Run A Dishwasher?
- Are Gas Or Electric Ovens Cheaper To Run?
Ben is the Creator and Editor of Tiny Eco Home Life. I write and publish information about more sustainable, environmentally friendly living in and around the home.
Alongside this website, I love spending time in the natural world, living a simple life and spending time with my young family (Murphy the dog!) I round up my thoughts and recent blogs on the Eco Life Newsletter.