Old Refrigerator Economics

I recently stumbled upon a post by the Appliance Standards Awareness Project which showed a chart reviewing how dramatically cheaper and more energy efficient new refrigerators have gotten over the last few decades. It’s really amazing what new technologies and better efficiency standards can do.

Even as our fridges increased in average size, since 1980 the average refrigerator cost has dropped by almost a half while annual energy consumption has fallen by nearly 2/3rds.

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It begs the question; should you keep your old refrigerator around? And is it even worth using your old fridge as a second one?

If you’re like me you don’t always need all that space. So unless you truly need the cooling space, your old fridge shouldn’t be kept around. It could be costing you $100+ a year in extra electricity costs. And at that rate you may be better off throwing it out in favor of a new unit.

And although I’m not discussing it in this post. It’s not just your fridge that’s gotten more energy efficient. Your electric stove top, dishwasher, and microwave have all improved too.

The math

If you don’t have your exact energy usage numbers, you can average off the chart above.

A fridge built in the early 1980s uses about 1,000 kWh more per year than a current 2014 model. At the national average of 13 cents per kWh, that’s an extra $130 a year. I do recommend you take a closer look at your power bill as your actual kWh cost can vary. If you have a high rate and an old fridge you’re a rip candidate for making some changes.

Likewise, EnergyStar has a nifty little calculator on their site which pulls your state’s average electricity price and estimates your potential savings given your refrigerator style. Check it out here.

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