How Much Energy Does a Freezer Use?

By Erin Hynes | Dec. 30, 2021 12:58 pm PST

Check freezer with frozen food

Freezers typically use between 200 and 1,200 kWh of electricity annually, which costs between $24 and $144 per year (based on an average electricity cost of 12 cents per kWh). The amount of energy your freezer uses depends on its size, age, and whether it’s a chest or upright freezer. Larger freezers — more than 15 cubic feet — use more energy than smaller freezers and upright models use more energy than chest freezers. Freezers manufactured before 2000 use more energy than newer models.

If you see that ENERGY STAR® emblem on your freezer, it will use less than 400 kWh per year and cost less than $5 per month to run, even if it’s a large freezer.

How Much Energy Will a New Freezer Use?

If you’re thinking about buying a freezer and want to know how much energy it uses, it’s easy to find that information. Look at the yellow EnergyGuide® tag to find annual energy usage and the annual cost to run the freezer. You can find the tag online if you’re shopping for a freezer on the web.

For example, the EnergyGuide® tag for 17.3 cubic foot GE freezer model FUF17SMRWW indicates that it uses 489 kWh per year. That freezer costs $59 per year run.

How Do I Find Out How Much Energy My Older Freezer Uses?

Older freezers typically have larger, less-efficient compressors so they use more energy than current models. An upright freezer from the 1990s can cost you as much as $16 per month to run.

ENERGY STAR makes it easy for you to figure out how much energy an older freezer uses. Enter your freezer’s type, size and age into their Flip Your Fridge or Freezer Calculator and you’ll get a read-out of how much your older freezer costs to run.

For example, a 1998 22 cubic foot chest freezer uses 721 kWh per year of electricity, which costs you around $7 per month according to the ENERGY STAR calculator. In contrast, a 2021 GE 22 cubic foot ENERGY STAR certified chest freezer (GE model FCM22DL) uses less than half the electricity of that older model:346 kWh per year, which costs about $3.50/month.

If you’re using an older freezer that’s an energy hog, consider replacing it with a new, efficient model.

Freezer Usage Tips That Can Save Energy

Whether you have an old freezer or a new one, you can save energy and keep your freezer operating smoothly by following these usage tips.

  • Keep the freezer door or lid closed. Minimize the time that you have the door/lid open to keep cold air in the freezer and prevent excessive compressor run time. Make sure that door or lid closes completely after each use.

  • Check the door or lid seal yearly or when you see frost build-up around the door opening. Frost build-up indicates that warm, moist air is leaking through the door gasket. Replace the door gasket when you see that it’s damaged.

  • Maintain a few inches of clearance around the freezer for circulation air flow. The compressor needs cooling air circulation to operate efficiently.

Following these tips won’t save you a ton of money on your electric bill every month if you have a newer freezer, but your freezer will last longer. Any energy savings also helps the environment.

To keep your freezer running more efficiently and lasting even longer, schedule an annual preventive maintenance check by a service technician. The tech will thoroughly check the freezer and make adjustments to optimize freezer performance.

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