Our Experts have the answer on How Much Does It Cost to Run a Commercial Refrigerator

How Much Does It Cost to Run a Commercial Refrigerator?

Posted by | 28-10-2023

Commercial refrigerators play an indispensable role in businesses ranging from restaurants and cafes to supermarkets and hotels. They not only keep perishable goods fresh but also display products to customers in an appealing way. However, every business owner has a lingering question: What is the cost of operating these appliances? This blog delves deep into understanding the operational cost and ways to optimize it.

The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) research on ENERGY STAR-rated commercial refrigerator

Image Courtesy: Energy.gov

The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) research shows an ENERGY STAR-rated commercial refrigerator is cost-effective if its price doesn't exceed the less efficient model by more than $783*. Top-tier models can offer savings of up to $1,066*. The long-term cost benefits of investing in efficient models are evident. For buyers, it's generally understood that products aligning with ENERGY STAR's efficiency standards offer value over their life cycle.

How Much Does It Cost to Run a Commercial Refrigerator?

Commercial refrigerators are essential assets for many businesses, providing the necessary storage conditions for perishable items. But with their continuous operation comes the associated cost of energy consumption. So, how do you gauge how much it's costing you?

To break down the expenses, consider the unit's energy usage. This is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). By multiplying the kWh by the number of hours the fridge runs—daily, monthly, or yearly—you get a comprehensive view of its energy consumption for that specific duration. However, this is just the start. 

To translate this into a dollar amount, you need to multiply this consumption value by the prevailing commercial electricity rate in your area. This will provide you with the total operational cost for the set period.

On a broader scale, running a commercial refrigerator could cost anywhere from $100 to $700 every year. This is, of course, a ballpark figure. The actual expense can vary considerably based on numerous factors. These include the efficiency of the refrigerator, its size, the frequency of its usage, the temperature it sets, and even external conditions like the ambient temperature of the room it's placed in.

An energy efficient refrigerator on a commercial store

Factors Influencing the Operational Cost

When diving into commercial refrigeration, understanding the operational costs is crucial for both businesses and consumers. The amount one pays isn't just a result of the energy rate in the area but also the intrinsic and extrinsic factors associated with the fridge's usage. Let's delve deeper into these factors and how they influence expenses.

Variables Affecting Operating Costs

Energy consumption for a commercial refrigerator can swing dramatically based on several determinants. The brand and model of the fridge, its geographical location, its capacity, the number of years it's been in use, and the seasons—all these play a pivotal role in determining its power consumption. Consequently, energy usage directly affects how much it costs to operate such a unit. Recognizing these variables is the first step toward optimizing usage and minimizing costs.

Importance of Fridge Size and Age

Perhaps the most prominent determinant of a fridge's energy consumption is its size. Larger refrigerators require more power to cool their increased interior space, significantly affecting operational costs. Age is another factor; as refrigerators get older, their efficiency often declines. Over the years, wear and tear can cause the unit to work harder, using more energy. Modern fridges, especially those with an Energy-Star rating, are designed to be more energy-efficient, thus ensuring that they consume less power and, consequently, cost less.

The Role of Temperature

External and internal temperatures significantly influence a fridge's energy consumption. When the surrounding temperature rises, especially during the hot summer months, the refrigerator has to work overtime to maintain its cool interior. This increased effort results in higher energy usage. Additionally, the temperature setting inside the fridge can also impact its efficiency. Keeping it too cold might lead to unnecessary energy consumption, while setting it too warm might not preserve the food properly. Striking the right balance is essential.

Impact of Usage and Placement

How often a fridge is accessed and where it's placed within a space can also contribute to its operational cost. For instance, a fridge situated in a poorly ventilated area or a spot receiving direct sunlight might have to use extra energy to counteract the external heat. Similarly, continuously opening and closing its doors or leaving them ajar for extended durations can stress the compressor. The added strain can lead to increased power usage, highlighting the importance of mindful usage and strategic placement to reduce monthly costs.

A commercial refrigerator in a store

Energy-Saving Tips to Reduce Costs

Operating a commercial refrigerator can be a significant expense for businesses. However, with the right strategies, reducing the costs associated with running these units is possible. This article offers practical tips that can help you save energy and money for your commercial refrigeration systems.

Keeping your evaporator and condenser coils clean

Dirty coils can greatly hinder the efficiency of your refrigerator. When the evaporator and condenser coils are covered in grime, the unit must work harder, increasing energy consumption. Regular cleaning ensures smooth operation and reduces energy bills.

Moreover, clean coils can extend the lifespan of your refrigeration unit. You can get more out of your investment in the long run by avoiding potential malfunctions and ensuring optimal efficiency.

Installing energy-efficient light fixtures

Traditional incandescent bulbs consume more power and generate heat, which can increase the cooling load. By switching to energy-efficient LED lighting, you can reduce energy usage and the heat emitted inside the unit.

LED lights not only consume a fraction of the power of their incandescent counterparts but also last significantly longer. This dual benefit results in both energy and cost savings in the long term.

Upgrading your defrost controls

Older defrost systems operate on a timer, often leading to unnecessary defrost cycles. By upgrading to adaptive defrost controls, your system can determine the need for defrosting based on actual conditions, reducing unnecessary energy use.

This smart approach ensures that the defrost cycle only runs when necessary, promoting efficiency and minimizing wear and tear on your system, leading to potential long-term savings.

Setting your commercial refrigerator to the right temperatures

It's essential to ensure your refrigerator is set to the optimal temperature. Keeping it colder than necessary can increase energy consumption without any additional benefit.

Regularly checking and adjusting the temperature settings to meet the specific needs of the stored products ensures that you're using energy effectively. It's all about finding the right balance between preservation and power usage.

Keeping the refrigerator doors closed as often as possible

Warm air enters the unit each time the refrigerator doors are opened, causing the compressor to work harder. You can significantly reduce energy waste by minimizing unnecessary access and ensuring the doors are closed promptly.

Educating staff on the importance of this simple act and even installing alarms or timers can make a difference. Consistency in this practice can lead to noticeable reductions in monthly energy costs.

Scheduling regular preventative maintenance

Routine maintenance is key to ensuring that your refrigeration system runs efficiently. A well-maintained system will have fewer breakdowns and will operate at peak efficiency.

By scheduling regular checks, potential issues can be identified and rectified before they escalate, saving on potential repair costs and reducing the risk of unexpected operational downtimes.

Our Experts have the answer on How Much Does It Cost to Run a Commercial Refrigerator


How much electricity does a commercial fridge use?

A commercial fridge's electricity consumption varies based on size, model, and usage. On average, less efficient models can use anywhere from 4.44 kilowatt-hours (kWh) daily. It's best to check the specifications of the particular model or consult the manufacturer for precise consumption figures.

How much does it cost to run a commercial freezer?

The cost to run a commercial freezer depends on its size, efficiency, and local electricity rates. Typically, commercial freezers can cost $140 or more annually to operate. To get a precise figure, one would multiply the unit's kWh consumption by the local electricity rate.

How much does a fridge cost to run per month?

The monthly fridge running costs vary based on energy consumption and local electricity rates. On average, a residential fridge can cost between $5 to $15 per month to operate. However, commercial fridges might cost more due to their larger size and capacity.

Are commercial fridges more energy efficient?

Commercial fridges are designed to handle heavy-duty usage and often have larger capacities than residential fridges. While modern commercial fridges are built with energy efficiency in mind, especially those with Energy-Star ratings, they might still consume more energy overall due to their size and frequent use. It's always good to compare specific models and their energy ratings when determining efficiency.

A person looking inside a commercial refrigerator in a store

Upgrade to Modern Commercial Refrigeration to Reduce Energy Costs

At Ancaster Food Equipment, we understand the need for reliable and efficient refrigeration solutions for businesses. That's why we offer an extensive array of both dependable and economically savvy commercial freezers and refrigerators. Every product we stock is meticulously crafted with a dual focus: energy efficiency and long-lasting durability. This ensures not only reduced operational costs but also dependable performance for years to come.

Choosing Ancaster means investing in top-tier equipment tailored for optimum efficiency. No matter the specific demands of your industry, our refrigeration solutions are designed to meet them head-on, ensuring that your perishables stay fresh and your energy bills stay low.

Don't let outdated equipment be the reason for your rising energy bills. Connect with us today, explore our comprehensive range of commercial refrigeration offerings, and embark on a path to significant long-term energy and cost savings.

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