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  1. #1

    Kill A Watt meter and odd results for my refrigerator

    Got my new Kill A Watt (P3) meter in the mail the other day. Plugged in my fridge to see what my running wattage was. I could hear the motor running but it was only showing around 200 watts. I expected it to be more around 1000 watts so I let it run and checked it periodically.

    After 60 hours it only shows 4.4 KWH used which also sounds low. The motor cuts on a lot more than it used to (fridge is 1997 vintage) so I was expecting to see it using a lot of power. It is doing a decent job keeping the contents cold/frozen so I know the compressor is running. Sort of seems like the motor must be cutting on some times but not necessarily the compressor? I have yet to see it pulling the 1000 watts or so it must use when operating the compressor.

    This morning I watched it after I had opened the door a time or two for breakfast. The motor cut on but it only showed 166 to 200 watts. My voltage and frequency is fine (121v, 59.9 hz). I’d think the compressor was not working right except my inside temps are good. I’m confused.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Stumptown,USA
    Posts
    1,249
    I don't know how large your refrigerator is but even in the early 70's an 18 cu ft refrigerator compressor only drew 500 to 600 watts. My 25 cubic foot bottom freezer which is 5 years old has a compressor that draws 100 to150 watts. the new compressors have run capacitors for power factor correction. Kitchenaid has a refrigerator that has its own inverter/speed controller and a three phase variable speed compressor. What you are seeing is about right.
    Challenge yourself, take the CM test --- Certificate Member since 2004 ---Join RSES ---the HVAC/R training authority ---www.rses.org

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Madison, WI/Cape Coral, FL
    Posts
    6,078
    Check your meter by plugging a 100 watt light bulb. Regards TB
    Bear Rules: Keep our home <50% RH summer, controls mites/mold and very comfortable.
    Provide 60-100 cfm of fresh air when occupied to purge indoor pollutants and keep window dry during cold weather. T-stat setup/setback +8 hrs. saves energy
    Use +Merv 10 air filter. -Don't forget the "Golden Rule"

  4. #4
    I did check the meter by plugging in other devices. My coffeemaker drew ~ 900 watts and a small heater drew the right amount of watts too.

    I believe the fridge is only drawing that amount of watts, just thought maybe the compressor wasn't doing what it is supposed to do for whatever reason. I feel like I have noticed the motor running more frequently than it used to but everything inside is still fine. I just hear it run a lot and kicking on/off more frequently than before. I have cleaned the coils.

    So 200 watts is normal for a 1997-era fridge? I guess I thought it was much higher. I looked up a spec. somewhere (oddly it wasn't in my manual) and it said something like 1100 watts. Maybe it only pulls that much when the defrost mode comes on? It is a GE side-by-side model, surely Energy Star.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Stumptown,USA
    Posts
    1,249
    Pull off the kickplate there should be a tech sheet somewhere near the floor. It will have either wattages or amp draw listed on it. It will cycle less often if you have the freezer full of product. I fill empty milk jugs with water and keep them in my freezer when I don't have a lot of food in there. There is only one cooling coil and it is in the freezer. A fan sends cold air up to the fresh food section to keep it around 40 degrees. Most refrigerators cycle by a control that senses the fresh food section. Yes and no smoking please while 'Tony' is on stage.
    Challenge yourself, take the CM test --- Certificate Member since 2004 ---Join RSES ---the HVAC/R training authority ---www.rses.org

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