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Replacing old or buying new, why a BEE 5 star rated refrigerator always makes sense

By on April 22, 2016 with 274 Comments  

Since last few weeks we have started auditing some homes in Mumbai to get a feeling of different kind of appliances available in various homes and their consumption pattern. And one interesting fact that has come to our notice is that the refrigerators are the second biggest consumers of electricity in any home after air conditioners, that too if there is a significant use of air conditioners in that home. Else refrigerators are truly the biggest consumers. The observations also show that old refrigerators consume a lot more than the new energy efficient ones and because refrigerators are kept on 24 hours a day all 365 days, it always makes sense to buy a 5 star rated refrigerator.

Observation No 1: Refrigerators consumer more units than they are rated for.

These days most refrigerators come with annual units consumption value written on them. These values are derived under test conditions and should be taken as the minimum number of units that the refrigerator can consume. The actual units depend on how the refrigerator is used, how it is kept and how frequently it is opened. In short the usage of the refrigerator drives the actual number. Based on our observation for a few refrigerators it was 50-100% more than the rated value. Here are some sample observations:


Units Consumption per day (as per BEE rating)

Units Consumption per day (actual)

% Increase

A 4 Star rated refrigerator of 310 lts volume purchased in 2008.

1.34 units per day

2 units per day


A 4 star rated refrigerator of 560 lts volume purchased in 2010

1.5 units per day

3.3 units per day


A Un-starred 310 lts refrigerator purchased in 2007

1.5 units per day

2.5 units per day


As per our analysis of BEE data, the difference between yearly units consumption in refrigerators for each additional star in star rating is about 60-100 units. But if we factor in the above observation the difference comes out to be 100-150 units per year. Which means a 3 star rated refrigerator will consume about 100-150 units more than a 4 star and similarly a 4 star rated refrigerator will consume 100-150 units more than a 5 star per year. It we take average tariff of Rs 5 per unit then it converts to Rs 500 – Rs 750 difference in operational cost. It can be more or less depending on your using cost of electricity, which can be fond out by using our calculator: Online Electricity Bill Calculator – For all states in India.

While buying a new refrigerator always buy a 5 star rated one.

We also did some analysis on the pricing of refrigerators that are available on various websites online, and found that the price difference between a 4 star rated and 5 star rated refrigerators with similar technology and same brand, is so much so that the extra price for 5 star rated refrigerators can be recovered in about a year or year and half in form of savings in electricity bills. A refrigerator will go on well at least for next 8 years, so after the recovery period it will be savings in electricity bills.

While buying a new refrigerator one should just keep a note of the year of rating as BEE star rating changes every year. It’s always good to buy a refrigerator with the latest year rating.

Observation 2: Old refrigerators consume significantly higher units as compared to new ones.

With improvement in technology, the efficiencies of refrigerators have been increasing regularly. And we saw live examples of the same when we did some recordings:


Units Consumption per day actual


A 15+ years old 260 lts volume refrigerator – un-starred

3 units per day

Old refrigerator consuming a lot of electricity and not giving enough cooling

A 12 years old 260 lts volume refrigerator – un-starred

3.5 units per day

The freezer was stuffed with food and temperature was extremely low.

On checking the units consumption of BEE 5 star rated 300 lts refrigerator we found that they are rated to consume 0.9 unit a day. Even if we add 50% on it, it should consume about 1.35 units. But the old refrigerators were consuming 3 & 3.5 units per day. Which means that replacing them with new BEE 5 star rated refrigerator will save about 1.7-2.2 units a day, which is about 620-803 units a year! Which is saving of about Rs 3000 – Rs 4000 per year if we take an average tariff of Rs 5 per unit. It can be more or less depending on the unit rate of electricity, which can be derived using our calculator: Online Electricity Bill Calculator – For all states in India.

Replace old refrigerators (12+ years old) with new energy efficient refrigerators

Buying a new refrigerator will not only save electricity but also give better cooling and more/latest features in the same sized refrigerator. Thus replacing very old refrigerators with BEE 5 star rated refrigerators make a lot of sense.

Here is a short video for tips to buy the best refrigerator in India

About the Author:
Abhishek Jain is an Alumnus of IIT Bombay with almost 10 years of experience in corporate before starting Bijli Bachao in 2012. His passion for solving problems moved him towards Energy Sector and he is keen to learn about customer behavior towards Energy and find ways to influence the same towards Sustainability. .

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