# How much is that old refrigerator in the garage costing me?

It’s awesome for keeping soda and beer cold, but what’s the annual cost?

The Energy Star website has a cool calculator that can help you do the math. Make sure you put in our local electric rate of \$0.22 per kilowatt-hour.

Here are the annual electricity cost calculations for a few refrigerators with freezers on top (19.0 to 21.4 cubic-feet):

It was cheap, but how much does it cost to plug in?
• 1990-1992. Annual cost: \$283
• 1993-2000. Annual cost: \$189
• 2001-2008. Annual cost: \$118
• 2009-present (Energy Star). Annual cost: \$90

If you have a refrigerator that dates back to 1992, it might be worth your while to ditch it – or at least to upgrade to a more efficient model. An Energy Star qualified refrigerator today will cost about \$90 annually in electricity. How long would it take you to recoup the costs of purchasing a new refrigerator? Less than five years; see below:

1992 fridge

Initial cost: \$25 at a garage sale (or maybe you moved the old fridge from the kitchen and it was free.) Regardless of how cheap it was, it’s still costing you a lot.

5 years of electricity to operate it: \$1,415

Total: \$1,440

New fridge (Energy Star)

Initial cost: \$674

5 years of electricity to operate it: \$450

Total: \$1,124

When shopping for a new fridge, keep in mind that top and bottom freezer models use 10 to 25 percent less electricity than side-by-side models (energystar.gov). Also, generally the smaller the fridge, the less energy it consumes.