Kouba-Cavallo Associates
Is Buying a New Refrigerator or Freezer a Good Investment?


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If you have an older refrigerator or freezer - particularly one that was manufactured before 1993 - it may be a good idea to recycle your old model and replace it with a new model that complies with current energy efficiency standards.

Below is a calculator to find out if you can buy a new refrigerator or freezer with the energy savings from recycling your old unit. Just fill out the tables below with the information requested. If you don't know the energy rating of your current refrigerator or freezer check out if it is listed in the refrigerator and freezer database.

When you have filled in the information to your satisfaction, click on the "Compute" button below the tables.

Table 1: General Financial Conditions
How much do you pay for electricity in cents per kilowatt-hour? (If you don't know, assume 8 cents/kilowatt-hour.)  
What is the interest rate that you receive for your savings? (Many savings opportunities currently pay less than 3 percent interest.)  

Table 2: Characteristics of the Appliance
Cost of the New Refrigerator or Freezer
Energy Rating of the New Model (in kilowatt-hours)
Energy Rating of the Old Model (in kilowatt-hours)

Expected Remaining Life of the Old Appliance (in years)

Now that you have compared the lifetime cost of continuing to use your old refrigerator or freezer with a new one, you need to make a decision. If it is cost-effective to purchase a new unit, we hope that you will be a good citizen of the earth and properly recycle your old appliance. Don't put it out in your garage - you'll save nothing then! Also resist the temptation to sell it on the secondary market. If the energy cost is too great for you to keep it in your kitchen, it will be a worse investment for another family to pay even a small price for your refrigerator or freezer on top of its energy cost.

Here are seven rules, or tips, on purchasing a new refrigerator. Most of the tips apply to freezers as well.

written by James Cavallo, associate editor at Home Energy Magazine and principal at Kouba-Cavallo Associates, Downers Grove, Illinois.

For additional information, contact Jim Cavallo by sending e-mail to cavallo@Kouba-Cavallo.com.

This page was last updated on March 30, 2005.