Is Buying a New Refrigerator a Good Investment?

If you have an older refrigerator - particularly one that is more than ten years old - it may be a good idea to recycle your old refrigerator and replace it with a new refrigerator that complies with current energy efficiency standards.

January 01, 2001

Below is a calculator to find out if you can buy a new refrigerator 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 check out if it is listed in the refrigerator database.

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

Table 1: Local Electric Rate
How much do you pay for electricity in cents per kilowatt-hour? (If you don't know, assume 8 cents/kilowatt-hour.)

Table 2: Characteristics of the Refrigerators

Cost of the New Refrigerator
Energy Rating of the New Refrigerator (in kilowatt-hours)
Energy Rating of the Old Refrigerator (in kilowatt-hours)


Now that you have compared the lifetime cost of continuing to use your old refrigerator 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 refrigerator. 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 on top of its energy cost.

The calculation above assumes a 4 percent interest rate and five years remaining life on the old refrigerator. If you believe these are incorrect assumptions, click here for a calculator that allows for changes in these assumptions.

By James Cavallo, Associate Editor of Home Energy Magazine and Principal at Kouba-Cavallo Associates in Downers Grove, IL


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