• Vol 9, No 2 (2018)
  • Electrical, Electronics, and Computer Engineering

An Experimental Investigation into the Effect of Thermostat Settings on the Energy Consumption of Household Refrigerators

Edy Susanto, Muhammad Idrus, Nasruddin Nasruddin, Budihardjo Budihardjo

Cite this article as:
Susanto, E., Idrus, M., Nasruddin, Budihardjo, B., 2018. An Experimental Investigation into the Effect of Thermostat Settings on the Energy Consumption of Household Refrigerators. International Journal of Technology. Volume 9(2), pp. 364-371
Edy Susanto Universitas Samudra
Muhammad Idrus Universitas Indonesia
Nasruddin Nasruddin Universitas Indonesia
Budihardjo Budihardjo Universitas Indonesia
Email to Corresponding Author


Many household refrigerator owners do not control their thermostat settings. However, doing this could save energy consumption and also maintain the quality of stored food. This study presents the effect of regulated thermostat settings on household refrigerator energy consumption. The experiment was performed in a room chamber conditioned to temperature control at 25oC. A household refrigerator was used as a test unit, with a cooling load placed inside the freezer component. The cooling load used was an M-package, in accordance with SNI IEC 15502: 2008. The test results reveal that household refrigerator energy consumption increases with higher thermostat settings. Increases in energy consumption range from 17.10% to 18.65%, depending on the thermostat setting.

Consumption energy; Refrigerator; Room chamber; Setting thermostat


The household refrigerator is an integral part of our life. In Indonesia, the number of household refrigerators continues to rise as the population grows. Currently, household refrigerators rank second in household energy consumption after air conditioning, partly due to the fact that household refrigerators run continuously (Khan et al., 2013). The increasing number of household refrigerator users is due to improved household economies, easy availability of electricity and cheap prices (Hasanuzzaman et al., 2011). Meanwhile, a US survey in 2009 revealed that household refrigerators consume more than 25% of household electrical energy (EIA, 2015).

Many studies have analyzed the factors that influence increases in household refrigerator energy consumption. Factors studied include the increase in energy consumption caused by ambient temperature, door openings, thermostat settings and cooling loads (Saidur et al., 2002; Hasanuzzaman, 2008). These variables combine to constitute the dominant factors that affect increases in household refrigerator energy consumption. Liu et al. (2004) conducted an experimental study on two types of household refrigerators by varying the number of door openings and ambient temperature. Their study showed that if the temperature of the unit rises due to opening of the door, then energy consumption also increases by 10% (Liu et al., 2004). Ozgun et al., performed optimization by varying the temperature and airflow into the evaporator to find household refrigerator energy efficiency (Sakalli et al., 2017).

In India, Bhatt conducted an experimental study of several brands of household refrigerators, each with a capacity of 165 liters. The tests were performed on two types of household refrigerator: single door and double door, using refrigerant HCFC 22. The thermostat settings varied with normal and maximum levels. The results showed that Specific Energy Consumption (SEC) varied between 3.23 and 4.19 kWh/y/L for single door manual defrost refrigerators, and between 3.84 and 4.78 kWh/y/L for double door auto defrost models (Bhatt, 2001). kWh/y/L is the unit of annual energy consumption to refrigerator volume, explaining the Specific Energy Consumption conditions (SEC).

As in the research conducted by Bhatt, the objective of this study is to experimentally analyze the impact of thermostat settings on increases of in household refrigerator energy consumption. Where the on-off compressor working time follows the temperature of the freezer set by the thermostat. As a refrigeration system component in the refrigerator that requires electrical energy.


Based on the experiment, an increase in energy consumption of 0.175 kWh/day was obtained when the thermostat setting was increased from point 1 to point 3. There was also a slight increase in energy consumption of 0.016 kWh/day when this setting was increased from point 3 to point 4. With the thermostat setting change from point 3 to point 4, there was no significant change in energy consumption or drop in temperature, so it can be concluded that setting the thermostat to point 3 is sufficient to keep food fresh. While even testing the energy consumption of the same refrigerator is not necessarily the same result.


The authors would like to thank the Directorate of Research and Community Service of the University of Indonesia through the "University of Indonesia Infrastructure Development Grants", under contract number 0219A/SK/R/UI/2012.


Bhatt, M.S., 2001. Domestic Refrigerators: Field Studies and Energy Efficiency Improvement. Journal of Scientitic & Industrial Research, Volume 60(7), pp. 591–600

EIA, 2015. Drivers of U.S. Household Energy Consumption, 1980–2009 Washington: U.S. Departemen of Energy

Grimes, J.W., Mulroy, W., Shomaker, B.L., 1977. Effect of Usage Conditions on Household Refrigerator-freezer and Freezer Energy Consumption. ASHRAE Transactions, Volume 83(1), pp. 818828

Hasanuzzaman, M., Saidur, R., Masjuki, H., 2011. Effects of Different Variables on Moisture Transfer of Household Refrigerator-freezer. Energy Education Science and Technology. Part A. Energy Science and Research, Volume 27(2), pp. 401–418

Hasanuzzaman, Md., Saidur, R., Masjuki, H.H., 2008. Investigation of Energy Consumption and Energy Saving of Refrigerator-freezer during Open and Closed Door Condition. Journal of Applied Sciences, Volume 8(10), pp. 1822–1831

Indonesia National Standard Organisation (BSNI), 2008. Refrigerator for Household – Characteristics and Test Method

Khan, Md.I.H., Afroz, H.M., Rohoman, M.A., Faruk, M., Salim, M., 2013. Effect of Different Operating Variables on Energy Consumption of Household Refrigerator. International Journal of Energy Engineering, Volume 3(4), pp. 144–150

Liu, D.-Y., Chang, W.-R., Lin, J.-Y. 2004. Performance Comparison with Effect of Door Opening on Variable and Fixed Frequency Refrigerators/freezers. Applied Thermal Engineering, Volume 24(14–15), pp. 2281–2292

Masjuki, H., Saidur, R., Choudhury, I., Mahlia, T., Ghani, A., Maleque, M., 2001. The Applicability of ISO Household Refrigerator–freezer Energy Test Specifications in Malaysia. Energy, Volume 26(7), pp. 723–737

Saidur, R., Masjuki, H., Choudhury, I., 2002. Role of Ambient Temperature, Door Opening, Thermostat Setting Position and Their Combined Effect on Refrigerator-freezer Energy Consumption. Energy Conversion and Management, Volume 43(6), pp. 845–854

Sakalli, Ö., Kerpiççi, H., Kuddusi, L., 2017. A Study on Optimizing the Energy Consumption of a Cold Storage Cabinet. Applied Thermal Engineering, Volume 112, pp. 424–430