what size circuit breaker for refrigerator


Choosing the Right Size Circuit Breaker for Your Refrigerator

Refrigerators are essential appliances in our homes, keeping our food fresh and our beverages chilled. However, many homeowners often overlook an important consideration when it comes to purchasing a refrigerator: the size of the circuit breaker.

An incorrect circuit breaker size can lead to electrical issues, such as tripping breakers or potential damage to your electrical system. In this article, we will guide you through the process of choosing the right size circuit breaker for your refrigerator, ensuring optimal performance and electrical safety.

Understanding Circuit Breakers

Before we dive into the specific requirements for a refrigerator circuit breaker, let's take a moment to understand the basics. Circuit breakers are designed to protect electrical circuits from overloading and short circuits, which can lead to electrical fires or damage to connected devices.

Circuit breakers come in various sizes and capacities, measured in amperage. The amperage rating of a circuit breaker represents the maximum current it can handle before tripping. It is crucial to select a circuit breaker that matches the electrical load of your refrigerator to ensure the breaker can adequately handle the power demands.

Calculating the Power Requirements of Your Refrigerator

To determine the appropriate circuit breaker size for your refrigerator, you need to calculate its power requirements. The power consumption of refrigerators can vary depending on factors such as size, age, model, and energy efficiency. To ensure accuracy, consult the manufacturer's specifications or label on your refrigerator for the rated amps or watts.

Generally, most residential refrigerators require a circuit breaker with a capacity of 15 or 20 amps. However, it is always a good idea to confirm the exact power requirements specific to your appliance. This information will help you make an informed decision regarding the appropriate circuit breaker size.

Evaluating the Electrical Wiring

Apart from considering your refrigerator's power requirements, it is equally important to evaluate the electrical wiring in your home. The wiring should be capable of handling the electrical load imposed by the refrigerator.

The electrical wiring for refrigerators is usually dedicated, which means it serves only the refrigerator and has no additional outlets or appliances connected to it. Dedicated circuits are crucial to prevent overloading and minimize the risk of electrical hazards.

If you are uncertain about the condition or capacity of your electrical wiring, it is advisable to consult a qualified electrician. They can assess your wiring and recommend any necessary upgrades to ensure your refrigerator operates safely and efficiently.

Determining the Circuits in Your Electrical Panel

To install the appropriate circuit breaker for your refrigerator, you need to identify the available circuits in your electrical panel. The electrical panel, also known as the breaker box or fuse box, houses all the circuit breakers that distribute power throughout your home.

Locate the circuit labeled for your kitchen or appliances. Depending on the size of your electrical panel, you may have several circuits dedicated to different areas or appliances in your kitchen. Identify the circuit that corresponds to your refrigerator to ensure you choose the correct circuit breaker.

If you have difficulty finding the right circuit or require assistance, it is best to consult a licensed electrician. They have the expertise and knowledge to navigate electrical panels safely and efficiently.

Choosing the Correct Amperage for Your Refrigerator Circuit Breaker

Now that you have determined your refrigerator's power requirements and located the corresponding circuit in your electrical panel, it is time to select the appropriate circuit breaker size. As previously mentioned, most refrigerators require a circuit breaker with a capacity of either 15 or 20 amps.

If your refrigerator's power requirements fall within the 15-amp range, a 15-amp circuit breaker is sufficient. However, if your refrigerator demands more power, such as 18 or 19 amps, opting for a 20-amp circuit breaker is a safer choice. It is always better to choose a slightly higher capacity breaker to accommodate any potential power surges or fluctuations.

Importance of Electrical Safety

Ensuring the electrical safety of your home should always be a top priority. In addition to selecting the correct circuit breaker for your refrigerator, here are some general tips to enhance electrical safety:

1. Regularly inspect your electrical panel for any signs of damage, loose connections, or corrosion. If you notice any issues, contact a qualified electrician for assessment and repairs.

2. Consider installing ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) in your kitchen and other areas that are prone to moisture. GFCIs protect against electrical shocks and are especially essential near sinks or appliances.

3. Avoid overloading circuits by plugging multiple high-power devices into the same outlet. Distribute the load evenly and use power strips with built-in surge protectors for added safety.

4. Keep flammable materials away from your electrical panel, circuit breakers, and other electrical equipment to reduce the risk of fires.


Choosing the right size circuit breaker for your refrigerator is crucial to ensure optimal performance and electrical safety. By understanding your refrigerator's power requirements, evaluating your electrical wiring, identifying the circuits in your electrical panel, and selecting the correct amperage, you can enjoy the benefits of a well-functioning refrigerator while protecting your home and family from electrical hazards.

Remember to consult the manufacturer's specifications for precise power requirements, and don't hesitate to seek professional help from a licensed electrician if you're unsure about any aspect of your electrical system. Investing time and effort in electrical safety will go a long way in providing peace of mind and avoiding potential electrical problems in the future.


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