Repair and disassembly guides for food cooling appliances including refrigerators, freezers and fridge-freezers.

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Why is my repaired fridge using too much power?

I have a Whirlpool side-by-side 638 litre fridge, model number 6ED2FHKXKQ00, that I purchased in 2002. Recently it broke down and the repairer told me it was the compressor. They took away the fridge, replaced the compressor and returned it.

The fridge cools its contents now, as it should, but it seems to use 50% more power. This is a disaster from my point of view as it is important to me to use as little energy as reasonably possible and the fridge is one of the largest consumers of power in our house.

The manufacturer's specification plate on the inside of the fridge says it uses 180 watts (presumably when the compressor is operating) and I have previously confirmed with a power meter that it did use approximately that. I checked that periodically over the last few years, as energy efficiency is very important to me, and it was always around 180 watts. The typical energy use over a 24 hour period was 1.8 kwh (a bit more in summer, a bit less in winter), which is consistent with its official energy rating.

Since its return with the new compressor, the fridge uses around 270 watts when the compressor is on, and power use over a 24 hour period is about 2.7 kwh - both about 50% above what it used to be.

I have inquired with the repairer, who is an authorised repairer for Whirlpool, and they told me that the previous compressor was an Embraco 90, which was not available any more, and that the recommendation sheet that is published by ‘Stokes’ only lists Embraco 85 and Embraco 95 compressors as currently available options near that size from the Embraco range. They say they chose to use the 95 because it was better to have slightly too much power or capacity than not enough (I assume the numbers measure those in some way, but I don’t know what the units are).

The repairer said they were told by a Whirlpool technician that the power difference between the 95 they installed and the 90 that was there previously would be very small. That is clearly not consistent with the 50% observed increase. The repairer also said that he didn’t think a fault in the compressor could cause it to use too much power. Basically, it appears he thinks that my power measurements must be wrong. But that is very unlikely as I have measured it using two separate meters (one bought especially to check on this problem) on numreous occasions and they both give the same increase.

I took the cover off the back of the fridge to look at the compressor and observed that the compressor is an Embraco FG 95HAK. I also observed two things that I don’t know if they are normal:

(i). The compressor is very hot to touch, so that it would burn my hand if I touched it for more than a split second.

(ii). There is a blue electrical wire coming out of the electrical unit to the left of the compressor, whose end (with a brass connection) is not connected to anything.

I've put a photo at the bottom of this post.

Here are my questions that I hope somebody can help with:

1. Is it normal for the compressor to be so hot?

2. Is it normal for the blue wire to not be connected?

3. Is it correct that there is no way a faulty compressor could use more power than it is supposed to?

4. Is it possible that a fault in the compressor could cause some other fridge components to use more power than they normally would?

5. Is there anything else I should be doing, asking the repairer about, or saying to them?

Thank you very much for any suggestions anybody can make.

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Andrew Kirk, it appears that you are on to something. Yes, the compressor does get very hot. From your images, it appears that yours is a static condenser type (coils on back), that means the compressor will run hot. There should be a fan by the condenser, check to make sure it is functioning. The best way of determining if there is a problem, would be by checking the amperage on the compressor during its run operation. Check the label on the compressor that will give you what the run amperage should be. The blue wire may be for a control of the compressor on different models, not necessarily something that is wrongly wired. Of course, the harder the compressor has to work, the more power it will be using. Hope this helps, good luck.

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Thank you for your post oldturkey. I like your idea of mearuing current to the compressor and comparing it to the label. I would like to measure the current if I can do so safely. I have a multimeter. Is it possible to measure current without having to start unplugging leads from the compressor - which would be dangerous for a non-electrician like myself?


andrew Kirk, for that you will need a pretty good multimeter. It needs to have a selection for AC Amperage and should also have an AC current clip that looks like two fingers at one end of the meter that wrap around the wire being tested. Something like this would be perfect.


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