Skip to Content

What Size Circuit Breaker Is Needed for a Refrigerator?

Refrigerators are an essential appliance for any kitchen. As it uses a lot of electricity in most cases, it may require a separate circuit breaker. It is vital to run a refrigerator properly.

You may ask what size circuit breaker is needed for a refrigerator. Let us help you find the answer you are looking for and provide you with some additional information about it as well.

What size circuit breaker is needed for a refrigerator?

A 20-amp circuit breaker is needed for a refrigerator. This circuit breaker is appropriate for all modern refrigerators to run properly. But you may use a small or compact refrigerator with a general lighting circuit. As these small ones need less electricity, these circuit breakers will be enough.

Refrigerators need electricity to run properly. The amount of electricity that it needs to operate properly depends on the size and type of the refrigerator that you are using. Most modern refrigerators need a dedicated circuit breaker.

Modern refrigerators require a 15-amp or 20-amp circuit breaker. But experts recommend using a 20-amp circuit breaker to keep some headroom for a refrigerator as it needs to keep the items in it cool.

Although like modern refrigerators, it is best to use a circuit breaker for smaller refrigerators as well. But if you want to save a buck or do not want to renovate the wiring of your old kitchen, for the time being, you can just hook it up with a general lighting circuit breaker.

But you should add a circuit breaker as soon as possible. The reason behind this is that refrigerators may require higher electricity loads at any time of their operation. 

Thus, a 12v fridge is better running from a dedicated circuit breaker of its own to avoid any kind of inconvenience.

Big refrigerators which are used for heavy chilling may require a circuit breaker of 30 amps. Moreover, you may need a different voltage of the circuit breaker according to your area. Thus, check the electrical requirements of your area before you install your refrigerator.

If you use the wrong voltage, it may damage your refrigerator badly and may cause irreparable damage to it. Also, if you provide less electricity than the requirement, it may cause it to shut down unintentionally.

Can I put a refrigerator on a 15 amp or 30 amp circuit breaker?

Depending on the requirement of your refrigerator, you can put a refrigerator on a 15 amp or 30 amp circuit breaker. The type of circuit breaker that you need to use on your refrigerator depends on the size of it and the requirements of the manufacturer.

If you use a circuit breaker that is lower than the requirement of the refrigerator, it may work just fine with it. But whenever the refrigerator will try to draw more power than the rated amp of the circuit breaker, it will blow the breaker and trip the circuit breaker.

You may ask what happens if you use a 15 amp and 30 amp circuit breaker. Let us discuss that briefly and help you understand some necessary facts:

15 amp circuit breaker:

A small refrigerator can run using a 15 amp circuit breaker. But most modern refrigerators require more than 15 amps. Therefore, it is better not to use a 15 amp circuit breaker and opt for a 20 amp circuit breaker.

30 amp circuit breaker:

Big size refrigerator requires a 30 amp circuit breaker. Depending on your refrigerator’s requirement, it may need a 30 amp refrigerator. Refer to the user manual provided by the manufacturer for clear information regarding this matter

How many refrigerators can be on a 20 amp circuit?

Depending on your refrigerator’s electrical requirement, 2 refrigerators can be on a 20 amp circuit breaker. Although a modern-day refrigerator may require a dedicated 20 amp circuit breaker to operate properly, it may originally need only 3–7 amps to run. 

That means the required electricity limit of a refrigerator is usually less.

According to the calculation, you can run 2 refrigerators easily. You can use them side-by-side at the same time. This may cause no issue if you do the calculation properly.

How many amps does a refrigerator use on startup?

A refrigerator can use up to 15 amps on startup. Although refrigerators require a low amount of electricity to operate. They may require more than that on startup. 

It is said by experts that the compressor of a refrigerator requires more electricity than recommended by the company when running.

Compressors usually consume three times more electricity during start-up. This is called startup electricity consumption. Instantly after startup, the consumption of electricity drops down to normal. 

Most manufacturers say that the refrigerator may need around 10–15 amps during startup.

Can I run 2 refrigerators on the same circuit?

Depending on the refrigerator type, you can run 2 refrigerators on the same circuit. Although refrigerators need around 3–8 amp to run properly, you must keep in mind the start-up electricity consumption. During startup, your refrigerator may consume around 10–15 amps.

This means, if you try to start 2 refrigerators at the same time, it will trip the circuit breaker. Thus, when you are turning on two refrigerators on the same circuit breaker, turn on each of them one at a time.

Does a refrigerator need a dedicated circuit?

Yes, a refrigerator needs a dedicated circuit. The refrigerator needs a dedicated flow of electricity to run properly. Any interruption of electricity may cause the refrigerator to malfunction and fail to provide the necessary cooling required.

A dedicated circuit ensures the flow of electricity to the refrigerator. It helps to provide a constant supply of electricity that the appliance needs to run properly and ensure maximum cooling to the user.

How does a circuit breaker protect a refrigerator?

A circuit breaker is a safety mechanism to protect appliances from getting harmed in any way. The mechanism behind how a circuit breaker protects a refrigerator can be simply discussed.

Circuit breakers are designed to deliver a certain amount of electricity to the appliance that it is connected to. It monitors the amount of electricity that is flowing to the appliance. 

Whenever it detects that the flow is higher than the rate that it is designed for, it instantly trips and cuts the flow of electricity.

Even if it detects an unstable flow of electricity, it will cut out the flow of electricity. It cuts the flow of electricity by blowing the fuse and disconnecting the device from the electrical source. 

You can use the appliance again if you want by turning on the circuit breaker again by pulling up the lever or replacing the fuse inside it.

But if the circuit breaker is totally damaged due to a massive power surge, you can use the appliance again only after you replace the circuit breaker again. Until then, you cannot use the appliance.

This will help the appliance to keep its electrical components safe. Therefore, it will keep the appliance last longer than it was on day one.

Why does my refrigerator keep tripping the circuit breaker?

There are multiple reasons why your refrigerator keeps tripping the circuit breaker. If you want to know the reasons, here are some ideal reasons that we think you should know behind this issue:

The refrigerator needs more amps than what’s rated on the circuit breaker:

If you use a circuit breaker that is rated below the requirement of the refrigerator, the circuit breaker will keep tripping because of the lack of power. 

As the refrigerator needs more electricity than the rated amount of the circuit breaker, it will try to take more electricity than rated from the circuit breaker which will cause the circuit breaker to trip.

The supply of electricity is unstable:

If the flow of electricity is unstable in the electricity line, it will cause the circuit breaker to trip. Unstable electricity is never good for any appliance. It causes the appliance to get damaged. 

Therefore, the circuit breaker will trip whenever it detects an instability and try to keep the appliance safe.

The circuit breaker is faulty:

If the circuit breaker is faulty, it may cause it to keep tripping. This is a common issue of any circuit breaker. This happens mostly when a circuit breaker is old or has gone through a few trips.

The refrigerator is malfunctioning:

The circuit breaker may keep tripping if there is a malfunction in the refrigerator as well. The following refrigerator malfunction may cause it to keep tripping: a faulty compressor relay, defrost heater, cooling fan, thermostat, and many more.

Final thoughts

A refrigerator needs a 20 amp circuit breaker for a proper power supply. Most modern-day refrigerators require a 20 amp circuit breaker by the manufacturer. Although your refrigerator may need more or less than 20 amps to operate properly, it will depend on the model of your refrigerator.