How Many Refrigerators Can Run On A 20 Amp Circuit?

How Many Refrigerators Can Run On A 20 Amp Circuit?

A refrigerator is an appliance that keeps food cold and can hold various food items. A refrigerator is typically a large metal box with a thermally insulated compartment and a door that opens to allow access to the interior.

It has an electric motor powered by electricity, usually coming from a residential electric power source via an electrical outlet. A refrigerator has two sides with one side being warm and the other being cold. Refrigerators require about 2-3 amps of current just to run the motor so if you have more than 4 refrigerators on one 20 amp circuit, it will overload the circuit-

What is a refrigerator?

A refrigerator is an appliance that keeps food cold and can hold various food items. People may use the word refrigerator to mean either the appliance of the same name or a refrigerator, an appliance that stores perishable food (salads, produce, etc)

The term refrigerator can also refer to a refrigerator freezer- The concept of “condenser” in a refrigerator is an important detail. A condenser is a device that converts heat to electricity. It is often the larger version of a condenser.

A typical home refrigerator is a condenser with a blower mounted under the door or on the cabinet top. The key advantage of a condenser is it can be placed in a wall rather than on an external cabinet or appliance. That is the basic definition of the refrigerator.

Why do refrigerators need electricity to run?

To help the refrigeration system work, an appliance needs to have an electrical supply to allow the water in the container to circulate to prevent freezer burn. Most refrigerators have a thermostat that keeps the temperature steady and the pump pushes the cold from the compressor into the refrigeration cavity.

The refrigerator is considered off when the thermostat is in the set mode. There are a lot of ways to select the set mode but they all are similar, the appliance will maintain a constant temperature for a set period of time such as between 14 to 20 hours. If the set mode is lost, the refrigerator may go into warming mode.

Refrigerators and the circuit

Most (60-90% of) refrigerators have a metal lid that opens and closes on the storage compartment. The reason for this is to keep bacteria from coming in contact with the food items inside the compartment.

If you are only using one 20 amp circuit then you can place your 20 amp electric meter on the warm side of your circuit and your refrigerator on the cold side of the circuit. If you are running your refrigerator on two 20 amp circuits, the second 20 amp line must be taken off the refrigerator, placed on the line of your second 20 amp circuit, and then reconnected to the other side of your second 20 amp circuit to power the refrigerator.

For residential use: In residential use, you will need at least a total of 10 amps for all loads on the circuit.

What happens when you overload the circuit?

Your refrigerator will not work! As a matter of fact, it will not operate correctly until you repair the electrical fault and repower the refrigerator. Also, when the circuit is overloaded and your fridge is not working, there will be lots of smoke pouring out of the refrigerator.

Also, if your house goes into an electric shock it could cause a fire. You should also ensure that your appliance does not have low voltage if the circuit is overloaded. Some refrigerators may be a GFCI breaker and that is the circuit breaker that you need to test before you start the plug in procedure.

If your fridge has a small 12 volt refrigerator, just with a 3-prong plug, the three prong type can be a GFCI breaker but check the manual and consult with a qualified electrician.

What to do if you have more than 4 refrigerators?

To prevent a refrigerator overload, you can add a surge protector that protects more than 4 refrigerators. A surge protector is a device that is connected to the appliance through a wire called a surge protector cable. A surge protector protects the circuit, ensuring that there will not be an overload. If you have an overload, the first thing you should do is turn off the circuit.

As soon as you turn off the circuit, the electricity will stop and the refrigerator will go into a “safe” mode. This is basically a mode where the refrigerator can be safely run. After you turn off the circuit, make sure that the refrigerator motor is turned off as well. If you do have an overload, it is suggested that you don’t make any emergency repairs in the short term.


If you have only one refrigerator and are not concerned with your electric bill, consider buying a separate converter/charger for your refrigerator. Most converter/chargers will be between $70-150 depending on the model.

You can use this equipment with a timer or simply place the appliance in “temporary” standby mode while you are using your main house appliances, but always make sure to unplug the refrigerator when you leave your house. If you have multiple refrigerators on the same circuit, make sure the unused refrigerator is out of sight and off of the electric meter.


I'm Devin. I'm a wine enthusiast, researcher, and writer. I love to write about various topics during my free time, but when I'm not working you can find me traveling the world or reading, watching movies, or swimming.

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