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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Festive Chills – Do you need to ditch extra freezers and drinks fridges this Christmas?

  • Leaving an inefficient freezer plugged in could add £204 per year to energy bills
  • Extra drinks fridges could add over £45 per year to bills if left running unnecessarily after Christmas
  • Head of data science at Loop shares tips on how to keep festive food and drink cool without breaking the bank

Energy experts at the energy-saving app Loop are warning revellers to be aware of the cost of leaving inefficient extra fridges and freezers plugged in this Christmas.

The data team behind the app has revealed an old inefficient freezer could add more than £200 a year to energy bills, whilst a drinks fridge could add over £45 per year if left plugged in after Christmas.

It’s no secret that Brits love to go big at Christmas. In fact, last Christmas shoppers spent £14bn on Christmas categories at UK supermarkets [2]. But Loop is warning bill payers to be aware of the cost of keeping festive food and drinks treats cool by utilising additional devices, and is urging people to unplug extra fridges and freezers when they’re no longer needed.

The cost of Christmas chills

The data team at energy saving app, Loop has reviewed the running cost for a selection of fridges and freezers available on the market, highlighting old inefficient fridges and freezers could be the worst energy guzzling culprits and could cost twice as much to run as new A rated equivalents.

Using an extra drinks fridge to cool your festive tipples could cost £4.81 over the Christmas holidays, while plugging in an old inefficient freezer to chill extra Christmas food could cost an extra £20.72.

Despite the energy price guarantee being in place this winter, bill payers are desperate for ways to save money on their bills. As Brits plan their Christmas food and drink, Loop can reveal the worst cooling culprits.

Steve Buckley, Head of Data Science at Loop, comments: “We all want to enjoy the festive period, but there’s no denying that Christmas is an expensive time of year. And now more than ever people are looking to cut back on their outgoings.

“Energy use over Christmas is likely to rise due to colder weather, darker days and more people in the house. But there are some energy guzzling devices in use over Christmas that could be contributing to higher bills over Christmas. These include extra fridges and freezers – from mini drinks fridges to larger chest freezers. While the individual costs might not seem that significant, the pounds quickly add up, especially if people don’t unplug the extra fridges and freezers once Christmas is over and they are empty. – Phantom Load is our name for wasted energy. It includes items you have knowingly left plugged in but also those items you’ve forgotten about. Unused fridges and freezers are some of the worst phantom load culprits.

“Firstly, it’s worth thinking about whether you really need to use an extra fridge or freezer over Christmas to chill or freeze the extra food and drink. If you do decide to plug in an extra fridge or freezer, we would warn people to be aware of the cost of old inefficient devices and urge people to unplug them once they are emptied after the festive period.

“We want to ensure bill payers are aware these extra fridges and freezers can add to electricity bills and help consider the best way to keep food and drinks chilled to perfection this Christmas.”

Loop tips for chilling festive food and drink:

  • Storing drinks outside in the cold over the winter months, especially overnight is an option. Rather than plugging in an extra drinks fridge, bottles and cans can be stored outside. A plastic lidded box will keep them away from any wildlife. When overnight temperatures dip below freezing store drinks in a garage or shed to prevent freezing.
  • Use cooling sleeves and rods to help keep your drinks cold. These are small and can fit into your existing freezer to use when you need to.
  • If you want to invest in an additional fridge or freezer, don’t just go for the cheapest option. Investing in the most energy efficient A rated models is key to keeping the costs down. An older inefficient model could cost two or three times as much to run than a new A rated model.
  • Keep your fridge and freezer at the ideal temperature to improve energy efficiency. For a fridge this is between 37-40 F (3 – 5 C) and a freezer 0 F (-18 C) [3]
  • Consider if you really do need to bulk buy food and drink which you then need to store in an extra fridge or freezer.
  • Maintain your fridges and freezers – keeping the exterior free of dust means the cooling systems are not affected and will work efficiently as possible.
  • Think about where you place your fridge and freezer – if they are near an oven or radiator they will have to work harder. Also make sure there is at least a 5 cm gap around the appliance. Without this, the compressor, which cools down the inside of the appliance, will not release heat. This causes the fridge to heat up and work harder and longer to keep food at your desired temperature.
  • Don’t forget to unplug extra fridges and freezers when they are empty after Christmas to avoid overpaying.

Loop is urging bill payers to understand their Phantom Load and what’s contributing towards it. People can often make simple changes like unplugging unused fridges and freezers that can lead to significant savings. In fact, Loop research has revealed the average household could be wasting £368 on their Phantom Load annual with wasted energy contributing to around a third of an average electricity bill.

Item Running cost per day (24h) Running cost for Christmas 2022 – 37 days

(1st Dec- 6th Jan)

Running cost for Christmas

2021 – 37 days

(1st Dec- 6th Jan)

Cost per year


New A rated fridge


 £3.70 £2.22


New F rated fridge


£4.44 £2.59


Old inefficient fridge


 £8.88 £5.18



New A rated fridge / freezer


£4.07 £2.59


New F rated fridge / freezer


£8.14 £5.18


Old inefficient fridge / freezer


£16.28 £10.36


‘American style’ fridge / freezer F rated


£10.36 £6.29



New F rated freezer


£10.36 £6.29


Old inefficient freezer


£20.72 £12.58



21 bottle wine cooler


£3.33 £2.22


7 bottle wine cooler


£4.81 £2.96


Small chest freezer (F rated)


£7.40 £4.44


Large chest freezer (F rated)


£9.18 £5.92




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