A stove and a refrigerator are two appliances that are most likely lumped together in the kitchen. However, as we’ve written before, a fridge and a stove should not be placed near each other for safety and efficiency reasons. Apart from that, having these two appliances near each other will inevitably lead to them sharing the same circuit, which could cause some issues down the line.
As a general rule. a stove and a refrigerator can be plugged in to the same circuit if (a) both units’ wattage do not exceed 1,000W (1.0kW), and (b) your stove does not have an electric oven or electric stove top. This is because having these two appliances turned on at the same time can overload the circuit and trip the circuit breaker.
In this article, I will discuss the rules-of-thumb that you should follow and why you should just plug your refrigerator and stove in separate circuits.
While modern house wiring can handle a high amount electrical power, it is still a good practice to have appliances with high power requirements to have their own dedicated circuits.
As a general rule, appliances with a wattage rating of 1,000W (1kW) should have their own dedicated outlet especially if the unit will be operating for a long duration. One such appliance that have a high power requirement and are operated for a long period of time is the refrigerator.
Granted, most refrigerators have a low rated wattage. In my previous article about the average power consumption of refrigerators, I’ve calculated that fridges need on average 1.13 kWh (1,130W) per day. Take note, per day. When divided by 24 hours, that only amounts to 0.047 kW per hour (47W).
Note: This figure serves only as an average across all refrigerators. You should know your model’s rated wattage to get a more accurate representation of your situation.
While that may not seem like much, do take note that a refrigerator’s compressor can draw as much as 3X more power during the startup phase. This is more pronounced for non-inverter refrigerators as the compressor starts and stops from time to time.
As for the stove, it really depends on which type you get. For gas stoves, you wouldn’t really have much of a problem as most do not use electricity anyway, and some only use it for a pilot light. However, if your stove has an electric hot plate or an electric oven, it should definitely have its own dedicated circuit as their wattage typically exceed 1,000W.
Computing the total wattage of a refrigerator
To know if your refrigerator can be plugged into the same circuit as your stove, you should first look at its rated wattage. This data is displayed as the “Rated Input” on the refrigerator’s rating label located at the back side of the unit.
However, as stated earlier, you should multiply the rated input by 3 to act as a buffer for the startup phase of the compressor. So for a fridge model with a rated wattage of 200W, you should estimate the peak wattage to be at 600W.
For no frost models, there is also such a thing as the heating systems input that has to be accounted for as well. This is the energy use for the heating elements used for melting the frost in the freezer. So if the input of the heating systems is 250W, add the total of the 600W you’ve estimated and thus you now have 850W total wattage for your fridge.
This is too close to the 1,000W threshold that you may as well abstain from using the same circuit for any other appliance.
When in doubt, do not plug in your stove and your refrigerator in the same circuit. Not only can it trip your circuit breaker, but it can also put these two units in close proximity to each other, which, as we’ve previously written, can cause adverse effects to the refrigerator.
Also, if there are no other outlets in your kitchen think twice before plugging your refrigerator to an extension cord as it can pose as a fire hazard.
Miguel Mores worked for 5 years as a member of the product management team for a home appliance company in the Philippines. He started 101appliance to answer the most common customer questions that he has encountered during his time in the industry. He now works in the digital marketing field and manages a small online bookstore on the side.