How Do You Test the Amp Draw of a Refrigerator Compressor?

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A refrigerator draws a certain amount of amps, and using the real value to compare to the expected value is important in addressing issues when the appliance is not working properly. Figuring out the amp draw of your refrigerator is a simple process that takes less than an hour. It requires an amp meter, a breakout cord and a flashlight.

  1. Find the expected value

    Pull out refrigerator, and find the compressor with a flashlight. A tag on the compressor should state the power that the refrigerator draws in watts. Typically, most home refrigerators draw 725 watts. To convert that number to amperes, divide by 120, and estimate. In this case, it would be 725/120 is approximately 6.

  2. Set up the breakout cord

    A breakout cord is a simple device in which the wires are not enclosed in sheathing but are still insulated for your safety. Unplug the refrigerator and plug it into the breakout cord, and then plug the breakout cord into the wall.

  3. Retrieve the actual amp-draw value

    Use the amp meter to determine the actual amp-draw value. Adjust it to read the current and set the sensitivity to the highest level, which is typically 40 amps. Clamp on the black wire in the breakout cord, and wait for the refrigerator to cycle on to get a proper reading. You can compare this value to the expected value to help you troubleshoot.