Is It Bad To Plug And Unplug Your Fridge?

Close-up of an open refrigerator, Is It Bad to Plug and Unplug Your Fridge?So, you've heard unplugging appliances is a great way to save energy and money. Or perhaps you're about to set off on vacation and are trying to put your mind at ease about the safety of your house before you leave. In any case, you're probably wondering if it's acceptable to unplug your refrigerator. We have researched this matter for you.

Unlike with other appliances, unplugging a refrigerator can be a complicated process. If you're going to do so, you need to:

  • Empty anything that could spoil at room temperature
  • Defrost the freezer
  • Consider the potential for leaking.
  • Wait 8 hours before using after plugging it back in

All this is to say, unplugging and plugging back in your fridge isn't bad, but it shouldn't be done willy-nilly. The potential hazards are numerous.

Preventing Spoilage

While some condiments have a lot of staying power, most of what's in your fridge are highly perishable. This means two things for the potential unplugging of your refrigerator.

The first is that if you're planning to unplug during off-hours to save a couple of bucks on the energy bill, it's best to rethink. While not all the food in your fridge will go bad, enough of it could enter a temperature danger zone. Bacteria will be invited to grow, and you could get sick by ingesting the food at a later date.

Therefore, the cost you will absorb in spoiled food will likely outweigh the potential savings on your electric bill.

However, if you're going on an extended vacation—think upwards of two weeks—it might be worth it to unplug. It's already advisable to throw out the most perishable items in your fridge before a vacation, like lunch meats and eggs. If you turn off the refrigerator, you simply have to throw more items away to remain safe.

How Long Can You Leave a Refrigerator Unplugged?


Are you still considering an everyday unplug of your fridge? In that case, it's worth noting that the food in your refrigerator remains safely cold for approximately six hours, and that's if you don't open the door. Therefore, it's best not to leave the fridge unplugged for longer than that.

On the other hand, if you've emptied your refrigerator, you could leave the appliance unplugged for an indefinite amount of time without doing harm.

Defrosting the Freezer

A further hazard you must handle if you plan to unplug your fridge is the freezer. If you leave it closed and full of ice, you're fostering the right environment for mold to grow as the temperature drops and the moisture collects.

Therefore, you have to thoroughly defrost and dry out the compartment before leaving the fridge unplugged for long periods.

Will a Refrigerator Leak if Unplugged?

Leaking is another reason why defrosting your freezer is so essential. If you leave the ice in your unplugged appliance, the resulting water could leak out.

Full ice makers or a buildup of condensation could also result in leaks. For this reason, you should thoroughly clean and dry out a refrigerator you plan to leave it unplugged for long periods.

Waiting Before Use

Finally, if you do unplug your refrigerator, you should know that it will not be ready for use immediately after you plug it back in. The appliance needs time to cool once more to be effective. Most refrigerator manuals advise you to wait at least 8 to 12 hours before it's safe to use again.

How Long Does a Refrigerator Need to Settle After Delivery?

Speaking of fridge manuals, there're several best practices to consider when you're setting up a new fridge. Since there are fluids inside the appliances that aid in the cooling of food, you'll need to give your refrigerator time to settle before using it.

The amount of time depends a little on how the fridge was delivered. If it was shipped upright, you're welcome to wait only about an hour before plugging it in and using it. However, if it was shipped on its side or if you're unsure how it was handled during delivery, you'll want to give your new fridge at least four hours before you get started.

And while you're waiting to set up your new refrigerator, you should read up on the best fridge placement in the kitchen. Getting the most efficient use of your refrigerator is about more than its operation.

Going Shopping

Now that you're more familiar with the ins and outs of refrigerator ownership, you're ready to take on the responsibility of a new fridge.

If you want a simple, workhorse type of model, consider this one.

See it on Amazon.

The straightforward design makes it perfect for nearly every home.

If you're in an apartment and low on space, check out this sleek fridge.

Learn more on Amazon.

Finally, if you're looking for something with all the bells and whistles, get a load of this model.

Buy it on Amazon.

While you're shopping, you might consider reading up on our list of the best kitchen appliances to give as gifts. Nothing says I love you better than food, and new, exciting ways to prepare it.

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