Does unplugging a Refrigerator Damage it? - Kitchens Bible
does unplugging a refrigerator damage it

Does unplugging a Refrigerator Damage it?

Not necessarily! If you are going to stay away from home for more than a month it is not only advisable but also a must-do to unplug your refrigerator before leaving. But a regular unplugging and replugging of a refrigerator is strongly discouraged. Even if you have to unplug your refrigerator for some cleaning work or rearrangement, let it rest for at least 20 minutes before replugging to avoid malfunctioning and unexpected behavior.

Unplugging other home appliances is not a big deal. It’s a regular case. But when it comes to unplugging a refrigerator then you have to think over it. Because almost all the electrical appliances are put into work for a certain time and they are turned off after use. But a refrigerator is meant to run 24/7 to keep your food fresh and healthy.

Besides, a refrigerator consists of many sensitive parts such as compressor, evaporator, capillary tube, condenser, etc. Refrigerators are the most essential home appliance compared to others. Following experts’ advice and acting according to best practices is something we should do
Normally we unplug our appliances when we move to other places or go for a long trip. While moving to another place you have to unplug your fridge as well, there is no other option.

If you are planning a trip then it depends on how long you are planning to stay away from home. You might not unplug if you are staying out for a week or two. But letting a refrigerator run for more than a month without being used is not a wise decision.

But before unplugging you should learn about the precautions and after-effects.

What happens when you unplug a Refrigerator?

The temperature gradually rises inside the refrigerator. The warm temperature holds the moisture and acts as a haven for bacteria and germs. The food gets attacked and starts rotting.
As the air circulation is also stopped, the bad odor starts forming inside and leads to an unpleasant experience.

Things Happen when you Unplug and Replug a Refrigerator

After unplugging the refrigerator don’t re-plug it instantly. You may damage the most important part of the refrigeration process, the compressor in doing so.

The process of refrigeration involves repeating the same process over and over in a circle. If you unplug the refrigerator then there is a probability of hampering that cycle. What you should do is let the refrigerator complete the cycle on its own. If you replug immediately you run the risk of force starting a new cycle without completing the old one.

That’s why it is often advised that if you unplug a fridge take 15 to 20 minutes before re-plugging.

Things you should Do before Unplugging

If you are planning a tour which will be longer than 4 weeks it’s obvious to worry about your refrigerator. It is much easier to unplug appliances than a fridge. A standard size fridge is quite expensive, that’s why you must take some precautions while unplugging a refrigerator.

Switch off the Heat Controller and Ice Maker

If your refrigerator got a heat controller and ice maker then you must switch it off and prepare it for cleaning. Switch off the water supply too, get help from the manual book.

Move the Foods in a Safe Place

While it’s come to unplug the refrigerator remove the food first. Since food is perishable, moving them in another fridge or a safe place before unplugging is a must-do. Or else your refrigerator will be filled with a terrible smell.

Keep it Dry

To get rid of bacteria and other germs keep your refrigerator dry. Wet places are more prone to bacterial attacks. So try to keep it clean and dry.

Clean the whole Refrigerator

While moving all food and drinks there might be some stains from foodstuff. This can be easily a source of bad odor. Clean it properly with baking soda or vinegar. Baking soda has the best odor prevention capability and vinegar reduces the effect of bad smell. Reserve your all strength in the cleaning and defrosting part. If you neglect to do this part, you are going to regret it.

Don’t close the Door

After getting done with the all cleaning and drying stuff, just let the door be opened for better air circulation. This will prevent the formation of a bad smell.

Why you might be Considering unplugging your Refrigerator?

Electricity Bills

Maybe you are thinking about unplugging to save some electricity bill. If it’s your main reason then you should know that it will not cost you that much. According to a light and power company, running a refrigerator will cost you on average 6.50$ to 17$ per month. Now it’s your decision if the headache for unplugging a fridge is worth the power bill.

Security Concern

The United States fire administration has provided statistics that every year 9500 home fires occur due to home appliances. Oven, dryers, and other electronic appliances are the main cause of home fires.

Accidents can happen easily if any of the appliances are problematic, for example, a damaged cord or weak electric wire. Be serious with the refrigerator if the power cord is almost dented or the socket sparks. Don’t leave your home without unplugging the refrigerator if you have that kind of issue.


NO! If you follow the above tips you are good to go. The most important thing to remember is that don’t restart the refrigerator immediately after unplugging and you are good to go. 

There are lots of electric appliances which you should not consider unplugging. For example coffee maker, dishwasher, cable box maybe even your computer.

But every year serious fire accidents occur because of people leaving their refrigerators plugged in while on a long trip. Though refrigerator explosion is a rare case, it’s still a dangerous appliance if you don’t follow the general guideline.

To prevent such serious mishaps clean the refrigerator’s condenser coils plus evaporator coils and check the other sensitive parts from time to time.

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