Does Unplugging a Refrigerator Damage It? (Updated 2024)

Does Unplugging A Refrigerator Damage It

Unplugging home appliances is a common practice when they are not in use. And doing so can even save electricity.

However, this is not the case with a refrigerator. A refrigerator is built to keep food cool and fresh all the time.

Ideally, a refrigerator should remain plugged in for effective and consistent functioning.

Unless deemed necessary, you should not unplug a refrigerator. But does unplugging a refrigerator damage it? Read below to find out.

Does Unplugging a Refrigerator Damage It

When to Consider Unplugging a Refrigerator

Does Unplugging A Refrigerator Damage It

When leaving the house, people often disconnect their appliances from any source of electricity, either to save electricity bills or avoid any accidents or damages.

With a refrigerator, unplugging it depends on the situation.

If you plan to go on a vacation, but it will only last fewer than four weeks, you do not have to unplug the refrigerator.

But, if you are going to be away for more than a month, then it is wise to unplug the refrigerator.

Important Precautionary Measures Before Unplugging a Refrigerator

Before you switch off and unplug the refrigerator, follow precautions to be safe. Here is a list of the precautionary measures you should take into consideration when you unplug your refrigerator.

  • Empty the Refrigerator

Remove all the food and beverages before you unplug the refrigerator. Food, particularly perishables, will quickly spoil in an unplugged refrigerator.

  • Turn Off the Temperature Control and Ice Maker

Switch off the temperature control and the water supply to the ice maker. If you do not know exactly how to do so, check the refrigerator’s manual to make sure you do it right.

  • Clean the Refrigerator

Clean your Refrigerator

You should thoroughly clean the entire refrigerator to avoid bad odors when the refrigerator is unplugged.

Also, food particles may have built up on various parts of your refrigerator, attracting unwanted pests such as roaches. You must also clean the ice maker.

If you want to keep the refrigerator fresh, try using baking soda for cleaning and leaving an open container in the fridge.

  • Keep the Refrigerator Dry

After cleaning, dry the refrigerator with a clean piece of cloth. This will prevent any growth of bacteria likely to develop in damp, warm conditions.

  • Keep the Refrigerator Doors Open

Leave the refrigerator doors open once everything is clean and dry. This assists in circulating air through the refrigerator. It also helps prevent bad odors and mold growth.

While the fridge is unplugged, the temperature increases, causing moisture to form. Bacteria and microorganisms grow in this environment.

As a result, bacteria continue to multiply and the condition worsens, particularly with the refrigerator doors closed. 

Plugging the Refrigerator In

Does Unplugging A Refrigerator Damage It

When you return home from your trip, you can plug in your refrigerator. Simply remove the baking soda from the refrigerator and plug in the appliance. Switch the power on and lower the refrigerator’s temperature.

Important Notes on Unplugging and Plugging in the Refrigerator

When the refrigerator compressor is running, it produces a huge amount of pressure. The compressor will not start if you unplug and re-plug your refrigerator immediately. A build-up of pressure usually causes this.

Since it is at the core of the refrigeration cycle, the compressor is critical. Plugging and unplugging the refrigerator right away can damage the compressor.

The compressor will have to start against this high pressure, creating an overload because the motor isn’t equipped for this situation. The built-in thermal overload tends to rupture both the compressor and the motor.

Therefore, you should wait for at least 5 to 15 minutes before turning on the refrigerator again.

However, leaving your refrigerator unplugged for a longer time will not cause any damage.

If you leave the refrigerator unplugged for a while, the compressor’s pressure will decrease and it will restore itself to normal working conditions.

The Bottom Line

It is advisable to keep your refrigerator plugged in at all times. But in case you ever need to unplug it, take the above precautionary measures.

If you follow all the appropriate steps, unplugging a refrigerator will not damage it.

Remember to follow the instructions to keep the refrigerator in the best condition while unplugged.

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