Is it ok to unplug your fridge when not in use?
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Is it ok to unplug your fridge when not in use?

If you are planning to go for a holiday for more than four weeks and you are worrying about your refrigerator (fridge) or freezer present in your home? Then this post is for you. Mostly, all the appliances can be turned off or plugged off but the fridge cannot be plugged off that easily. Simply leaving your fridge or freezer turned on will increase your electricity bill. There is also risk in storing your food in the fridge for that long period. Keeping it on for 2-4 weeks can be manageable but for more than a month does not make any sense.

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Our Recommendation

Straight to the point, our recommendation is not to unplug the refrigerator in any circumstance.

  1. Over time, moisture buildup inside the appliance causes mold and fungus growth, which in turn leads to damage to the appliance's inner space and the development of a dark yellowish surface.

  2. The major component of a refrigerator, the compressor filled with oil, may settle and struggle to restart or it may fail altogether, requiring repairs or replacement.

However, this article is intended for people who have left home for more than 6 months and are worried about a high electricity bill or concerned about refrigerator breakdowns due to high-voltage electricity fluctuations (mostly during the Indian rainy season).

what happens if you leave a fridge unplugged

First case

If you are going for a vacation for few months like about 1-6 months then you need to plug it off. Before you power off it, higher the temperature of your fridge and plug off it from the socket and follow the below procedure.

Firstly, empty your fridge completely. Remove all the stuff from it and wait until the coolness of the fridge is reduced to normal temperature. Then clean the interior of your fridge properly, such that the odour and the moisture inside it has absolutely vanished. If your drawers, shelves and baskets are removable then remove them and clean it with household ingredients like baking soda, toothpaste (not gel, we prefer Colgate), vinegar or lemon. Don't forget to clean the freezer and the door gaskets of your fridge. If your fridge has features like the ice maker and water dispensers then cut the water supply of the fridge before you plug off it.

After cleaning make sure every part of your fridge is dry. Use paper towels or dry cloth to dry it. The moisture left in the fridge can form bad odour. To remove the moisture in it you can use moisture absorbers like baking soda, grounded coffee powder, silica gel sachets, damp free moisture absorber, charcoal briquettes, etc.

materials are used to unplug fridge

Make sure the doors of your fridge are little open, such that there is some space for air to pass. To keep the doors open you can put a towel, magnet(coin sized) between the fridge and its doors or simply pull out the drawers little bit out of the fridge and this will stop the door from getting closed. At end of the post, I am attaching Youtube-Short video tells how to stop door to close. If you have rats in your home then better you take prevention such that rats do not jump into your fridge and spoil it.

rats in fridge

When you are back from your vacation, just remove the absorber from the refrigerator and plug it and power on. As soon as you turn on it lower the temperature of your fridge. Following this procedure will save your money by saving your electricity and also your fridge from getting damaged.

Second Case

If you are away from your place for less than four weeks then its better to keep your fridge turn on. The more stuff in the fridge more the consumption of electricity. So it's better to remove the stuff and fill it 2 3 bottles of water in the fridge.

The earlier refrigerators, direct cool technology fridges are completely different from today's modern inverter technology fridges. Direct cool refrigerators consume more electricity than the inverter technology fridges.

Turning off your fridge for short durations like 2-4 weeks may not be sensible as modern inverter technology fridges use less than 300 units of electricity per year. If your fridge is an earlier model, direct cool refrigerator and consumes more electricity then unplug it and follow the above steps discussed in the first case.

Stop door to close


Our recommendation is not to unplug the refrigerator in any circumstance. However, if you're going on an extended vacation or need to store the fridge for a long period, it's better to empty it, clean it thoroughly, and leave the doors slightly ajar to prevent odors and mold. However, if you're using the fridge intermittently, it's best to keep it plugged in and running to maintain food safety and energy efficiency.

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