Planning to go away on that long vacation? A common question for soon-to-be travelers is, “Should you keep your fridge plugged in when going on vacation?” So, in this post, I will share some advice on whether to leave your fridge plugged and running when going away or not, how you can maintain your fridge fresh and free of mold, and how to minimize energy usage.
You shouldn’t leave your fridge unplugged while going on vacation if you’re leaving food in it. A refrigerator must maintain a constant temperature, and leaving it unplugged for more than 24 hours (even with the doors closed) can cause some foods to spoil. If it’s empty, you may leave it unplugged to conserve electricity (approx. 1-2 kWh per day).
Keep reading below to learn more about why you ought to leave your refrigerator plugged in while you’re on vacation.
Should you keep your fridge plugged in when going on vacation?
Whether or not you decide to leave your fridge plugged in while going on vacation really depends on how long you plan to be away, whether you are concerned about the energy drawn by your fridge, and if the utility power available is unreliable or not.
If you plan to be away for less than a month, you can keep the fridge plugged in and running. If your utility company is unreliable, you may want to plan for the possibility that the power could be shut off for multiple hours or even days, causing the food inside to spoil. In this case, it’s probably a better idea to empty out the fridge before leaving and unplug the appliance.
If you keep food in the fridge, leave the thermostat set at the normal (usual) temperature.
For those of you that will be away for longer than a month, you can switch off and unplug the fridge from the power outlet. Remove all the food from the fridge and keep the door open. This stops the energy consumption from the fridge.
Will a fridge work if you unplug it for several months or years?
A fridge will likely continue working if you leave it unplugged for several months. I kept a fridge unused and not plugged into an outlet for over 2 years, and it worked well after powering it.
If you have to use a fridge that has not been in service for a long time, give it a thorough clean so that it smells fresh and is free from germs that can contaminate the food. When left unplugged, refrigerators can become breeding grounds for all kinds of bacteria and odor-producing germs. Any spills or food residue not thoroughly cleaned before the fridge is unpowered can fester inside the confined space of the fridge, creating some noxious smells.
If decide to unplug your fridge and plan to leave it in that condition for an extended period of time, it is imperative that you thoroughly clean it out.
How to keep your fridge fresh and mold-free
To keep the fridge smelling fresh and mold-free when you switch it off, you can follow the steps below:
- If the fridge has an ice maker, switch it off
- If there is a water line connected to the fridge, make sure it is turned off so that there is no water flowing into the fridge.
- Wipe the fridge dry. This helps to slow down the build-up of mold.
- Keep the fridge door open. If necessary, place an object like a chair between the fridge door and the rest of the body of the fridge to help keep it open.
This helps to keep the air flowing freely and stops the fridge door from closing.
This step is absolutely important to keep out the mold and keep the fridge smelling fresh.
Additionally, you can place an open box of baking soda in the fridge to absorb any odors that build up and to absorb the worst of the odors.
How you Can Remove Mold from Your Fridge
If you accidentally forget to keep the fridge door open and have mold in the fridge, try using a good quality mold or mildew stain remover spray recommended for fridges.
You can find these on Amazon or at your local big-box retailers.
Make sure to follow the instructions on the packaging on how to apply it to remove stains.
How to Remove the Bad Odors in the Fridge?
You can prevent the build-up of bad odors by keeping the fridge door open so that you have enough air circulating.
You can also keep an open packet of baking soda or ground coffee on an open plate to absorb the bad odors and keep the fridge smelling fresh.
Does Unplugging the Fridge for a Few Months Damage It?
No, unplugging the fridge for a few months it will not damage it. Make sure you remove all the food, wipe it dry, and keep the fridge door open to allow air to circulate.
Also, be sure to follow any other recommendations by the manufacturer when storing the fridge for a long time.
If you plan to be away for a month or less, then it is probably okay to keep your fridge plugged in and running unless you have unreliable power.
If you will be away for a longer period, consider removing the food, wiping it dry, and keeping the door open to allow air to flow freely.
Is unplugging a refrigerator when on vacation recommended?
You can unplug your refrigerator when on vacation if you want, but make sure to thoroughly clean it out before unplugging it. Any food left inside can spoil and mold or create bad odors.
Is it ok to leave your fridge on when on vacation?
You can leave the fridge on when you leave for vacation. Refrigerators don’t pull too much electricity, and as long as you don’t leave for more than a month, it may be best to just leave your fridge running.
Should I unplug my refrigerator if away for four months?
4 months may be a little too long to leave your fridge plugged in. At that point, there won’t be many foods that will stay good, even with refrigeration, though you can leave it on if you want.
Can you leave a refrigerator unplugged for a year?
There shouldn’t be any problem with your fridge when leaving it off for a year, unless you leave it out where it can be affected by the elements.