Unplugging or leaving a refrigerator on is a common dilemma that many of us find facing. This is especially the case for homes that are left unoccupied for long periods. It’s recommended that if you are only going away for four weeks, it is better to leave it on. However, does this still apply if you are leaving for a more extended period?
Should you leave the fridge unplugged or on?
There is no clear-cut technical answer to this question. It all depends on your needs and preferences. Consider the following factors in making this decision.
- Is the fridge full or empty? If it is full, consider the items inside and whether they will still be edible for the period you will be gone. It is a better idea to turn it off if it is mostly empty with a few easily consumable foods.
- Do you mind the extra energy that it will cause you? If you do, it’s a wiser idea to remove all goods and consume them before you leave. If you don’t, then you can most certainly leave the fridge turned on with the food inside of it.
- Do you mind the environmental repercussions of a new running fridge? If you live a more sustainable lifestyle and wish to contribute less to global warming, turning it off and consuming all foods is the best decision. If this isn’t the case, you can focus on the other factors.
What happens if I leave it on?
- The fridge will keep consuming energy. You can determine how much money you are losing by calculating the monthly electricity bill you pay for that refrigerator and multiplying it by the number of months you are leaving.
- Cooked food inside the fridge? If you are leaving for more than 4 weeks, it is better to freeze leftover meals instead of keeping them in the fridge. However, keep in mind the consequences of freezing the food. This usually depends on the type of food and whether or not you have frozen it properly.
- What’s in the freezer? It’s best to check the food that is frozen in the freezer before leaving. Are they properly frozen? Is there no leakage? Can you safely leave them out without any risks of the items ruining each other?
What happens if I turn it off?
- If your refrigerator has an ice maker, turn it off and shut off the water valve. If it has a water dispenser, remove and empty the reservoir to collect water in the new fridge. If you cannot drain it manually, find a draining pipe to do so.
- Unplug the refrigerator and empty the fridge and the freezer properly. Altogether remove all perishable items and cook or consume them. This includes defrosting the freezer as well as the food items that are frozen in it. Also, do not forget to remove any food products or condiments.
- Thoroughly clean the fridge and the freezer after removing all products and defrosting. Ensure that there are no dry stains or leaks that may be clinging to the fridge walls, as this will cause foul odors that you do not want.
- Leave it unplugged overnight so that it comes to room temperature. You can now leave the refrigerator with its door slightly open. You should have no problems leaving it like this.
Some things to keep in mind
- Modern energy savings fridges take a few days to cool down properly. Be sure that you have enough time for your fridge to attain room temperature before leaving.
- You may also place an opened box of baking soda inside the fridge and the freezer. This will wick away any unwanted smells from collecting and prevent any microbes from growing.
- Baking soda could also be used in cleaning and wiping down the refrigerator walls. It is an excellent cleaning substance that will effectively remove any stains and odors clinging to the plastic shelves and cabinets.
- Energy efficiency: Leave the refrigerator running can waste energy, and it may be more energy efficient to unplug it, especially if it’s an old model.
- Food safety: If the refrigerator is going to be empty for 2 months, it’s important to consider the safety of the food. There’s a risk of mold or bacteria growth which can cause food poisoning.
- Maintenance: Leaving the refrigerator on while you’re away may cause damage to the unit if any problem arise, such as a power outage, leakage or malfunction.
- Cost: Calculate the cost of leaving your refrigerator running for 2 months, and compare it to the cost of cleaning and preparing it for storage.
- Climate: The climate of the location where you’re leaving your refrigerator can also play a factor, If it’s a hot area and your refrigerator is not well insulated, it may be best to unplug it.
- Insurance: check with your insurance company if there is coverage for damage caused by power outages, leakage or malfunction of appliances if you leave your refrigerator on while you’re away.
- Alternative solution: consider alternative solutions such as storing food in a friends or family member’s refrigerator, renting a storage space or arranging for someone to check on the refrigerator periodically during your absence.