Not a car question but I trust you guys


This is not a car question but I trust the opinions of the folks who post here. I have a spare fridge in my garage, use it only say if I have a party to stock in some extra beer and food. 99% of the time it is empty. Will I kill it if I unplug it until it is needed? Rocketman


No . it will be fine.
The freon charge is a sealed system and will still be there when needed. you’ll naturally need to allow enough time for initial cool down before each use.
The caveat about old refrigerators is that newer technology fridges are so much more energy efficient. Your old fridge uses much more.
You may also find that while it’s sealed up doing nothing all month, it may smell inside . Clean well to avoid this common issue.
Be certain to clean and vacuum the coils for maximum efficiency ( maybe under or behind depending on model ). ESPECIALLY on the garage fridge where the air is far dirtier that your kitchen. THAT fridge needs cleaned more often.
Pull it out from the wall and check for mice too. You may even elect to place a mouce trap down there all the time.


The only concern with an unplugged fridge is you may need to clean out the mold on the inside when you want to use it again.

There is no mechanical or operational concern with unplugging or extended unplugging.


Not in my experience but make sure it is propped open or you’ll regret it. Even the most clean looking fridge will stink big time if left closed after it has been used. Make sure the prop method does not affect the seal…


And you’ll save quite a bit of $$. I’d just empty it out, unplug it, leave the door open, then go over it with dilute chlorox on a rag.


To counteract any smells, put an open box of baking soda in the fridge. Old fridges are called “beer fridges” here, but they come in handy as well to store the Christmas turkey. My neighbor has a 25 year old one in her basement and it’s only used for special occasions.

For occasional; use energy efficiency is not an issue.


I know someone who uses a sixty plus year old fridge all summer at his trailer. That beast is a chrome and stainless work of art and the door shuts with more authority than most small cars but as for energy efficiency? I think the lights in the park dim when the compressor kicks in. There is also the issue of the small glacier which regularly forms in the freezer compartment but it still keeps the beer ice cold. Somehow I’m doubtful we will see any of the current crop, mostly made in Korea and such places, alive and kicking a half century from now.


One problem I have experienced is that when the fridge is turned on again, the compressor motor will try to start but trip its internal circuit breaker. This resets after a short while; the circuit breaker closes; and the motor tries to start again. Eventually the motor will start; run; and the fridge will cool. So you might do a trial run and if the motor has trouble starting, forego doing it again.


Make sure you put an open box of baking soda inside the fridge, and prop the door open. The insides might need a good cleaning next time you use it, but it shouldn’t hurt anything.

One thing I do to make my fridge more efficient is fill empty space with containers of water. An empty fridge uses more energy than a full one. Since I rarely use my freezer, it is currently full of ice in re-purposed milk jugs, soda bottles, and Gatorade bottles. All that ice comes in handy when I use a cooler.

You might consider doing the same with your spare fridge, depending on how efficient it is and how often you use it. You might set the refrigerator (and freezer) on the lowest settings and fill the shelves with containers of water. That way, when you need the fridge, it won’t take as long to reach the proper temperature range for food storage, and if the power goes out, the cold water and ice will keep the temperature inside the fridge down.


I had relatives that moved from Kentucky to Indonesia and were taking household items including the refrigerator. My aunt had the refrigerator all cleaned out, but when the shippers came, they took the coffee grounds from the coffee she had prepared that morning and through them all over the interior of the refrigerator. According to the movers, this is the recommended procedure for keeping mold out of the refrigerator that will be out of service for a period of time. Obviously, when the refrigerator is being shipped, the door has to be closed. This procedure worked.


Every year a few children die when they have old refrigerator doors shut on them and they suffocate. You might want to put a lock on it or keep your garage door shut to prevent this tragedy.
I had an old frig in a camp that I only used a few weeks a year. I left it shut, and turned on. I had no mold, no bad smell, and the compressor ran occasionally but not much. The electricity cost was very small.


Yeah plus 2 on the door lock. Kids love to climb in those things to play.


Isn’t a lock for the REAL old fridges that actually lock, not the ones with magnetic closure?


Yes it will hurt it to leave it unplugged or off. The cooling coils are made of aluminum. Aluminum corrodes much much faster at room temperature than at freezing temperatures.

I do keep an old non working freezer out in my shed. It is the magnetic closure type and I do not put a lock on it, I think that makes it more dangerous. If there is no lock, then a kid can’t get locked inside. I use it to keep flammable chemicals in, i.e gas for the lawn mower, 2 cycle oil.


@texases, no, the problem with children hiding in old refrigerators isn’t related to them locking. It’s related to the children running out of air before they realize what’s going on. That’s why, when you buy a new refrigerator, if the installer leaves the old one at your curb for pickup, he will always remove the door from its hinges.


The old non-magnetic refrigerators had a handle and a latch to open it from the outside. If you are inside the refrigerator and the door closes, you are trapped inside. There is no inside handle to open the door again. Air runs out and the kid dies. With a magnetic, you can push the door open from the inside. Same issue with trunks. Can’t open older vehicle trunks from the inside. The new ones have glow in the dark handles to pull to open the trunk. Just something to be aware of. So if you just add a padlock and hasp on the outside to make sure no one can get inside you are safer. All abandoned ones need to have the doors removed. Remember? We were all kids once.


It will be fine…Prop the door(s) open so air can circulate. Otherwise, big smell…In most households, the refrigerator is the largest consumer of electricity…You don’t leave them plugged in unless you need them…


If the fridge is never opened, it doesn’t need to run very often to cool off, so it uses very little power. I know from direct tests–a house with only the fridge on. This might be wrong if you keep it in a really hot garage.


@merlot We have a power meter and I measured the consumption of our Maytag 19 cu ft kitchen fridge before we moved it into the basement as a beer fridge and afterwards. The occasional fridge uses only half the energy than a kitchen fridge which is constantly opened and closed and has new warm stuff added all the time.

If the sticker inside says 600 KWH per year, just divide by 2 to get your new consumption and multiply by the cost of power, such as 12 cents per KWH.



That is the case with most front-loading refrigerators and freezers. Every time you open the door, much of the cool air rolls right out the door. Top-loading refrigerators and freezers are much more efficient, even if you are opening them frequently.