Does Turning Off the Fridge Damage It?

Does turning off the fridge damage it

Unplugging the refrigerator when away or not in use for a long time is a habit of many users. They may think that it will help save electricity and ensure safety. However, is this really any good? When should the refrigerator power off? Does turning off the fridge damage it?

When to turn off the power to the fridge?

Following are the cases that you may find it necessary to turn of your fridge.

When there is a sudden power failure

When there is a sudden power failure, if the cooling system is in operation for cooling, the gas inside circulating through the indoor unit will be interrupted. If the power is restored after a few minutes, it will be difficult to start the cabinet because the system has not balanced the pressure. This may lead to the compressor not starting, leading to the risk of compressor damage if the relay system has bad protection.

To avoid this situation, users can completely disconnect the refrigerator power as soon as the power goes out. Then, close it for about 10 minutes to ensure, or equip the cabinet with an electrical delay.

When I’m away, there’s no one to look after

When you are away from home and no one is inside, it is best to turn off the refrigerator. Because keeping the refrigerator at this time will be very difficult to detect problems in time. However, if it’s only for a few sessions, everything is fine.

When not using the refrigerator for a very long time at least over 2 weeks

If you leave the refrigerator running even when not in use for a long time, it will lead to energy consumption without bringing any benefits. Moreover, it also makes the refrigerator break down faster.

There are many cases that make you forced to disconnect the power to the refrigerator
There are many cases that make you forced to disconnect the power to the refrigerator

What happens if the power is cut off for too long?

If the power is cut off for too long, the refrigerant circulation does not take place. The cabinet will lose its stability, leading to the deposition of the oil in the block and the easy to oxidize, leaky system. At the same time, the equipment and components stop working, which will affect the quality and reduce the lifespan of your fridge.

When the power is turned off, the temperature in the cabinet will increase. Also, the closed environment in the cabinet causes moisture to condense. The condensation on components and microchips, leading to equipment damage.

The shutdown of the refrigerator will create favorable conditions for harmful bacteria that are “hibernating” in the refrigerator to have the opportunity to multiply. This will cause mold and odors, especially if you forget food in the refrigerator cabinets or the cabinets were not cleaned properly. Surely you will not be excited when you have to clean up this battlefield. The consequences of bad odors can last for a long time and difficult to clean.

In addition, many people also have the habit of disconnecting the power when not in use, regardless of whether it is long or short. This affects the performance of the cabinet, the compressor must constantly restart from the beginning, reducing durability.

Further reading: Best Top-Freezer Refrigerator without Ice Maker

What should you do if you have to turn off the power to the fridge?

In case you are away for a long time and need to turn off the power, you should apply the following things.

Further reading:  How to Store Cheese in Freezer Properly?

First, please remove all the food items and clean up the leftovers in the cabinet.

Second, disconnect the power as well as switch off the temperature control. If your fridge has an ice maker, make sure to turn it off, too.

Then, you should clean your fridge thoroughly and dry it. This precaution will avoid bad odor once the fridge is off.

Finally, you can also leave the doors open after it is clean and dry. With this action, the air can circulate in the fridge and helps to prevent the growth of mold and bad smell.

Besides, when the time of not using is too long, over 2-3 months, if possible, ask someone to stop by and start the cabinet for a few hours to a day so that the outdoor unit and indoor unit can be operated. This avoids the inefficient operation of the refrigerator when you plug it again.

You may also like: How to Prevent Mold in Refrigerator

Does turning off the fridge damage it?

When you turn off or unplug the fridge, it will not get damaged if you unplug your unit properly. The damage occurs when the plugged or unplugged action happen too quickly in a short period of time. This is because the compressor motor is overloaded. Why?

Once the fridge operates, the gas will circulate through the system by the compressor.

When you unplug the unit, the compressor stops working. Then, the pressure goes down and the gas begins to settle in the compressor.

If you plug it again suddenly and immediately when the compressor is not stable, the compressor must work harder. That’s why the overload motor happens. At this time, your fridge will be damaged as the circuit, relay and sensor are also in trouble or broken.

Therefore, you should wait about 15 minutes until the compressor’s pressure reach its stability.

How to adjust the refrigerator when away from home to save electricity

In order not to affect the long-term performance of the refrigerator and to avoid wasting electricity when the refrigerator is not storing food, set the temperature in the refrigerator to the lowest capacity, i.e. the highest temperature. At this capacity, the cabinet still works but does not need to work too much, does not consume much energy and still ensures stable operation. This temperature also helps limit bacteria and mold arising during non-use.

Currently, on new generation refrigerators, the manufacturer has integrated a Holiday mode that automatically sets and maintains the optimal temperature. This feature helps to prevent mold and bacteria growth while still saving money on electricity for the user.

Samsung smart fridge with Holiday mode
Samsung smart fridge with Holiday mode


With the above information, it’s obviously that, in order for the refrigerator to operate sustainably and save electricity, you not only need to pay attention to using them properly in daily activities, but even when away, not in use as well.

It is recommended to keep your fridge plugged in all the time. However, when you need to disconnect the power, follow the above-mentioned steps properly. These guides will ensure that your fridge will be in good condition and not suffered from any damage.


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Jenny Brown
Hi, I’m Jenny. On my blog, you will find helpful advice about using and organizing the kitchen appliances. You will also receive the recommendations on choosing a compact refrigerator or freezer that best fits your demands. Besides, frozen meals from the freezer bring many incredible benefits because they ensure freshness, deliciousness, and full nutrients. Many helpful tips from experts on frozen meals will also be found.