Mini-fridges are a practical appliance for both students and families, serving as a means of privacy or personal use, and also as a deterrent to prevent roommates from pilfering food.
Regardless of your motives, there are some techniques to economize on expenses with these compact refrigerators when you’re not around.
When leaving for an extended period, disconnecting your mini-fridge can be cost-effective, but it is crucial to clean and prepare it adequately beforehand to avoid returning to an unpleasant odor. In the USA, the average annual cost of running a mini-fridge is $23-25, so keeping it plugged in for brief periods is not expensive.
If you are wondering how to prepare your mini-fridge before going away, the process is simple and easy to follow. However, for a more comprehensive understanding of the steps involved, we have created a useful guide.
How Long Can You Leave a Mini Fridge Unplugged?
When it comes to unplugging a mini-fridge, there is no specific time limit that you need to follow. However, it is important to ensure that you clean it thoroughly before storing it away.
Typically, if your mini-fridge lacks a freezer compartment, defrosting it should only take a few hours. However, there is no set time limit for leaving a mini-fridge unplugged.
Assuming there are no malfunctions during storage, mini-fridges can typically remain unplugged without issue. However, the effectiveness of this approach may be influenced by the method of storage. It is important to avoid leaving any food or drinks inside the fridge while it is not in use.
Depending on your plans, the method of cleaning and preparing your mini-fridge for unplugging may vary, whether it is a permanent or temporary disconnection.
If you are relocating and have no use for your fridge but don’t want to dispose of it, or if you’re planning a month-long vacation and wish to save on electricity, then you may consider storing your mini fridge for either long-term or short-term periods.
How to Prepare Your Mini-Fridge for Long and Short-Term Storage
Proper maintenance is crucial for refrigeration care, especially when it comes to mini-fridges. Although they are often considered disposable, with the right care, these appliances can last up to a couple of decades.
When preparing to store your mini-fridge, it is important to clean it thoroughly, which involves performing a complete defrosting process. To accomplish this, you should empty the fridge entirely and leave its doors open while it remains unplugged.
If you are planning to leave your mini fridge for a while, it is likely that it will release water, particularly if it has a freezer section. To prevent the water from spilling all over your floor, place a big towel under and inside the fridge.
Afterwards, it is important to thoroughly clean the mini fridge with a potent chemical such as bleach to prevent the growth of mold and fungus during storage, as bleach effectively eliminates mold spores.
If you plan to store your mini-fridge, it is recommended to keep the doors slightly open despite concerns about bugs or rodents, as most storage facilities are relatively free of these pests and closing the door can lead to a persistent musty and moldy odor that is challenging to eliminate.
Even if you are only planning to unplug your mini fridge for a brief period, it is advisable to allow the water to drain out before leaving to avoid any potential mess on your floor. However, there is no need for an extensive cleaning process.
It is important to ensure that all food and drinks are removed from the mini fridge before unplugging it, as they can spoil quickly once the fridge warms up.
Is It Safe To Leave a Mini Fridge On When Going Away?
As long as your electrical system is up-to-date, it is safe to keep your mini-fridge plugged in while you are away, provided that you have a new cord and outlet.
It is advisable to disconnect your mini-fridge if it is an older model predating the 1990s or if your outlets lack surge protection, but in general, mini-fridges can remain plugged in.
When leaving, ensure that the contents of your mini-fridge are not perishable. If you have dairy products such as milk and plan to be absent for more than a week, it is advisable to dispose of them or donate them to someone who can consume them.
Milk typically has a refrigerator lifespan of no more than seven days, and even if the refrigerator is running, it may still spoil after that time.
Moreover, in case you reside in the United States where eggs are stored in a refrigerator, it is advisable not to retain them for more than 14 days.
Dispose of any meat and vegetables (or freeze them) before leaving as they usually don’t remain fresh for more than 3-5 days, particularly meat, although it may differ for various vegetables.
Ways to Save Energy with Your Mini-Fridge
Saving power is one of the main reasons why individuals choose to unplug their mini-fridge when they are away. If your absence is brief (perhaps two weeks or less), it would be advisable to keep your fridge connected.
Mini fridges consume more energy to cool off the interior and reach the desired temperature than they do to maintain it.
When leaving for an extended period, it is advisable to discard the majority of the food in your fridge, not only due to spoilage but also because the appliance will consume energy to maintain a low temperature.
To avoid this, it is recommended to clear out your fridge and maintain a moderate level of cooling. However, if you plan on being away for an extended period, it is advisable to unplug it.
When considering energy conservation for your mini-fridge, it is important to keep the surrounding area free of obstructions and avoid placing it in a poorly ventilated space such as between shelves or under heavy objects.
Leaving a mini fridge plugged in while going away can lead to overheating and increased electricity consumption. To prevent spoilage of items inside and excessive strain on the machine, avoid overfilling the fridge and ensure there is enough space for proper airflow.
You can also check this video about “Should You Unplug a Mini Fridge When Going Away?”
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