How to Save Money by Unplugging Your Refrigerator When Not in Use

How to Save Money by Unplugging Your Refrigerator When Not in Use


Unplugging your refrigerator to save on electricity is not advisable. A refrigerator must run continuously to keep food safe. However, there are ways to maximize your refrigerator’s efficiency and reduce costs. This article explores tips to save money through proper refrigerator use and maintenance.

Check the Temperature Setting

  • The ideal refrigerator temperature is 35-38°F. Anything higher risks food spoilage.
  • Use an appliance thermometer to monitor the temperature. Don’t rely solely on the refrigerator’s built-in thermometer.
  • Adjust the temperature control if needed. Refer to your owner’s manual for instructions.
  • Give your refrigerator 24 hours to stabilize at a new temperature before checking again.

Having your refrigerator at the proper temperature saves money by preserving food safety and freshness.

Allow Adequate Airflow

  • Leave at least 2-3 inches of space around the refrigerator for airflow. Poor airflow causes the compressor to work harder.
  • Vacuum condenser coils on the rear of the refrigerator every 6 months to remove dust buildup.
  • Don’t jam the refrigerator full. Proper air circulation is key for efficiency.

Good airflow keeps your refrigerator from overworking to maintain the proper interior temperature.

Regularly Clean and Maintain

  • Clean the interior with mild soap and warm water every 1-2 months.
  • Check and replace air filters if needed. Clean filters mean better circulation.
  • Defrost manual-defrost freezers when frost accumulates over 1⁄4 inch. Frost buildup decreases cooling efficiency.
  • Call a technician if the refrigerator isn’t cooling properly or makes abnormal noises, as there may be a larger underlying issue.

Regular cleaning and maintenance keeps your refrigerator working at peak efficiency for cost savings.

Upgrade Old Refrigerators

  • Replace refrigerators over 10 years old with ENERGY STAR certified models for improved efficiency.
  • Look for refrigerators with automatic moisture control and air filter indicators which maintain optimal operation.
  • Choose the right size refrigerator for your household so the unit isn’t overworked.

Upgrading from an old, inefficient refrigerator to a newer ENERGY STAR model can lead to energy savings of 10-30%.

Practice Proper Food Storage

  • Allow hot foods to fully cool before refrigerating. Hot foods force refrigerators to run more.
  • Organize items so cold air can circulate efficiently. Don’t overcrowd.
  • Minimize opening the door to reduce warm air entering the refrigerator.

Storing food properly reduces strain on your refrigerator’s cooling capabilities for increased cost savings.


Unplugging your refrigerator regularly is not a good money-saving strategy, as this can lead to food spoilage and higher costs over time. But following proper refrigerator use and efficiency practices can help cut electricity costs. Keep your refrigerator cleaned and maintained at the ideal temperature, allow for sufficient airflow, upgrade older models when feasible, and use proper food storage techniques. With some simple adjustments, you can save significantly on refrigerator electricity costs.