One question asked is whether it’s safe for a full-sized or mini fridge to always be plugged into a power strip rather than directly into a wall outlet. It is best to fully understand why you plug a fridge directly into the wall socket. However, a mini fridge can sometimes plug into a power strip on a 10 amp circuit with no other device. So, if you plug the fridge into a surge protector, it reduces some hazards, yet it shouldn’t be done so for extended periods of time.
Refrigerators are heavy-duty appliances that demand a stable wattage supply to operate efficiently. The query regarding the possibility of connecting a refrigerator to a power strip arises from the convenience and flexibility power strips offer for multiple electronic devices. However, it’s crucial to understand that not all power strips handle high electrical demands, and it’s easy to overload a power strip.
The foremost consideration is the power strip’s electrical load capacity. Refrigerators typically draw a significant amount of power, especially during the operation of their compressors and the maintenance of desired temperatures. Plugging a refrigerator into an inadequate power strip can lead to hazardous consequences like overheating, circuit breaker trips, or even electrical fires. Therefore, it is imperative to select a power strip explicitly engineered to handle the substantial power requirements of refrigerators.
In our guide, you can learn more about whether it’s safe to use an extension or need a dedicated outlet for your fridge. By the end, you’ll better understand where to plug your refrigerator, what a power strip is safe for, and when a power strip isn’t safe to use. (Read Can You Paint Eggshell Over Satin)
Avoid Plugging A Refrigerator Into A Power Strip
Don’t Use An Extension Cord To Plug Your Refrigerator
Refrigerators are heavy-duty appliances that require significant power to operate efficiently. They have compressors and motors that draw a high current when starting up and then settle into a steady state once the desired temperature is reached. Power strips, however, are designed for low-power devices like lamps, chargers, or computers. They typically have a limited current capacity and may not handle the initial power surge when the refrigerator starts up.
Plugging your refrigerator into a power strip can pose several risks, including:
1. Overloading the power strip: Refrigerators draw substantial power, especially during startup. You can see this from the third prong on the plug, which required the device to be grounded.
If the power strip is not rated to handle the refrigerator’s power requirements, it can lead to overloading. Overloading can cause the power strip to overheat or even result in a fire hazard.
2. Damaging the refrigerator: Inadequate power supply can strain the refrigerator’s compressor and other components. The inconsistent power flow from a power strip may cause the compressor to work harder, leading to premature wear and tear.
This can reduce the lifespan of your refrigerator and potentially result in costly repairs or replacements.
3. Increased energy consumption: When a refrigerator is not receiving a steady and direct power supply, it may need to work harder to maintain the desired temperature.
The frequent power interruptions caused by a power strip can lead to inefficiencies, resulting in increased energy consumption. This not only adds to your electricity bill but also has a negative impact on the environment.
4. Safety hazards:
Power strips are not designed to handle the power requirements of high-energy appliances like refrigerators. Overloaded power strips can cause sparks, electrical shocks, or even electrical fires, endangering the safety of your home and loved ones. (Read Can 10 Gauge Wire Handle 40 Amps)
Plug the Fridge Into A Surge Protector Or The Wall
To ensure the optimal performance and safety of your refrigerator, follow these recommendations:
Plug directly into a wall outlet:
The best and safest option is to plug your refrigerator into a dedicated wall outlet. This provides a direct and reliable power source, allowing your refrigerator to function efficiently without the risk of overloading a power strip.
Use a surge protector:
If you’re concerned about power surges damaging your refrigerator, consider using a surge protector specifically designed for high-energy appliances. A surge protector can absorb and redirect excess voltage, protecting your refrigerator from potential damage.
Check your electrical system:
Before connecting any high-energy appliance, including refrigerators, ensure your electrical system can handle the load. If you have any doubts or concerns, consult a qualified electrician to assess and upgrade your electrical infrastructure if necessary.
Consider a dedicated circuit:
Sometimes, installing a dedicated circuit for your refrigerator may be beneficial. This ensures your refrigerator has its own dedicated power supply, reducing the risk of electrical issues caused by other appliances or devices on the same circuit.
Things You Should Never Plug Into a Power Strip
Hairdryers, curling wands, and flat irons make lots of heat, drawing large amounts of electricity. Plugging into a power strip one of these devices is asking for trouble because of the energy they use briefly. These types of hairdressing appliances need to be plugged directly into a wall outlet. Ideally, they have a GFCI breaker to avoid danger or a fire hazard if plugged into the power strip. (Learn How To Fix A Squeaky Refrigerator Door)
Refrigerator and Freezer
These appliances pull current that fluctuates as the appliance cycles on and off. This burst of electrical power can quickly overload many power strips unless designed to cope with this. Fridges and freezers should be plugged directly into a dedicated wall outlet for a single appliance. You risk tripping a breaker if you plug other larger appliances into these electrical outlets. (mini-fridge may be okay for a short while.)
Most coffee makers draw much power and amperage to turn coffee beans into a hot drink. Plug the coffee machine you’re using into a wall outlet.
Toasters have exposed wires to heat and toast the bread. You can quickly damage the power strip if the power strip is overloaded in a brief time. Never use an extension cord and plug the machine directly into the wall power source.
A countertop microwave needs a dedicated power outlet. The appliance may appear subdued in operation, yet always read the label on the back to see how much electricity they use. Reheating will require a lot of energy and often more than a regular power strip can handle.
Portable heaters like refrigerators cycle on and off based on temperature. When they turn on, they use a tremendous amount of energy. So, it is easy to overheat a heater, which could cause a fire. Don’t plug into an extension; ensure space heaters are always plugged into a wall socket.
Another Power Strip
Power strips together rarely end well. It offers an increase in the number of outlets, yet if you want to protect anything, you’ll see how bad such an action is. Such an action violates fire safety code, and you face electrocution if using power tools on connected extensions.
Try unplugging one, and it is safe to plug smaller devices like your home theater system into your extension. (Learn How To Unfreeze Water Line In Refrigerator)
Do’s and Don’ts Of How To Use A Power Strip
Power strips are fine in moderation as long as you observe proper safety. The folks at Kolb Electric offer us this handy Do and Don’t checklist, so we can know when and how to use a power strip safely:
- Use light-load appliances on power strips.
- Purchase power strips with an internal circuit breaker for protection against power surges.
- Use power strips cautiously. They can’t maintain full load for extended periods and overheat.
- Never plug an extension cord into multiple power strips, better known as “daisy chaining.
- Don’t use an extension cord in wet areas.
- Never plug a power strip and cover it, or you increase the risk of fire.