What to Do with Your Cabin Refrigerator at the End of the Season

Take these important steps before leaving for the season.

There are a lot of important maintenance steps to take before leaving your cabin for the season, including what to do with your refrigerator. Your fridge is one of your largest and most important appliances, so make sure you’re doing everything you can to prolong its life. You’ll save money on your energy bill as well.

Should You Unplug the Fridge When You Leave?

Yes. Unplugging a refrigerator significantly lowers your energy expenses when your cabin isn’t in use. However, there’s more to it than just disconnecting the fridge from the outlet.

Dispose of any uneaten foods and give the fridge a thorough cleaning. Wait at least 15 minutes after unplugging the refrigerator to clean it — longer if it has a freezer, which needs to be fully thawed before you begin.

After cleaning, wipe all areas with a dry rag so there’s no remaining moisture. Before you leave the cabin, prop open the fridge doors to prevent mold or foul odors from forming. If your refrigerator has an ice maker, disconnect the water supply.

Does Unplugging a Fridge Hurt its Lifespan?

No. Whether you’re moving, leaving for vacation or turning it off at the end of the cabin season, you can unplug your fridge without causing damage, according to Maytag. Make sure to clean the fridge and follow the aforementioned maintenance steps to prevent mold buildup.

How to Store a Fridge

Besides leaving the fridge doors open, leave it upright, according to publicstorage.com. The site also recommends adding dryer sheets to trap odors.

Turning the Fridge Back On

Once you return to your cabin in the spring and plug the fridge back in, it will take awhile before it’s cooled enough to store food. “Most refrigerator manuals advise you to wait at least 8 to 12 hours before it’s safe to use again,” according to KitchenSeer. And check your fridge for leaks or unusual odors.

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Alex Shoemaker
Alex Shoemaker is the Digital Newsletter Editor of Family Handyman.