If you don’t have a convenient space to put your fridge within reach of an outlet, it’s tempting to solve the problem with an extension cord. After all, the whole point of an extension cord is to plug-in appliances that are too far away from the outlet, right?
However, extension cords are made for smaller appliances such as computers and televisions, not large ones such as fridges.
In this article, we’ll cover whether you should plug your refrigerator into an extension cord and the potential dangers of doing so.
Can You Plug a Fridge into An Extension Cord?
You should never plug your fridge into an extension cord as it could cause damage the appliance.
Reasons You Shouldn’t Plug a Refrigerator Into an Extension Cord
Extension cords are only suited to run a small amount of energy to the appliances they connect with. Therefore, most household extension cords cannot handle the energy that large appliances such as refrigerators and microwaves consume and will overheat or even melt.
If you have no choice but to plug your fridge into an extension cord, you can take a few steps to ensure you make the safest choice possible. Buy an extra heavy-duty extension cord (#10 American Wire Gauge or AWG), which means that the wire is thick enough to conduct high levels of electricity. Your extension cord should also be short and have a grounded plug (a third prong) that redirects excess electricity in an emergency.
If you buy the right extension cord and check that the wattage on your fridge isn’t too high, you can get away with not plugging the fridge directly into the wall socket.
1. Fire Hazard
Extension cords are not suitable for carrying the wattage a fridge needs. When an extension cord overheats, it doesn’t just stop working. It overheats and could catch fire.
Extension cords are a common failure point in home electrical systems and can cause house fires because of their thin wiring. Their wiring is not as thick as the wiring inside a regular wall plug, which means the cord will catch fire faster than a regular plug if it is overwhelmed. Therefore, ensure you use wall sockets to plug in your larger appliances.
2. Damage to the fridge
Electrical power flows differently from an extension cord than from a wall socket. The thinner wiring and addition of copper wiring add resistance and drops the voltage, which means that the fridge has to work harder to cool your food.
The lower voltage also increases the current flowing through the compressor, which could cause some of the parts to overheat and burn.
3. Damage to the wiring
Finally, the problem with plugging your fridge into an extension cord instead of directly into the wall is that your electricity supply is not as stable.
That’s because it’s easier to damage the wiring inside an extension cord than inside a wall socket. The plug protects the wiring inside a regular plug, but it’s easy to damage an extension cord with a spilled drink or even a stray fridge wheel.
It’s better to find a solution that will ensure continuous power and is less prone to damage.
So, can you plug your fridge into an extension cord? While you technically can plug your fridge into an extra heavy-duty extension cord, it’s much safer if you plug it directly into the wall.
Plugging your fridge directly into the wall is much safer because extension cords are a common fire hazard, particularly when connecting them to heavy-duty appliances.