Can You Plug a Refrigerator into an Extension Cord?

Before you plug a refrigerator into an extension cord, there are a few things you need to consider to minimize the chance of fire.

It can be a real headache when the original plug of our refrigerator is too far away from the wall outlet. Even when cleaning up or moving furniture, your refrigerator may need an extension cord to switch places easily. However, it is not always a wise choice to use an extension cord. So, this may beg you to ask: Can you plug a refrigerator into an extension cord?

In short, it’s safe to plug a fridge into an extension cord only if it’s the right kind. If not, it may possibly start a fire hazard. For instance, buy a thick gauge wire, which is short enough to reduce the current load. Also, don’t forget to check for the ratings of wattage and amperage that suits best for your fridge.

So, is that all you need to know? Nope, there is more! There are a number of safety measures you need to think about as well. Luckily, I’m going to discuss everything you need to know about using an extension cord for your refrigerator.

Plugging a refrigerator into an extension cord

Generally speaking, you can safely plug any appliance into an electrical extension cord when powering. However, it is not always the case for refrigerators.

To power and run an appliance like a refrigerator requires a lot of energy. Therefore, a regular electrical extension cord may not be up to do the job.

Not all cords have the same ability to carry enough load to run such large appliances, as they may even pose a fire hazard. But, with measures of the extension cord and a three-prong socket, you can plug it into your refrigerator.

Even though the best and safest option is to plug your refrigerator directly into a wall outlet, it is not always possible. This is because your fridge is placed somewhere with no wall outlets close to it, or your fridge wire is not long enough to reach the switchboard. Therefore, an extension cord is applied when plugging a refrigerator into the wall outlet to avoid these difficulties.

Things to consider before buying an extension cord for a refrigerator

Sometimes it is necessary to use an electrical extension cord despite it causing a potential fire hazard. So, if you have no other choice, but to use one, buy the right kind of cord that will support your fridge.

Hence, we recommended some instructions you can follow before buying an electrical extension cord for your refrigerator:

Gauge wire numbers

For starters, the extension cord must have the capacity to deliver high power as refrigerators need a large amount of energy to power up. Extension cords have a higher capacity when they come in lower gauge numbers – the thicker the wire, the stronger it is.

  • Starting from the gauge of 16 would do a light-duty
  • Then gauge of 14 would have a medium-duty
  • Gauge 12 would be a maximum of heavy-duty
  • Lastly, gauge 10 would have an extra heavy-duty for being the lowest in number.

Hence, a cord with about 10 to 12 gauge of the wire will smoothly do the job and power your fridge. It is the safest way to use an extension cord of 10-gauge because it performs an extra heavy duty. So, it is perfect for carrying out large power loads for appliances like a refrigerator.

The length of cord

Next, a refrigerator, like any appliance, requires a lot of energy. Hence, it is best to consider a shorter electrical extension cord. It is ideal to get a shorter cord as it will have a higher capacity to carry the necessary power load your appliance need.

In case if you need to move away from your fridge for maintenance or cleaning, you may need a longer cord to move it. Also, make sure the wire is short enough to avoid causing a short circuit.

Amperage and wattage

When it comes to wattage and amperage, never exceed the limit of the rating to avoid causing a fire.

That is why it is best to read the instruction manual of the refrigerator to determine the ratings of the amperage and wattage. Either read it on the manual or look it up on the website of the manufacturer.

Here is a guideline for you to choose the right extension cord:

LengthAmperageGauge
25 feet12A or less16
25 feet13A – 15A14
50 feet12A – less16
50 feet13A – 15A14
100 feet10A or less16
100 feet11A – 12A14
100 feet13A – 15A12
150 feetAll10

Plugging

Generally, refrigerators come with a grounded three-prong plug. So, it is better to get an extension cord that has a grounded plug for safety.

If there is excess electricity, the three-prong plug will take care of the excess to the ground, keeping your appliance safe. Do remember to avoid removing this plug, as it can be dangerous.

Safety measures for plugging an extension cord to a refrigerator

Generally, the most pressing problem with using an electrical extension is using the wrong kind of cord to power your refrigerator.

Usually, this happens because using the wrong extension cord may lead to overheating and melting the plastic, causing a severe issue. Moreover, it may possibly damage your fridge and increase the risk of electric shock or fire hazards.

Lastly, using an electrical extension cord for two appliances together may have a low capacity to carry the combined power load. That means if the extension cord ever fails to take the power load of the appliances, it can lead to several risks.

Here’s a video explaining the safety measures:

YouTube video

If the link above doesn’t work, click here.

Final thoughts

So, can you plug a refrigerator into an extension cord? Yes. Even though plugging your refrigerator directly to the wall outlet is the safest option, sometimes you have no choice but to use an extension cord. So, be careful when choosing the extension cord as some of them can be harmful.

It might also be a good idea to consider purchasing a surge protector if you’re traveling in an RV. Take a look at: Do I Actually Need a Surge Protector for My RV?

I hope this article was able to help you with your queries. As always, thank you for stopping by, and stay safe!

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Jakob Staudal

I love to spend time outside and reconnect with nature every now and then and cut-off all the noise from social media and everyday life.