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Conflicting opinions on refrigerators being turned off

I can't seem to find any positive information on putting my frige on a smart plug. I read somewhere that it would save money if I turn it off for a couple of hours from 2am to 4am. The conflicting info says that it is not only unsafe, but will end up costing more when it turns back on. Has anyone done this and is it really doing any good to save energy? I'd love to see how much a difference people are truly experiencing before I go for it. Thanks for any wisdom!

Answers

  • GregoryGregory Posts: 28Member

    With a smart plug your fridge can automatically turn off during ohm hours, and back on when it is over. Fridge should be fine for at least 4 hours as long as it isn't opened maybe even more. If you are worried about it not coming back on, you can remove the smart plug before any extended vacations.

  • WaterGuyWaterGuy Posts: 414Member, Moderator

    @Li Lo 1212 said:
    I can't seem to find any positive information on putting my frige on a smart plug. I read somewhere that it would save money if I turn it off for a couple of hours from 2am to 4am. The conflicting info says that it is not only unsafe, but will end up costing more when it turns back on. Has anyone done this and is it really doing any good to save energy? I'd love to see how much a difference people are truly experiencing before I go for it. Thanks for any wisdom!

    Except for during OhmHours, it's hard to imagine that turning your fridge off for a few hours each day (and especially during low-demand periods like 2-4 AM when energy is cheap) would be worth very much money. That being said, I think it would technically save some energy and money (depending on the timing). Your fridge converts electrical energy into mechanical energy and then into [removed] heat energy. The total amount of energy it uses over a given period is a function of the differences between the set temperature on the thermostat, the temperature inside the fridge, and the temperature outside of the fridge. If your fridge is shut off for a few hours, the temperature inside will rise higher than it would have otherwise, closer to the temperature in your house. This would result in a reduced flow of energy from the warm house to your cool fridge during that time, and less work for your fridge to do when it turns back on than it would have done maintaining a cooler temperature during those hours. If you were to try this scheme, I would think you'd want to shut off the fridge during times when power is most expensive (perhaps for the last hour of the most expensive time of use period) and use the energy to cool it back down when power is cheaper. Of course, power is most expensive during the times you're probably most likely to be using your fridge, so that may not be very practical.

    Two other simple tricks may be more practical and potentially more effective for saving you money. First, the temperature you set on the fridge's thermostat obviously plays an important role in when and how often the compressor kicks on and off. I'm not an expert with food storage temperatures, but rather than switching the fridge on and off completely you might try simply increasing the set temperature a few degrees. This would do the same thing, functionally, as bumping up the temperature on your thermostat a few degrees during the summer months to reduce the amount of time the A/C runs. I think most people probably keep their refrigerators colder than they need to--I certainly do. Second, you might try to limit how often you open your fridge door, and do it very quickly when you need to. Keeping your fridge clean and organized, with frequently-used items near the front, may help you minimize the time the door is open. Adopting these practices may or may not make a very big difference, but they might be good options if you're worried about about possible damage to your appliance.

    Finally, on the safety front: I've had a smart switch on my fridge for about a year, and it turns off for one or more hours during every OhmHour. I've never had any issues with food safety during that time, and I bet my fridge isn't even particularly well-insulated--it's an older model that was purchased for a rental property. I keep a lot of liquids in my fridge, and those help maintain cooler temperatures inside for longer. I wouldn't be too concerned about the safety issue as long as you keep the fridge shut and keep the shutoff period to an hour or two.

  • Kate from OhmConnectKate from OhmConnect Posts: 1,049Administrator

    If you have a low forecast, like I do, turning off your fridge can help you beat your low estimate. It is safe to keep a fridge turned off for up to 4 hours, according to the FDA. Ultimately, it's up to you. I think it depends on the demographics of your home.

  • ddelfierddelfier Posts: 1Member
    I’ve found that a smartplug on the refrigerator makes a considerable difference for me? Without it, I was barely able to beat my goal. With it, I do so easily. But, the plug may only really make a difference because I have an older refrigerator that came with my unit years ago. A newer one would likely use far less energy therefore a smartplug may have negligible impact for an hour or two? Heck, maybe newer fridges automatically drop into low power states without a smartplug?
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