Can a Power Outage Damage Refrigerator?

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The weather is always fluctuating, and when unexpected storms strike, they could bring power outages with them. The blackouts could result from transmission towers falling, overconsumption of electricity, or a lightning strike.

So, can a power outage damage the refrigerator?

Key Takeaway

A power outage won’t damage your refrigerator, but a power surge will, and outages may be accompanied by surges. Refrigerators contain a number of sensitive controls and components, making them vulnerable to even small power surges, unlike older, simpler versions that were a little more resilient.

For some households, unplugging electrical appliances during heavy rains has become a habit.

Is it’s necessary to unplug all your appliances?┬áTo address this question, it’s important first to comprehend what happens when storms strike.

How do Blackouts Affect the Power Grid?

When a power outage occurs, all your electrical appliances will go off immediately. When power is restored, the network voltage will often be above or below the optimal level. Voltage surges, which occur when a voltage variation is too high, can cause severe device damage to your devices.

Microprocessor-controlled devices are the most vulnerable, and if left plugged in, the controllers could burn out when the power comes back, leaving you with great losses.

Motors, refrigerators, and other heavy devices have more resistance to high voltages and burn out less often as a result of overvoltage. They are more vulnerable to under-voltage or a supply voltage that is lower than what they require to work.

This occurs when a refrigerator is supplied with low voltage, which can also happen after the energy supply has been restored. It could cause the motor to lack sufficient starting power and the wiring to overheat until the thermal protector is triggered. These repeated cycles can harm the motor in the long run.

How to Get Refrigerator Running After Power Outage

If the power comes back on and your refrigerator is not running, go through the following checklist to get it running.

Take a look at  the main refrigerator circuit breaker

The refrigerator circuit breaker may have tripped due to the power outage. The breaker box is not positioned in the refrigerator but rather outside the house. Locate it and confirm that the refrigerator circuit breaker is turned on.

Ensure that the refrigerator is turned ON

The issue could be at your refrigerator’s control panel. The refrigerator could have been turned off due to the power outage. All refrigerators are different, so consult your manual to learn how to switch yours back on.

The ON/OFF buttons may be situated on the control panel in some fridges, whereas others have a switch on the inside that allows you to turn it on or off.

Make sure that the GFCI power outlet that the refrigerator is plugged into has not tripped

Examine the refrigerator outlet to determine whether it has tripped. Some outlets contain a small reset switch that might trip during a power loss for safety concerns. The GFCI reset button is usually on the outlet. Press it to reset it and restore power.

Assess the cord and plug to see whether there is an electrical short

Examine the power cord on the refrigerator. In certain rare circumstances, a power outage may result in electrical damage. The refrigerator power line or socket could get shorted. 

Slide the refrigerator out cautiously and inspect the power line and plug for any signs of electrical shorting. You may need to replace your power cord if it is shorted or damaged.

Check for any faulty fridge component

A part or component of the fridge may have been shorted due to the power outage. If you’ve tried all the solutions above and the fridge still won’t start, it’s possible that a component is damaged. You can start troubleshooting the issue by working your way from the most likely to the least likely faulty component. It maybe necessary to get some professional help.

The refrigerator may simply need time to begin cooling

If your fridge lights are on, but the refrigerator is not cooling, a component within the refrigerator may have failed, or your device just requires time to start cooling.

If the power has just been restored and the refrigerator is turned on, wait at least 15 minutes and check whether it starts to cool.

How to Protect Your Refrigerator During a Power Outage

Use a surge protecting power strip

Plugging appliances into a power strip with a built-in surge protector is the simplest and least expensive way to protect them. These power strips normally have a fuse that will blow if there is a voltage surge, cutting out the power that goes to your refrigerator hence protecting it.

Install a whole-house surge protector

Installing a snap-in surge protector in your electrical panel is a more thorough and resilient option than using power strips. This sort of surge protector provides surge protection for your entire home and is simple to install if you can work comfortably on your electrical panel.

Install a surge protector

The most reliable option is to install a surge protector just before your meter, along your incoming electrical line. This type of work must be performed by a licensed electrician and in compliance with the regulations imposed by your local utility provider.

Install GFCI outlets

Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets, which are the electrical outlets with red and black buttons labeled “Test” and “Reset,” are a requirement in many countries for new kitchens and bathrooms. These outlets keep track of how much electricity flows into each socket and out and cuts out the flow if the difference goes above a particular limit.

Use an uninterruptible power supply (UPS)

An Uninterruptible Power Supply(UPS) is a large power strip with a backup battery. The battery engages if any problems with the incoming voltage are detected. This includes surges and power outages. 

The best part about this is that it allows you to keep using the appliance without interruption for some time. This is particularly important for safeguarding desktop computers against outages that could result in loss of work.