Do Refrigerators Need A Special Outlet: Must-Know Facts & Tips

Do Refrigerators Need A Special Outlet: Must-Know Facts & Tips

Refrigerators, like other household appliances, have a single electrical cord that connects to your home’s electrical system and powers the item. Although appliance wires and connectors vary by manufacturer and model, most refrigerators use comparable wires and plugs.

The wall receptacle into which your refrigerator cord is plugged is likewise standard, but it has some special criteria for good safety and performance.

There are a lot of factors that go into plugging in a refrigerator, believe it or not! If you’re a little perplexed, this article will help you figure things out.


How Does A Home’s Electrical System Work?

Electricity is delivered to your home via wires that pass via power lines, pass through a transformer, and then flow via the two hot wires and one neutral wire that are connected to all of your home’s power outlets. 

As a result, anytime you plug in a gadget, electricity flows through it, the circuit is completed, and the device becomes functional. Since the 1960s, all American homes have been obliged by law to include a ground line to prevent electrical shocks.

The 120V-240V system is now used in almost all American houses. The US National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) advises residents to only plug in one heat-producing device at a time and not to utilize extension cables or plug strips with big appliances.

Check out this video to know how a refrigerator works:

Do Refrigerators Need A Special Outlet?

Refrigerators do not require additional outlets. They can be plugged into a three-pronged socket in any regular 110-120 volt outlet.

It is, nevertheless, preferable if your refrigerator is connected to its circuit. It may even be required by local ordinances.


While you can connect something else into the same socket, you shouldn’t—especially not another appliance. This will ensure that your refrigerator has enough power to function properly.

Should Refrigerators Be Plugged Into A GFCI Outlet?

A GFCI outlet should not be used to power a refrigerator. In places of the house where there is water or moisture, GFCI outlets are used. Bathrooms, basements, and kitchens are examples.

This outlet is crucial because it decreases the danger of electrocution and electrical fires. When there is a problem with the electrical current, the outlet will trip, or cease producing power.

If electrical equipment is dumped into the bathroom sink, for example, this can happen. Refrigerators have the drawback of causing unwanted trips via GFCI outlets. This can result in a fridge full of rotting food if not noticed early enough.

Some refrigerators, particularly ones with ice makers, self-defrost functions, or other technological problems that might induce tripping, will cause the outlet to trip frequently.


Should Fridges Be Sharing Outlets?

Every outlet is wired to a circuit that can handle a specific number of volts and amperes. If you insert a gadget with a 40-60V input into a circuit that can handle 120V, it will blow up. It is critical to ensure that a device’s volts and amperes are compatible with those of a circuit.

Although today’s refrigerators are becoming more energy-efficient, needing lesser voltage and current when in use, the current might spike at specified moments. Due to a phenomenon known as starting currents, this is the case.

A startup current, also known as a surge current, is a transient spike in current that occurs when a machine is functioning at its most demanding. This is often when a refrigerator jumpstarts the compressor to circulate chilled air throughout the refrigerator.

When it starts up, the current can spike up to three times the average running current, according to GE Appliances. This is why the National Electrical Code (NEC) suggests utilizing a separate circuit for refrigerators, or a circuit devoted to that single device.

Should Fridges Be Used With Extension Cord?

The owner’s handbook for your refrigerator almost definitely includes a warning against using an extension cable to power the device, which is sound advice in any event. Plug-in appliances are designed (and warranted) to be used exclusively with the power cable provided by the manufacturer. 

Undersized extension cables may not deliver enough electricity to the refrigerator, causing it to overheat, creating a serious fire risk. Meanwhile, long extension cables can also be insufficiently powerful and can be damaged if left uncovered or coiled beneath or around the refrigerator.


How many amps do you need for a refrigerator?

The amount of electrical current used by a refrigerator’s compressor to chill its compartment is measured in amps. When the voltage is 120, the amperage for typical domestic freezers ranges from 3 to 5. Because the in-rush amperage is substantially larger, a dedicated circuit of 15 to 20 amps is necessary.

What kind of extension cord do I need for a refrigerator?

In most kitchens, a 14-gauge extension cable is recommended. The arithmetic suggests a 14-gauge cord if your fridge uses less than 15 amps and the distance is less than 9 feet.

What’s the best way to obtain extra power outlets?

If your home lacks enough power outlets, you might consider purchasing power strips. These power strips include many outlets, allowing you to connect whatever gadget you choose. You should, however, always make sure that you’re utilizing these strips carefully. If you want everything to run smoothly, there are a few cardinal guidelines to follow:

  • Devices that require dedicated circuits should not be plugged into a power strip. They consume too much electricity, causing a circuit overload.
  • Keep power strips out of wet areas. This is an excellent technique to avoid it tripping your circuit breaker or, even worse, catching fire.
  • Don’t connect two power strips together. In principle, this sounds like a terrific way to add additional outlets, but in practice, you’re merely dispersing power, which means your appliances may not perform as well. It might also result in electrical problems!
  • If a power strip has heated up, don’t use it. Power strips aren’t designed to keep loads going for lengthy periods, and they can overheat and catch fire.
  • Always look for power strips that include a built-in circuit breaker. This helps to avoid electrical fires and harm to your plugged-in equipment.

Read More:

Rice Cooker Vs Crock Pot: Which Will Best Suit You?


If you have a mini-fridge rather than a regular refrigerator, it’s a different issue, and you can share outlets because mini-fridges use less current and voltage. If you’re working with a standard fridge, though, utilize a separate circuit to avoid problems.

In case you’re short on outlets, you may hire a local electrician to install more or utilize an outlet tap.