Mini fridges are exceedingly handy, and can be a great solution for small spaces. Whether you live in a dorm, a very small flat or just don’t want to be bothered with a full-size fridge, a mini one can save you electricity and space.
Just like mini ovens can replace full-size ones, a mini fridge is a very decent substitute for a much larger appliance. The question that will naturally arise though is where do you plug the mini fridge in. Does it need its own wall socket, or can you use an extension cord?
This is everything you need to know about plugging your mini fridge into an extension cord:
Can You Plug a Mini Fridge Into an Extension Cord?
Yes, you can plug a mini fridge into an extension cord, as long as it meets all of its requirements. Always use a three-prong heavy duty grounded extension cord that matches the power needs of your mini fridge.
While mini fridges require less power than regular ones, they can still overpower a flimsy extension cord. Most mini fridges will be just fine with 15-amp circuits, because they will rarely need more than 12 amps to operate properly, so a 10 or 12 gauge extension cord should be enough.
You do however have to make sure that the extension cord is grounded, to prevent possible electrocution in case of a malfunction. Also, aim for the shortest extension cord that fits your needs, as it will provide better quality power.
Check your mini fridge’s power requirements and match it to the cord. That way you won’t risk power surges or fire hazards.
Why Use an Extension Cord For a Mini Fridge?
You can use an extension cord for your mini fridge when you have no wall socket available for it. If you make sure you get the right extension cord, you can keep the mini fridge plugged into it practically indefinitely.
However, do make sure not to plug any other appliances into the same extension cord, as even the best of them can be overloaded if you put too much strain on them. This can result in a short circuit or even lead to a fire.
If you aren’t able to install more wall sockets at the moment, you can use an extension cord for your mini fridge. Do however try to put this on your task list for any future remodels or renovations.
How to Choose an Extension Cord for Your Mini Fridge
Always choose a grounded, three-prong heavy duty extension cord with a small gauge. Also make sure it is as short as possible, and that it has the appropriate amperage rating.
The brand of extension cord you buy is much less important than the following factors:
Always buy a grounded extension cord for your mini fridge. This will be the kind that has three prongs. The third prong is your safety net. If there is a power surge, it will aim all the electricity into the ground, keeping you safe.
If you were to remove this prong, the extra electricity would travel into the metal casing of your mini fridge, and electrocute you when you touched it.
You are also looking for an extension cord with a low gauge. The gauge refers to the thickness of the wire, to put it simply, and the lower the number, the more power it can carry.
Ideally, you want a 10 gauge extension cord that will be able to carry 20 amps of power.
The extension cord also needs to be able to carry the right amount of power safely, so you need to match it with the wattage rating of your mini fridge. You will usually find this number on the back of the fridge, or you can check the manual online.
If the extension cord has a lower wattage rating than the mini fridge, it won’t be able to carry all that power, and can cause a fire or damage your appliance.
Longer extension cords are not as good at carrying a current as shorter ones. A shorter cord will have lower voltage drops, which will protect your fridge.
Always aim to plug the extension cord into the nearest available wall socket. The shorter the cord, the better. Leave a bit of slack in it though, as you still want to be able to move the fridge, and a taught cord is also more likely to get damaged than a slack one.
What Gauge Extension Cord For a Mini Refrigerator?
10 or 12 gauge extension cords will work best with a mini fridge. While you may be able to get away with a 14 gauge as well, err on the side of caution, and get a lower gauge.
If you choose the wrong gauge for your mini fridge, the worst thing that can happen is actually quite horrible: your home may catch fire. In order to prevent overheating, a melting extension cord, fridge malfunctions and electrocutions, get the best quality extension cord you can find.
Is Plugging a Mini Fridge Into an Extension Cord Safe?
While plugging your mini fridge into an extension cord is generally considered safe, if you choose the wrong extension cord, it can cause overheating, short circuit, or even cause a fire.
When plugging your mini fridge into an extension cord, always look for a grounded one with three prongs. This will protect you from electrocution.
Also make sure that you get the length, wattage rating and gauge right, and match them to the requirements of your mini fridge.
Don’t plug any other appliances into the same extension cord either, as you risk overpowering it and causing all kinds of havoc.
What are the Dangers of Plugging a Mini Fridge Into an Extension Cord?
If you can, always plug all appliances that use a lot of power into a wall socket, mini fridge included. While the right kind of extension cord should pose no danger as long as it functions properly, here is what can happen if you plug it into the wrong one:
Potential Fire Hazard
Wall socket wires are much thicker than the ones in an extension cord. Since the latter is also not completely covered and may get damaged, there is a risk of fire when plugging any appliance into an extension cord.
This risk is minimal though if you use the proper extension cord and regularly check if it’s working properly and has not been damaged.
Damage to Your Mini Fridge
The wires in an extension cord offer more resistance to the power that passes through them. This can also be made worse by the length of the wire. The increase in resistance can result in a drop in voltage, which can affect your mini fridge.
Does a Mini Fridge Need Its Own Outlet?
No, a mini fridge does not need its own outlet, and can safely be plugged into an extension cord, provided it is the right one. Always aim for a grounded, three-prong heavy duty extension cord that is as short as possible and has the right wattage rating.
Ideally, you will plug every appliance that uses a lot of electricity directly into the wall. However, since this is not always possible, you will be just fine with the right kind of extension cord.
Wrapping It Up
Just like you can plug a fridge into an extension cord, you can plug a mini fridge into one as well. Make sure you buy the right kind of extension cord though, and regularly check that it is still working as it should.