I live in the US and my refrigerator is 115 Volt. I'd like to power it directly from the socket with an extension cord, but I've been told that it must be powered via a surge protector or a special power cord. Is this true?

  • 1
    I have never heard of a requirement that a refrigerator be powered via surge protector (in the US or otherwise). Considering the current draw for starting a motor, I would think you need some sort of a "slow blow" surge protector, and I don't know if they are even spec'd in this way.
    – Dave Nay
    May 6, 2012 at 16:23
  • 2
    Refrigerators are supposed to be on a branch circuit to themselves: would that be what you mean by "special power cord"?
    – Niall C.
    May 6, 2012 at 16:25
  • How long will the cord be? Will this be short-term of permanent?
    – Jay Bazuzi
    May 6, 2012 at 18:50
  • @NiallC. - I'm not sure what i mean! May 6, 2012 at 22:47
  • @JayBazuzi - That's the problem. This cord needs to be long (36 feet) because I am trying to wire it around the molding of a room. And yes, this is permanent. What to do! May 6, 2012 at 22:48

2 Answers 2


The power cord would have to be short and made of 12AWG wire with ground. I would not go more than a few feet. Best to just have an outlet (dedicated) installed to the fridge.

No special surge protector or special type of extension cord would be required other than the size I mentioned.

  • Much thanks for the wisdom here. But a problem: it looks like I've got to go with a long cord (~36 feet) in order to wrap the cord around a room. Any options besides installing a new outlet or moving the fridge? May 6, 2012 at 22:50
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    Sorry, but no. To keep it safe, you really need to add a dedicated outlet.
    – SteveR
    May 6, 2012 at 23:11
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    Extension cords are meant for "temporary" use, although in practice "temporary" is often indistinguishable from "permanent". In the case of a refrigerator, it would be hard to argue that it's a temporary use. A 36' 12AWG cord will be hard to conceal (and you'll probably end up with 50'). I agree that if you have the option to move the outlet or install another, it would be best.
    – TomG
    May 7, 2012 at 2:24

If you absolutely have to use a long extension cord I would use a 10 gauge. I also would feel the cord for heating as another caution. Some may feel this is overkill but like I said if you MUST use an extension cord these are my thoughts.

  • 1
    There are tables available for amperage requirements vs. length of extension cord. A 10 gauge cord will be major overkill for most refrigerators/freezers, which most often have an energy consumption of under 200 running watts. A brief peak at about 1200 starting watts won't be sustained long enough to cause any significant overheating either.
    – Doresoom
    Jul 17, 2015 at 14:33

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