I have a small and cheap refrigerator that I use to store beers. It has a small freezer that is of no use to me.

I am only using this refrigerator 5 times a year (during "events"), and I measured that it costs me around $10/month. Not that cheap in the end...

I was thinking of leaving it unplugged for several weeks, plugging it in for an "event" weekend, and then unplugging it after. Hopefully reducing the energy waste.

  • Is there any risk of flooding my floor? I had experience with big fridges putting water everywhere when unplugged, but it may not apply here.
  • Is there a sanitary risk (eg mold) in doing that? I don't think so as I only store bottled beer/wine.
  • Are there any other tips/things I should know?
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    $10/month to run the beer fridge isn't cheap? Have you compared that to the cost of the beer you're putting in said fridge? It's probably just a drop in the bucket. Or, I suppose, a can in the case...
    – FreeMan
    Commented Feb 14, 2023 at 13:16
  • 5
    If it's empty between events, running it won't be efficient, as coolers depend on the heat capacity of the items inside for proper regulation. Commented Feb 14, 2023 at 17:11
  • 5
    Might be cheaper to get some good coolers and bags of ice?
    – copper.hat
    Commented Feb 15, 2023 at 5:36
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    @copper.hat 100% this. Couple bags of ice, and then throw in couple handful of road / rough salt (just get the cheapest ones you can find). You'll have water that are below freezing and will, very rapidly, chill the beers.
    – Nelson
    Commented Feb 15, 2023 at 9:01
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    @SimonRichter it will work hard for a few hours cooling down. That's far more efficient than leaving it on for the average couple of months between events. And guess what - if you left it on and empty, it would have to work almost as hard when you bought the beers, plus it would waste energy in between.
    – Chris H
    Commented Feb 15, 2023 at 19:16

4 Answers 4


There is no problem doing this. The water if any would come from melting ice. If ice is forming inside, check/ replace the seals.

Keeping the door closed when unused usually forms mould. We hang a towel on the door, so that it cannot close fully.


I do this with a drinks fridge, as well as with the fridge in my campervan.

It's important to leave it clean and dry when you turn it off, so keep the door open a little for at least a few days, and if there's any chance of any spills, give it a good clean.

It's unlikely to produce large amounts of water, unless it's very iced up. That in turn is unlikely if it's only on for a few days at a time, but if people keep leaving the door open and letting in humid air you might have to deal with some melting ice.

  • 1
    I accepted Rohit Gupta's answer because it was posted just before yours. But both fit my question. Thank you. Commented Feb 14, 2023 at 9:27
  • 4
    ^ this, camper fridges almost all have a "vent" setting on the door latch that holds the door slightly open when the camper is stored so that air can circulate. As long as there's no dirt or moisture left in there it will be fine.
    – John U
    Commented Feb 15, 2023 at 15:49
  • @JohnU exactly, that makes it easier. I give mine a thorough clean, and let it dry with the door wide open, after each trip, then leave it vented
    – Chris H
    Commented Feb 15, 2023 at 19:13

$10 a month seems expensive. Should be less than that. I had the same arrangement, but ended up using the fridge as the 'proper' place to actually keep water, beer, cider, white/rose wines all year round. As well as any excess shopping that needed to go into my already full always-in-use-fridge. The small freezer compartment is used for ice-cubes, which can't be made in the latter fridge.

But to directly answer, no problems to use it spasmodically, with the door open in between. The water problem came from build-up of ice in the freezer compartment, which usually takes a few weeks to gather, depending on number of opening times.

  • 8
    "no problems to use it spasmodically" that typo is too good to fix! ROFL!
    – FreeMan
    Commented Feb 14, 2023 at 13:17
  • 7
    $10 or even $30/month isn't out implausible for an old fridge; and old fridges tend to be the ones stuffed into basements/garages for infrequent use. This article puts an 80s fridge at $17/mo with 10c/kwh power which is on the cheap side now. ; vs $3/mo at the same power cost for a new one: directenergy.com/learning-center/… Commented Feb 14, 2023 at 17:10
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    I never fail to be amazed by the energy costs in the USA. In large parts of Europe, electric power is closer to 50 cents per kWh...
    – Mr47
    Commented Feb 15, 2023 at 13:07
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    @Mr47 - gone up to 32p/kw/hr in UK this month. But a fridge isn't running permanently anyway. Possibly £1 per week. Hardly worth worrying about, especially when your beer's always cold!
    – Tim
    Commented Feb 15, 2023 at 13:39
  • @Tim true for a modern European standard fridge (my 2014 A rated drinks fridge almost exactly matches your figures). Not everything is that efficient. Anyway £1 per week here and there on pointless things soon adds up - and beers for 1 or 2 people can be chilled in the (implied) msin fridge if that's desirable. Not everyone wants the temptation
    – Chris H
    Commented Feb 15, 2023 at 19:45

Is there a sanitary risk (eg mold) in doing that? I don't think so as I only store bottled beer/wine.

Yes, bigtime! Refrigerators tend to pick up humidity. Every time you open the door, you let in a bunch of humid air, and the water in the air condenses on cold surfaces. That's fine while it stays cold.

But when you unplug it, the water is still in there. And it creates a petri dish for mold. Worse, a lot of it is on the backside of the interior liner where you can never access it.

I unplug fridges all the time, and I block the door open for a couple weeks to let all that stuff dry out completely. This requires you to resist the lizard-brain urge to close every refrigerator door that you see open :)

Is there any risk of flooding my floor? I had experience with big fridges putting water everywhere when unplugged, but it may not apply here.

That comes from ice which has built up - most of these mini-fridges are not defrosting! The ice should be completely obvious, so you know perfectly well it will turn into liquid water after you unplug. And you have a good sense of how much you'll get, too. Catching/cleaning up this melting ice is part of the job of turning off a fridge.

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