Can I Use An Extension Cord With My Refrigerator? (ONLY If…)

While a lot of homeowners use an ordinary extension cord to power simple appliances like a table fan or a lamp, they are advised not to use an extension cord to plug in the refrigerator. If the extension cord isn’t upto the mark, plugging a refrigerator can cause serious damage to the appliance besides leading to a fire breakout.

Therefore, keeping in mind the safety concerns, homeowners are advised to plug their refrigerators into a wall outlet directly.

However, sometimes, homeowners do not have the option to plug it directly to the wall socket, due to some reason. In such rare cases, homeowners can choose to use a fridge extension cord, only if the extension cord is a heavy-duty cord, designed specially to handle high electrical power without compromising safety.

Always remember that a refrigerator is a big electrical appliance that requires a lot of electrical power for proper functioning. It’s impossible for an ordinary extension cord to handle such high flow of current. It’s sure to fail, causing a fire hazard, malfunctioning of the appliance and putting others’ safety at risk.

Being a responsible homeowner, you must be fully aware and informed before you plug a refrigerator into an extension cord. Experts advise homeowners to avoid doing this as much as possible. If you are still curious to know if it’s safe, this detailed guide is for you.

Can You Plug Refrigerator Into An Extension Cord?

Can You Plug Refrigerator Into An Extension Cord

Yes, one can use a specially designed, heavy-duty extension cord to power the refrigerator, if there is no suitable wall socket available. However, while powering the fridge, one mustn’t power any other electrical appliance via the extension cord at the same time.

Homeowners must follow the electrical code, which says that for every motorized or heating appliance, there must be a dedicated circuit for its own use.

Appliances like a fridge require high electrical power. That’s why it’s extremely necessary to avoid using any ordinary extension cord for the fridge as it cannot handle such excess load and get overheated causing major accidents.

Yes, homeowners can plug a fridge into a fridge extension cord only if its plug type, wire gauge, cord length and amperage rating are appropriate. The plug must be grounded to reduce the chances of electric shocks. The amperage rating must be equivalent to that of the refrigerator. Also, ensure the cord is a comparatively shorter length.

What Happens If You Plug Refrigerator Into An Extension Cord?

What Happens If You Plug Refrigerator Into An Extension Cord

The greatest danger about using an extension cord to power a refrigerator lies in the fact that if the fridge extension cord is a wrong one, there are high chances of the cord overheating, leading to fire hazards and electric shocks and appliance damage, apart from harming any individual in close vicinity.

 Never make the mistake of plugging a three-prong appliance, for instance, your refrigerator into an ungrounded extension cord.  Also, it’s dangerous to power multiple devices via the same extension cord at the same time, especially when using appliances like the refrigerator and microwave.

There are multiple risks associated with not taking proper precautionary measures while powering high-power appliances like refrigerators using an extension cord. Some of the risks have been mentioned below:

Fire hazard:

Usually, wall sockets have thicker wires which ordinary extension cords do not have. That’s a major drawback of ordinary extension cords. This explains why any other extension cord would fail to power a refrigerator, resulting in overheating or fire breakout in no time. 

Refrigerators usually remain switched on throughout the day. As a result, extension cords have to supply power endlessly without any rest to the appliance. Ordinary extension cords are not designed to handle such extensive uses. Therefore plugging your refrigerator into any ordinary extension cord is highly dangerous.

Damage to the fridge:

You must know that extension cords usually have thinner wires, unless they are specially designed to power heavy duty appliances. These thin wires resist the electric current that passes through them.

The increased resistance is likely to cause a voltage drop when an electric current passes through the wires.

This drop in voltage will affect the functioning of the compressor. As a result, the working of the entire appliance is compromised.

Also, the excess heat can burn various parts of the fridge, ultimately reducing its longevity.

Damage to wiring:

Ordinary extension cords don’t come with an outer cover. They are exposed in the open. With time, the cord can tear down, get scratched, liquid spillage, and whatnot. With open cords, the risk of electric shocks also increases.

Is It Safe To Plug A Fridge Into An Extension Cord?

Is It Safe To Plug A Fridge Into An Extension Cord

Yes, using an extension cord to power a refrigerator is safe only when it’s grounded, and the amperage rating of the refrigerator is equivalent to that of the extension cord.

Additionally, find an extension cord that comes with 10 or 12 gauges as a cord lower gauge number is considered to be an effective heavy duty cord. Therefore, if you are looking for an ideal extension cord for your refrigerator, pick a 10 gauge cord of a shorter length with a suitable wattage rating.

The length of the refrigerator extension cord is an important consideration here because shorter cords are best suited for appliances that consume a lot of energy. That’s why you would even notice that manufacturers provide customized cords with appliances that are specially designed for those particular appliances.

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Safety Tips: Things To Know Before Plugging A Refrigerator Into An Extension Cord

The best practice is not using an extension cord to plug your refrigerator. However, if you have found the right extension cord for your refrigerator, you must keep in mind some safety measures to keep yourself and your appliance safe.

With these safety tips, one can minimize voltage drop and therefore prevent any major accident. Enlisted below are some safety tips homeowners must remember.


Do you know that the longer a cord is, the lesser its current carrying capacity? Therefore, it’s best to choose an extension cord of a shorter length. A short extension cord would effectively reduce voltage drop. A little longer cord wouldn’t do any harm and would rather allow you to shift the refrigerator a bit for cleaning its backside.

Use extension cords rated for the amount of current the appliance uses

Always go through the specifications of the extension cord you have decided to buy and know its rated wattage. Never exceed this number. If that happens, get ready to deal with a fire breakout.

Also, check the refrigerator’s rated wattage and ensure the wattage of both are compatible. You can find the rated wattage of your appliance on its back or in the device manual.


Make sure the plug is a three prong grounded one. In that regard, buy a grounded refrigerator extension cord.

The third pin is the grounding pin. This is the most important pin that takes care of everyone’s safety. In case of any malfunctioning, this grounding pin would pass excess electricity to the earth, thus preventing a major accident.

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The Bottom Line

If you go through the refrigerator’s owners manual, you are sure to find a warning saying not to plug the refrigerator into an extension cord and experts advise homeowners to abide by it.

Plugs in electrical appliances like microwaves, refrigerators, etc. come with their customized, warranted, and specially designed power cord. It’s safe to use that power cord, instead of any other extension cord.

If you have picked up any ordinary extension cord to power the refrigerators, it is likely to fail when it comes to delivering enough power to the appliance, causing overheating and increasing the chances of a fire hazard. Only if you have found an extension cord that has all the necessary specifications and features and is tailor-made to power a refrigerator can you use it to plug in your refrigerator.

Homeowners are advised to go through the various types of extension cords available in the market and check their features. Not all cords are created equal. You must buy the one that best suits your needs.

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