Are refrigerators really fireproof? Some debate has been doing the rounds about refrigerators being fire proof. Some have gone as far as saying that they can replace fireproof safes as places for storing documents.
The main reason that this notion has been spread has been due to the fact the most refrigerators and freezers come insulated.
Does this make it fireproof though? We will explore this in some depth in this article.
To answer the question in short though; refrigerators are not fireproof. Though they have insulation, their doors are made from accordion-style rubber seals which are flammable. This means that they are not airtight and heat can enter in and char the contents.
Modern fridges with plastic backs also pose a fire hazard because they are flammable and can lead to a fire spreading much faster.
Is a Refrigerator Really Fireproof?
To answer this in a holistic manner, let’s look at how this notion may have come about. Hiding money in the refrigerator is something that is common among older people.
This is because of the belief that this is the last place that a home intruder would look as well as the belief that it’s fireproof.
It may have been safe to hide money there a couple of decades ago but these days, a fridge or freezer is one of the places that they would look.
As for it being fireproof and a safe alternative to a fireproof safe, that’s up for debate. Modern refrigerators use magnetic style gasket seals that make sure that no air comes in or goes out of the fridge.
These are made mainly of rubber or plastic. As we all know, these materials are not fireproof. They will melt when exposed to fire leading to the possibility of them opening up and exposing the contents to the fire.
Even if the door does not open, house fires are known to reach temperatures of between 600 and 700 degrees Celsius. At these temperatures, the compromised seals will allow heat into the fridge leading to damage to the valuables stored in the fridge.
Though older style fridges also have gaskets, they use a latch to secure the door. The gasket serves a single purpose of providing an airtight seal between the inside of the fridge and the external environment.
Technically speaking the latch is capable of holding the door in place and the chances of the gasket getting burned all the way through are somewhat reduced. Though this is not a guarantee, there are chances that the contents of the refrigerator will not be damaged.
Can I Use a Freezer Instead of a Fire Safe?
It’s quite common for people to advise each other to store money or important documents in a freezer instead of buying a fireproof safe. Based on what we have shared in this article, this is usually not the best approach.
There are chances that your valuables might be protected but it is also highly likely that your things could suffer significant damage in the event of a fire.
In fact, ask many firefighters and they will tell you that this is not a good idea. Many have testified to fridges being burnt down and the contents charred in the event of a major fire. Your best bet is to go with a fireproof safe. Just make sure you buy one with a mechanical dial type lock and not an electronic one.
Electronic locks are made from plastic and they will burn through leading to the safe opening and the contents burning up. Plastic Back Refrigerators and Fire Risk Besides not being fireproof, modern refrigerators can actually be a fire hazard.
This is true in situations where the back of the refrigerator is made of plastic and not metal. Though they don’t actually cause fires themselves, they are susceptible to catching fire leading to its faster spreading.
The plastic back also makes the fridge a higher risk as a fireproof storage unit even though it is insulated. If the fridge is not exposed to direct flames, it increases the chances of the contents of the fridge not catching fire.
Refrigerators aren’t really fireproof. They aren’t the best place to store any valuables which you may want to protect. It’s best that you go with a fireproof safe with a manual dial rather than risk it by storing it in a refrigerator.