Is it OK to Run a Fridge Empty

Is it OK to Run a Fridge Empty

Is it ok to run a fridge empty? This is a question that you may be wondering considering that you are reading this article. Well, we are going to take a deep dive into fact and fiction regarding this topic.

Does it take more energy to run a fridge empty than full? A common assertion among people is that when a fridge is empty, the compressor has to work extra hard to cool down a large amount of space within the refrigerator.

By that token, they say switching off a fridge will only lead to more energy being consumed in order to get back to the ideal temperatures. Is this true though?

when a fridge is empty, the compressor has to cool off a large surface area meaning that it has to cover a large surface area. This puts a lot of strain on it thereby consuming a lot of energy. A good way of conserving energy is by putting some water bottles inside which help maintain the inside temperatures.

Do refrigerators run better full or empty?

When a fridge is set at a particular temperature through the thermostat, it maintains that particular temperature by running and stopping the compressor.

They both work together to regulate the temperature of the fridge. When the temperature rises higher than the regulation point, the compressor kicks in until it reaches the ideal temperature where it cuts off again. How often the compressor starts and stops is determined by how well the optimum temperature s maintained.

When a fridge is full, the contents of the fridge help to keep the temperature cold due to the fact that they will also be cold.

When you load a fridge for the first time, it will take time for the internal temperature to reach optimum levels because all the contents in the fridge have to be cooled to that level.

Once the optimum temperature is reached, however, it will be much easier to maintain the internal temperature. This is especially true in cases where the fridge is not opened often.

Whenever a fridge door is opened, a lot of the cold is lost. The compressor has to work extra in order to bring it back down.

When the fridge is empty, there is nothing inside the fridge that can help it hold on to the cold temperature. This means that the journey back to an optimum temperature is much longer in this case.

However, when you open a fridge that is full, you may lose some of the cold but the items inside it will hold on to the optimum temperature. By extension, the internal temperature can be regulated much more easily.

Why would you run a fridge empty?

With all these facts in mind, why would you want to run a fridge empty in the first place? People in the food industry are a good example.

They will oftentimes have more than one fridge on their premises. The fridges may only be used on rotation as and when the need arises as opposed to having t fully stocked all the time.

If the intervals of the fridge being full and being empty are a few days apart, it is probably a good idea to run the fridges throughout without switching them off. If they are not being opened often, the internal temperature will easily be maintained meaning the compressor won’t work as much thereby resulting in less energy consumption.

A good idea is to put containers filled with water into the fridge. These act as proxies for actual food in the fridge which help maintain optimum temperatures internally. Why not just switch the fridge off, you may ask? The problem with taking this approach is that it could actually lead to a higher energy bill.

This is true for environments such as restaurants or diners where there is a lot of activity on a week by week basis. Another reason why leaving a fridge off is a bad idea is that it could lead to bad odor or mold forming in your fridge. This is usually a result of moisture in the fridge.

A good way to get around this problem is to keep the fridge door open during the time it is switched off. There is also the risk of the fridge going bad if left for too long in storage.

If you intend to store the refrigerator for an extended period of time like months at a time, you need to make sure that it is completely dry. This means that you need to keep it with the door open for a number of days before storing it away.

A better idea would be to actually remove the doors and put the fridge in storage. In this way, it will remain in a reusable state for a very long time.

Asides from these 2 concerns, it’s a good idea to leave your fridge off especially if you are not going to be using it for long periods. No harm will come from leaving your fridge empty for long periods of time.


Running a fridge empty will result in it not operating at optimum levels. You will use up more power than is necessary.

Instead of running it continually, it is better to switch it off especially if it’s going to be running for a number of days. If, on the other hand, it is only running for a couple of days or so while empty, the best way would be to put bottles filled with water.

This helps regulate the internal temperature of the refrigerator better. With the bottles inside, the temperature variance will be smaller whenever the fridge s opened. The result is that the compressor does not have to work hard in order to bring the temperature back to the required levels.

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