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Fridge Cord Too Short? Here’s What To Do

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Kitchen power outlets can be tricky to use because they are often located in the weirdest of places. If you’re using the outlet to power a major appliance such as a fridge, then you’ll need an outlet nearby. However, what happens if you can’t reach the cord to the outlet and need to use an extension cord?

If your fridge cord is too short, you will need to use a heavy-duty extension cord to reach the outlet. The extension cord must be capable of handling the refrigerator’s energy use to avoid electrical damages. Ideally, a heavy-duty general-purpose extension cord will work.

So, don’t go damaging your fridge attempting to keep it plugged in with just any old extension cord. Refrigeration systems aren’t cheap, and you won’t want to cut their lifespan short by causing an electrical outage. Keep reading if you want more information on how you can get your fridge cord to be plugged in.

Can You Extend a Fridge Cable?

If your fridge cord is too short, you can use an extension cord to extend it. However, it’s essential to keep in mind that not all extension cords are created equal. You will need to consider the power usage of your refrigerator and check the length necessary to reach your wall outlet.

In most kitchens, you’ll need to either use a 12-gauge or 14-gauge extension cord. However, this is only true if your refrigerator requires less than 15 amps. Additionally, it needs to also be less than 9 feet in length from the outlet. 

If the fridge requires any more power or is further from the outlet, you may need to use a 12-gauge or 10-gauge extension cord. The lower the gauge number, the higher amount of volts and electrical currents a cord can handle. Hence, it’s crucial to find the amps and distance before going extension cord shopping.

Extension Cord Buying Considerations

Finding the right extension cord might be a bit tricky due to several factors. Some factors you will want to consider are plug types, amps, wire gauge, and cord size plus length. Here is a breakdown of these factors:

  • Plug Type. There are two-pronged and three-pronged plug types. Two-pronged outlets only use a hot and neutral wire, but not a ground wire. In comparison, a three-pronged plug type includes a neutral wire, ground wire, and hot wire. They are the safest due to being able to minimize the risk of electrical shock or fires.
  • Amps. The amperage is the strength of a current of electricity. When purchasing an electric cord, it’s best to find one that supports your refrigerator’s energy use. You can find this information through your fridges manufacturers handbook.
  • Wire Gauge. The wire gauge refers to the thickness of copper within the extension cord. A thicker copper wire ensures that the refrigerator is delivered power without any damage to its electrical system. Plus, thicker wiring will enable your cord to handle high electrical outputs without the hazard of fire.
  • Cord Size/Length. The cord size refers to the length of the extension cord and how far it will reach. The longer the extension cord, the less it’s able to handle large electrical outputs. Extension cords come in different sizes, so be sure to measure how long of an extension cord you will need.

Extension Cord Safety Considerations

Most professionals won’t recommend using an extension cord because it poses a massive risk to your appliance and your home. An extension cord that isn’t heavy-duty can overheat and increase your home’s chances of an electric shock or a fire. Luckily, there are a few tips you can use to help keep your refrigerator safe.

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you avoid any danger while extending your fridge’s cord:

  • Never use a three-pronged appliance as an in-ground extension cord.
  • Always check to see the electrical needs of your appliance and choose the right corresponding cord.
  • If using a split extension cord, account for both appliance’s electrical outputs to avoid overheating.
  • Avoid using a multi-socket extension cord as fridges have a substantial electrical output and can easily overload a multi-socket output. This is especially true if you are plugging multiple appliances into the socket.
  • The longer an extension cord, the less electrical output it will be able to handle safely.
  • Thicker gauge extension cords will be able to handle more current without overheating.
  • Try and find an extension cord that plugs in flush against your wall outlet. 

Fridge Cord FAQs

Why Are Fridge Cords Short?

Many appliances have short cords because they don’t want you to use an extension cord. Extension cords increase the risk of electrical shocks and fires. With a short cord, you’ll have to plug the appliance directly into your wall outlet. 

The downside is that this can cause frustration when your cord doesn’t reach the outlet and you can’t move your appliance.

What Type of Outlet Is Needed for a Refrigerator?

Most refrigerators use standard household power outlets. This type of outlet usually requires 110 volts of power. That said, it’s essential to remember that product needs vary based on the manufacturer. Check the product description before purchasing or contact the manufacturer for more information.

Are More Expensive Extension Cords Better?

Expensive extension cords are not necessarily better – you should be more concerned about the quality and whether it meets your fridge’s needs. Don’t purchase a cheaper cord because it saves you money or a more expensive option because you assume it’s better.

Price is ultimately dependent on the brand of extension cord you buy. While it is an important consideration, it should be secondary to quality. The last thing you want is to damage your fridge and possibly need to buy a new one.

Can You Use a 14-Gauge Extension Cord for a Refrigerator?

A 14-gauge wire thickness extension cord is suitable for refrigerators only if the cable has a 50% higher current and fuse rating than what your fridge needs. 

Anything lower than your fridge’s needs will not work. If you don’t know your fridge’s current and fuse rating, you should contact the manufacturer for more information on the model.

Conclusion

Your household refrigerator draws between 350 and 780 watts when the compressor is running.  If your extension cord is not up to handling that demand for current, you could be looking at a lot of spoiled food or, worse, an electrical fire.  

It is best practice to plug your household refrigerator directly into a wall outlet. If that is not possible, make sure you get a heavy-duty extension cord and make sure your outlet can handle a big household appliance.