Will Unplugging A Fridge Reset It? The Simple Solution

If you have been advised to reset your refrigerator, you might be concerned because there is not typically a reset button. Will unplugging a fridge reset it?

Unplugging the refrigerator or turning off the breaker and leaving it off for several minutes will reset the refrigerator. It will clear out the memory cache and reset many of the settings that could be causing problems. Make sure that you leave the refrigerator unplugged for a few minutes for the reset to be complete. This will also prevent damage to the compressor.

Resetting a refrigerator by unplugging it is actually a three-step process. Each step needs to be done properly in order for it to work fully.

How to Restart a Refrigerator

Step 1: Either unplug the refrigerator by pulling the plug from the receptacle or go to the breaker box and turn off the circuit breaker for the refrigerator. You can verify that the power is off by opening the refrigerator door briefly to check for the light.

Step 2: Leave the refrigerator power turned off for at least five minutes. Turning the refrigerator on and off quickly can damage the compressor. It will also not allow the power to fully dissipate.

Step 3: Finally, either plug the refrigerator back in or turn on the circuit breaker. After giving the refrigerator a few minutes to fully start up, the reset process will be complete.

As technology continues to advance, we are seeing more and more of it in everyday appliances. Many of us never would have thought we would see the day when we have Wi-Fi built into our refrigerators, dishwashers, and washing machines.

Now that it is here, we also have the occasional glitch that goes along with it. Those glitches are what cause the need to reset a refrigerator on occasion.

Most refrigerator manufacturers do not recommend that you reset a refrigerator frequently. It is not a one-size-fits-all solution to every problem that is experienced.

Perhaps that is why most refrigerators do not have a dedicated reset button. Even if there is the ability to reset a refrigerator, it is often obscure.

Unplugging the refrigerator or disconnecting power by turning off the circuit breaker is the first step in the process. After waiting a few minutes, re-engage the power and the refrigerator will be reset.

How Long Should You Unplug A Refrigerator To Reset It?

If you are resetting the refrigerator by unplugging the appliance, you need to leave it unplugged long enough for it to work properly.

Generally speaking, a refrigerator should be left unplugged for at least five minutes before turning it back on again. This will allow the residual power to dissipate and the settings to fully reset. If you are resetting a refrigerator because the coils are frozen, you should leave it unplugged for at least 24 hours.

The length of time that you leave a refrigerator unplugged may vary from one unit to another. There are also specific circumstances that would make the restart process longer or shorter.

Transporting the Refrigerator – If you are transporting the refrigerator on its side for about 30 minutes or less, you should wait 30 minutes after the refrigerator is in an upright position before plugging it back in again. 

Storing the Refrigerator – Any time the refrigerator has been stored on its side for 24 hours or longer, it should not be restarted into it it has been in an upright position for at least 24 hours.

Frozen Coil – If the coil is frozen or if it is not keeping up with the defrost settings, you may need to leave the refrigerator unplugged for 24 hours. Be aware that any food left in a refrigerator unplugged for more than four hours should be discarded.

Quick Restart – When you are doing a quick restart of the refrigerator, you should leave it unplugged for at least five minutes. This will keep you from damaging the compressor and allow the settings to fully reset.

Should I Unplug My Refrigerator If It’s Not Cooling?

If you are having a problem with your refrigerator and it is no longer cooling, you may think unplugging it is the right thing to do.

For the most part, unplugging a refrigerator for 24 hours when it is not cooling is the first step in troubleshooting the problem. If the freezer coils are frozen over, then air will not circulate and the condenser will not cool the refrigerator or freezer. Unplugging the unit for 24 hours allows the ice to melt.

If your refrigerator is leaking and there is standing water on the floor, you should be very cautious about working on it. This could be an electrical shock hazard, especially if the refrigerator is plugged in.

You can either unplug the refrigerator if you can safely do so at the receptacle or turn the breaker off in the breaker box. After the unit is fully powered down, you can work on it safely.

If a minor glitch occurs, it may be possible to reset the refrigerator by unplugging it and plugging it back in again. Make sure that you wait at least five minutes after unplugging it before reestablishing the power.

What Happens If You Plug A Fridge In Too Soon?

Are you hesitating to plug a refrigerator in because you are concerned about doing so too quickly?

For the most part, a refrigerator can be plugged in after being unplugged for at least five minutes. If you have done any work on it or if it was transported or stored on its side, you should wait at least 12 to 24 hours before plugging it in again. Plugging a refrigerator in too quickly can damage the compressor and other working parts.

It is perfectly acceptable to transport a refrigerator on its side. The problem is, plugging the refrigerator back in too quickly could lead to a damaged compressor.

The oils inside of the refrigerator will settle to one side when it is transported in this way. After getting to the destination, the refrigerator should be placed in an upright position and at least 24 hours should be given for the oil and refrigerant to settle into the compressor again.

Plugging the refrigerator in too soon after it was stored on the side could burn out the compressor. There may be some safeguards in place to keep this from happening in newer units, but it is not worth the risk.

Even if you don’t move the refrigerator or transport it on its side, the compressor may still be in the middle of the cycle and it could damage the compressor and other inner parts.

After unplugging the refrigerator, allowing at least five minutes for the compressor to cool down is imperative. If you try to kickstart the compressor by plugging it in too quickly, damage could occur.

Admittedly, you are not likely to burn out the compressor the first time that you do this. It will cause some level of damage, however, and may shorten the lifespan of the refrigerator overall.

How Long Do You Have To Wait To Reconnect A Refrigerator?

If you have moved a refrigerator and are ready to plug it back in again, should you just go ahead and reestablish power right away?

You should wait at least 12 hours after transporting a refrigerator on its side for 24 hours or less. Doing so allows the oils to settle into the compressor. If you are simply unplugging the refrigerator and plugging it back in again, you can generally do so after waiting five minutes. This will also protect the compressor from damage.

We rely on our refrigerators to operate on a day-to-day basis. Any time there are problems with the refrigerators, it takes us out of commission.

The timing is very important for when you should plug a refrigerator back in again. As was discussed, the timing can be anywhere from five minutes up to 12 hours or even longer.

There is a problem with waiting too long to reconnect a refrigerator. According to the USDA, food will spoil in a refrigerator after it has been unplugged for four hours. Even a full freezer will spoil after 24 hours.

Plugging the refrigerator in too quickly can damage the compressor. Waiting too long to plug in a refrigerator can damage the food.

Does Turning Your Fridge Off Damage It?

None of us would want to damage our refrigerator intentionally. Can you damage the fridge if you turn it off?

Turning a refrigerator off will not damage it. Turning a refrigerator on too quickly could damage the compressor. The general recommendation is to wait at least five minutes after turning off a refrigerator before reconnecting the power again. That time is much longer if you have transported the refrigerator on its side.

Generally speaking, there is no reason why you would not unplug the refrigerator if you need to clean it or move it to another part of the room. You just want to follow the directions and use common sense so you don’t damage the compressor.

Refrigerators don’t typically have a reset button for this very purpose. Resetting the refrigerator quickly by flickering the power can cause damage to the compressor and to other parts of the refrigerator.

As long as you are waiting an appropriate amount of time, which can be between five minutes and 24 hours, there is no reason why you should avoid disconnecting a refrigerator from the power source.

Unplugging your refrigerator will reset it and fix many of the small glitches that can occur over time. The steps in the process are to (1) Disconnect the power by unplugging the refrigerator or switching off the breaker. (2) Wait at least five minutes. (3) Reestablish power to the refrigerator to fully reset it.


I love doing things around the house. I'm taking my years of experience as a homeowner and a full-time handyman and putting them here for your benefit. When I'm not writing, you can find me on the beach watching the waves come in. Call me Tom or Tommy, it's all the same to me.

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