Should You Unplug an Empty Freezer or Keep It Running?

Having a standalone freezer on your property provides extra storage, allowing you to buy bulk quantities of frozen goods or stock up for a large family. If the freezer is currently empty, you might need to decide whether to unplug it or keep it running. Both options have their advantages, but one may be a better choice for your situation.

Why Unplug

In many cases, unplugging an empty freezer is both the most economical choice and the most environmentally friendly option. Since a freezer requires electricity to run, you are adding extra kilowatt hours to your electric bill and using additional energy at your home if you keep the freezer plugged in. You can save money on your electric bill by unplugging an empty freezer.

Defrosting the Freezer

If you unplug an empty freezer, however, you must be prepared to defrost the freezer, or you will end up with a mess on your hands later. The method of defrosting a freezer correctly varies by manufacturer and appliance model, but in general is done by pouring water over the sides of the freezer to break up the ice accumulated on the surface and peeling away the ice as it comes loose. After defrosting the freezer, wipe up any water and ice left inside, and clean the freezer with soapy water.

Why Keep a Freezer Running

The main reason to keep an empty freezer running is so that it can be ready for new food at any time. While you can always plug a freezer in again to add new food to it, you will have to wait a few hours for the freezer to reach freezing temperatures. If you keep a freezer running, you also won't have to defrost the freezer every time you deplete the current food supply.

Which Is Best for You?

If you don't intend to use a freezer again within a few weeks, you should defrost and unplug the freezer. This also enables you to move it into storage if needed. If you have simply run out of food in the freezer and intend to use the freezer again soon, you can save time by keeping the freezer running until you get a chance to refill it.