My Refrigerator Was Unplugged and Now It Will Not Work

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If your refrigerator doesn't work when you plug it back in, check the electrical outlet.
Image Credit: jodiejohnson/iStock/GettyImages

As long as your refrigerator worked properly before you unplugged it, and your unplugged fridge now doesn't work after you plugged it back in, you should not immediately worry that something has happened to the refrigerator. It is much more likely that a change occurred within the electrical outlet. Determining why the problem exists and remedying it is not especially difficult, but to ensure that you are addressing the correct issue, it is important that you check a few different possibilities.

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Unplugged Fridge Now Doesn't Work

If your unplugged fridge now doesn't work, or your mini fridge won't turn on, press firmly on the plug when plugging the refrigerator back into the wall outlet. There is a distinct possibility that you simply haven't fully inserted the power cord. Plug another electrical device into the same outlet you are using to plug in the refrigerator. If the other device does not work, the problem you are experiencing is with the electrical supply, not the refrigerator itself.

Using an Ohmmeter

Insert the prongs of an ohmmeter into the top two holes of the outlet. Depending on the kind of ohmmeter you use, the device will either light up or the needle on the device will move and point to a number, assuming that the outlet works. If the outlet does not work, nothing will happen.

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Trying a Different Electrical Outlet

Plug the refrigerator into a different outlet in the kitchen. If the appliance works when it is plugged in elsewhere, you know you need to fix the outlet your refrigerator was using. Be sure to call a certified electrician to repair or replace the old outlet to ensure all wiring is up to code.

Looking at Other Appliances

Check to see if other kitchen appliances and devices that are plugged in are working. There is a chance that the entire room has lost power due to a power surge.

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Resetting the GFCI

When you unplugged your refrigerator, you may have inadvertently tripped the ground-fault circuit interruptor (GFCI). Although you'll typically hear a little "pop" when the GFCI trips, you may not have noticed it if there is background noise such as a television to mask the popping noise. Simply press the little reset button on the GFCI outlet until it clicks to see if this restores power to your refrigerator.

Checking the Breaker Box

Open your breaker box and slide the breaker switch associated with your kitchen to the "On" position if it is turned off.

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Replacing the Refrigerator's Light Bulb

Replace the light bulb in the refrigerator. If the fridge's light bulb is burnt out, it can be difficult to immediately tell if the refrigerator is working or not thanks to the fact that it takes several hours for a refrigerator at room temperature to cool down. So if you simply open the refrigerator door and the light doesn't come on, it doesn't necessarily mean that your entire appliance has lost power.

Checking the Temperature Control Dial

If you have a manual temperature control dial in your refrigerator, check to see if you may have accidentally or purposely switched it to the "Off" position. Turning the dial to any position other than "Off" will allow the refrigerator to work if the power source is working.

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references & resources

Chad Buleen

Chad Buleen is a Society of Professional Journalists-award-winning newspaper journalist and magazine editor with more than 10 years experience. He is a senior magazine editor at an international children's publication. Buleen holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications with an emphasis in print journalism from Brigham Young University-Idaho.