HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >

Discussion

Putting my refrigerator in the basement

I just bought a new refrigerator and I am going to put my current one in the basement and only use it from time to time and I won't be leaving it plugged into the electricity. Will it get a musty odor inside and what can I do to prevent it from happening? Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Leave the door propped slightly open until you use it.

    3 Replies
    1. re: monku

      i would NEVER leave the door on a non-working refrigerator in an unsupervised area of the house.
      way too many tragic accidents have happened that way.

      1. re: westsidegal

        What's the difference if it's working or not?
        If no one is in the kitchen it's an unsupervised area.
        I don't think I've seen a latch door refrigerator in 25 years.
        The OP didn't say they had young children.

        1. re: monku

          I agree with you, generally death trap fridges are a thing of the past.
          But the difference might be its easier to climb in an unused, stored fridge rather than a working, completely full, shelved, cold unit...

    2. Yeah, BLOCK it open a bit.

      1. It will help to put an opened box of baking soda inside, too.

        21 Replies
        1. re: Beckyleach

          And don't let children play unsupervised in the basement.

          1. re: buttertart

            Is the electricity that much where you are?

            Think of the added food storage if you kept the refrigerator running.

            In addition, doesn't starting and stopping a refrigerator impede its longevity somehow?

            1. re: anonymouse1935

              If you leave it plugged in and don't have anything inside, it will kick on and off more than it would if it were full. If you are going to leave it unplugged make sure it is very very clean and leave the door open, otherwise you will get a musty smell . If you have kids in the house it would seriously be worth taking the door off until you plan to use it.

              1. re: Samalicious

                My point exactly. Fill it with ice cream, candy truffles, frozen pesto, etc., etc.

                Unplugging it and plugging it back in can't be good for it.

                Take the door off and reattach the door??? Yikes.

                If it's not needed that badly, get rid of the thing.

                1. re: anonymouse1935

                  Leaving it plugged in is like burning money...easily cost you $30-$50 per month.

                  1. re: monku

                    Understood. But if it's used to store meat and ice cream and donuts et cetera, it's worth it.

                    1. re: anonymouse1935

                      I don't know...$300-$500 a year to store ice cream and donuts doesn't make economic sense to me.

                    2. re: monku

                      Where did you get that number? My electric bill was $48 last month. I don't think it only cost me only $18 to run my water heater, dishwasher, stove, tv, cable boxes, dvd player, and lights.

                      1. re: Mer_Made

                        Where did the other $30 of your electric bill go?...the refrigerator? 12x$30=$360/year

                        The largest portion of your electric bill are the refrigerator(if you don't have an energy efficient refrigerator) and air conditioner.

                        http://www.associatedcontent.com/arti...
                        http://www.stretcher.com/stories/9609...

                      2. re: monku

                        Really? My new fridge--a 26cf Samsung--says it uses only about $60 per YEAR in energy.

                        1. re: Beckyleach

                          You'll notice a big difference in your electric bill.

                        2. re: monku

                          i was surprised by how much our electricity bill declined when we got rid of our second fridge downstairs!

                          1. re: alkapal

                            Especially if it's old, the refrigerator is among the largest consumers of electricity in any home. Keeping your extra fridge so you can stock up on items on sale is often a false economy.

                          2. re: monku

                            How do you figure this? Even a big refrigerator usually only draws about 200W when running. In normal service, you might have a 40% duty cycle, but the OP is talking about a rarely used storage fridge. Without the door opening and closing a lot, you could probably cut the duty cycle to 10% (or even less, if the seals are tight). But say it's 25% - that's 50 watt-hours per hour, or 1200 watt-hours per day. Since electricity is usually sold in kWh, that's 1.2kWh per day, or about 40 kWh per month.

                            The highest price I've seen for residential electricity in North America is $0.15 per kWh (we pay about $0.10 in Ontario). 40 x $0.15 = $6/month. And, if it's not being used a lot, some people suggest putting it on an automatic timer to cut it off at night, reducing the cost even more.

                            1. re: FrankD

                              My kilowatt hours cost me over 21 cents as of last bill. Yes I'm in North America. It doesn't stop me from using my upright freezer in the basement extensively, despite the fact that the tag it came with claimed it would cost me only $100 per year to run.

                          3. re: anonymouse1935

                            @ anonymouse: single-door fridge doors are made to be easy to attach and reattach so they will open in the direction you want.

                      3. re: buttertart

                        Actually, buttertart, there's little need to worry about that any longer. The danger was in the old latching ones that couldn't be opened from inside. Fridges made since the '70s on aren't exactly playthings, but you can't get trapped inside them like you could those old ones.

                        The latching models, though -- truly a parent's nightmare if you let yourself think about it too hard.

                        1. re: dmd_kc

                          That makes sense when I thnk about the ones we have these days. Fridges used to last a lot longer back when - my parents had one from the 50s that was working perfectly well in the 90s, so there is the very remotest chance that this would be an old model I suppose. Yes a nightmare...one of my worst fears is being enclosed in a space like this...there were kids killed that way when I was a kid.

                          1. re: buttertart

                            Oh, it's a huge phobia of mine too. Both sets of grandparents had the old-fashioned kind (yes, appliances used to last four and five decades -- sigh). I've thought it through too many times.

                            1. re: dmd_kc

                              In the old days, walk in freezers in restaurants I worked in didn't have a latch to let you out sometimes, and I'd always try to trick someone else into getting what I needed.

                    3. When we did our kitchen, we put our old refrigerator in the garage. Intially, we left it off and the door propped until a service man came for another appliance and said that by turning on when we needed it and then turning it off when we didn't would likely shorten the life of the appliance. Since then, I have filled the refrigerator and freezer with things that were formerly in my cupboard, like different kinds of flour and beans and other dry goods that either get rancid or tend to attract flour moths. I don't think that it costs that much each month (the age of the older refrigerator will have something to do with the cost), and I have really enjoyed freeing up the space in my pantry for some other things. We have a lot of big parties, and when we do, we just empty the refrigerator of the things we don't actually need to be in there, and fill it with things for the party. It has worked out very well, and I think that you will have the same experience having it in the basement.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: roxlet

                        Exactly my points. Makes perfect sense.

                        1. re: anonymouse1935

                          Unless the OP wants to use the sucker maybe 3-4 times per year, for parties or the like.
                          I think plugging & unplugging once a week is kind of harsh, but if you need the fridge for 3 birthdays, christmas, new years, and 2 BBQs, thats perhaps 5 weekends and maybe a solid week or two. Worth unplugging I would think...

                        2. re: roxlet

                          I don't get this idea that unplugging your refrigerator will shorten its life. The thermostat turns the compressor on and off constantly throughout the day. Maybe if you leave it unplugged for a long time, so that the working fluid is all at an elevated temperature, that might have an effect, but if you (as suggested in another post above) leave it on, put it on a timer to turn it off at night, and don't open the door very often, you won't use that much electricity, and have the added benefit of another fridge when frozen foods go on sale.

                          1. re: FrankD

                            I *wish* we could keep our basement fridge just for occasional use...but given that we never met a condiment/curry/fish sauce/mustard/etc. we didn't love, and since it serves as a wine cooler, and given that I've gotten heavily into "Real Foods" and thus always seem to have some kefir brewing or sauerkraut fermenting or sourdough bubbling away...and I'm making buttermilk and saving whey, from the gallons of raw milk I get at a farm....and since the garden overflows in the summer, and giant hams and turkeys need temporary homes in the winter, it's never NOT in use.

                            Friends probably think we're weird when someone calls out, "I need the Major Grey's chutney!" or "would someone please bring me up the black bean paste" and we trot out of the kitchen, across the living room, and down the basement stairs to retrieve it.

                        3. I see by your profile that you live in CT. So, I will just add that if your basement isn't heated, you may want to plan to clean it out and leave it unplugged in the winter months. When it gets really cold here, our basement fridge stops working. It's very hard on a fridge to keep going in such conditions. We use ours year round unless we have a harsh winter, but we live outside the metro area. So, it makes financial sense to keep freezer and fridge back stock here--fewer trips to the groceries an hour away there and home.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: amyzan

                            I lived in New Jersey for nearly twenty years, where it gets about as cold as CT, and I can assure you that the temperature of my unfinished basement stayed a remarkably consistent temperature year round. My basement was cinderblock with a concrete floor and a few well windows. In winter, you might want a sweater if you were hanging out in there for a long time, but in summer, it was no hotter than 70 degrees -- ever. The basement, assuming it stays dry, is a very good environment for these kinds of appliances. If you had a really cold basement, perhaps your house was built differently from mine, as some houses have more of a cellar than a basement. But most houses I have seen that were built from the 1970's on seem to have the same type of basement I did.

                            1. re: RGC1982

                              All I'm saying is to pay attention to the environment. Of course, different houses have different situations. It pays to put a temperature and humidity thermometer in the basement and monitor, if you haven't already. No reason to strain an appliance by putting it in poor working conditions.

                              This basement is concrete poured on a native rock foundation. This house predates the 1950's, though that portion of the split level was added in the 60's. It's exposed on three sides and the walls are of native rock, which is probably adds to the damp and cold. Certainly it's unusual construction, but not uncommon here on the prairie in older homes.