Vacation: How to Prepare Your Refrigerator Before You Leave

by on October 31st, 2010
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You’re getting ready to leave on vacation. You’ve packed, put the mail on hold, gassed up the car, and did many other necessary tasks. One of the last things you need to do is prepare your refrigerator. Skip this task and you may return home to find a refrigerator full of soured milk and spoiled, smelly foods. (It’s a good idea to put a sticky note on the refrigerator door to remind you!) Preparing your refrigerator will also conserve energy and save you money.

If You’re Going to Be Gone On Vacation a Month or Less…

1. Leave the refrigerator on, but take out all the perishable foods. These include items such as milk, cottage cheese, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables, and cooked foods.

2. Turn the ice maker off, if applicable. Refer to the owner’s manual if you’re not sure how. It can be as simple as moving the power switch to the “Off” position.

3. Fill plastic milk jugs with water, screw their caps on, and put them in the refrigerator if the unit is less than half full of food stuff. The water will help make-up for the absence of food. It will become cold and help the refrigerator maintain the right temperature. Otherwise, without the jugs, your refrigerator will run more and cost you money. Use as many jugs as needed to make your refrigerator not more than three-quarters full.

4. Place bags of ice or plastic milk jugs only half-filled with water in the freezer. (Don’t fill the jugs up because the water will expand when it freezes.) The ice will help the freezer maintain its proper temperature as well, without causing the unit to run more.

5. Don’t adjust the temperature settings to prepare your refrigerator as long as there’s food in it. If the unit is empty, you can raise the setting to a warmer temperature.

If You’re Going to Be Gone On Vacation Longer Than a Month…

1. Remove all the food from the refrigerator and freezer, then turn both temperature controls to “Off”. Unplug the unit.

2. Drain the reservoir if your unit has a water dispenser. Turn off the ice maker, if applicable. Shut off the water supply valve located behind the refrigerator. Discard any ice cubes.

3. Mix 1 tablespoon baking soda in 1 quart of water until it dissolves. Use a dish cloth and the solution to clean the interiors of the refrigerator and the freezer. Clean around the door gaskets as well, to remove dirt and debris. Wipe all thoroughly dry.

4. Open a box of baking soda and put it inside the refrigerator. This will help eliminate odors and mildew. You can pour 2 cups of ground coffee in a paper bag and set it in your unit instead. Leave the doors open.

Resources
http://www.geappliances.com/search/google/infobase/10000335.htm
http://www.clarkpublicutilities.com/yourhome/freeResources/archives/vacationTips.pdf
http://food.unl.edu/web/safety/storage


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