How to Winterize a Refrigerator

Kenrick Callwood

Winterizing a home is the act of preparing to leave a home empty during the winter. It requires that all water be purged from the system and the main flow be turned off.

Some people forget that appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines also contain water that can freeze during the winter, resulting in severe damage. The refrigerator is one of the quickest appliances to winterize. The entire process can be completed in less than an hour.

  1. Turn off the water supply to the refrigerator at least 24 hours before winterizing the unit. This only applies to units with ice makers.

  2. Remove all food and beverages from the refrigerator.

  3. Engage the ice maker, if present, to purge all of the cubes. When the last load of ice made from the water stored in the unit drops, turn off the ice maker. Lift the handle or flip the switch to "OFF" inside of the freezer. Skip this step if your unit does not have an ice maker.

  4. Turn all temperature setting controls to "OFF."

  5. Disconnect the refrigerator from the water supply line with an adjustable wrench. Expel the excess water through the water spout if you have an ice maker. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to locate and remove the water filter.

  6. Clean and dry the unit thoroughly. Place an open box of baking soda on one of the refrigerator shelves.

  7. Open the doors of the refrigerator and prop them open with blocks of wood. Unplug the unit to complete the process.