Should I Put a Fridge in the Pantry?


Major appliances in your pantry can generate heat, require extra space, cost more and require special electrical needs.  It's not just refrigerators and freezers in the pantry that can create problems, small appliances have their own issues.  Here's the information you need to plan with common sense, safety, ergonomics and budget in mind.

Read on to learn about the pros and cons of using appliances in your pantry room.

Problem #1 - Large appliances, like refrigerators, generate heat in a pantry

You may be dreaming of a refrigerator or upright freezer in your pantry.  After all, what would be more convenient than cold food storage within arm's length? Whether you entertain or are feeding a growing family, it sounds like a winning idea.

The problem is large appliances generate heat.  Keeping them in the same room as food storage (which requires a "cool, dark place") is NOT a winning idea.  If you foresee adding a refrigerator, upright freezer, or chest-style freezer to a room with a closed door, it gets even worse.

Upright freezer in pantry

Upright freezer in pantry

Optimally, you would not plan on putting refrigerators and freezers inside of a pantry room. Pantry rooms should always be ventilated to encourage air flow to reduce heat and humidity. Consider moving these extra appliances to a pass-through room or hall with good air flow. If you must locate the appliance in the pantryroom, make sure that there is a vent behind the appliance for heat to escape.

PRO:  Locating a second refrigerator or freezer near the kitchen is convenient.
CON:
 Refrigerators generate heat.

Note:  Adding a refrigerator or freezer to a closed pantry with a door is not best practice. However, in the case of a step in/open pantry with no doors, refrigerator use is possible and ideal.  A small open room off the kitchen is also acceptable.  There may be food storage, but it is likely minimal and not as impacted as if it shared space with operating appliances in a small room.

Problem #2 - Large appliances require adequate outlets in pantry room

PROS:  Have the satisfaction you have an adequate power supply.
CONS: There may be cost to adding electrical outlets to your pantry if you don't have them.

Electric outlets in pantry

Electric outlets in pantry

You can’t put a refrigerator in your pantry room unless you have sufficient  and adequately grounded outlets. If your room fails to have an outlet, you may have to pay money to add proper electrical wiring that will support a refrigerator or freezer.  In addition, if you are planning on storing or using small appliances on a counter, you need to plan ahead to have power strips located conveniently near appliance use.

PRO: Multiple outlets ad convenience and options.
CON: Cost if you need to install more.

Problem #3 - Space restrictions when adding large appliances to a pantry room

There are two types of space restrictions for adding appliances to a pantry:

  • is there space enough inside of the pantry room for the equipment?
  • is there enough air flow space for adequate ventilation around equipment?
Trying to get fridge to fit in pantry

Trying to get fridge to fit in pantry

Walk-in pantry with fridge – will it fit?

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a walk-in pantry or adjacent pantry room next to their kitchen. If you are entertaining the thought of adding a walk-in pantry, you will need a more generously-sized walk-in food storage room. How deep is a full-size fridge? Thirty-34 inches, but you can also get a narrower width by dropping down to a counter-depth refrigerator, a smaller apartment-size refrigerator, or a dorm refrigerator. Based on kitchen clearance dimensions, you would need a minium of 40 inches in front of your full size refrigerator to be comfortable accessing it (a smaller fridge may not require the full 40 inches). With this information, your walk-in pantry would need to be at least 70 inches deep (or 5 feet 10 inches).

PROS: A refrigerator is conveniently located by all food storage.
CONS:  Existing pantry size may not allow for large appliances, cost may be added to remodel.

Problem #4 - budget concerns of adding second fridge in the kitchen

PROS:  Can purchase a used or smaller refrigerator or freezer that doesn't have to coordinate with other kitchen appliances, an opportunity for a good buy.
CONS:
Old appliances are not be energy efficient.

This content was originally posted on EverythingPantry.com. If it appears on a website other than EverythingPantry.com, it is a copyright violation owned by EverythingPantry.com.

Budget adding 2nd refrigerator to kitchen

Budget adding 2nd refrigerator to kitchen

Another refrigerator in the kitchen means another appliance using energy in the home. If you determine that the refrigerator or freezer is necessary in your food strategy, then do it smartly. Shop for energy-efficient appliances.

If you are on a tight budget, consider a used refrigerator. Beware of old models that are not energy efficient. The savings on purchasing a used fridge may not be a good deal if it results in unexpected electric bill costs.

One advantage of having the second fridge in a different room is that matching other appliance styles or style coordination isn’t so critical. If you have the space, a used. standard-size refrigerator is not hard to find and you might find a good deal.

Problem #5 - Appliances generate humidity and odors inside pantry room

PROS:  Storing or using small appliances in pantry keeps the main kitchen less cluttered.
CONS:  Use of small appliances can create odors and humidity issues.

Mold and humidity in pantry

Mold and humidity in pantry

Up to this point, we have been focusing on the large appliances in a pantry. Inevitably, kitchen owners will be tempted to park less used, smaller appliances in a pantry with extra space. Beware the use of toasters, toaster ovens, microwaves, crockpots and other such appliances that can leave a lingering odor.  In addition, the use of some of these small appliances can generate humidity, such as a dishwasher, causing mold and issues with deteriorating paint on the walls.

About the author 

Renee Matt

Renee is a former kitchen designer, home remodeling enthusiast (having lived through several DIY projects), and an Iowa farmwife. Renee is passionate about preparedness, garden skills, and knowing where her food comes from. Years of being a stay-at-home mom and supporting the family farm with hearty meals has been key to Renee's pantry readiness. She uses her professional IT background and expertise to bring the Everything Pantry website to life.

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