We all need a vacation sometimes. It turns out your refrigerator can use a break too. Many new refrigerators include a vacation mode; after all, running one at full capacity when not in regular use wastes energy. This also comes with a risk of coming home to a fridge full of spoiled food.


As smart as todayโ€™s refrigerators are, they are not aware of when you go away. You can save on your energy bills and help preserve the environment by turning it down. But how do you go about this without wasting time?

What Is Holiday Mode?

The product manual should explain how to properly set your refrigerator. In Holiday Mode, its operating parameters can be automatically set to reduce energy usage. You also have the option of turning the unit off. But by using this convenient setting, you can benefit because the fridge will:

  • Run at a higher temperature, so it uses less energy while youโ€™re away.
  • Keep some food cool as its insulation will compensate for lower power settings.
  • Maintain proper temperature settings in the freezer.

However, it is highly recommended that you empty the refrigerator compartment. Holiday Mode isnโ€™t intended to support long-term food storage. You, therefore, have the option of leaving the door shut, but turning off the unit completely requires leaving the door open, so you donโ€™t return home to a smelly fridge.

How Do I Turn Holiday Mode On?

It depends on the refrigerator model. Although the product manual should explain how to use Holiday Mode, the function should be accessible via the control panel. Look for an icon that looks like a picture of a suitcase, airplane, or another image that invokes the idea of a vacation. All you need to do is press the button; the refrigerator will automatically set itself to save power.

Is Re-Activating My Fridge Difficult?

Some fridges are programmed to re-activate when the door opens. But this depends on the model. The pre-set temperature may differ from one to another. The greater the difference between the pre-set and desired temperatures, the longer it takes to get the appliance into working order. If the unit has been turned off completely, it can take several hours to reach the right temperature.

How Do I Set My Sub-Zero Refrigerator to Holiday Mode?

Sub-Zero recommends using vacation settings based on how long youโ€™ll be away. For short one-week vacations, the company suggests removing all perishable items, turning off the ice maker, emptying the ice bin, or removing the ice bin (in models without an ice maker on/off button). Thereโ€™s no need to change the electronic control system settings.

For longer vacations of more than one week, Sub-Zero suggests turning off the fridge. You can do this at the control panel, but if your model doesnโ€™t have one, you can use the circuit breaker. Other suggestions include emptying the refrigerator and leaving doors open to keep the interior dry. Turning the water off as a preventative measure can avoid damage should the water valves leak. The company also suggests replacing the water filter before starting the refrigerator up again.

Some models allow you to set Holiday Mode using a smartphone app. For example, you can find the appliance in the app to set its mode and select Long Vacation. The unit will stay in this mode until you change it from within the app.

To learn more about Sub-Zero refrigerators or schedule factory-certified service, contact Wilshire Refrigeration at 800-427-3653 or request a service appointment online.