For Freshness and Long Shelf Life
Setting your refrigerator temperature correctly is the only way it can serve you well for years and years. Temperature impacts longevity and freshness of the food and beverages you store in you fridge and freezer.
A refrigerator would have to be the most important household appliance there is. But an incorrectly set fridge temperature can cost you money first in terms of damage repair then in terms of a higher food and beverage budget as what your food items would not last as long as they could and you need to replenish supplies often. The most compelling reason for buying a refrigerator is to keep food and beverage fresh for a period of time and this can only be accomplished if the refrigerator temperature is set at its optimum level, considering the types and volume of food and drinks you will store.
We need to refrigerate food and drinks to control bacteria growth but people sometimes think that their food will be safer when frozen. There are several food types that do not keep well when frozen though and a leading example would be vegetables.
So the level of cooling you want should be enough to promote the freshness of food without freezing them. The key to setting and maintaining the most ideal refrigerator temperature to first know the volume of food and beverage you wish to store in it. Setting the temperature for the first time requires that you use a thermometer for refrigerators if the unit you have does not already have one. This thermometer can be picked up at any home appliance store. Use the thermometer to measure the temperature of your fridge with all the contents in it.
Bacteria grows most rapidly between 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4°C) and 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60°C) The ideal temperature for keeping bacteria at bay is 38 degrees Fahrenheit so your refrigerator temperature should be set to 38 degrees Fahrenheit (3°C). Anything higher will promote the growth of bacteria fast and can cause food poisoning. Anything lower on the other hand can turn your food and beverage solid in addition to killing all their nutritional value.
Ideal Refrigerator Temperature: 38 degrees Fahrenheit (3°C)
Ideal Freezer Temperature: 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18°C)
How to set the right temperature:
If your fridge has dual digital temperature controls, set the refrigerator part to 38 degrees Fahrenheit (3°C) and freezer part to 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18°C).
If your refrigerator only has a single temperature control, try setting the dial to a medium setting first. Measure the temperature - fresh food compartment temperature should not be higher than 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4°C).There is usually also a temperature balance control to direct more or less cold air from the freezer to the fridge section. It may be controlled by a knob or by a sliding panel of some sort. Look for something which will control this air flow in your refrigerator.
Factors Affecting Fridge Temperature
There are a number of things to keep in mind when you set your refrigerator temperature. Remember that constant closing and opening of the door can affect the temperature as can power outages. If you have a big family and many people taking something out of your fridge, you may want to set the temperature higher. Long power outages can have detrimental effects on the food and beverage stored in your refrigerator. When this happens, make preparations to consume most of the contents of your fridge in a short time or within four hours.
A refrigerator without contents uses up more energy than a packed one so remember this when you shop for your fridge. Pick only a size that will be able to hold all the food and beverage you or your family can consume. For individuals living alone, there are small and compact personal refrigerator models.
Another thing that affects refrigerator temperature is its external temperature. Along with the change in climate, there should also come the temperature adjustments in your refrigerator. It should be higher during the cold season and lower during summer. The position of your refrigerator is also a factor. If you place it beside your oven and you are using the oven often then the temperature should be lower. Some families keep a second refrigerator either inside their bedrooms or out in their garages. The temperature in these locations should also be considered when setting the fridge temperature.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Your refrigerator should be cleaned rand defrosted regularly, take out all the contents, turn the power off and use a solution to wipe out stains and dirt. If you maintain a busy household, cleaning the unit should be done at least once a week. For some, the units can stay clean for a long period of time so a once monthly cleaning may be enough. Also, you should monitor your refrigerator’s performance as this can reveal problems that would need the help of repairmen. An indication of a problem could be when the temperature is not cool enough despite adjusting the dials.
Maintaining the correct refrigerator temperature can protect you and your family from diseases caused by food bacteria while ensuring that your refrigerator will last for a long time.