Having the right temperature setting on your refrigerator is imperative. If the temperature is not as cold as it should be, then you risk you and your family suffering a foodborne illness from bacteria like salmonella and E. coli, which grow when food is not preserved properly. And while food that is too cold is not usually a problem, it can be inconvenient when, for example, you’re trying to soften butter, and it takes hours to soften up.
Ideally, the FDA recommends keeping your refrigerator at a temperature below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and your freezer temperature at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, a temperature between 35 and 38 degrees is actually best, because it’s the coldest you can store food without freezing it. This practically eliminates the potential for bacterial growth. Once your refrigerator reaches 40 degrees, bacteria not only grow but thrive.
However, sometimes your refrigerator can suffer a breakdown that disrupts its ability to keep food properly cold. If your refrigerator is not quite up to snuff, Top Shelf Appliance can help. Send us a message on our website or give us a call at (253) 444-4786.
Measuring Your Refrigerator’s Temperature
Some makes and models of refrigerators will give you a temperature readout. With others, it’s impossible to tell, especially if they have one of those dials with pictures and dots on it, rather than temperatures. Some will have a range of 1 to 5, with 1 being coldest and 5 being warmest. How can you know which of those numbers is equivalent to 36 degrees? Impossible.
And, to top things off, even refrigerators that do tell you the temperature may not be all that accurate. It is not uncommon for a refrigerator to read 36 degrees but actually be freezing your food or storing it at an unhealthily warm temperature.
To measure the temperature of your fridge accurately, you can invest in a refrigerator thermometer, which you should be able to find online or at your local hardware store. Once you know the exact temperature your refrigerator is operating under, you should be able to adjust even those hard-to-read dials accordingly.
A Full Fridge Is a Happy Fridge
Have you ever thought there was a problem with the way your refrigerator was running, only for the repairman to show up and tell you the only problem was that your refrigerator did not have enough food in it? It’s true! Refrigerators run better when they’re filled with food.
When you open the refrigerator door, you’re letting the cooled air out and the warm air in. The more items you store in your refrigerator, the more you reduce the airflow inside the fridge. This means that your food stays colder longer (and your refrigerator kicks on less often, which saves you money, energy, and wear-and-tear on your fridge) because the cold air is packed in tight and has nowhere else to go.
However, you don’t want to pack your refrigerator so tightly that you reduce the airflow altogether, as this can have the opposite effect, ruining your refrigerator’s efficiency and, by proxy, your food. Additionally, when you overpack your fridge, you could block the vents for the airflow, which is also not good.
If you live alone, or you otherwise don’t need to buy enough food to completely stock your refrigerator, bottled water is a great way to fill up some of that empty space.
Where to Store Food in Your Fridge
Some areas of the fridge are colder than others. You, therefore, should pack your fridge thusly:
- Fridge Door: Only use the fridge door for condiments, not dairy items or eggs, which are more sensitive to temperature changes. You can, however, store butter on the door, but only if you use the butter compartment, which is colder than the shelf.
- Upper Shelves: Store your leftovers and snacks on the top shelves so as not to forget about them, and also because the temperature up here is more stable.
- Lower Shelves: You should store your meat on your lower shelves inasmuch as it is colder down there, so they are better preserved, and also to prevent contamination from leaks.
- Crisper Drawers: Continue to store your fruits and vegetables in the crisper drawers, as this is the spot in your fridge with the least humidity, however, keep them separate to prevent premature ripening.
Refrigerator Trouble? Top Shelf Appliance Can Help!
With over 12 years’ experience in the appliance repair business, Top Shelf Appliance has seen and repaired all makes and models of refrigerators, as well as any other household appliance you can think of. We provide emergency, same-day service, and your service call is free if you hire us for the repair.
If you’re having trouble with your refrigerator keeping your food properly cold, or with any other household appliance for that matter, don’t let it stress you out. Give Top Shelf Appliance a call at (253) 444-4786 today!