From food storage to cooling down a summer drink, it is a refrigerators job to keep your food icy and fresh. Many do not know exactly how cold a refrigerator should be. Proper cooling is vital to making sure that your food is safe for your family to eat. So when checking up on proper fridge temperature, take a look at the following tips.
The Ideal Temperature
First and foremost, making sure your fridge is at proper temperature is the key to having a well-running appliance. So exactly what temperature should a fridge be?
The ideal temperature range for your fridge is 36 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Your fridge should be cooling food anywhere in between 36 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit (2.2 to 4.5 degrees Celsius). How do you test this? Use a probe thermometer to gauge the temperature of the inside of food that has been sitting in your fridge for at least 24 hours. Another technique to take an accurate measurement is to directly place a standing thermometer in the refrigerator overnight.
While the correct fridge temperature is important, keeping food fresh and safe is the main goal. The Food and Drug Administration defines the Danger Zone between temperatures of 41 and 135 degrees Fahrenheit (5 and 57 degrees Celsius). In this temperature range, bacteria on food is allowed to grow uncontrollably. Thus, keeping food out of this zone is imperative. If you test the temperature of food in your fridge that is out of the safe range of temperature, take action! Turn your fridge to a cooler setting and discard contaminated food. If your food is below the recommended 36 degrees Fahrenheit, you may have another problem. Food kept close to or below freezing will begin to spoil faster. Indications that your food has been kept too cold include:
- Veggies: When kept too cold, veggies will wilt and brown. Often, frost bitten veggies will become soft, also covered in a gel-like film.
- Meat: These foods will turn brown around the edges and become spoilt if kept in between the freezing and the proper holding temperatures.
- Sauces: Sauces will freeze, causing little to no problems. For some sauces, though, thawing may change the taste and texture (such as sour cream).
While most food is unaffected by being too cold, keep in mind that food kept in the Danger Zone could house bacteria harmful, and even deadly, to your health. If you are unsure about a certain food product, the best bet is to simply throw it out. Knowing what should the temperature be in a refrigerator can prevent problems with food going bad.
Keeping Your Fridge Cool
Some helpful tips to keeping your fridge cool will not only increase the safety of your food but can also decrease your electricity bill. First, make sure that all sealants are shutting properly. An open sealant can leak cold air, causing your fridge to run more often than usual. Also, make sure that all coolants are properly maintained by checking for any leaks or cracks in fridge hoses or lines. Last of all, check and make sure that your fridge doors are level and closing correctly.
A Safe, Cool Refrigerator
Keeping your fridge cool is vital to maintain proper food safety. So if you are unsure of how cold a refrigerator should be, take a thermometer and check food that has been in your own fridge for at least 24 hours. Always discard food that has been kept in the Danger Zone to ensure you and your family’s safety.