If you’re wondering what should a fridge temperature be, you’re in luck! There are plenty of different ways to keep your food fresh, and you can even ensure your refrigerator is running at the perfect temperature.
Modern food preservation is made possible by the refrigerator. The equipment can keep food cold and safe to consume for days or weeks at the proper refrigerator temperature by inhibiting the formation of bacteria. Instead, freezers can keep food fresh and prevent bacterial growth for weeks—or perhaps for as long as possible.
What Should a Refrigerator’s Temperature be?
Keep your freezer at or below 0°F and your refrigerator at or below 40°F, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The perfect refrigerator temperature is, however, lower.
Keep your body temperature between 1.7 and 3.3°C, or 35 and 38°F. As near to freezing as you can get without making your food freeze is in this temperature range. Additionally, it’s as near to 40°F as the refrigerator should reach before germs start quickly proliferating.
Temperatures over the 35° to 38°F range may be too high, particularly if the temperature gauge integrated into your refrigerator is unreliable. You risk your food going bad rapidly and becoming sick from microorganisms like Salmonella and E. coli.
Temperatures for Produce Storage
Most refrigerators have two drawers for storing produce. They are designed to preserve fresh food in low or high-humidity environments. You might be able to individually change the settings for each drawer in your fridge, depending on the type. Other versions might have fixed humidity settings for the drawers. A pantry drawer with adjustable temperature is frequently included in newer refrigerators.
A low-humidity setting or drawer is intended for fruits and vegetables that release a lot of ethylene gas and aren’t prone to losing moisture. To prevent the vegetables from decomposing quickly, the drawer vents the gases. This drawer should only be stocked two-thirds full for best performance.
Produce with Low Humidity Includes:
Make sure bananas and avocados are ripe before storing them in the refrigerator.
A high-humidity setting or drawer is intended for fruits and vegetables that are sensitive to ethylene gas exposure. For this product to stay fresh, greater moisture levels are required. The moisture is kept within by sealing the high-humidity drawer. This seal also prevents the other produce drawer’s other gas leaks.
Leafy greens won’t dry out or wilt as quickly when kept in this drawer. For optimal results, fill this produce drawer about three-fourths of the way.
Among the High-Humidity Produce are:
How to Obtain an Accurate Temperature?
Regrettably, not all refrigerator temperature gauges are precise. Although you may have set your refrigerator to 37°F, it maintains temperatures closer to 33°F or even 41°F. Refrigerators frequently deviate slightly from the temperature you select.
Additionally, some refrigerators don’t even show the temperature. You can change the refrigerator’s temperature on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the warmest setting. Without a thermometer, you cannot determine what those milestones correspond to in actual degrees.
An affordable freestanding appliance thermometer is available online or at any home improvement retailer. For 20 minutes, put the thermometer in the freezer or refrigerator. Next, examine the reading. Are you at the recommended temperature or even close to it?
If not, use the fridge’s temperature control panel to change the temperature to remain within the safe range of 35° and 38°F. Aim to bring the temperature as near to 0°F as possible by using the same procedure in your freezer.
According to multiple studies, domestic refrigerators typically run at temperatures higher than those needed to store cold food, with averages hovering around 7 °C. For instance, lowering storage temperatures to 4 °C could greatly increase the time items can be used before being disposed of. The cost and emission savings from less waste must be weighed against those brought on by higher energy use at lower temperatures.
The Best Refrigerator Guidelines
The easiest approach to guarantee that your food is safe is to check your thermometer regularly. Still, in case your refrigerator or freezer becomes overly warm or cold, there are steps you can take to make sure everything is operating as it should.
- Shut the door! While you’re cooking or unpacking groceries, it’s simple to leave the door open. However, it would help if you only did this when it was required.
- Spread your food out. Keep your food spaced out to allow for proper air circulation in the refrigerator and freezer, even if it may seem foolish. A completely packed fridge is more likely to be warmer than one that isn’t.
- Refresh the coils. Your refrigerator may occasionally require care and attention, much like other appliances. To prevent refrigerator repairs, clean the coils at least once a year.
How can I Always Keep my Fridge Cool?
Cleaning the coils is one of the finest ways to maintain your appliance cold and effectively and to prevent the need for any refrigerator repairs. Unfortunately, the coils are frequently dust-covered, reducing their effectiveness. Coils will be on the bottom and rear of your refrigerator.
Check any leaks from the refrigerator and pull the appliance away from the wall so you can examine the rear coils. A plastic grille often shields the coils at the bottom, and occasionally the back is shielded. The grilles can be taken off manually, or there might be a few screws. The procedure to remove the grille is typically rather obvious, but if you have any questions, you should refer to the owner’s manual. Never attempt to remove it with too much force.
After removing the grilles, you can clean the coils with a grille brush and a vacuum with attachments.
Additional Methods to Keep your Refrigerator Cold
- Don’t shove it up against the wall since refrigerators require airflow to operate properly. The special clearances are listed in your owner’s manual, but as a general rule, you require 1 to 2 inches of open space at the back and 12 to 1 inch on each side.
- Avoid covering the inside vents; doing so may reduce airflow and make it difficult for the refrigerator to maintain the desired temperature.
- Avoid leaving the fridge door open for too long because doing so will raise the interior temperature.
- If necessary, inspect the seal and replace it: While the door is open, examine the seal’s condition. It must be replaced if it is harmed or twisted. When the door is shut, check the seal after that. The door and body shouldn’t have any gaps between them.
The Ideal Temperature for a Freezer
A freezer should generally be kept as close to 0°F as possible, except when adding a lot of fresh, warmer food. A flash freeze feature is available on some freezers, which lowers the freezer’s temperatures for 24 hours to prevent freezer burn from temperature changes.
YA freezer with a lot of ice buildup is a solid sign that the temperature is too low. You can manually lower the freezer’s temperature for a few hours, but don’t forget to adjust it. Maintaining your freezer at a too-low temperature may increase your energy costs and result in food losing moisture and flavor.
For a printable reference that you can pin to your refrigerator, consult our temperature chart.
Where do you Put Food in your Refrigerator?
The refrigerator runs a little bit colder in certain places than in others. The refrigerator’s rear and bottom are the coldest parts, while the top shelves are a little warmer. The warmest places are the door shelves. How to store the following:
Higher shelves: Reserve the upper shelves for snacks and leftovers. Food is easier to obtain on these shelves, and the temperature is more consistent, making it difficult to forget that extra pasta, Bolognese.
The refrigerator door should be used to hold condiments, not milk and eggs. That’s because condiments contain more preservatives than other foods, which increases their shelf stability and reduces their sensitivity to temperature changes.
Butter compartment: Use the butter compartment if you keep butter in the entryway. Even if you frequently open the refrigerator door, the tiny door helps keep that area cool.
The “deli” or “meat” drawers in certain refrigerators are made to be cooler than the remainder of the refrigerator. Aim for 36°F for deli meat and 32°F for all other raw meats in your refrigerator if it has a temperature control feature. The lower temperatures slow down bacterial development and prevent them from rapidly increasing, keeping your meat fresher for longer.
Lower shelves: The bottom shelves, which are the coolest, are the best places to store things that degrade quickly, such as raw meat and dairy, if you don’t have a specialized meat drawer. If your meat leaks, this also helps prevent cross-contamination.
Crisper drawers also referred to as fruit and vegetable drawers are not intended to be cooler than other refrigerator compartments, although they assist in regulating humidity. Veggies benefit from high humidity, whereas fruit thrives from low humidity, so be sure to store them separately. Most fruits release ethylene, a chemical that aids in ripening but can also lead nearby vegetables to ripen earlier than you’d want.
Keep in mind that not all products benefit from refrigeration! Potatoes, onions, and garlic should all be kept in a cool, dark location. Melon and tomatoes should both be kept on the counter for storage. As they ripen, both will become sweeter and tastier.
Why is the Food in my Refrigerator Freezing?
When you open your refrigerator and discover frozen food, it isn’t very pleasant. Especially when perishable items like lettuce or another fresh produce freeze. Is the refrigerator faulty? What is happening? Fortunately, a freezing problem can frequently be resolved with a straightforward repair. Here are a few potential causes of your refrigerator’s excessive cooling.
Check your refrigerator’s temperature setting. The best refrigerator temperature for keeping food fresh and chilled but not frozen is between 37°F and 40°F. The coldest setting on a dial with numbers instead of a temperature readout is the highest number (usually 5). The coldest setting is what appliance manufacturers advise using; however, if your food is frigid, try lowering it to 4.
Placement of Food
For refrigerators to operate properly, there needs to be enough air movement. Check to see if your refrigerator isn’t too full and if any air vents aren’t being blocked by food. On the other side, a fridge that isn’t fully stocked can also be an issue. The food in your bottom drawers may freeze if there aren’t enough objects in the fridge to prevent the cold air from settling at the bottom of the refrigerator.
A door seal leak
Your refrigerator will run nonstop to maintain the proper temperature if it leaks cold air due to a broken door seal. Additionally, freezing (or, worse yet, the motor failing!) could result from your refrigerator’s overdrive operation. Check the door seal for rips or warping and repair it as necessary.
Install a thermometer inside your refrigerator if you’re unsure of the ideal temperature for one. You can determine the precise temperature using a thermometer. Digital thermometers are frequently included in contemporary refrigerators. However, a different thermometer enables you to confirm the refrigerator’s temperature.
We hope this guide will help you understand the accurate temperature for your fridge. The primary portion of the refrigerator should be no warmer than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. 37 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature for keeping food cold.