Is your refrigerator running? More importantly, is it running properly? These may be set-and-forget appliances for many people, but to keep your food safe and flavorful, it’s important to ensure your fridge and freezer compartments are maintaining the proper temperatures. Here’s how to check, adjust and maintain the right level of cool in your refrigerator.
Test the temp
Your fridge should be kept between 40° F (4° C) and 32° F (0° C), and your freezer should be kept at or below 0° F (-18° C). Check your appliance’s temperatures using its built-in thermometers (if it has them), or purchase standalone fridge/freezer thermometers from a department store or online retailer ($10 or less each).
Adjust if you must
If your fridge or freezer temperatures are outside the recommended ranges, adjust the compartments’ temperature controls accordingly. It may take as long as 24 hours for the temperature to adjust after using the controls. Check your thermometers at least once a week to ensure the correct temperatures are being maintained.
To ensure your food stays suitably refrigerated or frozen, you must take care in how you arrange it. Be sure not to pack food too closely together or block freezer vent so cold air can circulate around items. Keeping your fridge and freezer mostly full – especially with liquids, dense foods or ice packs – will help maintain a steady temperature.
With your fridge properly tuned, you can enjoy safer, longer lasting, tastier food. For more information on food storage safety, visit this FDA page.