Ever wonder what the ideal refrigerator temperature is? Probably not because a refrigerator is something in your home that most people don’t pay much attention to until something goes wrong. Refrigerators are pretty hearty and extremely dependable. However when a refrigerator starts to act up, the first one to notice it usually is Dad when he grabs a beer.
Did you know that most refrigerators manufacture today have only one cooling section. And that one cooling section is in the freezer. In other words, there is only one evaporator that actually cools and circulates the air. On 99% of refrigerators in United States, that cooling section or evaporator is in the freezer. There are air circulation channels that distribute the cold air from the freezer to the fresh food section. The airflow is controlled by doorways or dampers that regulate the amount of air that enters the fresh food section from the freezer.
The normal freezer temperature is 0 degrees. That’s why when a refrigerators starts to act up we always notice it first in the fresh food section you are less likely to notice a problem in the freezer if the temperature increases from 0 to 10 degrees and more likely to notice a temperature increase in the fresh food section. The reason for that is that the freezer holds temperature better because it has a lot of frozen food that acts as a thermal mass helping to maintain temperature.
The ideal refrigerator temperature is 35 degrees. If it were any lower than that you would start to hover around 32 degrees and things would start to freeze. Dad is usually not too happy when he grabs a beer and it’s frozen. The typical refrigerator temperature actually fluctuates between 34 and 38 degrees.
This is why refrigerator manufacturers put the control or the sensor that controls the running time of the refrigerator in the fresh food section. It is not very important if the freezer goes a little bit below 0 degrees, but it is very important if the temperature of the fresh food section goes above 40 degrees. At 40 degrees or above food will begin to spoil and deteriorate.
Typically refrigerator controls are set to be in the center position. It doesn’t matter if you have letters, numbers or even just lines on the control, generally speaking both the freezer and the refrigerator control come from the factory to be set in the middle. This allows for some adjustment up or down. The freezer control in most cases is simply an air damper and let’s more or less air in the fresh food section. So when you start to adjust the freezer temperature it’s not unusual to experience a change in temperature in the fresh food section.
The best way to monitor refrigerator temperature is to use a temperature gauge. There are many specifically designed for use in refrigerators. These extremely inexpensive items can help you spot problems sooner. If you have a temperature gauge in your refrigerator and it pretty much constantly reads about 35 degrees, then one day you suspect a problem and you look at it and the reading is 40 degrees, you can try to locate the issue before you lose all your food.
Now you know that the ideal temperature in side-by-side, freezer on the bottom, and freezer on the top refrigerators is 35 to 38 degrees.
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