As the scorching summer sun bears down upon us, we're all on the lookout for nifty ways to stay cool and comfortable. While your refrigerator may already be your go-to for keeping your favorite drinks and snacks refreshingly chilled, you might be surprised to learn that the location of your refrigerator and where things are placed inside it make a huge difference to its efficiency.
We have spoken with experts from Samsung to give you some top tips to keep the contents of your refrigerator cool while maintaining its overall efficiency during the hot weather. If you want a nice cold beverage or a frozen popsicle to help you cool off during the heatwave, then this guide will help you to keep your refrigerator working powerfully to avoid warm drinks or melted ice cream.
Why is it important to keep your refrigerator cool?
If your refrigerator warms up over the summer, it can lead to a number of issues that may affect the quality and safety of the food stored inside it. Refrigerators are designed to keep food at a safe and consistent temperature, usually between 35°F (1.6°C) and 40°F (4.4°C). If the temperature rises above this range due to the hot weather, then the following problems may occur:
Your food may spoil
One of the main concerns regarding a warmer refrigerator is that the higher temperature allows bacteria and other germs to multiply. This may cause the most perishable items such as meat, leafy greens or dairy to go bad.
Your food will have a lower shelf life
When your refrigerator warms up, the shelf life of the food inside will decrease. Items that usually last several days such as buttermilk or fresh cream may spoil in hours. This is a waste of food and money but is also a health risk.
Loss of nutritional value
This may come as a surprise, but a warmer refrigerator can cause certain vitamins and nutrients in fruit and vegetables to break down or deteriorate, resulting in an overall loss of nutritional value.
Increased energy consumption
A warmer refrigerator will need to work harder to maintain a cool interior, leading to increased energy consumption - this is bad for the environment and your wallet.
Impact on your freezer
If your refrigerator has a freezer compartment then a warmer temperature may cause it to partially thaw and refreeze as it gets cooler. This can lead to a build-up of ice crystals in your freezer which can have an impact on the overall efficiency, and can also cause some food to spoil.
How to prevent your refrigerator from warming up
Gino Grossi, Head of Brand Marketing for Home Appliances at Samsung says: "It is crucial to set your fridge-freezer to the correct temperature to minimise food wastage and ensure food doesn’t go off, and to maximise enjoyment when consuming your favourite food and drinks"
There are a few steps that you can take to prevent your refrigerator from warming up too much. While these may seem like common sense, it is important to stay on top of them during the warmer summer months when your refrigerator is working overtime to keep your food cool.
It is important that you actively check your refrigerator's thermostat to ensure that the temperature setting is correct and set to the recommended range. If you feel like your refrigerator is warmer than the temperature set on the thermostat, then there may be a problem with the door seal.
Overloading your refrigerator can also cause it to warm up - overpacking the shelves can impede proper airflow and cooling. To avoid this, you can simply keep the refrigerator clean by removing any spoiled or expired food or removing things that don't need to be refrigerated such as vinegar-based sauces or dressings.
Top tips for keeping the contents of your refrigerator cool
Keeping the items in your refrigerator cool during summer is a lot easier than it seems. These top tips can help you to keep your favorite beverages or snacks cold for when you need them most:
• Keep your refrigerator temperature set at 41°F/5°C or below and your freezer set at -0.4°F/-18°C all year round.
Maintaining a consistent temperature will allow your refrigerator to perform more efficiently during the warm summer months as there is less of a change in temperature to make.
• Make sure that your fridge-freezer is situated at least 5cm from the walls on both sides and 10cm from the wall at the rear.
If the fridge-freezer isn't well-ventilated, the freezer temperature could rise and food may start to defrost when the overall room temperature starts to rise. Leaving an adequate gap will allow for cool air to circulate around the refrigerator keeping the contents chilled.
• Don’t keep your fridge-freezer in a conservatory or direct sunlight during the summer months.
These locations are likely to exceed 104°F/40°C during warmer sunny days - this can cause the temperature of your refrigerator to rise dramatically. It may also lead to an increase in power consumption from your refrigerator trying to stay cool.
• Do not keep ice creams or ice lollies in the doors
The inside of the door is usually one of the warmer parts of your fridge-freezer. This can lead the items inside to defrost faster, resulting in softer, warmer popsicles and ice creams.