The refrigerator is our ally in the kitchen. It keeps our leftovers fresh when we go overboard with the pasta and cools us down with cold drinks always at hand when it’s hot. By following these tips, you’ll learn how to correctly adjust your refrigerator’s temperature during the summer.
What is the ideal temperature during the summer months?
The optimal temperature range for our refrigerator in summer should be between 35.6°F (2°C) and 41°F (5°C). It is most advisable to maintain it at 39.2°F (4°C) or 41°F (5°C). This is the perfect temperature to preserve most foods like dairy, meats, fish, fruits, and vegetables.
You should know that, primarily, heat rises in the refrigerator, so the coldest temperature is at the bottom of the internal compartment. I wrote “primarily” because this is the general rule, but there are some refrigerator models designed differently, so it’s always best to consult the instruction manual of your appliance.
In general, the temperature drops about 3.6°F (2°C) on each shelf, which is why we mention that the coldest temperature is at the bottom, just above the vegetable drawer.
As for the freezer, the ideal temperature is -0.4°F (-18°C), and an acceptable temperature range is around -0.4°F (-18°C) to a maximum of -7.6°F (-22°C). Beyond these temperatures, there’s a risk that the crystals formed during the freezing process will gradually destroy the food’s properties.
Depending on the type of refrigerator, the temperature regulation is done differently:
- Refrigerators with a manual thermostat: usually have a numbered dial from 1 to 5. 1 indicates the highest temperature and 5 the lowest. In summer, it is advisable to set it between 3 and 4.
- Refrigerators with a digital thermostat: allow direct temperature regulation in °F from a screen. Just set the desired temperature, usually between 39.2°F (4°C) and 41°F (5°C).
- No frost refrigerators: While all refrigerators regulate temperature manually, no frost ones do it more precisely, uniformly, and constantly thanks to their advanced cooling system and thermostat inside. This optimizes food preservation.
What influences the internal temperature of the fridge in summer?
In summer, as during the rest of the year, the fridge temperature is influenced by various external factors. Firstly, the temperature of the house itself, as well as the presence or absence of an air conditioning system, which in turn affects the overall domestic environment temperature.
But not only external factors determine your fridge’s temperature, but also your behavior and habits. In particular, the most common example is each time we open and close the door, the internal temperature of the refrigerator unnecessarily rises, absorbing heat from the external environment, and this can result in slightly higher electricity bills.
In addition to proper regulation in summer, there are tricks to improve the performance of our refrigerator and maintain the ideal temperature when temperatures rise:
- Do not introduce hot foods; let them cool to room temperature first.
- Defrost periodically to eliminate frost that hinders the refrigeration process. If you have a No frost refrigerator, this is not a problem as they defrost automatically.
- Clean the condenser and rear grille periodically to facilitate ventilation.
- Adjust to the minimum temperature 1-2 days before filling it.
The holiday Function, a great ally during summer getaways
There’s another aspect to consider when managing your fridge in summer: your absences. Whether it’s weekends or actual vacations, before you leave, you should empty, clean, and, in the case of the freezer, defrost it. This way, you won’t encounter a funky smell when you open your fridge upon returning.
This is a good solution for longer stays, but if you often leave home for short periods, I recommend getting a refrigerator with a Holiday function (some manufacturers call it Vacation Mode or Holiday Mode).
Practically, this feature keeps your fridge running at a constant temperature while you’re away.
Just make sure to empty the fridge, activate the Holiday function, and then leave. The fridge will operate at a low regime the whole time, around 62.6°F (17°C). This way, there are no bad smells and savings on the electricity bill are guaranteed.
Finally, don’t forget to manage your stock well. If you plan to leave, don’t overbuy, otherwise, you’ll find yourself choosing between leaving leftovers in the fridge or overeating before you go.
With good temperature management, cleaning, and responsible use of our refrigerator, we can ensure that it continues to function optimally even when the summer heat arrives.
Frequently Asked Questions
What temperature should I set my refrigerator to in summer?
It is recommended to regulate the temperature between 39.2°F (4°C) and 41°F (5°C) in the refrigerator and -0.4°F (-18°C) in the freezer.
Why should I lower the temperature of the refrigerator in summer?
Due to the high ambient temperatures, the refrigerator’s motor has to work harder to keep the food cold. Lowering the temperature compensates for this extra effort.
Can I put hot foods in the refrigerator in summer?
Hot foods take longer to cool down, which can cause uneven cooling and promote bacterial growth and cross-contamination of foods.