What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Refrigerator Thermometer

One of the biggest energy users in any home is the refrigerator.  If the refrigerator or freezer compartments are set too warm there is an increase in food spoilage along with food borne illness.  If the refrigerator or freezer compartments are set too low there is an increase risk of some foods freezing when they cannot handle being frozen.  Too cold of a setting results in the refrigerator cycling more costing more in energy costs.  The refrigerator compartment should be between 35ºF and 40ºF while the freezer should be 0ºF or lower.

We have a Whirlpool® ED2FHGXS EnergyStar qualified refrigerator bought in March of 2006.  When we bought the refrigerator were had space restrictions that limited what we could buy.  Like many refrigerators ours has a sliding temperature control.  Essentially if food in the refrigerator feels too cold or starts to freeze then the slider is moved to a warmer setting.  The problem with this type of temperature control is there no indication whether the refrigerator and freezer compartments are being cooled to the proper temperature.  This means you could be putting your family at risk for food borne illness, experiencing more food loss, and using more electricity than needed.

refrigerator thermometer
If your refrigerator has a temperature control similar to the one pictured the way to be sure the compartments are at the proper temperature is to use a refrigerator/freezer thermometer.  Place the thermometer in the refridgerator and leave about a half hour to get a good reading.  When I took the inital reading the refrigerator compartment read just on the high end of the safety zone.  I adjusted the slide control just slightly more towards cold then let the refrigerator run at the new setting for 24 hours.  A recheck of the refrigerator temperator showed the compartment was now in the middle of the safety zone.

The refrigerator and freezer compartment temperatures should be checked on a regular basis.  During the summer month or periods of high usage the refrigerator temperature may have to be adjusted to a colder setting.  The pictured refrigerator/freezer thermometer cost me $5.99.  Digital models are available for about $20.  I think they are a good investment that helps to increase food safety while improving energy conservation.

Garden Gnome