Certain appliances have become such an integral part of our everyday lives that we simply could not live without them, no less so than fridges and freezers. So much are they the norm and so important are they to modern living that great quality fridge freezers are even available to purchase in supermarkets. However, did you know that a fridge or freezer’s ability to function effectively is dependent on correct and regular upkeep? A poorly maintained fridge freezer will drain electricity, harbour unpleasant odours and bacteria and even fail to preserve food efficiently. Luckily, they are easy to care for with a little know-how and following these basic rules will maximise your fridge freezer’s lifespan.
- Clean the Seal: The seal on the door of a fridge or freezer must be airtight to contain the cold air within. If it is left unclean, mould will develop, eroding the seal and allowing the air to escape, meaning food will not be stored at the correct temperature.
- Clear the Ice: A build-up of ice around the walls of a freezer is normal but if left for too long, it can become too thick, reducing storage space and forcing the appliance to draw more electricity, effectively costing you more money. Once the ice reaches more than 3cm thick, it is generally time to defrost.
- Avoid Strain: When storing items on the shelves upon the door of your fridge, the heaviest ones should be placed closest to the hinges, to minimise the strain being placed upon them and therefore their risk of breaking.
- Check the Thermostat: It is not always as simple as bringing your fridge freezer home and plugging it in. You may have to adjust the thermostat to get it to the right temperature it requires within its new surroundings.
- Close the Door: Make sure you do not leave the door open for longer than is necessary, as it already takes four minutes for the temperature to return to normal. You risk items being spoiled or frozen goods beginning to thaw if doors are not securely shut.
- Clean Regularly: Both the inside and outside of your fridge freezer should be cleaned on a regular basis with an all-purpose disinfecting product, especially if you can detect any nasty odours. These unpleasant smells generally imply that bacteria or off goods are permeating the air within the fridge, which can allow germs to spread and ruin other food items.
- Fill it Properly:Fridges and freezers operate better at different capacities. While a freezer is at its most energy efficient when tightly packed with frozen goods, fridges require a good level of air circulation, meaning an overcrowded fridge is not a good idea.
- Store Items Correctly: Leftovers should be covered with foil and eaten within two days, while opened canned goods should be emptied into a sealed container before being placed in a fridge. Items to be frozen should be placed in freezer friendly storage boxes or bags, labelled with the date they were frozen and consumed within three months. Hot food should never be put into the fridge or freezer as they warm up the items around them, potentially ruining or defrosting them, while also forcing the appliance to use additional energy to try and cool the air.