What Are the Ideal Temperatures for a Refrigerator & a Freezer?

The temperature inside your refrigerator and freezer affects food quality, food safety, energy costs and how hard your appliance has to work. Besides setting the temperature appropriately, you must try to maintain it by keeping doors closed and seals maintained.

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Refrigerators for sale in appliance store


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According to the U.S. government's Energy Star program, setting your refrigerator between 35 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit (2 to 3 degrees Celsius) reduces the amount of energy your refrigerator uses.

Ideal Refrigerator Temperature

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Food safety concerns dictate that perishable foods should be stored at temperatures lower than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Since 35- to 38-degree temperatures are most energy efficient, the best temperature to choose for the refrigerator is 35 to 38 Fahrenheit.

Best Temperature for Freezer

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The USDA says that foods are maintained at the highest quality for the longest time when maintained at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, microbes are inactive.

Stand-alone Freezers

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Steel refridgerator in kitchen

Stand-alone freezers set to 0 degrees Fahrenheit reduce energy use and save money, according to Energy Star. It says that manual defrost freezers use half the energy of automatic defrost freezers.

Appliance Thermometers

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The USDA says that food safety dictates testing your refrigerator and freezer temperatures to make sure they match what you expect. Appliance thermometers are used for this purpose.

Sophie Johnson

Sophie Johnson is a freelance writer and editor of both print and film media. A freelancer for more than 20 years, Johnson has had the opportunity to cover topics ranging from construction to music to celebrity interviews.