What temperature should a freezer be? This is an important topic to address if you’re installing and setting up a new fridge freezer or just a small freezer. Most of us assume that frozen food should be kept at the lowest temperature possible. However, if you store frozen food at a temperature that’s too low, you could end up with a range of issues, including freezer burn.
Alternatively, if your freezer temperature isn’t low enough, you could wind up with slightly defrosted meat and other products. Even worse, the slightest bit of extra warmth can produce toxins in your food and increase your risk of food poisoning.
If you want to keep the goods in your freezer safe for longer and avoid the onset of harmful bacteria, here’s everything you need to know about temperature control for your fridge freezer.
What Temperature Should a Fridge Be?
Frozen food and other food requiring refrigeration will need to go into your fridge freezer as quickly as possible. Doing this will ensure that you avoid any bacteria from getting into it. If your food is allowed to reach room temperature or frozen goods unfreeze, this can lead to a range of problems.
Your fridge temperature should usually be between around 3 degrees and 5 degrees Celsius in the UK. Additionally, foods that require refrigeration shouldn’t be left out for any longer than two hours at room temperature before they go in the fridge. Any food you leave overnight outside of your refrigerator should go in the trash, especially during warmer months.
Is The Temperature of -20 Degrees Cold Enough for a Freezer?
The ideal freezer temperature can be a little harder to determine than fridge temperature. When food freezes, the quality of that food decreases over time. The longer your frozen goods stay in the freezer and the colder they are, the more the flavours and textures will diminish.
Check the temperature before you keep your food in the coldest part of your fridge freezer. The average freezer temperature should usually be around -18 degrees Celcius in the UK to ensure ice, various meats, and other foods remains frozen. If your foods are frozen at a too warm temperature, they’re at risk of bacteria. Although a domestic freezer temperature should be at least 0 degrees Fahrenheit or -18 degrees Celsius to keep food safe, it’s also worth keeping in mind that recommended freezer temperature for a commercial freezer may differ.
Should You Put Thawed Meat Back in the Freezer?
If your food temperature rises above the correct level for too long, you may need to throw your frozen food away. Simply adjusting the freezer temperature to be colder after the ice has melted and meats have already thawed isn’t a good idea.
Should You Check Your Freezer Temperature?
Keep in mind that you should regularly check your refrigerator or fridge freezer’s temperature with a thermometer, particularly during warm months. This will help you determine whether the air within the refrigerator or freezer is the same as the temperature shown on the door.
If the thermometer shows a different temperature than on your appliance screen, this could be a sign that your freezer is on its last legs.
Can a Freezer Be Too Cold?
With the door closed, a freezer needs to be cold enough to freeze whatever food you have stored within. However, you don’t necessarily need your refrigerator to be this cold. If the milk and other foods in your fridge are freezing, this could be a sign that the cold from your freezer is influencing your refrigerator or that you have your appliance settings turned down too low.
Ideally, when asking yourself ‘how cold should a freezer be’, it’s best to stay within a freezer temperature range of around -18 to -20 degrees Celsius. You can usually adjust your freezer degrees slightly on most fridge freezers to ensure the stored food retains its moisture and taste.
Before you adjust the temperature of your freezer to the lowest possible level, remember that a cold freezer will help protect against microorganisms, but it can also cause problems with your food. If freezer temperatures are too low, this will have an impact on your electricity bill and increase your risk of freezer burn.
The right temperature for a fridge freezer or full freezer will ensure you can achieve the right balance between keeping your food fresh and ending up with fridge ice.
How Do You Know if Your Freezer’s Temperature Is Wrong?
Keeping your freezer or fridge freezer at an optimal temperature can be difficult, particularly when your freezer doesn’t show the most accurate readings on the freezer door. To keep your food fresh, use a thermometer to check if you’re at the right temperature from time to time.
If your freezer temperatures aren’t right, you might notice the following issues.
Ice in the Fridge
The ideal freezer temperature won’t cause cold air to freeze moisture in your fridge. Look out for signs of ice.
Food Feels Warm or Slightly Defrosted
If your food is at the ideal temperature, it should stay completely frozen. Throw anything away which seems slightly thawed.
Your Energy Bills are Higher than Usual
If your energy bills are too high, this could be a sign that you’re turning the freezer temperature to below ideal.
Food Goes Off Quickly
If food in your fridge or freezer goes off faster than you’d expect from the expiration date, the temperatures could be too high.
If your freezer or fridge has a lot of condensation around the appliance, this could be a sign of temperature issues.
When Do You Need to Replace a Fridge Freezer?
If your freezer or fridge is no longer capable of freezing your foods, or you can’t freeze all foods as quickly as you should with your appliances, this is a sign that you might need to look into a new device. Freezing food the correct way helps minimize the spread of bacteria in your food. If your appliance can’t freeze food fully, any food you eat from that freezer will put you at risk.
Freezers and refrigerators don’t last forever. If your appliance isn’t working anymore for you, make sure you consider looking into the latest model. Although buying new freezers every so often can be a headache, it will ensure you keep your food as fresh as possible for longer.
Do you ever check the temperature of your freezer? If you notice that your food feels slightly warmer than usual, there might be an issue with your temperature, and it may be advisable to replace your freezer.
Modern appliances are becoming increasingly advanced, with new and improved features to help save you money on your electricity bill. Upgrading could actually save you more cash in the long term.
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Tom is a former chef turned full-time food blogger. He has always been passionate about food, and loves nothing more than experimenting in the kitchen and sharing his recipes with others. Tom’s blog is one of the most popular food blogs on the internet, and he has won numerous awards for his cooking. When he’s not blogging or cooking, Tom enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.