It is the one thing that we look for when we crave for food, dripping with sweat, or just bored to death – the refrigerator.
Many described this piece of appliance as handy and useful. In the past, its invention has created an entire new industry, while reshaping our society and food preparation. With its help, foods are now able to last longer and get transported all over the globe. Craving for a salmon slice from Alaska? No worries on that.
However, let’s take a look at a smaller scale – the refrigerator at your home. How much do you know about it? Or at least, how much do you know to properly take care of it?
1. Empty and overstuffed refrigerators are equally bad
We always heard of the trick to save energy with your refrigerator is to maintain a certain amount of food in it. But why?
A normal functioning refrigerator requires some rooms inside for air circulation. When the items are stocked till little to no space left, the air circulation is not only hindered, but the air vent could also be blocked. This will make the fridge to work harder to push the air through, hence, consuming more energy.
On the contrary, an empty refrigerator or the one with only a couple of items could be bad as well. The food inside absorbs cold and it helps to chill the other food next to it. It is a chain reaction that helps to chill the entire refrigerator, while reducing the need to pump in more cold air. However, this can only happen if you have a certain amount of food placed next to each other.
2. Food stored under 0 °F (-18 °C) is safe forever
According to US Department of Agriculture, food that is kept under 0 °F (-18 °C) can be safely consumed forever. This is mainly because it slows down the movement of molecules, causing any microbe in the food to enter dormant stage. Nonetheless, only certain types of parasite can be killed by freezing, while the rest will still continue to thrive upon taken out from freezer.
Freezing a food does not change the nutrient contents and quality by large, but slight change of taste and discoloration can still be visible. To avoid this, it is advisable to freeze food that you need for later while they are still at peak quality.
3. Never place your fridge too close to wall or heat source
Your refrigerator’s compressor is one of the most important part and the main cooling component. Without it, the refrigerator will simply stop doing its job. Having that in mind, where do you place the refrigerator must suit the component perfectly.
One of the few reason for these compressors to stop working sometimes is due to coils or fans problem. They are likely to build up dirt when left unchecked for far too long, making them harder to diffuse heat properly. You can avoid this by cleaning up the tight area using vacuum or special long-handled brush.
Air ventilation, too, play a big part at resolving this problem. To achieve best result, you shouldn’t place anything on top of the fridge, back it too near to the wall, or place it near to any heat source such as oven or stove. This will obstruct the heat distribution and causing severe damage in a long run.
4. Inverter vs non-inverter
For those of you who weren’t sure of this, most refrigerators are divided into two types – the inverter and non-inverter. The terms are actually used to signify the compressor that is built within it.
An inverter refrigerator, in general, possesses a smart feature where it adapts the power consumption according to your usage habit. For instance, when the door is open, the compressor will work harder to ensure cool air is sufficiently supplied. This helps to ensure your food is well kept at the right temperature. However, if the door is remained close, the compressor will slow down its operation as not much work is needed at the moment. Due to this factor, inverter refrigerator helps to save tons of electricity bills in a long run.
On the contrary, a non-inverter fridge does not offer this feature. The compressor will only shift around when you manually change the temperature setting. It also remains the same despite the door is being opened regularly. All in all, non-inverter refrigerator offers a lower price but might consume a bit more energy depending on your usage.
5. One of the longest lasting appliances
This is a good news for those who plan to buy a new refrigerator, because it will stay with you for the next 13 years (averagely). Some even reported to last up to 29 years. This, of course, is backed up by good maintenance, such as cleaning the inside, dusting the outside, and stocking a proper amount of food.
The refrigerators available in the market may be varied, ranging from a 3-digit price to 4-digit. Even so, it is great to know that the money you’re spending will stay with you for up to three decades. Now that’s a good investment.