What Temperature Should Your Refrigerator Be Set To?

Beware of overstuffing.

When it comes to grocery shopping, we all strive to stretch our dollars while also stretching the shelf lives of our store-bought foods. Having your refrigerator set to the proper temperature not only extends the freshness of your groceries but is overall better for your health.

So, what's the ideal temperature to set your refrigerator to? Angi Home Expert, Bailey Carson says the typical temperature to set your fridge is between 37 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit, but there are a few things you need to know that go beyond the thermostat.

Touch Screen on a Refrigerator
Getty/Carbonero Stock

Refrigerator Temperature Settings

"If the temperature falls outside of [the 37-to-40-degree] range, your refrigerator will have to work harder than necessary to keep everything cool and could lead to your food being too warm and going bad faster or being too cold and freezing," shares Carson.

Modern fridges have a built-in thermostat for the homeowner to gauge the current temperature setting. Other refrigerators have levels (such as one through five) to scale the temperature setting. If your fridge has this technology, read the manual to learn what the setting for each level is and set your fridge accordingly.

If your refrigerator has neither a built-in thermostat nor a temperature monitoring level system, you can purchase a thermostat to ensure your fridge is cooling down to the right temp. Carson says that this can help with avoiding fridge troubles down the road.

No matter if your fridge is a modern-day appliance or one from years past, Carson says that some don't always cool down to the accurate temp automatically, but don't let that set you off in a panic. "Refrigerators are complex appliances that have many parts that need to work together in order to function. If your fridge isn't cooling down properly, contact a local pro to help you figure out the issue."

Does The Temperature Fluctuate Where You Live?

No matter if you live in Coral Gables, Florida, or in Palm Springs, California, the setting of 37 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit is a universal setting for accurate fridge coolness. That being said, climate may impact your settings. "Climate may affect how much work your fridge needs to do to maintain the ideal temperature, which can impact energy consumption and monthly bills," Carson says.

How Does This Temperature Setting Affect Food and Contents?

Having your fridge set to the right temperature can impact how long your food lasts as well as the taste and overall freshness. If it's not properly regulated, your contents run the risk of spoiling. Carson advises not to overstuff your refrigerator as this can impact the temperature level as well. "Keep in mind that refrigerators are meant to be around 75% full - not completely packed. Overstuffing your fridge can prevent the cool air from circulating, which could lead to food spoiling faster."

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