Maintaining Your American Fridge Freezer

Person cleaning the inside of a freezer

Now you’ve bought that super stylish, feature packed American fridge freezer, you’re probably wondering how you ever managed without it! While appliances are manufactured to the highest standards these days and come with a warranty, it’s still important to clean and maintain your American fridge freezer to avoid any problems. Nothing much generally goes wrong, but it’s worth knowing how to protect your investment for a long time to come, just in case.

How Do You Check the Temperature of Your American Fridge Freezer?

What can you do if you think your American fridge freezer is too warm or is not cooling food quickly enough?

  • Check the temperature dials and adjust accordingly. If you don’t know how to do this, check your user manual. If you’ve lost yours, most are available online – just search for your make and model.
  • Give your appliance time to react to any adjustments before checking again – 24 hours is the normal waiting time.
  • If you place a big frozen food shop in the freezer in one go, your freezer will take time to return to -18 degrees Celsius. If you have fast freeze technology, use it.
  • If you cook meals in large batches for freezing, let them cool in your kitchen first. Warm food will reduce the temperature inside the fridge freezer for a short while and may affect other food. Use temperature zoning technology if you have it, to keep some areas of the fridge cooler than others.
  • Have you overstocked your fridge? Air has to be able to circulate around a fridge so if it’s too crowded, the temperature inside may be higher than it ought to be.
checking the temperature of a fridge

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How Do You Get Your American Fridge Freezer to the Right Temperature?

The ideal temperature for a fridge is between 3 and 5 degrees Celsius, while a freezer should be at -18 degrees Celsius.

Most modern American fridge freezers will feature an LED screen that will display the internal temperature of each compartment, however if this isn’t the case, you can do the following:

checking the temperature of your fridge with a thermometer and a glass of water

Checking the temperature of a fridge

  1. Place a thermometer in a glass of water and allow to sit in the fridge overnight.
  2. Check the temperature as soon as you open the fridge door the next morning.

Checking the temperature of a freezer

  1. To check the freezer temperature, either place the thermometer in a glass of spirits (e.g. vodka) or between two packs of frozen vegetables overnight.
  2. Again, check the temperature as soon as you open the door.

You might think that being too cold isn’t a problem, but if your American fridge freezer is freezing the food in the fridge section, you have a problem. Traditional fridges tend to be colder at the bottom (because heat rises) so that’s the best place for meat and fish, while things like eggs and butter are best stored nearer the top. However, if your American fridge freezer has fan technology, you should be able to maintain an even temperature throughout the appliance. Check the manufacturer’s instructions if you have temperature zoning compartments and make sure you follow their recommendations on which foodstuffs you should store in which zones.

  • -18 degrees Celsius may seem rather a low temperature for the freezer section but this is ideal for long term storage of frozen food. The temperature will rise slightly when you open the door, so if it was only one or two degrees below freezing, you would risk food defrosting whenever you wanted to take something out.

What’s the Best Way to Clean an American Fridge Freezer?

For food that stays fresh and healthy, clean storage is essential, so before you do your next large food shop, clean your American fridge freezer while there’s less in there.

  1. Use a large cooler box with ice packs to keep your remaining food cool and fresh while you clean it.
  2. Turn the temperature dial to off.
  3. Place shelves, racks and other containers in a bowl of warm soapy water to soak.
  4. Rinse out the ice cube storage case with lukewarm water and dry carefully to prevent new ice from sticking.
  5. Add a small amount of gentle detergent to warm water and wipe down the inside of the fridge freezer with a clean dishcloth. Don’t forget the door seal and any fixed shelves.
  6. Vinegar makes an ideal natural stain remover for anything your wipe over doesn’t remove.
  7. Rinse and dry the racks and shelves and return to the fridge.
  8. Wipe the bottoms of food containers as you return them to the fridge.
  9. Reset the temperature dial and try not to open the doors for the next 8 hours.
  10. Give the outside a wipe too, with warm water and detergent, or using a specialist cleaner if you have a stainless steel model.

Person cleaning the inside of a freezer

How Do You Change the Water Filter on Your American Fridge Freezer?

Consult your instruction manual just in case, but this is usually a fairly quick and simple operation. You’ll generally need to do this around once every six months.

  1. Unplug from the water and power supply and clear out any remaining ice and water.
  2. Remove the filter cover.
  3. Remove the filter (usually by turning anti-clockwise and pulling).
  4. Push and turn in the new filter.
  5. Replace the filter cover.
  6. Reconnect the power and water supply.
  7. Run water through for a few minutes before using.

How to Clean the Condenser Coils on Your American Fridge Freezer

What are condenser coils and why should I clean them?

Condenser coils are located on the back or across the bottom of the fridge freezer. These coils cool and condense the refrigerant. When the coils are clogged with dirt and dust, they can’t efficiently release heat, meaning larger energy bills and a shorter lifespan.

How often should they be cleaned?

Every three months is usually sufficient although once a month might be better if you have a pet.

How should I clean them?

  1. Unplug the power (and water supply if applicable) and carefully slide your appliance away from the wall.
  2. If you don’t see the coils on the back, check if they are underneath. You may need to slide out a condensation tray to get to them.
  3. Spread out a towel on the floor to catch any falling dust.
  4. Clean with the nozzle on your vacuum cleaner, using the brush attachment.
  5. For stubborn dirt and dust, use a dry paintbrush, or even canned air to get to hard to reach places.
dirty and dusty fridge freezer coils

For more information view our full range of American Style Fridge Freezers, or get in touch with our team.