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The Real Cost of Putting Hot Food in the Fridge

With your refrigerator being one of the most important appliances in the kitchen, refrigerator efficiency matters. You want to do everything you can to make sure it keeps working the way it’s supposed to. You want to make sure that your refrigerator temperature is working. There has long been a debate as to whether you should put hot food in the fridge. The FDA’s stance is that leftovers need to be refrigerated or frozen within 2 hours to prevent spoilage. This would mean that you would need to put leftovers away hot, or at best, warm. But, what is the real cost of putting hot food in the fridge?

Cost of Putting Hot Food in the Fridge

Impact on Your Refrigerator

One common misconception is that if you put hot food directly into your refrigerator you will damage the appliance. The reality is that with most modern refrigerators, you won’t actually damage the appliance. However, you will cause the energy efficiency of the appliance to go down while the food cools.

The energy efficiency of your refrigerator is affected as a result of the temperature spike that occurs by putting hot food inside. Because your fridge is warmer, it needs to work harder to bring it down to the set temperature. This puts stress on your refrigerator’s compressor. Over time your compressor can fail if you put hot food in the fridge repeatedly, leave the refrigerator door open for long periods, or overfill the fridge.

Older Models

Even though it’s safe to put hot foods in modern refrigerators, it’s not the case for every fridge. As mentioned, refrigerator efficiency also depends on the model. You should exercise caution when putting hot food in older refrigerators. Older fridges simply aren’t as powerful as modern ones. This means it can take them longer to cool back down and even cause them to reach unsafe levels. A warm refrigerator could mean trouble when it comes to food safety, essentially compromising the hot food you put into the fridge as well as anything else that was inside. Therefore, if you have an older fridge it’s still a good idea to cool leftovers before putting them inside.

Food Safety

Ideally, your refrigerator should be 35°- 38°F and your freezer should be 0°- 3°F. Keeping your refrigerator at these temperatures will help ensure your food remains safe. When you have temperature spikes, you run the risk of getting out of those temperature ranges. This is problematic as it puts food in the “danger zone.” The danger zone is between 40°-140°F, which is when bacteria can thrive. You want to minimize the amount of time (less than 2 hours) your food spends in the danger zone to minimize the risk of food poisoning. Remember to always consider refrigerator safety as it impacts your food safety.

How to Minimize Hot Food in the Fridge

Split Your Leftovers for Better Refrigerator Efficiency

So if you have hot leftovers what should you do with them? If you have a newer refrigerator, you could simply stick them inside. However, for the sake of its efficiency, consider splitting your leftovers into smaller containers. You could even go a step further and place these containers in an ice bath in the sink to cool off leftovers quicker to keep their time in the danger zone to a minimum.

Improve Your Kitchen’s Efficiency

Your kitchen is likely one of your most used rooms in your home, so it’s important to consider how you can improve the overall efficiency of your appliances used in the space. Simple steps like avoiding placing hot food in your fridge and leaving enough space inside for air to circulate can go a long way in easing the stress on your fridge’s compressor, improving its overall efficiency.

If you’re looking for more ways to save energy in your kitchen or have any other questions feel free to reach out to our team of qualified, professional electricians at 206-542-0208 or request an appointment today!

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Malfunctioning Home Appliances Cause Electrical Damage

As we spend more time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, our appliances are getting more use than ever before. This is evidenced in increasing utility bills across the country. The more use our appliances get, they begin to show signs of wear and tear. However, some appliances don’t just give up. While a malfunctioning appliance like a refrigerator, dryer, or dishwasher is an inconvenience, it can also cause electrical damage and other damage to your home.

It’s common to think that if your microwave is giving you trouble, it is only affecting that appliance. But, the reality is that a malfunctioning appliance can wreak havoc on your other appliances as well. To prevent damage to your home, it is important to get any malfunctioning appliance repaired or replaced right away. Here are key things to keep in mind when it comes to a malfunctioning appliance whether it is in your kitchen, laundry room, or anywhere else in your home.

How to Tell If A Home Appliance Is Malfunctioning

Your home appliance itself will likely give you some signs that it’s nearing its end. You’ll often find that it just isn’t working quite the way it’s supposed to work. For instance, your refrigerator may be getting a bit balmy and your microwave just takes longer than usual to reheat your dinner. Besides the signs your home appliance gives you, your home’s wiring may also be giving you warning signs that an appliance is causing damage. For instance, a tripped circuit breaker is often the first sign that something is wrong. If a breaker is tripping each time you turn an appliance on, your system is getting a surge of electricity from the appliance, putting your home at risk of a short circuit. Rather than continuing to turn the breaker back on, call an electrician to come and check it out.

Electrical Damage Caused By Home Appliances

A faulty or malfunctioning home appliance can cause minor to severe damage to your home. Three of the most common types of electrical damage caused by home appliances include surge protector damage, physical damage, and fire damage.

Surge Protector Damage

Just like computers and televisions, your appliances use microprocessors that are sensitive to power surges. If your appliance is malfunctioning and causing a surge in electricity, these microprocessors can easily become damaged. A surge protector only protects your appliance from surges that come from outside sources like a lightning strike or power outage, not from surges that come from within the appliance or on the same electrical circuits. Depending on the intensity of the surge your appliance’s microprocessor could be damaged instantly or slowly by small surges, essentially reducing the life of your appliance.

Physical Damage

If the surge caused by your malfunctioning home appliance is large, it can actually burn various electrical components in your electrical system such as switches and outlets. These components may burn, leaving visible scorch marks, or may simply melt. Either way, these components often become inoperable and will need to be replaced. This can happen even if the surge happens in an instance. If you find that you have melted or scorched electrical components it is always recommended to have an electrician come to find the exact source of the damage.

Fire Damage

Fire damage is the most dangerous type of electrical damage that is due to malfunctioning home appliances. These fires often start when an electrical short sparks. Depending on where the spark occurs will determine the extent of the damage. Some fires within the appliance itself. However, the spark could also ignite other things like insulation, wallpaper, curtains, cabinetry, etc. This is why it is extremely important to make sure you have working smoke detectors in your home.

Get Someone to Check It

The best defense against electrical issues and damage from malfunctioning appliances is a proactive approach. At the first sign of malfunction, look into the issue or call in a professional. The professionals at Wire Craft Electric will be able to assess your appliances. They will check your electrical system for signs of damage and make the necessary repairs. Call 206-542-0208 to talk to a professional or set up an appointment today.

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