Against a backdrop of inflation and the climate crisis, reducing energy bills is becoming a priority for a growing number of consumers, and refrigerators can represent a significant source of expenditure. But one tip suggested by professionals, called the 60% rule, could help optimise this appliance’s power use.
How many times have you complained that food forgotten at the back of a refrigerator shelf has almost frozen? Before concluding that your good ol’ fridge has had its day – or launching into a rant against programmed obsolescence – it might be a good idea to take a look at the appliance’s temperature.
All fridges are equipped with temperature controls to manage the level of cold. To make sure your fridge is set to the right temperature, professionals suggest using the 60% rule.
This is actually a very simple trick: if your refrigerator has a scale with numbers, set the dial to 60%, i.e. just over halfway. For appliances with cold settings from 1-5, for example, you’ll need to set it to number 3. If the dial goes all the way to 7, keep it on 4, and if it goes up to 10, set it to 6.
For fridges with thermostats, the ideal temperature is likely to be between 0°C and 7-8°C (depending on the model and type). You’ll need to set your fridge to a temperature of 4-5°C for it to operate at 60% of its capacity.
Apart from the 60% rule, there are other very simple tricks you can use to optimise your fridge’s energy use and save money on your bill. For example, don’t overfill your appliance, and remove the packaging from products, leaving some space between them so that air can circulate more easily.
To avoid putting your fridge into overdrive, remember not to put hot food directly into it, and avoid positioning it next to heat-generating appliances such as an oven or a microwave.
Finally, one of the most basic rules for limiting food waste and keeping products fresh is to arrange them according to the refrigerator’s different cold zones. The first shelf from the bottom – often the coldest- should be used for foods most likely to develop bacteria, such as dairy products, meat, raw fish, or egg-based foods.
The upper shelves can hold anything that is kept airtight, such as jarred sauces and creams, yogurt, or leftovers wrapped in cling film. The refrigerator door – the least cold part – can hold bottles, eggs, and so on.
Note that these storage methods are only effective with fridges that use ventilated cooling or fan-assisted cooling systems.