How to adjust refrigerator temperature control


When I first started using a fridge of my own, I would often get confused. I found myself searching on google which number was colder on the dial. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Adjusting the fridge temperatures can be tricky. Especially if you experience all four seasons in your home town. So, how to adjust refrigerator temperature control? What factors to consider and how to maintain it? All the Answers to these questions lie in this not so little tutorial. So, hang on!

How to tell which number on a fridge is colder?

The dial usually consists of numbers ranging from 1-7. With 1 being the coldest and 7 being warmest. Setting it to a 3 or 4 is optimum for keeping the food fresh.

How does a fridge control its temperature?

The thermostat is a prominent component of the fridge which administers the temperature of the fridge. It monitors the cooling process with the help of a compressor. The compressor switches off once it senses the temperature is cold enough and turns off when it feels the temperatures rise.

The coils attached to the back of the refrigerator transport the hot gases produced by the compressor to the evaporator coils. The refrigerant travels at high pressures to cool down and condense back into the liquid form. These coils often get clogged and can result in poor circulation of the gases limiting the ability of the fridge to maintain its temperature.

Sometimes adjusting the temperature controls does not make any difference. The fridge compartment is either too warm or too cold to function normally. This is due to the irregular cleaning of the coils. Before you call your technician try vacuuming the condenser coils. This usually happens when you don’t clean them out occasionally throughout the year. Failure to keep up with the cleaning can lead to your fridge being inefficient.

If the fridge is still failing to function smoothly then you might need to check and reset the temperature of your fridge. The temperature should be set between 35- and 40-degree Fahrenheit. Whereas the freezer should be set between 0-5-degree Fahrenheit.

If you find out that your fridge’s thermostat is broken, here is an in-depth guide on how to replace it!

Bacteria free storage!

This is to avoid freezing fresh food. For a safer storage USDA recommends 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Fungus cultivation in foods happens at temperatures that are higher than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The US department of agriculture recommends setting your fridge at maximum temperatures of 40-degree Fahrenheit. At this temperature bacteria’s growth slows down. This does not mean that you set your fridge’s temperature to the lowest levels. For best results opt for temperatures above 38 and below 40 degrees.

Factors affecting your fridge’s temperature

Multiple factors can steer the temperature of your freezer/ fridge. These factors can be as insignificant as the changing season. During the cold of December temperatures inside the homes, the fridge temperature also decreases. Similarly, in summers the opposite of this effect occurs.

Despite the fridge being a closed cavity, its temperature is still influenced by its surrounding environment. Frequently opening the fridge can result in inefficient maintenance of the temperature. The interior temperature is also influenced by the seals around the hinges of the fridge door. In the case that it leaks there is a hundred percent chance, the interior temperature will also change.

Identifying the knobs

The two adjustment dials found inside the fridge are thought to believe as the temperature controls for the fridge. However, this is not true for all models of the fridge. For standard fridge’s this is the case. Most of the cool air generated inside the fridge cavity is produced within the fridge. One of these dials is used to direct the unit to maintain the fridge’s cooling. While the other controls the amount of cool air released into the fridge.

To identify the functions of these knobs, wait for a bit after adjusting one of them. You will hear the compressor turn on when you move one of the knobs towards the warmest side. If the baffle knob is adjusted, then the compressor continues to run as usual. However, turning the temperature knob shuts the compressor down.


Setting the temperature

Interpreting the units on the adjustment dials can prove to be a difficult task for some. Therefore, the US department of agriculture recommends using a fridge thermometer. This gadget can save you the trouble of remembering which number on the scale is highest. Rather using this device can help you effectively and accurately measure the temperature at cooler levels.

Position the thermometer in a glass of water in the center of the fridge. For about five to eight hours. If the thermometer shows a temperature of more than 40 degrees, then use the baffle knob to increase the amount of coolant released into the coils. Make sure to reduce the temperature as well.

On temperatures lower than 38 degrees move the knob in the opposite direction to restrict the coolant flow. Once you are within the temperature range of 38-40-degree F place the thermometer between frozen food packages.

 Wait for another five to eight hours to check if the temperatures have fallen below 0 degrees. If so, then increase the temperature using the knob. Similarly, if the temperature is more than 2 degrees then dial the temperature down.

Fridge housekeeping

While you may often forget about the control panel mounted inside your fridge. You must set your fridge at the right temperature to avoid spoiling your food. However, the arbitrary numbers found on top of the dial and the gauges mounted in your fridge can make it difficult for it to function at an optimal temperature range.

If you recently bought a freezer and have been struggling with frozen lettuce and melted ice cream. Rather much worse when you must throw out spoiled milk or leftovers of your favorite snack. Then invest some time in learning the basics of setting your fridge’s temperature.

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Immad Amir

Hey there, I'm Immad! I'm an SEO and appliance fanatic. Amna, my fiance, and I combined our interests and came up with RavvyReviews to help you all with our well-researched kitchen appliance reviews and foodie informative articles. We aim to learn more along the way and keep bringing you authentic trustworthy articles so all of us can have fun in the kitchen! We love interacting with you guys, do share yours thoughts in the comments. Get in touch with me through

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