Usage Tips \ Refrigerators \ Best Freezer Temperature

Best Freezer Temperature

Although every household has a freezer, people often don’t tend to think about the freezer temperature. Make no mistake, the recommended freezer temperature exists and it’s fairly precise.
So, how cold should a freezer be? What more should you know about your freezer temperature? In this article, we’ll help you understand the logic behind this and help you set your freezer at an optimal temperature.

The Perfect Freezer Temperature

Let’s focus on the recommended freezer temperature first. Yes, everything that contains water, which is all foods, freezes at 0°C (32°F), the freezing point of water. If you want your food to be safe to eat indefinitely, you’re looking at your freezer remaining at or below -18°C (or 0°F).

In this sense, the recommended perfect freezer temperature is at or below -18°C (0°F). Consult the user’s guide. Yes, you might have to wait for that ice cream to soften for a couple of extra minutes. But this is the temperature that you will need to prevent the decomposition of food, including your steaks and other perishable frozen foods.
But before you start tampering with your set freezer temperature, you need to make sure that there’s something wrong with it, in the first place.

Signs of Temperature Problems With Your Freezer

Many freezers come with temperature control. Some also have a thermometer that tells you how cold the environment inside the freezer is. However, these thermometers can malfunction and even if they are precise, they often only measure the temperature where they are located. An overpacked freezer may have different temperatures from one zone to the next.

Here are some of the signs of improperly-set freezer temperature

Frosted Surfaces

The formation of frost may be an indication that your freezer is set to too low a temperature. At an overly low temperature, the freezer may have a hard time removing moisture. If this occurs in the proximity of the door gaskets, which are rubber seals around the freezer door edge, it means they may be allowing air to leak into the freezer. Excess air inside a freezer causes freezer burn (more on this later). If there is a layer of ice all over the freezer interior, the door may have been left open.

Soft Ice Cream

The ideal scooping temperature for ice cream is between -14° and -12°C (6-10°F). Taking out your ice cream and being able to scoop and enjoy it instantly might be convenient, but “scoopable” ice cream can be a sign of a warmer than ideal freezer temperature. So, if the ice cream is soft each time you take it out of the freezer, consider that something may be up with the temperature inside your freezer.
But it’s not all about setting the perfect freezer temperature. Various freezer temperature inconsistency factors should be taken into consideration, as well.

The Problem of Inconsistency

You should know that the temperature of your freezer may not be constant. Every time you put something new in the freezer, it may cause the interior temperature to increase. This is why adding large quantities of non-frozen items at once isn’t recommended. Ideally, you don’t want to put anything hot or warm in the freezer either.
But some outside factors can make the temperature inside the freezer inconsistent. Here’s how the ambient temperature and power outages can impact freezer temperature.

The Ambient Temperature

Another factor that impacts your freezer temperature is the ambient temperature of your house. Or more precisely, where the freezer is located. If it’s in your kitchen and exposed to sunlight, you can typically expect bigger spikes according to seasonal changes.
This is why having a proper thermometer is essential. Get a good freezer thermometer and measure the inside temperature every once in a while. Tweak the temperature control as needed. Do bear in mind that you should only make small incremental changes. Make a small change and wait at least 24 hours before you make another change.

Power Outages

It’s a common misconception that you should open the freezer door in a power outage. Like a good cooler, a freezer can keep cool for an entire day. It’s a whole other matter if you’re out of power for more than 24 hours, in which case you might want to reconsider opening the freezer door.

Additional Information

Lastly, here are a few things to keep in mind to help you use your freezer more effectively.

Use a Freezer Thermometer

Typically, you can get a precise freezer thermometer inexpensively online. Make sure you get a freezer thermometer as these are built to withstand the extreme cold. Use the thermometer and your freezer’s temperature control to set the ideal temperature.

Can You Set Your Freezer to Too Cold?

What happens when you set your freezer too cold? Does it negatively affect the quality of your food and beverage products? It doesn’t. The rule of preservation for perishable products is the cooler the better. When adding new food, the faster you freeze it the less pronounced the change in texture/taste.
However, setting it too low will also make your freezer work harder, potentially causing extra wear and tear and possibly raising your electricity bill.

What About Freezer Burn?

You’ve probably heard of freezer burn. It can diminish the taste and texture of food. Does it have anything to do with the coolness of your freezer? Absolutely not. Freezer burnt food is perfectly safe to eat, although it may have a diminished taste.

Freezer burn occurs as a result of the air exposure to improperly sealed food. It has nothing to do with the temperature of your freezer.
You can prevent freezer burn by storing your frozen food in properly sealed containers. It’s the only way to help avoid freezer burn.

Setting the Freezer Temperature

As you can see, although the recommended freezer temperature is -18°C (0°F) or below, there are other factors to consider here. Above all else, you may want to equip yourself with a reliable freezer temperature measurement tool and be sure that the freezer door seals properly. Oh, and remember that seasonal changes and the ambient temperature can affect freezer temperatures. And with the way refrigerators are designed, it may be easier to achieve the ideal fridge temperature around 3°C (37°F) if your freezer is at the right temperature.
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