Increases energy consumption
During operation, the refrigerator does not produce cold, but removes heat through a radiator. This consumes electrical power. The higher the temperature inside the fridge compartment, the more often the compressor will start working. If we put a hot dish in the refrigerator, it will work harder. Units with inverter-type compressors have a compressor that runs at an increased speed, while those with conventional compressors run continuously. Either way, the energy costs go up.
You put a 3 litre pan of borscht at 90°C in the fridge. In order to cool the pot to 4 5 ° C, the refrigerator needs to take away excess heat, namely 255 kcal of thermal energy. If the COP factor is 3 for most refrigerators, the consumption will be about 90 Wh. Certainly, at first sight it is a penny, but if you “abuse” the hot pots in the fridge, it will add up to considerable sum in a month.
The reasons why you should not put hot food in the fridge
The most common answer to the question: Why you can’t put hot food in the refrigerator? Because. We broke tradition and made seven whole arguments.
My mother often shooed me away when I was about to put a fresh pot of soup on one of the shelves in the refrigerator. To my question: “Why is the?”. she would reply succinctly: “It’s not healthy.”. For me, this ban was from the category of inexplicable. I didn’t know what was so bad it was, but I didn’t do it, just in case.
As it turned out, there are at least seven reasons why you should not put hot food in the fridge. But there are exceptions. This is what we are going to talk about.
In order to understand why you can’t put hot food in the fridge compartment, you need to understand the principle of operation of the device itself. Refrigerators, despite the fact that all the time they are plugged in, do not freeze all the time. A sensor in the compartment makes sure that the temperature does not rise above a certain point. As soon as it gets warmer, the refrigeration unit starts working.
The refrigerator motor (compressor) starts the movement of freon or other refrigerants through the pipes. As a result, in 10-15 minutes of operation, the temperature has time to drop to an acceptable value, and the motor itself stops. With the door tightly closed, the refrigerator maintains a low temperature for about 6 hours, even if it is not plugged in.
If you put hot food in the refrigerator, the temperature inside rises, which starts the compressor. However, instead of the usual 10-15 minutes, it will have to run for one or two hours until the food cools down and the temperature returns to the normal 5-7 degrees. If you do it once, it is noted:
The steam from the hot food stays inside the refrigerator. It will settle in the form of condensation, which over time turns into ice. But people who are used to constantly putting hot food in the refrigerator should expect more serious consequences:
- Reduction of service life of the equipment;
- The formation of ice crust on the inside wall;
- The formation of snow deposits on the compressor tubes;
- Sudden unit failure.
Please note! If the reason of refrigerator failure is the habit of cooling hot food in it, then it is not a warranty case. You will have to go with the unit to the master, as well as to lay out the full amount of repairs (including payment for a new compressor). After disassembly and replacement of the compressor, the technique will last a few more years, but its performance will constantly deteriorate.
What is the optimum refrigerator temperature?
Different foods require different temperatures for storage, but a range of 2 to 5 ºC is considered optimal. And the temperature inside the refrigerator compartment may vary depending on many factors, such as how high the shelf is, how often the door is opened and how hot the food is.
The coldest areas in classic refrigerators are the areas near the back wall and the shelves closest to the freezer. If you consider a unit with a freezer on the bottom of the cabinet, the lowest temperature will be on the bottom shelf and the highest in the top area. Therefore, products that need more cooling in these refrigerators should be stored at the bottom, and on the upper shelves food that is better not to over-freeze (fruits, sauces).
What temperature to keep different foods in the refrigerator:
- Fresh fruit: 5-8
- Fresh vegetables: 4-7
- Loaves and pastries: 5-6
- Sauces (mayonnaise, ketchup): 3-7
- Sausages: 0-8 (depending on variety)
- Cheeses: 0-4 (depending on variety)
- Dairy products: 4
- Ready meals and drinks: 2-5
- Confectionery, cakes: 1-3
- Eggs: 2-5
- Meat chilled: 1-3
- Chilled fish and seafood: 0-2
In spite of the fact that in essence there can be not only one but the whole range of temperatures in the fridge, many manufacturers suggest to set only one value it will be average for the whole chamber. We advise you to set this parameter to 3 or 4 ºC. So, you can store meat and cheese on the bottom shelf (closer to the freezer), dairy products and ready meals in the middle zone, and fresh fruit on the top one.
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Another thing is modern devices with the function of uniform distribution of cold air inside the chamber. It could be called MultiFlow or All-Around Cooling, like Samsung models. For example, the Samsung RB5000A fridge that we recently tested uses a whole system of air ducts to keep both the top and the bottom shelves at the same temperature.
Also, advanced models can have separate “freshness zones” like the Samsung RB5000A. This is a separate shelf (drawer) for storing vegetables, fruits, chilled meat and fish, which has its own temperature control to set the individual mode that best suits the food.
Why don’t you put hot food and pots in the fridge: what temperature should they cool down to?
The principle of the refrigerator is not to produce cold, as many believe, but to remove heat. As a result the internal chamber and its content are cooled. Presence in it of not had time to cool the food creates an increased load on the household appliance and reduces its service life. But that’s not the only reason why you shouldn’t put hot food in the refrigerator.
The main working element of modern refrigeration units is the compressor. Its task is to create enough pressure to circulate the refrigerant through the system. There are different types of cooling:
A classic, time-tested option. It is also called the “weeping wall” or Direct Cool. In such units, cooling is done by circulating a special liquid along the back wall. If you place food inside, it will evaporate moisture from it in a cold environment. It settles on the walls and partially turns into frost. When the mechanism is switched off, the latter melts and trickles into the specially provided trap and is taken outside. Different models offer electromechanical or electronic temperature control. A disadvantage of Direct Cool is that the temperature distribution over the volume is uneven. It is slightly higher on the upper shelves than on the lower shelves. Manufacturers recommend defrosting such equipment at least twice a year.
Static technology is complemented by a fan that promotes air movement in the chamber. This allows you to balance the temperature on different levels, shelves.
Modern, advanced system. This is also called “dry cooling. It is based on forced air circulation inside the chamber. Fan drives flow through “open” evaporators. This removes excess heat and moisture. Accordingly, ice is formed only on the evaporator and the walls remain clean. After switching off the compressor, the frost melts and the moisture is removed to the outside by a special drain. A similar system is used in freezers. Its main advantage is that there is no need to defrost the entire cycle of operation. Also worth noting is the uniform cooling. However, users must remember that open foods quickly lose their moisture, get airy. Therefore, it is important to pack them in containers or wrap them in cling film. Varieties of such cooling include Air Flow or Multi Air Flow (multiple-flow cooling). In such systems several ventilation points are organized.
Some modern units are equipped with a special HotBox compartment. The peculiarity of such equipment is the presence of a separate compartment for cooling. It has a fan that blows air as needed. The rapid circulation of air facilitates efficient heat dissipation. This model guarantees cooling without significant energy consumption, so in addition to domestic conditions, it is used in catering establishments.
The instruction manual says not to put hot food in the fridge. The manufacturer warns about reducing the life of the appliance in case of violations of the rules of use. First you need to cool the product to room temperature. Then the food is better preserved and the technique will last for many years. To answer the question of why you can not put hot food in the chamber of the cooler, you need to consider several aspects.
The wear and tear of the equipment
What if you put the hot? The truth is that the appliances can break down? In order to understand the issues, it is necessary to study the principle of operation of the cooling device. Of the two most common freezing systems (drip and “No frost”), Know Frost is more resistant to such stress. But over time, if you often practice chilling hot soup, the technique will initially cool worse and in the end will refuse to perform its functions. If the temperature in the appliance rises, the motor receives a signal to run too high and fails prematurely.
The second question is about the freshness of foods already in the refrigerator. If you put a hot pot in the compartment, it will immediately begin to give off heat and steam. It will have a detrimental effect on the food that is stored. It heats up again, then begins to cool down again. This is especially bad for perishable foods such as dairy products, chilled meat, etc. д. In some food under these conditions, harmful bacteria can appear, the consumption of which can cause disease.
Does the taste of the hottest food placed in the refrigerator change? Yes. Housewives know the secrets forbidding the rapid cooling of food. For example, uncooked milk will curdle and baked goods will sag. This is the most common knowledge, but by no means all. Some hostesses argue that the dish must cool down at room temperature, otherwise it will not infuse and its flavor will be lost. Therefore before putting hot food in the fridge it is necessary to remember about the possible change of taste and aroma.
When the hostess decides to put unrefrigerated food in the refrigerator, they begin to release heat and steam intensively, resulting in condensation. It is detrimental to the operation of the appliance, especially with the drip system. At first, frost forms on the back wall, later an ice crust appears, which can lead to overheating of the motor and equipment failure. In the best case, you will have to perform an unscheduled defrosting of the appliance. The situation is better with the “No frost” system: no ice forms there, but there is an additional load if you put hot food in the refrigerator all the time.
Spoilage of crockery and shelves
In addition to the main causes, there are others which are not everyone pays attention to. Each buyer chooses household appliances not only by technical characteristics, but also by the inner filling: some people are comfortable with shelves made of glass, some people are comfortable with metal lattices. But they can be ruined if you put a hot pan. The top layer of grids can melt and become unusable. Shelves, even if made of tempered glass, can fly apart. Also, your favorite cup and other utensils can go bad. Rapid temperature changes cause the enamel to crack and the paint to peel off.
When you can put hot food in the refrigerator
In some refrigerators, you can put a hot dish. But only if there are specially adapted for this purpose, dense chambers. There may also be compartments for quick freezing.
Separate chamber for hot food, will prevent warm air from leaking into other compartments. There will be fewer problems, but more electricity will be used.
Hot food placed in the quick-freezer compartment will cool quickly. Warm air currents won’t disperse to the rest of the main refrigerator compartments. But again, the compressor is overloaded and there’s an overconsumption of electricity.
A refrigerator is an insulated chamber whose operating principle is to keep the temperature low by transferring heat energy outward. Т.е. not to generate “frost,” but to take the heated air and give it back with a radiator mounted on the back.
- So putting a dish with a hot dish in the refrigerator compartment will not only cause the chilled glass shelf to crack from the difference in temperature.
- The amount of heat that must be removed from the closed compartment and moved out of the refrigerator will also increase significantly. The natural consequence will be an increased strain on the unit’s operation.
Whether to place unrefrigerated food in the refrigerator depends largely on the knowledge and needs of the user, the situation, and the specific model of the unit. There are times when the cooling of food or drinks is urgent. Do not forget that such situations can damage your appliances.