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When Can You Put Food in a New Fridge Freezer?

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By Elizabeth Masterman

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So you’ve got a new fridge freezer? As one of the most expensive appliances in the home, you will want to know how to treat it properly to get the best out of it and ensure it works properly for many years to come. What do you need to know before you start using it?

When Can You Put Food in a New Fridge Freezer?

A new fridge freezer will need leaving to settle for 1 to 4 hours and then needs leaving to reach optimum temperature, which will probably take 4 to 6 hours, so you should be able to put food and drink into your new appliance after about 5 to 10 hours.

Steps to Take When Getting a New Fridge Freezer

The first thing you need to do is choose a suitable location for your new fridge freezer. Obviously, it will need to be near a socket, and you will need to choose a spot that’s big enough to accommodate the appliance, considering the opening of the doors.

Make sure there is enough space at the back to allow good ventilation of the condenser coils. Also, ensure the appliance isn’t close to a heat source, like an oven or a radiator, and it’s a good idea to keep it out of direct sunlight.

When you’re happy with where it’s located, make sure the appliance is level and stable. Many fridge freezers have adjustable feet to help with this. Also, make sure you have removed any packaging and labels. 

You will then need to leave it to settle before you plug it in and switch it on. This is because the compressor contains lubricating oils typically kept in place by gravity.

During transit (mainly if transported on its side), these oils can end up in the wrong part of the system, but they will return back to where they should be if you leave it to stand and let gravity do its thing.

If the unit was transported upright, then 1 hour will be long enough to wait, whereas if the unit was transported on its side, then you will need to wait 4 hours.

You may be tempted to switch it on before that, but if you do you risk damaging the system.

For some appliances, the recommended wait time is even longer, so it’s a good idea to check the manual.

After the required time, you can finally plug your fridge freezer in and switch it on. You will need to wait until it reaches the required temperature before you put food and drink in it. This is likely to take 4 to 6 hours.

The optimum temperature for a fridge is 3°C to 4°C  and for freezers it’s -15°C to -18°C. Your appliance may have a digital temperature display or a green light to tell you that it’s ready. If you’re unsure, check the manual.

What’s the Best Way to Organise Foods in my Fridge Freezer?

You might be someone who is super-organised and likes things a certain way, or you might be someone who just stuffs things into the fridge wherever there’s a gap.

But did you know that there are actually optimum places to keep various items in your fridge?

For a start, keeping things organised helps you to see what you’ve got, helps with meal planning and avoids unnecessary waste.

Also, the different parts of your fridge are often slightly different temperatures, and some foods store better at lower or higher temperatures. Knowing this can help you ensure your food stays safe to eat and help some foods last longer.

The top and middle shelves should be used to store items that are ready to eat, such as cooked meats, cheese, yoghurts, vegetables and any foods that won’t be cooked before consumption.

This is because, if they are stored lower down, there is a risk that other ingredients may drip down onto these items, and as they aren’t going to be cooked, any bacteria won’t be killed before the item is eaten.

The most important thing to remember is that the bottom shelf should be used for raw meat and fish.

This is because this is the coldest part of the fridge and therefore will keep these items fresher for longer. It also means that any liquids that leak from these items aren’t going to drip onto other items and contaminate them.

If you have drawers at the bottom of the fridge, most people use these to store fruit and vegetables. However, you could choose to store raw meat and fish here, for the reasons stated above.

Bottles are best kept on the door shelves to avoid spillage. You need to be aware that the door shelves are the warmest part of the fridge, so use these to store items that contain natural preservatives, such as juice and jams. This is also a great place to store condiments. 

Still have questions about that new fridge freezer you’ve bought? Check these out:

Should You Clean a New Fridge Freezer

As you are going to be using the fridge freezer to store food, it’s a good idea to give it a quick clean before you use it. There’s no need to use harsh chemicals. Just use warm soapy water and a cloth, and make sure your wipe down all surfaces, shelves and inside the doors.

Can You Change the Direction of the Doors on a New Fridge Freezer?

When choosing the best location for your fridge freezer, you may find that the doors don’t open the way you need them to. On many models there is the option to reverse the doors. If you are going to do this, it’s best to do so before you switch the appliance on. Check the manual for full instructions on how to do this. 

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