Empty Refrigerator

Everyone is gone for the summer and I finally got around to cleaning out all the dead and undead items [no photo, you’re welcome] from the fridge. Basically, I threw everything away that I didn’t purchase in the last few weeks. This caused a temperature problem. I keep a thermometer in the freezer, refrigerator, and oven because there is no other way to know what the real temperature is. You can set the oven to a particular temperature, but this is the only way to verify if it ever gets there and how long it takes. There is no way to set the fridge/freezer to a specific temperature. Mine just says 1 though 9, cold to coldest. This thermometer confirmed that I just unloaded all the cold from the box, and was no longer keeping a safe temperature for proper refrigeration. I shut the door and let it cool back off. It took a few hours. The problem is that cold air doesn’t stay inside when the door opens. It falls out all over your feet. Then it would take hours to recover again. I can’t have this happen every time I open the door for a Pepsi.

I got an idea to go buy twelve gallons of water to use as ballast. That way, when the door opened, just a little cold air would pour out from between the items, and the cold water would stay cold and stay in. I knew it would take time to chill the water, and I told myself to just put two jugs in, wait for the temperature to recover, then put two more in. However, when I actually got there, I found myself shoving in all twelve gallons of water.

The temperature jumped to 55°F and took nearly two days to recover. But that’s ok! There was nothing in there at the time but some unopened mayonnaise, unopened mustard, butter, and eggs. For those of you who are about to yell at me for letting the eggs and butter get up to 55°F, I’ll have you know that salted butter can be kept in a butter crock at room temperature for weeks. There is no problem there unless the fat goes rancid. And eggs are kept at room temperature in most of the world. The probability of getting salmonella is less than getting struck by lightning, and even then, fully cooking them takes that chance down to zero. When I need raw eggs for something (egg nog, maybe?), I grab pasteurized-in-shell eggs.

Back to the point! The fact that it took so long to get all the heat out of those water bottles is a good thing. Taking two days for them to cool off basically means I can stand there with the door of the refrigerator open for almost two days before it becomes a problem again. That’s an exaggeration, but you get the idea. All the cold I can keep held in there doesn’t have to be replaced, which is good for the food, and also good for your power bill, since it doesn’t have to run the compressor as much.

I guess what I’m saying is this:

  • Get a refrigerator thermometer, use it.
  • Get one of those HUGE mascara brushes and clean the coils under and/or on back of your refrigerator. When is the last time you did that? Never?!
  • Never leave a bunch of unused space in the refrigerator, but don’t pack it to tightly that you cut off curculation!
  • Don’t put twelve gallons of water in all at once if you have stuff that can go bad in there already.
  • Your mileage may vary.
  • Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
  • Contents may have shifted during flight.
  • Not responsible. Park and lock it.

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