The proper use of refrigerator will bring many benefits like preserving the freshness of food, increasing the machine’s lifespan, and saving power consumption. This article may give you some helpful information on how to use a mini fridge safely and efficiently.
Why should you have a mini fridge?
The popularity of mini fridge comes from many reasons including:
- Portable design: As its name mentioned, it is a small-size fridge which can be suitable for many different places in your home such as kitchen, garage, bedroom, home office or living room.
- Acceptable prices: Most of the good-quality compact fridges are under 250 USD. This price is affordable for you to purchase in addition to your full-size fridge.
- Suitable for many items: Mini fridge can contain a large quantity of food such as veggies, fruits, frozen meals, snacks, or beverages and even make ice cubes in the freezer.
- Multi-purpose: You can use a mini fridge as a bar fridge, to have more storage space, to separate food allergens or to keep hydrated and energized in a study room or office.
Limitations of mini refrigerators
Although there are quite a few outstanding features, following are some disadvantages you need to know.
- Limited options: Compared to full-size refrigerators, mini fridges are less popular. They do not have a variety of designs to choose from. Mini refrigerators have few choices of brands, colors, and capacity.
- Simple cooling technology: Due to the low price, mini refrigerators are forced to cut some advanced features to reduce costs. Specifically, mini fridges are often manufactured using direct cooling technology and often do not have “No-frost” (anti-freeze) function.
- Less features: Its features are also limited for the purpose of reducing costs. Mini refrigerator is not equipped with antibacterial and deodorizing technology. When using it, you need to clean the refrigerator regularly and waste more time.
How to set up a mini fridge properly?
To make sure that the mini fridge can function well in the long term, you should follow some guidelines:
- Do not place the mini fridge too close to the wall. You should leave a 3-inch space between the fridge and the wall. Therefore, it is much easier for it to circulate.
- Keep the door-hinge side away from the wall for at least 1 inch so it does not cause any damage when you open the door.
- Set up the mini fridge on a hard surface instead of soft ones in order for it to stand firmly.
- Avoid putting it close to the heating source or any flammable objects.
- Clean the fridge before arranging any food inside when buying it from the store.
- Plug the fridge into the electrical outlet and keep it cool for a few hours before using it to store food.
Further reading: How to Defrost a Mini Fridge Faster?
How to keep the fridge safe and efficient?
There are some recommendations for how to use the mini fridge safely and efficiently as below:
Maintain the right temperature
Keeping the fridge at a suitable temperature might help to prevent any microorganisms or bacteria from forming inside. For best results, you can set up 40 degrees Fahrenheit or under for the cooling compartment and below 0 degrees for the freezer. Many factors might affect the temperature of the fridge so you should check it carefully to make immediate adjustments.
Store food in a proper way
- Do not place too much food inside the fridge
- Discard any spoiled or tainted foods as quick as possible
- Separate food allergens from other healthy food
- Check all items carefully to make sure that there is no food overdue
- Arrange food in safe containers and put a lid to cover it completely
Use power saving settings
When you need to store a small amount of food in the fridge, you can change the settings into saving mode. This might not only help your fridge to become energy efficient but also extend its lifespan.
Clean the mini fridge regularly
If there are any spills or leakages inside the fridge, you have to wipe them down immediately to avoid the spread of any harmful bacteria. To clean it well, you should remove all the shelves and drawers out of the fridge. Then you ought to use suitable tools to make all of them clean.
Do not open or close the fridge too often
You should not open the refrigerator for more than 30 seconds. This will cause the cold air to escape. The refrigerator will have to use more electricity to cool down the internal temperature. The compressor must work harder, and it surely affects the fridge’s lifespan.
Avoid placing the fridge too close to the wall
Keeping the refrigerator close to the wall will make it difficult for the heat dissipation process. It makes the outdoor unit and indoor unit must operate inefficiently and affect the cooling function. As a result, the refrigerator consumes more power.
Place the refrigerator in a cool and dry place
The temperature around the refrigerator affects the heat dissipation and power consumption. Therefore, you should place your fridge in a well-ventilated place, do not place it in small corners. You must ensure that the heat dissipation, the back and two sides of the refrigerator must be at least 10cm away from the wall, because the cooling cable system behind the cabinet needs cool air to cool. Otherwise, the refrigerator is very power-consuming and less effective.
Properly organize your food
An effective way to use the refrigerator is that you need to keep the things inside very neat to create enough space for cold air to circulate easily, and limit electricity consumption. Do not put hot food in the refrigerator. Let it cool completely.
How to arrange food in the fridge the right way:
- If your mini fridge has a freezer compartment, you can store frozen items like ice cubes, ice cream or yogurt.
- With cooling compartment, it’s for leftover, food, drinks.
- The fridge door can store dry food or spices, sauce.
- If it has drawer, it’s best to put vegetables, tubers, and fruits.
You may also like: Best Quiet Mini Fridges for AirBnB
Safety rules when using a refrigerator
To make the refrigerator more durable and safer, you should pay attention to the following:
Do not use the power cord or outlet with signs of damage
If the power cord of the refrigerator or the outlet shows signs of damage, you absolutely should not use it because it poses a great risk of electric shock. If the power cord is damaged, you should call the service center for support, never change it yourself because it can be dangerous later.
Do not use the same socket for the fridge and other appliances
Compared to other household appliances, refrigerator is energy consuming. If you plug many devices into the same socket, it may cause a fire or short circuit. Because the power cord is overloaded, which can cause electrical insecurity or even accidents. It’s better not share the fridge’s socket with another device.
Try to recognize when the gas is leaking
If you feel refrigerant gas is leaking, do not touch the machine, open the window to let the gas out. Call the repairman if necessary.
Other safety rules to follow
Never put carbonated drinks in the freezer compartment
At cold temperatures (below 0 degrees Celsius), the gas solubility in water changes. At that time, the carbon dioxide (CO2) in the carbonated water can is released, creating a great pressure and can explode at any time, which may lead to serious accidents.
Should not put water bottles or heavy things on top of the refrigerator
You can accidentally spill water when opening and closing the door, causing short circuit and fire. In addition, you should not put heavy objects on the top of the cabinet to avoid them weighing down and damaging the fridge surface or other components inside.
Do not place the refrigerator in a wet, humid place
Placing the refrigerator in a place with too much humidity can make it easily to corrode, rust the components at the back, and create shelters for insects, mice and cockroaches.
Never put harmful chemicals in the cabinet
Absolutely, do not put hazardous chemicals in the fridge because it can cause reactions and explode. In addition, chemicals can also be vaporized and directly affect the food, causing poisoning and other health problems.
How to use and protect the fridge during a power outage
Unplug your fridge
In case of power failures, short term or long term, you should unplug your refrigerator to protect it. When the power is restored, plug it back in 5-10 minutes.
Close the refrigerator
When the power goes out, the best way to preserve food in the refrigerator is to limit the opening and closing of the fridge. Every time you open it, cold air will escape, the internal temperature increase making your food spoil faster.
Therefore, only open the refrigerator when you need to get food, transfer food to the cooler or get ice. When taking food, think carefully to get all the food you need in one go, avoid opening multiple times or opening each time for too long.
Do not put more food into the refrigerator
When adding food to the refrigerator, it will have to give off cold air to cool the newly added food, which will make other foods in the refrigerator much more susceptible to spoilage.
Arrange the food properly
How you arrange the food inside the refrigerator will determine how well the fridge works and how safe the food will be preserved, especially in case of a sudden power failure.
A refrigerator full of food will be able to keep cold longer than the one that contains only a small amount of food. If you don’t have a lot of food to store, you can fill the empty space with ice trays or water bottles.
In addition, you should stack the foods in blocks close to each other so that the cold air is not dispersed when having power outage.
To avoid contamination between foods when defrosting, you should separate foods when storing. You should use food containers or an ice tray to separate foods from each other.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should you not do with a mini fridge?
To keep it function well, you should not:
- Put cereal boxes and other junk on top of the fridge
- Arrange all items inside the fridge without any order
- Store the overdue food too long
- Unplug the fridge from the outlet too often
Where should you not put the fridge?
It is not a good idea to put the fridge in these places such as:
- Near the oven, fireplace or other heating sources
- On the carpet
- Place the fridge on its side
- Let anything block the fridge ventilation
- At the edge of the stand or table
Can you plug a mini fridge into a common outlet?
Mini fridge can work with a regular outlet like other appliances. It does not require any special electrical source. You can connect the fridge into the standard outlet with 110 to 120 volts.
What are the best ways to use a mini fridge?
It has five ways for you to optimize the function of your mini fridge including:
- Provide food and drink when you stay in the bedroom or office without going to the kitchen throughout the day. This might be convenient and help you save a lot of time.
- Give more storage space: When your family has a large amount of food and you do not put all of them into the full-size fridge, you can use the mini fridge as an additional option.
- Keep high-risk food: There are some kinds of food that are too harmful to place them close to others. So you can place them in a separate fridge to protect the quality of food inside your main fridge.
- Store drinks as bar fridge: You can use a fridge to contain different types of beverages and ice cubes. Therefore, you can invite all of your friends conveniently at any home party.
How often should you clean the fridge?
You should clean all the dust outside the fridge regularly to avoid any stubborn stain in the long term. And you need to offer your fridge a deep clean for each 3 or 4-month course.
Further reading: How to Clean Mold in Your Fridge Safely?
Mini fridges are very beneficial for many households. This type of fridge is small and flexible for different locations. Besides, it also offers you much more storage space for various purposes. And you do not need to worry about the high prices when buying any mini fridge.
There are many useful tips you can apply to make sure that your fridge will function safely and efficiently as you wish. Hopefully all of the mentioned information might help you a lot when using the mini fridge.
- Rules for a Clean Refrigerator, Krisha McCoy, May 24, 2010
- How to use a Mini Refrigerator, Hal Bartle, Retrieved July 15, 2021