Question: Our older refrigerator seems to be much colder than normal. The dial on the refrigerator setting dial has the numbers 0-9. The problem is that there is no indication of which number (higher or lower) to set the dial to make the refrigerator colder or warmer. Generally, what number is coldest on a refrigerator? The highest number or the lowest number? Quick Answer: The higher number is the coldest setting.
Most refrigerator temperature settings are controlled with a dial or slider. They are sometimes labeled 1 through 5 or 1 through 9. If you are not sure what to set it to, then set it somewhere in the middle. If the dial is numbered 1 to 5 set it on 3, if the dial is numbered 1 to 9, then set at 4. USUALLY the higher the number on the temp control dial, the colder the temperature your refrigerator will get. If your drinks and food are not as cold as you like, set the temperature dial up one number higher. If it is at 3 and you want your food colder, set it to 4 and test 12-24 hours later to see if your food is at the temperature you desire.
Most Kenmore, LG, Samsung, Maytag, GE, and newer Whirlpool refrigerators have an actual digital readout that displays the exact temperature. These newer refrigerators still have temperature control sliders, knobs, dials, and digital touch pad controls. This makes it much easier to know and control the exact temperature in your fridge or freezer.
An easy way to check to find out the exact temperature is to use a simple inexpensive thermometer in the refrigerator. Most refrigerator controls do not show the actual temperature so using a thermometer is a good idea. Your refrigerator should be below 40 degrees F to be safe. The best temperature to suit just about any refrigerator is ideally at 37 degrees F. If the settings on your temperature control dial seem to be making the fridge too cold or too warm, use the thermometer reading to adjust the settings dial until you have the best temperature. Allow 12 to 24 hours between each adjustment. Low (colder) temperatures are key to prevent bacteria growth and to keep your food fresher longer. Here is information on storing food at safe temperatures.
If you turn the dial to number 0, that effectively turns the fridge off. Setting the dial to 9, the refrigerator will be working at its max capability. Your personal temperature setting will depend on how much food is kept in the refrigerator. If your fridge is packed with food, it needs to be on a higher number setting to maintain a low (colder) temperature.
The temperature controller dial or slider on your refrigerator is a thermostat. It kicks the compressor on when the refrigerator is not cold enough. The refrigerator then turns the compressor off when the desired temperature has been reached. The more food you have in your refrigerator, the more stable the temperature will be. Set the thermostat to the middle of its range and leave it for 12 to 24 hours.
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If you have seen refrigerator temperature controls that are completely different from the types we have mentioned above, please leave a comment below to advise our other readers having the same issue.