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Where should a refrigerator or a freezer be located inside a home?

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Refrigerators and freezers located in hot areas (garages, outbuildings) will operate successfully but the compressor must run more to maintain the storage temperature in the fresh food and frozen food compartments, thus using more energy. Putting the refrigerator/freezer in an area where the temperature falls below 60 degrees F. may be a problem. As ambient temperature falls, compressor operation decreases. The compressor may not operate long enough to maintain low storage temperatures in the freezer compartment. This is because the fresh food compartment contains the primary temperature sensor. The cold outdoor temperature helps "chill" the refrigerator section so the compressor doesn't have to run very much. This means it doesn't run long enough to lower the temperature in the freezer compartment sufficiently. The lower the temperature goes, the worse the operation becomes. At about 38 to 42 degrees F., the compressor will probably not run at all. If the compressor ceases operation, the temperature will increase to the ambient temperature (38-42 degrees F.) and the food will thaw and spoil. PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, and Carolyn J. Lackey, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N., Professor/Food and Nutrition Specialist, North Carolina State University (August 2004)

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