how long before putting food in new fridge

How Long You Have to Wait Before Putting New Food in Your Refrigerator

There’s nothing like being able to buy a new refrigerator and have it delivered straight to your home.

This is especially true if it’s a nice upgrade from the original one you had. You may be tempted to unbox the new one, plug it in, and load it up straight away, but it’s good to know how long you should wait before you add all of your food to the refrigerator to avoid damaging it.

How long before putting food in the new fridge?

As a general rule, you’ll wait two hours at a minimum and 24 hours at a maximum before you put your food into your new refrigerator.

This time is how long it can take to reach your desired temperature, and the temperature you set it on depends on the model and make of the unit you bought.

The new refrigerator may seem like just another appliance, but there are surprisingly a few factors you should keep in mind when you’re trying to decide how long to wait before you add your items.

Your wait time will be directly based on the temperature you pick, the refrigerator’s size, and your location.

How Long You Should Wait Before Plugging in the Refrigerator

If you have to wait for a minimum of two hours to put your items in your refrigerator after it arrives at your home, how long do you have to wait to plug it in? Should you wait a little bit or plug it in straight away? How long is generally safe to plug it in after the installation experts leave?

To start, pay attention to how the company delivered the refrigerator to your home, and take note of whether they brought it upright or on its side.

It seems like something you shouldn’t have to pay attention to, but this is an important fact that will help you maximize your refrigerator’s lifespan. This is because the pipes inside the unit carry gas and lubricant.

You have to give it time for the refrigerant to settle correctly before you plug it in or turn it on, and this will happen at a much faster pace if the delivery company kept your unit upright during the delivery process, when they unboxed it, and when they installed it. If they did, you’d wait two hours before you power it on.

However, if the refrigerator came in on its side, you should wait four hours to allow the refrigerant to settle before you turn it on. You could even wait longer if you’re not 100% sure and want to be on the safe side.

Some refrigerators, like one more technically advanced one you can get from Whirlpool, can take up to 24-hours before they’re ready to get switched on and start working.

You can always ask the company that delivers your refrigerator if they have any recommendations. Chances are, they can give you an approximate time to wait before you do anything to it.

What You Should Do Before You Load Your New Refrigerator

There are a few things you can do while your refrigerator’s refrigerant is settling properly. There are also certain steps you should follow to ensure that you keep your refrigerator in top shape.

1. Clean It

Although you may think that you don’t necessarily have to clean your refrigerator because it’s brand new, really think about it.

Refrigerators are manufactured products, and they go through a boxing and packaging process before any store will put them up for sale.

Think about all of the chemicals that could have come into contact with the refrigerator during this process.

Some of the chemical remnants could still be in or on your refrigerator, and you don’t want to chance them getting into contact with your food.

All you’ll have to do is get warm water with a little liquid dish soap, a soft cloth, and a bucket. Wipe down the refrigerator, both inside and out, and allow it to dry to finish cleaning it.

2. Plug Your Refrigerator In

If you’ve read so far, you should know how long to wait to plug in your refrigerator. This is generally two to four hours after it gets installed, so plug it in once your allotted time has come and gone before you move to the next step.

3. Check Your Refrigerator’s Temperature

You want to check your refrigerator’s temperature every 30 minutes for two hours after you plug it in.

Ideally, it should be set to between 34-degrees and 40-degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll keep rechecking the temperature for a day or two after you add your food to ensure that it works.

4. Leave Your Hot Food Cool for Two Hours

Once your refrigerator is up and running, you should always wait a minimum of two hours before you put them inside your refrigerator.

Try to keep your hot meals and any freshly-made soups close to the freezer compartment because this is where the temperature will be on the colder end.

5. Arrange Your Food

Now, you can easily arrange your vegetables, fruits, and perishables however you like in your refrigerator.

Remember that the area closest to the freezer compartment will be colder, so you do want to be careful when it comes to more fragile items like vegetables because they can freeze.

Place your frozen items like fish, ice cream, and smooth berries in the freezer.

Why You Shouldn’t Put Items in Your Refrigerator Before Two Hours is Up

If you put all of your food into your refrigerator before the allotted settling time is up and before it reaches an optimal temperature, your food will take a lot longer to get cool.

You could also put a lot of additional strain on your refrigerator’s compressor. Your refrigerator will always work to maintain or reach an average temperature based on your chosen thermostat setting.

The two hours you leave the refrigerator sitting empty will allow the appliance to reach the temperature as efficiently as it possibly can.

This is more of a minor issue with refrigerated items, but it’s very important when it comes to your freezer compartment. The freezer has to drop much too much lower temperatures than your refrigerator.

You have to know that the back of the delivery truck can easily exceed over 80-degrees Fahrenheit, even if the weather is milder.

So, the refrigerator will have to drop 50-degrees or more to reach your desired temperature.

This is why you never want to load the refrigerator or freezer section for a minimum of two hours to avoid partially-thawed food.

You can end up with freezer burn, and this can change the texture of your food items to something unpleasant.

Bottom Line

We took an in-depth look at refrigerators in this article, and we told you why you should wait a minimum of two hours before you switch your new refrigerator on, or up to four hours if the refrigerator came to you on its side.

Waiting for this time will help prevent you from overloading the compressor, and you won’t be putting your perishable food items at risk for spoiling by putting them in a hot refrigerator.

Waiting also allows you to ensure that your new refrigerator is functioning correctly, and it can extend the refrigerator’s lifespan. In turn, you’ll be able to enjoy your new refrigerator for years to come.

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