Thursday, January 16, 2014

Even The Simple Things - Fridge And Freezer Remote Thermometer

    Refrigerator Anxiety. Go ahead admit it, we all have it. Freezer Anxiety too. I am always a bit paranoid that my fridge and freezer aren't at the proper temperature and I am spoiling food and heading toward a dietary disaster. The little bugs that are kept at bay when items are at a low temperature, come out of hiding and start to multiply at higher temps. These critters can simply make your food taste "funny" or you may end up in gastrointestinal distress! I know that's one thing I try and avoid while on the road!! Staying in my RV bathroom for extended periods is most certainly not what I had in mind for ANY trip! What to do? Simple really. Get yourself a device to monitor the temperatures inside. I prefer the remote probe style (wired) but you could just have an accurate regular thermometer inside. Here's how to set your mind at ease and monitor your refrigerator/freezer's performance.

For my own fridge, I looked around for a small, mountable unit that had long battery life, showed both refrigerator and freezer temperatures at the same time, and could be set with an temperature alarm to warn if things were going awry.. Of course, I like to have things that blend in with my decor so I also had to find one that fit in the available space and matched some of the interior colors. It took a while to find, but I ended up with my perfect solution. Your's may be different. Look around, they aren't very expensive and there are lots of choices. Figure you'd spend between $5.00 and $25.00 dollars depending on features and style.

A few caveats. Make sure you find one that has probes that are enclosed. The one I use has a suction cup on both sensors (fridge and freezer) as well, so you can stick it to the wall of the compartment and out of the way. I prefer the wired ones, even though they have to go between the door and the seal. No extra batteries to replace in the sensors and if you route them correctly, you'll never notice the wiring.  Most of the remote thermometers allow you to set a temperature alarm. that means if the temps get too high it will let you know. How's that for some additional peace of mind?

Lot's of folks will tell you that a simple thermometer inside the fridge and freezer is a good way to go, but since I like to check when I walk by several (many!) times a day, I don't want to open the doors and lose so much cold air each time. After all, who doesn't like a cold beverage on a hot day. (Yes, I realize it's currently winter around here, but a fella can dream. Can't I?) According to the US Government (USDA) fresh food should be kept at between 32 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit and Frozen items at 0 degrees or below. Both should be plus or minus 3 degrees. They go on to explain the best way to check a fridge temperatures is by placing the thermometer in a glass of water and letting it stand for 5-8 hours and then read. OK. Maybe you could do that to check the accuracy of your digital version. I understand you want to know what the FOOD's temperatures are, NOT the air around them. Seems reasonable to me.

While we're talking about refrigerator temperatures, at the beginning of the season you should always do some basic maintenance on your fridge before departing on your first trip. It's easy and will confirm your refrigerator/freezer is working at it's most efficient. If you are going to be in areas where high temperatures are the norm, you may wish to install a supplemental exhaust fan for your refrigerator. I've been using the digital thermometer for a while now and it works great. Make me less prone to food spoilage anxiety! As an added bonus, my drinks are just like I want them Cold and delicious.

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"

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