I live in a small studio. The fridge is really noisy.

I want to put it on a timer and turn it off for 2 hours when I go to bed. Is it safe (food hygiene wise) to do so?

I have a relativley old fridge, but I think the insulation is not too bad. It's a very large fridge, (about my height, about a meter in width)

  • 2
    You might be better off overall leaving the fridge alone and buying a white-noise generator for your bedtime. Most folks who try one are pretty happy with its masking ability. – Carl Witthoft Sep 7 '16 at 17:51
  • Does the fridge have an adjustable thermostat? If you run it colder during the day and then adjust it to a warmer but still safe temperature before going to bed it might wait a long time before cycling. – Random832 Oct 13 '16 at 15:42
  • Consider also adding some extra thermal mass - bottles of water in the highest part of the fridge. – SomeoneSomewhereSupportsMonica Mar 31 '20 at 5:55

Should be OK food-safety wise, as the food should remain cold for about 4 hours according to the US FDA:

  • The refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened.
  • A full freezer will keep the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.

If you open the door a lot, or the insulation / seals are bad, or the temp starts out high to begin with, you may be tempting fate with food spoilage.

  • 4
    You'd want to make a point of not opening it for an hour or two before switching off to be sure of getting this amount of time. If you've just cooked dinner and put the leftovers in the fridge you wouldn't have a hope. – Chris H Sep 7 '16 at 9:42

I think the only way to know for sure is to try it and take the temperature of the fridge and some items in it after being unplugged for 2hrs. If they have warmed significantly than it might not be safe.

One thing to note is that a full fridge has more thermal mass and will hold its temperature longer. So you could also try stuffing it full of water bottles or other materials with a high heat capacity.

  • Adding more thermal mass seems to have a bigger impact on freezers than refrigerators. Per the US FDA link in my answer, they suggest freezing water and then putting in the fridge, but not simply adding jugs of water to the fridge. I suspect it has to with the latent heat of fusion in ice. Having a full fridge will certainly help, but not as much as a full freezer helps. – mmathis Sep 7 '16 at 13:43

If your refrigerator also has a freezer perhaps you could freeze some water in a container daily to put in your refrigerator. This should help to maintain a low temperature. That being said temperature variations can't possibly be good for dairy and meats. Have you attempted to locate the source of the noise and attempt to dampen or fix it?

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.