It’s as much of a tradition as the feast itself: living off Thanksgiving leftovers for weeks while finding ways to reinvent and reuse them just to keep things interesting. Turkey soup, anyone? But to make it to the finish line in the marathon of leftovers, your refrigerator must be up to the challenge of properly preserving all that extra food. Here’s how to give your fridge an efficiency boost for the holidays.
1. Maintain the right level of cold. Food obviously will spoil in a fridge that’s too warm, but a fridge that’s too cold isn’t doing you any favors, either. For ideal refrigeration, keep the interior temperature between 37 and 40 degrees.
2. Make sure the door seal is airtight. When the door seal is loose, cold air escapes from your fridge and makes it work harder, burning up more energy dollars. To check the seal, use the dollar-bill test. Take a dollar bill and close it in the fridge door — then try to pull it out. If it slips out easily, the gasket needs to be replaced.
3. Put a lid on it for proper food storage. Uncovered foods and liquids release moisture, making a refrigerator’s compressor work much harder, so always cover food with plastic wrap or put it in storage containers.
4. Clean the coils. The coils on the back of your refrigerator should be cleaned regularly to help keep your fridge working efficiently. Every six months or so, pull the fridge away from the wall and use a vacuum to remove dust and debris from the coils.
5. Don’t forget the drain pan. Older refrigerators have a drain pan underneath, which needs to be cleaned monthly in order to prevent mold growth.
These simple steps for improving refrigerator efficiency will conserve energy and save money, and help ensure your Thanksgiving leftovers are good to the very last turkey sandwich!