How Long Do You Have to Wait to Put Food in a New Refrigerator (2024)

How Long Do You Have to Wait to Put Food in a New Refrigerator

You have to take into consideration a few things to know how long you have to wait to put food in a new refrigerator.

The total time depends on the following factors: the size, type, brand, temperature, and delivery method of the refrigerator.

Read below to learn the details.

You have a new refrigerator and can’t wait to fill it up with all your favorite foods. But, before you switch it on and start loading it up, you’ll have to wait a bit because of various factors.

How Long Do You Have to Wait to Put Food in a New Refrigerator?

How Long Do You Have to Wait to Put Food in a New Refrigerator

A refrigerator is an essential kitchen appliance you need to handle properly. If you have a new refrigerator, you must wait at least 2 to 24 hours before using it.

This wait time allows it to reach maximum functionality so it will operate properly. Plus, it will also enable the refrigerator to reach an accurate internal temperature, properly cool water, and create the first batches of ice. 

The ideal temperature for a refrigerator depends on the type and brand. Depending on its capacity and temperature control, the refrigerator will take from 2 hours to 24 hours to achieve optimum temperature.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), your refrigerator should be at 40 °F or below before putting food in it.

What Are the Risks of Loading the Refrigerator Before Two Hours?

You set the average temperature of a refrigerator using thermostat settings. The allotted time of 2 hours helps the refrigerator achieve its optimum temperature so it can properly cool your food. 

If you transfer warm food into the refrigerator, it can spend too much time in the temperature danger zone and spoil.

On the other hand, if you transfer cool food from another refrigerator, the refrigerator won’t have proper cooling to keep it out of the danger zone. 

Frozen foods, can thaw in an improperly chilled freezer. Not only will this spoil your food, but you’ll have a big mess on your hands. 

How Long to Wait Before Plugging in a New Refrigerator?

New Refrigerator

Upon getting your new refrigerator, you also need to wait before plugging it in and switching it on.

Your refrigerator uses a compressor to heat the refrigerant. This is part of a normal operation. And, like most machinery, the compressor needs oil to function properly.

During transportation, that oil can get jostled around. Therefore, the oil needs to settle before plugging in a refrigerator or you can damage the internal components. 

If you transported it in a straight position, then it takes about two hours to settle. Otherwise, it requires about 4 hours before turn it on. However, some refrigerators, like Whirlpools, will need up to 24 hours.

What to Do Before Putting Food in a New Refrigerator

Clean the Refrigerator

Although the refrigerator is brand new and it looks clean, you still need to clean it. Refrigerators go through a packaging process before being sold. Some chemicals used during manufacturing may remain behind, which could be harmful to the food and your health.

To clean the new refrigerator, use a soft piece of cloth and soapy water to wipe it down.

Plug-In the Refrigerator

As mentioned above, there is a certain time you have to wait before switching on a new refrigerator. After the refrigerator has settled for two to four hours, you can plug it in.

Check the Temperature

Monitor the temperature every 30 minutes. Ensure that the refrigerator’s temperature reaches 37°F and the freezer section reaches 0°F after two hours. 

Let Hot Food Cool for Two Hours

Don’t overtax your refrigerator by filling it with hot foods. After waiting for two hours, however, your hot foods should be cool enough to store in the fridge. You should be able to put hot meals inside the refrigerator by this time. 

Arrange the Food Inside the Refrigerator

Finally, you can store fruits, vegetables, and other perishable food. And your frozen foods, such as ice cream, fish, and meat, can go in the freezer compartment.

The Bottom Line

To summarize, it takes at least two hours before you can put food in a new refrigerator.

Before turning it on, make sure that the refrigerator has enough time to stand upright for the compressor oil to settle.

Also, ensure you’ve reached the ideal temperature before placing food in the refrigerator.

Follow the instructions given so you can maximize the use of your new refrigerator, extend its life, and keep your food safe.

As the estimated time may vary depending on the type of refrigerator, you may also consult the manufacturer’s manual for specific instructions.

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