Cornwall Council has issued a warning to anyone thinking of turning off their fridge to save money, as energy prices soar.
Some food banks have reported that struggling families have been switching off their appliances for short periods as rising bills continue to put pressure on household finances.
While this may seem like a money-saving tip, it is actually less economical as fridges end up using more energy to bring the temperature back down once they are switched back on.
Storing food at temperatures above 5°C can also put people at risk of food poisoning as bacteria are allowed to thrive.
Rachel Wigglesworth, Director of Public Health for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said:
“Turning off your fridge won’t save you money and could leave you and your family with a nasty stomach bug.
“Check out the list of facts and tips we’ve pulled together below to get the best out of your fridge, and visit our ‘cost of living’ web page to find out what support is available if you are struggling with finances.
“Families of children who are eligible for free school meals can also claim a cash payment of £80 per child so I would urge parents and carers to visit our Household Support Fund webpage for more information on this. Alternatively, they can call 0300 123 1118.
“We know the cost of living crisis is putting huge pressure on people and we at the Council are determined to help as many as possible weather this storm.”
The Council’s public health and food safety teams have put together a list of fridge safety tips to help people out:
- Keep your fridge at 5°C or cooler. At this temperature food lasts longer and is also more resistant to food poisoning bugs. Storage above this range can allow bacteria to grow or harmful toxins to form, which can cause food poisoning if eaten.
- It’s colder at the bottom so keep perishables such as meat and dairy there and keep fruit in the fridge for tip-top freshness – but separate from vegetables.
- Store any food with a 'use by' date, along with cooked dishes, salads and dairy products, in your fridge.
- Keep chilled food out of the fridge for the shortest time possible during preparation.
- You can check that your fridge is cold enough using a fridge thermometer. This is because the dials on fridges don't always show you the right temperature.
- Don’t use the fridge outdoors or anywhere it is likely to come into contact with the elements.
- You won't save energy by turning your fridge off for short periods of time because it will just use more energy to cool down again when you do turn it back on.
- You can lower your running costs though by:
- putting your fridge freezer at least 10cm away from the wall to make sure the coils at the back of the fridge freezer can work properly.
- making sure the door seals are working so air isn't allowed to escape.
- regularly defrosting the freezer.
People are also reminded that there is a wealth of support available for anyone struggling with their mental health. Visit the Council’s mental health web pages for more information.
Press release published on July 28, 2022.