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Refrigerators and What You Need To Know:

I need to make something Crystal Clear; You Can Not Use Your Refrigerator as an Air Conditioner! It may cool the air directly in front for a few minutes, however, shortly after that, the heat in your kitchen will begin to rise, and your Electricity Bill will start skyrocketing. Why, you may ask? Well, to Refrigeration 101, a Cram Course.

First, we learn how Refrigerators work, and then we will learn how to use them properly.

How they work:

A refrigerator is the hardest worker in your kitchen. It keeps a constant cool by venting out heat from the inside and into the kitchen. It’s a closed system that relies on a liquid called refrigerant, also referred to as coolant, to do the heavy lifting by traveling in coils throughout the fridge. Refrigerant drives how a refrigerator works by separating hot and cold air, absorbing the hot, and carrying it away from the refrigerator’s contents.

Sounds simple right, well it can be. Here is what the process looks like:Refrigerator Diagram JPG

Now to keep everything cold and close to the same temperature inside both the Freezer and Refrigerator Compartments; there are small fans situated in both compartments circulating the cold air. Those fans in the freezer help eliminate frost.

There are still some models that have a vent at bottom of the Freezer Compartment that allows freezing air to enter the Refrigerator Compartment.

In most Freezer and Refrigerator Compartments, the Evaporation Coils are located in the back wall. That means that items placed near the back wall get and stay the coldest. However, NEVER Place Items Directly Against The Back Wall! There are two reasons for this. First, the items may freeze, and Second, and most important, doing so will block the circulation of cold air throughout the compartments.

There are a couple of important things about the coils on the back of your Refrigerator, they need clearance, and air space, in order to properly release their heat. On some older models, and some inexpensive ones the coils are uncovered. Therefore they collect dust, grease, etc… Even the units where the coils are covered, they still need to be cleaned on a schedule. You need to check your Owner’s Manual about how and when to clean those. A Filthy set of coils will not release as much heat as needed, and your Refrigerator will not get as cold.

How does Mom know all of this, Mom worked at an Appliance Parts Company for several years, was not only taught this before Mom could start selling parts, but Mom also ended up teaching the class for New Employees?

 

How To Properly Use A Refrigerator, AKA Mistakes Everyone Makes With Their Refrigerator:

Most of the following portion is from Mashed Dot Com, by Debra Kelly/Dec. 18, 2020:

Refrigerators are easy, right? Plug them in, open and close, keep things cold, and convince your little nieces and nephews that there’s a teeny-tiny elf that lives inside and turns the light on and off. What could be more straightforward?

Only, it’s not actually that simple, and it turns out there’s a lot of things you can do wrong with a fridge. It’s entirely possible that your day-to-day habits might be making your fridge less energy-efficient, or even more likely to spoil your food.

And that’s a huge deal. According to Food Print, the average American household wastes about 21 percent of the food they buy. That works out to around 238 pounds each year, and in other words, that’s about $1,800 right into the garbage. They also say that around two-thirds of that is due to food spoilage, which includes improper storage. How often do you peek into the fridge to grab a snack and find something you’ve forgotten about? Or something that’s on the shelf and either too warm or too cold? It’s all adding to the problem, but there’s also much more.

There’s good news – this is all easy to fix, so let’s talk about what you’re doing wrong with your fridge, and how to make it right.

 

You’re over-filling the refrigerator:

Overfilled Refrigerator JPG

Sure, there’s something satisfying about coming home from the grocery store and filling your fridge to the brim. It makes the meal choices seem almost endless, but filling it too full is actually a massive mistake.

According to Hunker, over-filling your fridge isn’t just easy to do, but there are going to be several consequences that you might not notice, but your bank account will. Air circulation is a big part of what keeps everything in your fridge cool, and when there’s too much stuff in it, you’re blocking a lot of that circulation. That means the fridge needs to work harder to keep everything at the right temperature, especially if all that food is blocking some air vents. In turn, that means a higher energy bill.

In addition to higher energy bills, you might also be looking at some extra food spoilage as an over-full fridge means it’s unlikely that everything’s going to be chilled to the correct temperature. When it’s not, that’s when you’re risking food spoilage or — worse — food poisoning.

On the other hand, you shouldn’t keep your fridge too empty, either. Much of a fridge’s cooling power comes from the fact that once items are cold, they can help keep other things cold, too. When it’s mostly empty, that mechanism just doesn’t work. Try to keep it full but not too full, and you’ll be right on track.

 

You’re not keeping the refrigerator cold enough

You're Not Cold Enough JPG

Do you have a set-in-stone way of stocking the fridge, or is it just sort of a willy-nilly mess of stuff that goes wherever it fits? If the answer is the latter, it should definitely be the former — and even if you have a system, it might not be the best for you.

Good Housekeeping did some experimentation to find the best way to organize your fridge, and they learned a few things. First, there are some places that certain foods should be kept based on temperature controls and levels of coldness. Dairy should be on the bottom in the back, and so should eggs. Condiments are less perishable, so they can go on the door, along with things like processed juices.

But for other things, you should take stock of your family’s particular needs. If you have young children, for example, put the food items you want them to snack on at a convenient eye level. If you have a lot of bins in the fridge, make one for them — it’ll save on searching and messes both in and out of the fridge. Figure out what you use most, and put them in spots that are easy to reach. And biggest of all: opt for clear containers, so you can immediately see what’s inside. If you find a plan that works and stick with it, it’ll make grabbing a snack or prepping dinner so much easier — and energy-efficient.

Mom keeps a Refrigerator Thermometer in the Fridge and checks it weekly, especially in hot weather.

 

You’re not cooling food safely before putting it in the refrigerator

Food Too Hot JPG

You’ve heard the warnings: don’t put hot food in the fridge. So, do you let things sit on the counter and cool completely before stowing leftovers in the fridge? It turns out, that’s not entirely right, either.

The Washington State Department of Health says that yes, you can put food in the fridge before it’s completely cooled — and you should.

The guidelines (via Michigan State University) are pretty straightforward, and for most foods (think of a leftover burger from dinner, or a bit of veg), you can safely put them in a small container and put them in the fridge right away.

It’s a little more complicated if you’ve, say, made a giant pot of chili or soup. Then, proper cooling involves a two-step cooling process. In the first two hours after serving, your leftovers should be cooled from a cooking temperature of 140 to 70. (That changes if the temperature in your kitchen is above 90 degrees, and that time drops to just one hour.) You can do that by putting the leftovers in small, shallow containers, then cooling them in an ice bath. They don’t need to be cold, though, just not smoking hot. Once they’re down to 70 degrees, they can safely be packaged and put into the fridge to cool the rest of the way. Your leftovers won’t spoil, and you won’t compromise the safety of the other food in your fridge.

There is a lot more to read about using your Refrigerator at the following link: https://www.mashed.com/298521/mistakes-everyone-makes-with-their-refrigerator/

 


Ways To Stay Cool

During these overly hot days of Summer, it is very important to not only stay as cool as possible but to stay hydrated as well.

Some Quick Tips:

Tips for staying cool:

  • Keep blinds closed
  • Close off unused parts of the home.
  • Do not keep any unnecessary electrical items plugged in.
  • Stay inside during hottest times.
  • Hydrate! Ensure liquids are plentiful.

Stay Cool:Activity JPG

  • Wear Appropriate Clothing: Choose lightweight, light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Stay Cool Indoors: Stay in an air-conditioned place as much as possible. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library—even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. Call your local health department to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area.
  • Keep in mind: Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, they will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off. Use your stove and oven less to maintain a cooler temperature in your home.
  • Schedule Outdoor Activities Carefully: Try to limit your outdoor activity to when it’s coolest, like morning and evening hours. Rest often in shady areas so that your body has a chance to recover.
  • Pace Yourself: Cut down on exercise during the heat. If you’re not accustomed to working or exercising in a hot environment, start slowly and pick up the pace gradually. If exertion in the heat makes your heart pound and leaves you gasping for breath, STOP all activity. Get into a cool area or into the shade, and rest, especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak, or faint.
  • Mom suggests, that you always wear a hat, and if possible keep your hair or shirt wet, the evaporation will help cool you.
  • Wear Sunscreen: Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool down and can make you dehydrated. If you must go outdoors, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher 30 minutes prior to going out. Continue to reapply it according to the package directions.
  • Tip: Look for sunscreens that say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels- these products work best.
  • Do Not Leave Children in Cars: Cars can quickly heat up to dangerous temperatures, even with a window cracked open. While anyone left in a parked car is at risk, children are especially at risk of getting a heat stroke or dying. When traveling with children, remember to do the following:
  • Never leave infants, children or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open.
  • To remind yourself that a child is in the car, keep a stuffed animal in the car seat. When the child is buckled in, place the stuffed animal in the front with the driver.
  • When leaving your car, check to be sure everyone is out of the car.
  • Do not overlook any children who have fallen asleep in the car.
  • Avoid Hot and Heavy Meals: They add heat to your body!

Stay Hydrated:Person Drinking JPG

Drink Plenty of Fluids: Drink more fluids, regardless of how active you are. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.

  • Warning: If your doctor limits the amount you drink or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
  • Stay away from very sugary or alcoholic drinks—these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
  • Replace Salt and Minerals: Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body that need to be replaced. A sports drink can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat.

Mom recommends staying away from Gatorade®, as it has too much sodium, if you do drink Gatorade®, drink it 50/50 with water. Mom, suggests Powerade®, Bodyarmor SuperDrink™, Coconut Water, Low Sugar Iced Tea, Low Sugar Lemonade, or Plain Old Cold Water. Also eating Melons, and Cucumbers will help you stay hydrated as they are mostly water.

  • If you are on a low-salt diet, have diabetes, high blood pressure, or other chronic conditions, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage or taking salt tablets.

Keep Your Pets Hydrated: Provide plenty of fresh water for your pets, and leave the water in a shady area.

Warning Signs and Symptoms of Heat-Related Illness

Heat-related illnesses are preventable. Learn the symptoms and what to do if you or a loved one shows signs of having a heat-related illness.

Heat-Related Illnesses

Heat Stroke

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

  • High body temperature (103°F or higher)
  • Hot, red, dry, or damp skin
  • Fast, strong pulse
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Losing consciousness (passing out)

WHAT TO DO

  • Call 911 right away-heat stroke is a medical emergency
  • Move the person to a cooler place
  • Help lower the person’s temperature with cool cloths or a cool bath
  • Do not give the person anything to drink

Heat Exhaustion

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

  • Heavy sweating
  • Cold, pale, and clammy skin
  • Fast, weak pulse
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fainting (passing out)

WHAT TO DO

  • Move to a cool place
  • Loosen your clothes
  • Put cool, wet cloths on your body or take a cool bath
  • Sip water

Get medical help right away if:

  • You are throwing up
  • Your symptoms get worse
  • Your symptoms last longer than 1 hour

Heat Cramps

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

  • Heavy sweating during intense exercise
  • Muscle pain or spasms

WHAT TO DO

  • Stop physical activity and move to a cool place
  • Drink water or a sports drink
  • Wait for cramps to go away before you do any more physical activity

Get medical help right away if:

  • Cramps last longer than 1 hour
  • You’re on a low-sodium diet
  • You have heart problems

Sunburn

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

  • Painful, red, and warm skin
  • Blisters on the skin

WHAT TO DO

  • Stay out of the sun until your sunburn heals
  • Put cool cloths on sunburned areas or take a cool bath
  • Put moisturizing lotion on sunburned areas
  • Do not break blisters
  • Mom highly suggests Aloe Vera Gel, or moisturizing lotion with Aloe Vera as one of the first ingredients!
  • Do Not Use Butter!

Heat Rash

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

  • Red clusters of small blisters that look like pimples on the skin (usually on the neck, chest, groin, or in elbow creases)

WHAT TO DO

  • Stay in a cool, dry place
  • Keep the rash dry
  • Use powder (like baby powder) to soothe the rash

Stay Informed

Check for Updates: Check your local news for extreme heat alerts and safety tips and to learn about any cooling shelters in your area.

Know the Signs: Learn the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and how to treat them.

Use a Buddy System: When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your co-workers and have someone do the same for you. Heat-induced illness can cause a person to become confused or lose consciousness. If you are 65 years of age or older, have a friend or relative call to check on you twice a day during a heat wave. If you know someone in this age group, check on them at least twice a day.

Monitor Those at High Risk: Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others:

  • Infants and young children
  • People 65 years of age or older
  • People who are overweight
  • People who overexert during work or exercise
  • People who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure, or who take certain medications, such as for depression, insomnia, or poor circulation
  • Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching.

The information above was compiled from the Oregon Department of Human Services DHS, and the Center For Disease Control CDC. With additional information from Mom.

Mom keeps a pitcher of water in the Fridge, and Cold Brews Iced Teas. Mom also keeps water bottles three quarters filled with water, Iced Tea with Mio Peach Mango®, and water with the same in the freezer.  Mom then has a nice cold drink that stays cold for hours. Mom does keep Ice Cream in the freezer as well. Please Don’t Tell Mom’s Dr..


If you are under Twenty-One do not try these at home without adult supervision.

To start off save all your excess juices and wines, by pouring them into Ice Cube Trays; when frozen you then transfer them to an air-tight freezer container. You can also do the same thing with any leftover Coffee,(why you would have coffee leftover I have no idea) and Iced Tea. Why should you do these things, well read on and you will find out?

Mom’s favourite Iced Teas, Mom loves unsweetened Iced Teas with Sugar Free Peach & Mango Flavouring. Mom has also been known to add a splash or two of Peach Schnapps to her Iced Teas as well.

Mom, Cold Brews her Iced Teas, she starts with an empty bottle, usually from Pure Leaf® Unsweetened Iced Tea, she then adds three Family Sized Tea Bag, (the ones for Iced Tea work best) fills the bottle with water and a day or so later she has Cold Brewed Tea ready to be poured over ice. Cold Brewed Iced Teas are smoother and not as bitter as hot brewed tea that has been chilled.

If you like your Iced Tea strong, and don’t want it getting diluted by the ice cubes, then use the frozen Iced Tea Cubes. Tullamore Dew® or Bacardi Carta Negra®, aka Bacardi Select, aka Bacardi Black are also nice flavour additives.

If you like your Iced Teas fruity, you can use any of your frozen juice cubes, instead of ice cubes.

Quick Alcoholic Creations:

P.S. They are slightly healthier as well.

Quick Mock Piña Colada:Pina Colada JPG

  • White Rum, Bacardi®, of course.
  • Pineapple flavoured Coconut Water.
  • A Glass filled with ice cubes

Pour Coconut water into a glass, add rum, stir and enjoy.

For a stronger coconut flavour, you can add some Coconut Creme, or Milk.

Quick Mock Rum Punch:Rum Punch JPG

  • White Rum, Bacardi®, of course.
  • Bodyarmor Fruit Punch™
  • A Glass filled with ice cubes

Pour ingredients into glass and stir and enjoy.

To make a larger, and fruiter batch use several bottles of the Fruit Punch, and add some of your Frozen Juice Ice Cubes.

Quick Mock Sangria:Sangria

  • Glass
  • Wine Ice Cubes
  • Fruit Juice Ice Cubes
  • Lemon-Lime Soda

Fill Glass with Two or Three Wine Ice Cubes, then Juice Ice Cubes until the glass is full. Add the Lemon-Lime Soda. Wait a couple of minutes and enjoy. Garnish with a slice of fruit. A Splash of Brandy or White Rum, Bacardi®, is a welcome addition.

Mom’s Tip: You can also use a Margarita Shaker to mix the ingredients before pouring over the ice.

Mom’s Margarita Especial:Margarita

Note: This recipe is Mom’s adaptation of the Classic Margarita.

  • Margarita:1 1/4 ounces Sauza Commemorativo Tequila®
  • 1/2 ounce Presidente Brandy®, or any quality Brandy.
  • 1/2 ounce Cointreau Liqueur®
    • You can also use Grand Marnier® this will add a slight orange flavour, and a bit of sweetness.
    • You can use Triple Sec, however, the drink won’t be as rich.
  • 4 ounces of Lemon Juice, Fresh Squeezed
    • You can use Sweet and Sour or Margarita Mix, however, these will make a lesser quality drink.
  • 1/8-1/4 ounce Lime Juice (squeeze a lime slice)

Pour all ingredients into a shaker glass with crushed ice.  Shake very well and serve in a salt-rimmed margarita glass with some ice.

Mom’s Tip: Make the drink, and then freeze it for later. When you want to drink it, just pour the slushy mixture into a salt-rimmed margarita glass, and enjoy. Also, don’t forget to take a swig of Rum for the Bartender, as a quality check.

That’s all for this month, if you have any Summer Drink Recipes to share please send them to Mom.

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