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Refrigeration tips for long vacations

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It’s the eve of your long awaited vacation. The neighbours have been informed, the house has been secured and most appliances have been unplugged. Now there’s just the matter of dealing with the refrigerator so you don’t end up with spoiled food or a heft utility bill on your return. 

That’s why current models of fridges like the Electrolux FlexFresh range come with the Vacation Mode feature, which allows the refrigerator to operate more economically.  It does so by reducing or turning off the power used in cooling the refrigerator section. The insulation in the fridge helps to keep the internal temperature constant as long as the door is not opened.

FlexFresh
The Electrolux FlexFresh refrigerator comes with flexible storage compartments for easy and organised storage.

Before activating the Vacation mode, be sure to prepare the fridge for your extended absence.

Vacationing for less than a month

If you’re going on holiday for less than a month, do remember to take out all the perishable foods like cooked foods, milk, cheese, meat, seafood, eggs, fruits and vegetables. Also remember to turn the ice maker off.

If you wish to preserve some of the food, consider freezing them if they are suitable to be stored frozen.  Vacation mode does not affect the temperature in the freezer.

If the refrigerator and freezer are less than half full after clearing the perishables from the fridge, fill up large plastic jugs of water and place them in the refrigerator to help maintain a cold internal temperature. The cold water jugs help to fill up the empty space and reduce the amount of warm air that can still enter the fridge. This reduces the amount of time the fridge’s compressor has to operate and thus save energy.

Do remember to only fill the jugs halfway if you are placing them in the freezer, as water expands when frozen. Or, you can use a few bags of ice from the freezer instead.

Vacationing for more than a month

For extended absences from home, you may want to plan to consume or remove all food from the fridge.  This is so you can turn the temperature control to off and unplug the appliance before you leave.

Fridge
Cleaning out the fridge of perishables before embarking on long trips can prevent an unpleasant surprise on your return.

Mix a baking soda solution by using one tablespoon of baking soda in one litre of water, and use it to clean the interior of the fridge and freezer, as well as around the door gaskets. Be sure to wipe dry after cleaning.

Put an open box of baking soda or two cups of unused coffee grounds in a paper bag and leave it in the fridge. Then leave the fridge door open. This helps to remove odours and prevent the formation of mould and mildew.

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