The internet is full of information about the optimal temperature inside the fridge. But every once in a while, the compressor has to stop, and the temperature begins to rise, and I failed to find how much it may rise.

My question is, to what temperature is it allowed to rise so it's safe for food? I cook once every other day, so the food shall remain good for 30+ hours.

My fridge gets to 2C (36F) without any problems. Then, the compressor stops, and the temperature begins to rise. It often rises to 7C (44F), more rarely to 8C (46F) or even 9C (48F), but maybe the 9C thing was when the defrost decided to kick in...

Maybe I'm just sensitive and it's totally fine for the fridge to be at 7C (44F) for, like, 4 hours every day? Or maybe it should never reach such a temperature unless it's defrosting time?

In the past, I rarely checked the temperature, so maybe I just never noticed that my fridge occasionally was at 7C (44F), or maybe I was (un)lucky and always accidentally checked the temperature while the fridge was cold?

Thank you in advance for your answers.

  • 1
    How are you checking your fridge temperature? Does it involve opening the door?
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented May 8 at 3:57

1 Answer 1


I'd say your refrigerator is in need of service, either a thermostat replacement or (if possible, as an independent adjustment - not likely) a reduction of the upper setpoint (since simply turning it down is likely to result in freezing food in the refrigerator section, though it could certainly go down at least 1°C for a start.

But it's 2.6-4.6°C high on the high end while only being 2°C from freezing on the low end, so turning it down enough to keep the upper temp safe would resulting freezing, most likely.

Advice from the USDA is that it should not exceed 40°F (4.4°C)

  • Thanks. Yeah, I also thought that the upper temperature is too high. Commented May 7 at 5:26
  • The emphasis is that this temperature cyclying is not how a fridge is supposed to behave. If OPs fridge does that, it is partially broken.
    – quarague
    Commented May 8 at 9:56

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