Whether you own a classy French door fridge or a budget-friendly refrigerator under ₹15,000, all fridges fulfill the same purpose. The main reason for keeping a refrigerator is to store food for longer. Fridges help keep food cold, and the lower their internal temperature, the slower food decays. This is because colder temperatures slow down the growth of pathogenic and decay bacteria on food. All food naturally contains some amount of bacteria.
While a refrigerator cannot kill the bacteria on food, it can significantly slow down the multiplication of that bacteria. This prevents the food from getting spoiled faster. Take the following case as an example. If unspoiled milk is left for two to three hours on a kitchen countertop, the bacteria in it will start to grow. With seven hours, one single bacteria will multiply into 2 million bacteria. By reducing the temperature of the milk by keeping it in a fridge, it will stay fresh for seven to fourteen days. Proper storage in a fridge prevents foodborne illnesses.
Hence, the cold temperature of the best refrigerator brands decreases the activity of the bacteria by a significant degree. If you were to freeze the milk, you would stop the activity of the bacteria altogether. This way the milk would be preserved for months on end. Freezer burn would then act on the milk and cause it to spoil in non-bacterial ways. A refrigerator accomplishes its job of protecting food from decay by using these four typical components:
- Heat-exchanging pipes (coiled or serpentine set of pipes outside and inside the unit)
- Expansion valve
- Refrigerant (a liquid that evaporates to create the fridge’s cold temperatures).
How The Refrigerator Works to Keep Food Cool
A properly functioning refrigerator plays a crucial role in preserving the quality of your food. The best refrigerator brands manufacture both inverter and non-inverter models. While this cycle is not true for all refrigerators, a standard non-inverter fridge with an internal compressor works to keep the fridge cool as follows:
- A non-toxic variant of ammonia gas is compressed by the refrigerator’s compressor ‘compresses.’ As it is pressurized, the gas heats up.
- The heat-exchanging coils present behind the fridge allow the hot pressurized ammonia gas to diffuse its heat. At high pressure, the non-toxic ammonia gas condenses to liquid form (a dark blue chemical liquid).
- This liquid is still at high pressure. The pressure allows it to flow, and it flows through the expansion valve of the refrigerator. Think of the value as a tiny hole. On one side of the hole is a low-pressure area that the ammonia is flowing towards, and on the other side is the high-pressure liquid trying to escape.
- Once the liquid reaches the low-pressure area, it is no longer compressed. Hence, it immediately evaporates and vaporizes. Once it evaporates its temperature drops to -27 F. This serves as the refrigerator’s coolant. This gaseous form of the coolant is what keeps the inside of the refrigerator cold.
- The cool gas is sucked into the compressor, and the cycle is repeated.
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