People urged not to turn fridges off in bid to save money on energy bills

Cornwall Council has issued a warning it could end up costing people more money - or even making them ill

People are being urged not to turn their fridges off as a way to try to save money.

As energy prices soar, food banks in Cornwall say struggling families have been switching off appliances to try to keep costs down.

Cornwall Council has now issued a warning for people not to turn off their fridges - as it could cost more money in the long run or result in food poisoning.

The authority said while it may seem like a good money-saving idea, 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.

Director of Public Health for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Rachel Wigglesworth said: “Turning off your fridge won’t save you money and could leave you and your family with a nasty stomach bug."

She added: “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 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.