What is a Domestic Refrigerator?

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  • Written By: Daphne Mallory
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2019
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A domestic refrigerator is an electrical appliance used in many households for keeping foods cool enough so that they won’t spoil. There are other types of refrigerators that do not operate using electricity, such as gas- or oil-powered refrigerators. Some domestic refrigerators are single units, and others are combined with a freezer. They vary in height, ranging from small-box refrigerators that can often fit in a college dorm to large refrigerators and freezer units that are about 7 feet (about 2 m) tall or higher. The alternatives to using a home domestic refrigerator are using a root cellar, an icebox, or canning foods.

Foods that are often stored in domestic refrigerators are perishable foods. These foods often include fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, and drinks that must be refrigerated after opening. For the best results, foods are often arranged in a certain way, such as vegetables at the bottom of the refrigerator and drinks in the door. The best temperature setting is often between 38 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit, or 3.3 and 4.4 degrees Celsius. If the temperature is set below 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius, the refrigerator will freeze the food.


There are five main components of a domestic refrigerator: a thermostat, a compressor, a capillary tube, an evaporator, and a condenser. The refrigerator parts work together to remove heat from inside the refrigerator to the outside using evaporation. The condenser is used to compress refrigerant gas and release heat to the coils. When the refrigerant gas condenses into liquid, it passes through an evaporator and absorbs the heat inside the refrigerator, which gets transferred through a tube. As a result, the air inside becomes cool based on the temperature set inside.

Proper maintenance of a domestic refrigerator will ensure that it lasts longer. The door seals should be cleaned often to ensure that they fully hold the refrigerator door shut. If there’s a freezer attached, then it should be defrosted once the ice is at least 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) thick. Some refrigerators have an automatic defrost, and the owner does not need to manually defrost the unit. Owners should also clean the coils often to remove lint and dust, which cause the refrigerator to be less energy efficient.

Troubleshooting a domestic refrigerator is common. The problem is often that the refrigerator is not cooling properly. In that case, owners must often check the thermostat and the compressor to make sure they are working properly.


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