The capacity of refrigerators is usually given in cubic feet, but manufacturers have different ways of calculating the capacity of their models. See the most recent article on refrigerators in the magazine Consumer Reports to compare capacities measured in a consistent way.
A rule of thumb for estimating needed capacity, for the United States, is 12 cubic feet for two people plus an additional 2 cubic feet for each additional person.
The USDA recommends 40°F (5°C) for the main compartment and 0°F (−18°C) or below for the freezer compartment.
In a power failure, a refrigerator whose door has not been opened will maintain a safe temperature for about 4 hours.
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Last revised: 7 June 2004.