My refrigerator has a rheostat that I want to turn up to save energy. I'm trying to figure out whether I need to get a dedicated refrigerator thermometer.

I have a digital and a mercury-based thermometer that I normally use to measure the ambient air temperature on my porch. The temperature range appears to go down to below -30 centigrade and seems to give accurate readings. Is it likely that it will also give accurate readings in my refrigerator or freezer?

I know that there are thermometers specifically marketed for use in refrigerators, so maybe the specific conditions inside a refrigerator impose special challenges I'm not thinking of.

  • 1
    Rheostat temperature control of a refrigerator would be exceptionally unusual . They were used in electric heaters.. Commented Jan 14, 2021 at 22:30
  • Ah okay thanks! You're right--it's probably something else. But it is a dial with no temperature markings on it.
    – capet
    Commented Jan 16, 2021 at 22:00

1 Answer 1


A properly made normal thermometer will function perfectly well in a refrigerator, as you describe.

As with all mercury based thermometers be careful not to break it. Cleaning up and then dealing with the released mercury would be problematic. If that were to happen contact the waste disposal department of your local municipal council and get advise because mercury is an environmental toxin and requires special "disposal" methods.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.