refrigerator settings questionnaire

Please share your opinion. Sorry for randomness.

Given: a refrigerator with two temperature control dials.

  • Refrigerator Dial: Labeled 0-9, where O is warmest, 9 is coldest.
  • Freezer Dial: Labeled A-E, where A is warmest, E is coldest.

Both dials turn left to right, where 0 and A are on the left-most end of the dial.

If you adjust the dial to the temperature colder in the refrigerator, do you say:

 ”I am turning the refrigerator up.”


“I am turning the refrigerator down.”

Does this answer change when talking about the freezer?




  1. Michael Lambie Nov 8, 2007 at 9:11 pm

    I turn the refrigerator up for a temperature decrease. Although the temperature is going down, and the amount of heat released into the system is going down, what i am referring to when i say “turn up” is the intensity at which i am refrigerating. I am talking about refrigerating, not the temperature as a measure of heat.

  2. vinh! Nov 9, 2007 at 10:07 pm

    You’re turning it up. You’re increasing the cool. No question.

  3. Deb Nov 10, 2007 at 7:55 am

    Its all in the benchmark (point of reference). Is this all about avoiding the dispute over using English or Metric measure? Why not dual dial label in degrees Celsius and Fahrenheit – similar to car speedometers in km/hr and miles/hr? In addition, we are advised to store food at certain temperatures – and if calibrated correctly, wouldn’t we then know exactly what we are doing, instead of second guessing? A national training program on food storage safety is in order with recall of all units that use an arbitrary scale in reverse, where up is cold and down is warm. Its all about integers and positive and negative numbers – no math left behind – lets say it right!
    Michael makes a good point – where are the energy use dials (real time & cumulative) on all appliances? Lets see what the real story is – a more educated society – making wiser decisions
    – striving for sustainability!

  4. Gabe Nov 12, 2007 at 6:05 pm

    Why do I have this sneaking suspicion that someone’s chore list depends on the answers given here?

    Since my fridge now plays “It’s a Small World” with greeting card accuracy after the door remains open for ten seconds…I can’t be sure which way is up, or down.

  5. John on Forest Feb 22, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    I have this same syntax dispute within my household. I guess Micheal and Deb make a point regarding point of reference. As a scientist, I always think in terms of desired effect. I turn the heat up to make the house hotter. I turn the heat down to make the house cooler. I turn the air conditioning down to make the house cooler; and, I turn the air conditioning up to make the house warmer. I turn the refrigerator down to make it colder and up to make it warmer. In all these cases it’s a matter of what one is doing with the thermostat, not what one is doing with the machinery (AC, heat, refrigeration).

    Of course others in my family turn the AC up when they want more cooling. I ignore them when they do.

  6. Prakash Patel Sep 24, 2008 at 3:40 am

    By turning refrigerator up means that u r setting thermostat at 7, 8 or 9 it meas more cold than before. in refrigerator or freezer increasing cold means temperature is getting down. Same applies to freezer.

    in general setting up in refrigerator or freezer means decreasing temperature.

  7. Kirstin Black May 29, 2009 at 11:31 am

    I would like to say that I have asked the exact same question today and thus googled my query and found this question and answer!! THANK YOU!!

  8. Stan Krueger Aug 19, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    I have a GE side by side, and my repair man told me today, that the freezer dial, A-E does not control the freezer temp, and only determines the amount of “freezer” air that get to the refrig. He said it is the refig control 1-9, which determines how cold the freezer will get, I am going to call the store I bought the unit at to see if true, I bought about 15 years ago with the repair man changing out the two defrost heaters.

  9. Steve Jan 14, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    With settings that go from “0″ to “9″ why is it that “0″ is warmer than “9″? In most situations, the higher number denotes warmer. Why is it backwards in refrigerators? They should have a “Warmer” and “Colder” label along with numbers so logical people don’t get confused.

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