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Measure Temperatures in a Refrigerator or Freezer


  • How to measure or test the temperature in a refrigerator or freezer with a home thermometer
  • How to check temperature of a Sub-Zero with no electronic display
  • How does a Sub-Zero measure temperature?
  • Is the temperature shown on the digital display the actual temperature or something different?


  • Sealed system issue
  • Fan motor problem
  • Temperature sensor or temperature control may be faulty


The temperature shown on the control panel display is the unit setpoint temperature.

  • Measure of air temperature is not an accurate measure of how a product is cooling. Food temperature is the proper measurement. In the case below, water or oil is used as the food.

To measure temperatures in a refrigerator or freezer:

  1. Use a thermometer that is submersible in liquid; a special thermometer is not required. Sub-Zero does not recommend any brand of thermometer.
  2. In a refrigerator or Wine Storage unit, put a thermometer in a glass of water covering the thermometer bulb.
  3. In a freezer, put the thermometer in a glass of oil (vegetable oil or similar) covering the thermometer bulb.
  4. Place the glass with the thermometer in the middle of the compartment. It should be halfway from front to back and halfway from top to bottom of the compartment.
  5. Allow 12 hours to reach accurate temperature measurement.

See also:

If temperatures continue to be erratic or are inconsistent with the setpoints shown on the control panel in electronic control models, no further troubleshooting advice is available. Contact Factory Certified Service to schedule an appointment for repair.


Need further assistance? Contact Customer Care at 800.222.7820 or provide your information below and request a Customer Care representative contact you.

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